It’s called party island for a reason… It was possibly my most favourite place whilst I was traveling. If you love partying and if you love tropical beaches then you’ll love Koh Phangan.
Here’s a few things I got up to; parties I went to, places I visited and activities I did during my time in Koh Phangan. (I’ll also touch on accommodation and transport on the island.)
How to get to Koh Phangan from Thailand
You will need to get to the island itself; one route is to get a ferry from Chumphon (Matapon Pier) to Thong Sala Pier. There are plenty of ferry companies that operate and usually in the 600- 1000 baht price range (£15- £30- depending on when you go).
First word of advice: Book your accommodation in the Haard Rin location. If you enjoy the parties, I recommend staying close to that area otherwise you will have to pay a lot of tuk-tuks. Also, if you are going over for the Full Moon Party period, then I recommend booking accommodation for 4 or so nights before the party as you won’t get accommodation at any time closer. Basic accommodation will start from 300 baht per night up to 3,200 baht for a nice bungalow. I stayed in Mac’s Bay on the South East coast, which was a steep 20-minute tuk-tuk ride from Haard Rin. I would recommend staying there if you aren’t so bothered about partying too hard.
Tuk-tuk: You can catch these on any main road by putting your arm out and looking like a hitch-hiker. I found tuk-tuks to be expensive and difficult to get if you’re on your own. My advice is to travel in groups or couples worst case. You can also get motot-bike tuk-tuks, but again, they are more expensive.
Motorbikes: You can also rent motor-bikes for around 180 baht per day
The fun stuff….
There are a lot of parties happening at all times of the week. All of them are quite expensive, around 600 Baht and you can either pay beforehand or on entry depending on demand; the full -moon party being one you would need to pre-book. Otherwise, there are always beach parties on the Haard beach every evening and its free of course. The Haard Rin beach is a strip of inside and outside bars, for people to get on tables and dance or smoke Shisha. Your choice. My favourite parties were actually my favourite as the music was Tropical Latin American in vibe.
- Half-Moon Party
- Full Moon Party
- Jungle Party
- Waterfall Party
NOTE: Be careful of the buckets (bucket cocktails sold behind stalls on the side of the beach as they are usually very strong and filled with ice.)
They are also very over-priced, so my advice is to buy cocktails away from the beach or stock up on beer from 7/11 and bring them to the beach.
I went to the Jungle Party, and the Full Moon Party.
The Jungle Party is located in a secret garden in the Baan Tai Jungle and hosts the perfect set-list for House/ Techno / Electric Forest goers. You will have to look on jungle party website to find out the schedule (just Google it). It’s a very colourful party and theres lots of dancers and artist performers flying about. I found it to be very similar to the Full Moon Party but smaller.
To get there, the best thing is to get on the main road (to and from Haard Rin) and jump in a tuk-tuk. Usually people are happy to onboard you if it means splitting their bill. Or you can just get one yourself if you have the group for it.
The infamous Full Moon Party; the last day of every month, 4,000 tourists on a beach drinking themselves stupid, LED glow sticks, painted face, puking, peeing in the sea. It was incredible. The traffic into the area was chaotic and the traffic out was the biggest mess of human civilization you can imagine. The fight for tuk-tuks is real and what’s worse, you can’t pre-book. I actually caught a motorbike after staying with a friend until 5am; you could otherwise prolong it like I did but it is also much more expensive.
Koh Phangan is a haven for tropical beach lovers. Every beach will meet your expectation depending on what you want; some quiet, some toursity. Some more ‘exotic’ than others; more white, a clear blue waters, some stonier and and yellow.
- Haad Yuan
- Haad Son
- Mae Haad
- Haad Yao
- Malibu Beach
And of course, Haad Rin Kok ; over-crowded sun-bathing blanket in the day, club in the night. There are plenty of beaches on the island; all tropical, your choice.
Koh Phangan has many mountains and waterfalls all across the island which offer great hiking trails and locations to hang-out.
- Mu Koh Angthong National Marine Park
- Than Sadet Waterfall National Park
- Paradise Waterfall
I specifically went to Phaening Waterfall; located in the middle of the island only 5 minutes away from Paradise Waterfall and free.
The most visited and accessible waterfall on the island. If it is the dry season, don’t expect to find any water rushing through. It took around 2 hours to climb, but it is worth it for the views on top.
Split n fly
Water Amusement Park in the centre of the island; two giant slides, bars and cool music throughout. You can stay there all day if you like. Tickets cost roughly 650 baht on entry. Be careful on the slides; I really hurt my back by landing on it.
Apichada Viewpoint Bar
In Ban Tai, you can find a cool place to hang out in the Apichada Viewpoint Bar also offering gorgeous skylines of the coast and jungle area. The jungle area is also a great place to hike. I found it accidentally whilst jogging.
Thong Sala Food Market
The Thong Sala Food Market, located on the South East part of the island is your very typical food market. Be prepared to overeat. It’s quite a long layout and so the sausage on a stick you just had might turn into another plus 3 pizzas and ice-cream.
The island is packed with boat tours; all offering in some way or form a tour around the island, a lunch deal and snorkeling. They are usually around the 600 baht mark.
The island accommodates for everyone’s taste buds. The Thai food is very cheap. You can pay 60 baht for a meal! Then there is the Western food, (the stodgy hang-over food) which is probably double in price (if not more) There was also a lot of Jewish cuisine. There were a lot of Israeli tourists, be that was great as I love humous and falafel.
Koh Phangan will be a lot of fun. Expect lots of parties, hiking, tut-tuks, boat trips, snorkelling, LED face-paint, helping a drunken friend, Thai food, Chang and feeling so broke, hung-over and tired on the ferry back.
That’s the way its done.