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The Island of Koh Phangan, Thailand

Updated on October 10, 2018
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Lived on Koh Phangan for over 14 years, working in the hospitality and travel business. I have great knowledge of the ever changing Island.

Koh Phangan

The Island of Koh Phangan is a beautiful coconut Island located in the Gulf of Thailand. An Island of relaxation, peace and pure beauty. Although this Island is the best place for relaxation the Island hosts one of the biggest full moon parties in the world. Partying and pure chill-out relaxation meet on this Island to make it one great destination you will always remember. The Island is near Koh Samui and Koh Tao which are also great islands located in the Suratthani province in the Southern Gulf of Thailand and is part of the group of Islands that make up the Samui Archipelago which is a group of over 40 Islands.Koh Phangan is 70kms from the mainland Thailand and 12kms from Koh Samui which acts a the main air link to the Island Phangan.

Koh Phangan is become famous over the last 15 years thanks to the Full Moon Party a huge celebration that is held once a month during the full moon night on the beach of Haad Rin and that gathers in the high season months of around 10,000 people. But do not worry this event is held only on the beach of Haad Rin and for those seeking tranquility `will be enough simply avoid the area.

Koh Phangan Beach
Koh Phangan Beach

Koh Phangan - Island


The Island has a few tourist resorts small villages and many beach bungalows located all round the Island. The Island is moslty made up of dense tropical jungle.Koh Phangan is about 70 kilometers from the mainland,Thailand, Phangan is part of the Surrathani province and located in the Southern part of the Gulf of Thailand. The Island is the fifth largest island in Thailand and is 167 square kilometers. Phangan is part of the Samui Archipelago which is a group of over 40 small Islands. Koh Samui is 25mins away by boat and has the only airport for these Islands. White sandy beaches make up the coastline around the Island and a granite structure which give Phangan its small hills.

Koh Phangan has a wide range of wildlife and comes with many differant species. Monkeys, exotic birds, lizards, insects and hundreds of different types of butterflies are just some of the Interesting widlife.

Famous for its beach parties on full moon, the small island of Koh Pha Ngan, Thailand, is an ideal place for a relaxing beach vacation, and offers many isolated palm-fringed beaches and a wide range of accommodation on the beach from simple beach huts to resorts. Diving and snorkeling around the island are very good, and you can also go hiking or fishing, elephant rides, relax with a massage or yoga, or try a variety of sports from Thai boxing to archery and water ski and board.

Beautiful tropical island of Koh Pha Ngan, also known as Koh Phangan or Ko Pha-Ngan is located in the Gulf of Thailand in the southeastern part of Thailand, between the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao. The relatively small island has been inhabited for thousands of years. Most of the inhabitants of Ko Pha Ngan are Buddhist Thais. Previously dependent on agriculture and fishing, Koh Pha-Ngan was discovered by hikers in the 1980's and since then has become a popular tourist destination for many types of tourism, housing both raucous beach parties and quiet beaches with resorts for families.

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Getting to Phangan

Koh Phangan is most easliy accessed via Koh Samui Airport though it is slightly cheaper to fly to the regional airport Surathani. From Koh Samui a fast boat takes only 25mins whereas the journey from the mainland takes around eight times longer. If you come overland, the overnight train is the best option with a first class sleeper carriage ideal for families. Buses are the most economic choice with a trip from Bangkok costing only 650 Baht all the way to Koh Phangan.

Beaches around Phangan

Koh Pha Ngan is a tropical island with several excellent beaches. The island also offers many activities from snorkeling and scuba diving to hiking, fishing and Thai boxing. The parties at Haad Rin beach are a great attraction, but there are many more beaches to enjoy quieter, where local resorts offer services like yoga classes, massage and spa treatments. Among the most popular beaches but quieter of Koh Pha-Ngan are the beaches of the Bay of Chalok Lam, Haad Yao, Thong Nai Pan, Haad Salad and Haad the Chao Fao.

Sports activities. Diving in Koh Pha Ngan is good in many places around the island, and snorkeling is also nice. The small island of Ko Ma Ko Pha Ngan with offering some of the best places to snorkel around, and also good for novice divers. Also you can hike across the island. For example, the National Park has Sadet trails and beautiful waterfalls. Other activities you can try at Ko Pha Ngan and board acuáticon include skiing, archery and elephant riding.

Entertainment and shopping. The main area of nightlife in Koh Phangan is the the beach of Haad Rin which includes several beaches, such as Dawn Beach, which hosts the famous Full Moon Party. Haad Rin has become an area of the city with many bars, restaurants, hotels and shops. Shopping in Koh Phangan also be made in the capital of the island, Thong Sala, home to many local restaurants.

Fullmoon Party

The first Full Moon Party either went off in 1987 or 1988, no-one is really sure, and it was someones birthday. It was such a good party that the same crew met up again at Paradise Bungalows and partied under the next Full Moon. From there on the party grew to be a mecca for travellers in the 90's and then became the global dance music festival that it is today, attracting thousands of visitors from every walk of life.

Koh Phangan Newyears party Haad Rin, 2011

The new trend on the beach of Haad Rin is jumping fire rope. For years people have watched fire dancers, buit now they are joining in on the fun. The video shows some great action on the beach. Koh Phangan is the biggest full moon party in the world.

See the Island

The best way to see the Island is by hiring a scooter, its the practical means of transport in Thailand. An automatic scooter will cost you as little as 250 Baht per day. This is far cheaper than using a taxi everywhere you go and on a scooter you can go anywhere. They are easy to ride and you get to enjoy the open air. Scooter can get to all those small roads and are easy to park. A car for example its harder to find a parking place and difficult to access some secluded places. Scooters are the most popular transport on the road here in Koh Phangan and many tourists who visit the Island rent a scooter.

Riding an automatic scooter is easy

A standard automatic scooter has a set of breaks and an accelerator all located on the handle bars. If you can ride a bicycle you are half way there. Balance and control the accelerator and you are away. Please wear a helmet. In general try to practice on a quiet road before hitting the main roads with traffic. Just 10 mins on a scooter and most people feel comfortable and ready to go on the main roads.

On Koh Phangan you will find hundreds of scooter hire shops, easy to find you will see lots of scooters outside there shop. They will have a selection of scooters to choose and even motorbikes. The standard is a Honda Click, these are popular scooters and every shop on the Island has them.

Check the scooter before renting, take photos for proof and they will require some sort of deposit. A passport is normally the way, and overall is safe. As they can hold your passport for any reason. You are entitled to have it back. Another way is to use money, some sat 5000 Baht or 10000 Baht deposit. This is also good as a new scooter costs in the region of 65000 Baht.

Its a great experience and its a good way to see Phangan.

Activies and things to do

Koh Phangan has loads of interesting things to do, it’s a real outdoor adventure with all its natural scenery. The Island has acres of undisturbed tropical rain forest and wild jungle interior. Mountain treks to the tops of the highest peaks including the highest of them all Khao Ra. Kilometers of coastline walks making it easy to access and beach hop around the whole Island. The list of activities never ends, from diving around coral reefs, snorkeling, and fantastic boat trips to other Islands including the National Marine Park which is part of the Anthong Islands just of the coast of Koh Phangan.

Back to the land and you can find Thai Boxing schools, cooking schools and for the more active ones you can always do some cycling or mountain biking and explore the Island. There are temples, viewpoints and plenty of beaches to discover and enjoy. Kayaking, Wake-boarding, Kite boarding, beach football, volleyball, sailing and windsurfing are just a few more things that are available on this Island.

The Island of Phangan is very well known for its Yoga retreats and meditation. Yoga schools are located all over the Island and this is one reason why Koh Phangan is very chilled out place.

Poll , Have you been to Koh Phangan

Looking to see if people are coming here for the first time, or coming back for more.

Have you ever been to Koh Phangan or planning to visit?

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Phangan Villas - Luxury holiday homes

Another option and alternative to a hotel is a luxry villa. Koh Phangan has a wide selection of villas to choose from with some great facilties.A luxury home of your own for a great holiday on this Island. Phangan Villas are all over the Island and most of them are very smartly designed and located with fantastic views across Koh Phangan.

Useful Phangan Telephone Numbers

Emergency Call191
Tourist Police (Samui)077 421281
Tourist Police (Surat)077 281300
Police Station (Pha-Ngan)077 377114
TAT Office (Surat)077 281828
Hospital (Pha-Ngan)077 377034
Immigration (Samui)077 421069
Bangkok Airways (Samui)077 425011
Songserm Travel (Pha-Ngan)077 377046
Songserm Travel (Surat)077 285124-6
Raja Ferry (Pha-Ngan)077 377452-3
Raja Ferry (Surat)077 371151

Koh Phangan Facts

  • Koh Phangan is the fifth biggest Island in Thailand which is about 168 km²
  • The name Phangan comes from 'Ngan' which is southern Thailand dialect for sandbar as there are many sand bars around the island.
  • Koh Phangan is located in the Gulf of Thailand in the province of Surat Thani
  • The main town and port of entrance of Koh Phangan is Thong Sala with a port in Haad Rin aswell.
  • The biggest and most lively town of Koh Phangan is Haad Rin
  • The distance from Koh Phangan to the mainland Thailand is about 60 km
  • The distance to Koh Samui is about 15 km
  • The distance to Koh Tao is about 35 km
  • Koh Phangan has a population of about 12,500 people
  • The district (“amphoe”) of Koh Phangan consists of three sub-districts (“tambon”): Koh Phangan, Ban Tai and Koh Tao


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