Thailand’s fifth largest island, Koh Phangan in southern Thailand is the neighbour of nearby Koh Samui and Tao, and has a reputation as a party island.
But despite an increase in tourism and the Full Moon Party revellers, the island remains mainly unspoilt and boasts some wonderfully tranquil white sand beaches and an abundance of green tropical jungle.
Koh Phangan is an exotic pleasure paradise where you can relax in dreamy natural surroundings or party until you drop.
Take a look at our ultimate guide before you book a trip to this beautiful island…
- 1 Koh Phangan Weather
- 2 Bangkok to Koh Phangan
- 3 Things to do in Koh Phangan
- 4 Koh Phangan Hotels
- 5 Koh Phangan Hostels
Koh Phangan Weather
Koh Phangan is fortunate enough to benefit from balmy temperatures all year round with an average temperature of 25 – 34 degrees Celsius, but the weather is nevertheless governed by wet, hot, and dry seasons.
The dry season runs from December to April, and represents the driest and coolest time of the year. This is a popular time for tourists to visit the island, as is the hot season which runs from May to September when temperatures soar into the 30s, and you can expect to experience the odd thunderstorm every so often.
The wet season runs from October to December, and although temperatures are still pleasant, there are often strong winds and a lot of rain.
The best time to visit Koh Phangan is somewhere between June and August, when the weather is warm and fine and there are fewer tourists than over the Christmas / New Year period.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan lies 700 kilometres south of Bangkok, but getting there is surprisingly straightforward.
Read on to find out more about how you can make the journey from Bangkok to Koh Phangan…
There is no airport on Koh Phangan island, but getting there by plane is still by far the fastest way to travel — albeit the most expensive.
Flights leave from Bangkok frequently, with Thai Airways flights twice a day and Bangkok Airways flights departing almost every hour.
On average, the flight time between the two airports is 1 hour and 15 minutes, with ticket prices starting at 3200 THB.
Bangkok flights arrive at Koh Samui, Koh Phangan’s sister island just across the water.
Once arrived at Koh Samui (USM) airport, it’s necessary to travel to one of the ferry ports — this is most easily done by taxi.
Ferries depart several times a day with the last one around 18.30, so unless you’re looking to stop over on Koh Samui, you’ll need to get an earlier flight in order to catch the last ferry.
Journey time on the ferry is very quick, with most ferries taking around half an hour. Ferries are also budget friendly. A ticket from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan will only set you back around 255 THB.
Alternatively there are cheaper flights available to the smaller airports of Surat Thani Airport and Chumphon Airport on the Thai mainland.
From these airports it is then necessary to take a ferry across to Koh Phangan, which takes anything between 3.5 – 6 hours depending on the time of day, and costs roughly 425 — 920 THB.
Overnight sleeper trains are a popular way to travel in Thailand, because although the journey time is long (around 12 hours) you’ll hopefully spend most of that asleep, so you aren’t eating into your holiday time.
Sleeper trains depart from Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong Station, and there are four night train departures daily, all of which arrive before 8 am the following morning.
As Koh Phangan doesn’t have a train station, trains from Bangkok arrive at Surat Thani train station on the mainland.
From here it’s necessary to take a shuttle bus to Don Sak Pier port, where you can connect to your ferry to take you across to Koh Phangan island.
Train tickets from Bangkok are relatively inexpensive, but as the journey also involves a ferry and bus, it is even more economic to buy a train / bus / ferry combined ticket. Buying a combined ticket is also less stressful, as all your connections are already planned out in advance.
Combined train and boat tickets can be bought online or directly from Hua Lamphong Train Station in Bangkok, and prices start as low as 400 THB — although we think it’s worth paying more to travel in first class.
Travelling from Bangkok to Koh Phangan by bus is the cheapest mode of travel.
As with the other methods of overland transport, making the journey by bus means taking a ferry across to the island.
The night buses departing from Khaosan Road in Bangkok are the preferred way of making the journey, but there are departures all throughout the day from from the Southern bus terminal in Bangkok.
From there, the bus brings you directly to Chumphon Pier from where you can take a ferry or catamaran to Koh Phangan.
Journey times vary depending on the class of bus, taking anywhere from between 6 and 12 hours, with a combined ticket costing 700 — 900 THB.
Things to do in Koh Phangan
Full Moon Party
Perhaps Koh Phangan’s most famous tourist attraction, the full moon parties on Haad Rin Beach are legendary.
It used to be that the parties were held once a month to celebrate the full moon, but they were so popular that they are now held every week in different locations throughout the island.
The original Full Moon Party is held once a month on Haad Rin Beach and attracts a staggering 10,000 — 30,000 party goers, who gather here to hear local and international DJS spinning trance, techno, dubstep, drum and bass, reggae and more on the white sands, and to consume vast amounts of alcohol — commonly in infamous ‘bucket’ form (basically a plastic bucket full of spirits and ice).
Half Moon parties take place in the forest north of Ban Tai village on the week before and the week after the Full Moon Party.
They are smaller than the Full Moon parties but still have the same crazy fun rave vibe, with the exotic jungle location having loads of UV deco and visual projections with cutting edge electronic, progressive house, and trance music.
Black Moon parties also take place once a month, at Mac’s Bay on Baan Tai beach on Koh Phangan’s south east coast.
With slightly more of a bohemian vibe than the Full Moon parties, these small parties have a crowd of around 1,000 who come for the chilled ambiance and the progressive and psychedelic trance music by Thai and international DJ’s.
Thong Sala Night Market
If there’s one market foodies must not miss on Koh Phangan, it’s Thong Sala Night Market.
Also known as Panthip market, this bustling night market crammed with food stalls is unadulterated foodie heaven — and it’s cheap as chips too.
Freshly cooked Thai curries, noodles, sweet snacks, sizzling barbecued meats and grilled seafood vie with international dishes of pizza, juicy burgers, sushi and more.
Sensational smells and mouthwatering sights are everywhere you look.
Open from 4 pm until 11 pm, a visit to Thong Sala Night Market makes a fun, inexpensive — and extremely tasty — Saturday evening out.
Koh Phangan’s natural landscape is breathtaking, and there’s no better place on the island to admire the view than Khao Ra.
At over 600 metres above sea level, Khao Ra is the highest point on the island, and the trail to get to the top meanders through local farmland into lush jungle.
This is the perfect hike for nature lovers who want to witness the many different plants and brightly coloured insects along the way.
The trail is easy to follow and takes most people around 1.5 — 3 hours to complete.
Once at the top hikers are rewarded with a magnificent view out across the dense tropical forest to the ocean.
This exceptionally beautiful beach stretches out along two and a half kilometres of glittering golden sand.
Sun seekers come to this little slice of paradise to laze or swim in the azure waters, but it’s also popular with kite surfers who surf the two ends of the beach.
At the middle section of beach colourful long tail boats are moored up in front of the traditional fishing village of Chaloklum, where a host of fantastic seafood restaurants cook up the day’s catch fresh from ocean to plate.
Than Sadet Waterfall
Hidden away in the heart of Koh Phangan’s wild and wonderful national park, Than Sadet waterfall is the most famous and impressive on the island.
These fresh water falls are held sacred, and the rocks are decorated with inscriptions by ancient Thai royalty.
Than Sadet is made up of a series of cool and tranquil streams, cascades and pools which weave through the dense tropical jungle.
Haad Nam Tok (Waterfall Beach)
GRAFFITI ON THE BEACH. Arriving in Koh Phangan’s Haad Nam Tok bay the beach is a little paradise with bungalow-like houses climbing up the hill. What a surprise when I went around a little beach shack and I see a cool colorful graffiti as is in the middle of a super urban cosmopolitan city! Beautiful mix… #travel#thailand#art#beach#graffiti#magic#landscape#paradise#haadnamtok#kohphangan#sea#sail#seasia#asia#gulfofthailand#yacht#yachtcharter#island#dream#sailing#sail#sailingwonders
Otherwise known as Waterfall Beach, Haad Nam Tok is a tiny, often deserted sandy bay which can only be reached via a 2 kilometre trek down a steep, narrow track.
The waterfall that gives the beach its name flows down through the mountains before reaching the sea, and is most impressive when seen in the wet season.
Thanks to the rather inaccessible nature of Haad Nam Tok, there’s not much here except for one bar and lots of white sand and clear water, making it the perfect secluded spot.
It’s also possible to camp on the beach, and so there are tents for hire.
Thong Nai Pan Beaches
Essentially a beach in two parts, Thong Nai Pan is made up of the bay of Thong Nai Pan Yai to the south and the bay of Thong Nai Pan Noi to the north.
This beach is considered one of the most beautiful on Koh Phangan, but the north and south beaches are quite different.
Thong Nai Pan Noi is the more commercialised of the two, but has a cool, bohemian vibe with funky bars and boutiques — as well as some world class hotels.
The longer white sand beach at Thong Nai Pai Yai is just as beautiful, but quieter, with natural rainforest trails to explore.
Both beaches are idyllic, and make for the perfect destination to swim or soak up the sun near a shady palm.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
Nothing short of spectacular, the Ang Thong National Marine Park is made up from an archipelago of 42 islands with impossibly beautiful beaches, secret coves, luxuriant jungle, tumbling waterfalls, and majestic limestone rock formations. Parts of the film The Beach, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, was filmed here.
This protected park covers more than 100 square kilometres of land and sea in total, which provides sanctuary to a wealth of rare and exotic animals, plants, and marine life.
Perhaps the best way to explore Ang Thong National Marine Park is with an organised one or two day boat tour which stops at various different locations around the park where you can swim, snorkel, hike — or just sunbathe.
The possibilities for adventure are endless.
Being based on the edge of the Ang Thong National Marine Park, and blessed with crystal clear waters and coral reefs, Koh Phangan is an ideal base for all kinds of water sports.
Snorkeling and scuba diving in the vibrant underwater world teeming with bright fish and sea animals is one of the best ways to spend your time on Koh Phangan, and there are many tour operators on the island who will take you to the best locations for diving amongst the marine life.
Kayaking is also popular, as it’s a great way to explore the hidden treasures of the national park.
Kite surfing is popular here too, with a kite surf and wind surf school located on beautiful Ban Tai beach.
Challenge Phangan Waterpark
If you’re up for a watery challenge, The Challenge Phangan will push you to your limits.
This fun, exhilarating floating obstacle course of rolling barrels, monkey bars, slippery stepping stones, climbing walls, big red balls and more is fantastic fun — especially since you’re racing against the clock.
There’s an on site restaurant and bar where you can grab a well earned cocktail — whether or not you beat the course.
For the ultimate treat in relaxation, book yourself into one of the many amazing yoga retreats Koh Phangan has to offer and soothe mind body and soul.
This picturesque island is one of the best locations in the world for yoga, from small, secluded resorts hidden deep in the jungle to luxury beach resorts where you can indulge all your senses with the sound of the waves gently swooshing against the sand.
Koh Phangan Hotels
The exquisite Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas are tucked away in the unique tropical haven of Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach.
Situated just steps away from the powdery soft white sand, these exclusive beachfront villas offer sophisticated Thai elegance with a contemporary twist.
Each secluded, spacious suite and villa boasts its own private plunge pool, outdoor rain shower, and expansive terrace overlooking the tropical landscape and endless horizon.
Dining options are equally luxurious, with two different restaurants to choose from featuring Japanese, and international cuisine, plus the option of dining in your villa or a having an ultra romantic personalised candlelit meal right on the beach.
Set amongst leafy coconut palms, the Anantara Spa offers a haven of calm and serenity to help your mind, body and soul reach a blissful state of peace.
Experience sublime treatments in teak wood suites with a sea view, as well as an outdoor herbal bath and tropical steam cave, or take part in a private yoga session or balance your chakras with Reiki.
- 5 star resort
- Private suites and villas
- Private pools
- Spa and wellness centre
- Beachfront location
- Two restaurants
- Swimming pool
The 5 star Panviman Resort is a charmingly unique boutique hotel, and offers luxury accommodation on the beautiful crescent shaped bay of Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach with dramatic views and a remote location with a private section of beach.
Rooms and suites have more modern and traditional Thai influences, with large balconies, huge bathrooms with jacuzzi baths, and stunning views.
Panviman Koh Phangan has three restaurants. The Pan Sea restaurant occupies a magnificent setting on a hill with incredible 360° views across the beaches and serves Thai and International cuisine. The Stone Beach restaurant Beach front restaurant is situated right on the sand, and features a BBQ each evening along with music and a live show. The Pool Deck Bar offers light lunch meals and a selection of cocktails.
The opulent spa has breathtaking views of the bay and offers a wide range of traditional Thai massages and body treatments.
The resort also features a large outdoor swimming pool with jacuzzi, and a fitness centre.
- Swimming pool
- Three restaurants
- Fitness centre
- Secluded beachfront location
Koh Phangan Hostels
Located on the main road just 200 metres from Ban Tai beach and close to local bars, restaurants and shops, the 2 star Phangan Guest House offers clean, comfortable and modern rooms and dorms at a very reasonable price with either shared or private bathrooms.
Room facilities include complimentary WiFi, a refrigerator, and air conditioning.
The guest house restaurant provides an excellent breakfast, and a good selection of Thai and western foods — as well as excellent fresh seafood.
- Good location
- Clean and comfortable
- Free WiFi
- Friendly service
Located only a 5 minute walk from Haad Rin beach, the Sleep Tight Hostel at Koh Phangan is ideally situated for the Full Moon Party.
The 46 rooms at this 2 star hostel benefit from free Wifi, air conditioning, mini bar, flat screen TV and safety deposit box.
Private marble bathrooms feature showers, bidets and hair dryers.
The shared kitchen and sunny outdoor terrace and bar are perfect for when you want to mingle and meet other travellers, and there’s a BBQ for when you want to cook up a meaty feast.
- Very close to Haad Rin
- Private bathrooms
- Shared kitchen
- Complimentary WiFi
- Flat screen TV
Have you visited Koh Phangan yet?