Koh Phangan – The Ultimate Travel Guide!
Koh Phangan in Thailand is certainly one of the most amazing islands in the country. Today, although no longer an insider tip, it is now a popular destination for backpackers, dropouts and yogis, but also individual travelers and luxury vacationers are increasingly drawn to this dream island. Above all, the offer of paradisiacal beaches is on this island unparalleled in Thailand and makes the heart of sun-hungry beach vacationers beat faster. In addition to the many beautiful picture book beaches, you will find and really impressive offer on unique things to do in Koh Phangan, including visiting tropical waterfalls, picturesque temples, deep jungle and breathtaking viewpoints. Enough attractions to spend several weeks on Koh Phangan.
In this travel guide we give you all the important information about Koh Phangan Island in Thailand. In addition, we show you the most beautiful attractions, activities and where to find the best accommodations.
General information about Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan Island is located in the Gulf of Thailand, and is 65 kilometers from the mainland, between the two islands of Koh Samui to the south and Koh Tao to the north. It has a size of about 125 km² and is part of the Samui archipelago, a group of islands that includes another 60 islands and islets. The famous Ang Thong National Park, a popular destination for boat trips, is also located in this region. Koh Phangan is most famous for its countless paradise beaches and the unique dropout flair that can be felt almost everywhere on the island.
The island’s capital is Thong Sala, where the ferry also docks. In the city you will find countless bars, backpacker hostels and also the lovely Thong Sala Night Market , which is known for its good street food. Especially famous is the place Haad Rin on the southern tip, where once a month on the full moon the infamous Full Moon Party takes place. However, the other parts of the island are very quiet and perfect for a really idyllic vacation.
Things to do in Koh Phangan
Many people know Koh Phangan because of the infamous Full Moon parties. But this beautiful island has much more to offer! Here we have summarized the best things to do in Koh Phangan, the coolest activities and viewpoints at a glance:
One of the most beautiful places on Koh Phangan is the gorgeous Leela Beach. It is located in the south of the island and impresses with its spectacular beach scenery. Here you can expect a real dream beach with the finest white sand and with almost kitschy turquoise sea colors. Behind it are large coconut palms, where attached sea swings form a really heavenly ambience. Thanks to the great choice of accommodations, it attracts families as well as couples! Especially in the northern part of the beach there are good hotels, which are ideal for a vacation.
Tip: A true vacation dream is the Cabin Beach Resort in a prime beach location and with a lovely pool.
Explore Koh Phangan by scooter
To roar with the scooter over the island to discover the most beautiful places and attractins of Koh Phangan on your own is probably one of the most popular activities during a visit. In doing so, you’ll explore the stunning jungle scenery of the island’s interior, mystical temples, hidden waterfalls, breathtaking viewpoints and paradisiacal dream beaches. Keep in mind, however, that riding a scooter on Koh Phangan is not without danger, especially because of the steep roads, so you should pay attention and drive slowly.
Haad Yuan Beach
Another highlight of Koh Phangan is the beautiful Haad Yuan Beach in the southwest of the island. Arriving by taxi boat from Haad Rin, one immediately feels as if stranded in paradise. Tall palm trees, turquoise sea and huge round rocks make this place unique on the island! Many visit this dream beach on a day trip, others however spend here in the small, simple bungalows directly at the sea also their vacation. Either way, Haad Yuan is definitely one of the best attractions on Koh Phangan that should not be missed on any visit!
Phaeng Noi Waterfall
Phaeng Noi Waterfall is the largest and for many visitors the most beautiful waterfall on Koh Phangan. It is part of Than Sadet National Park in the center of the island and a popular destination for nature excursions. From the parking lot, this picturesque waterfall can be easily explored and visited via a short, easy hike through the jungle. Thanks to the brilliant scenery, it is perfect for taking photos or just to refresh yourself in the waterfalls. A beautiful attraction on Koh Phangan that you can even visit without paying an entrance fee.
Koh Ma Viewpoint (Three Sixty Bar)
The Koh Ma Viewpoint is an absolute highlight. Because of the many mountains and hills, you will find a lot of amazing viewpoints on Koh Phangan. Some of them are really spectacular and so a visit to such a viewpoint is one of the best things to do in Koh Phangan. Really recommendable and already a real attraction is the Koh Ma Viewpoint at the Three Sixty Bar. After a rather steep ascent, you can enjoy a cool drink with chillout music, a breathtaking view of the sea and the offshore islet of Koh Ma. The perfect viewpoint to end a perfect beach day!
The west of Koh Phangan also has some beautiful attractions and beaches to offer. Especially impressive is a visit to Haad Salad, a true dream beach of the island. Especially worth seeing is the picturesque palm tree that juts diagonally into the water, which has almost become a landmark of Koh Phangan. Also great are the many cozy beach bars, which place their chairs and lounges partly directly on the sea and thus form a unique vacation ambience.
Chinese Temple Goddess of Mercy
One of the most beautiful attractions is the Chinese Guan Yin Temple, which offers a wonderful view over the island landscape from its impressive pagodas and buildings. It is the largest Chinese temple on the island and was built in a spectacular location on a mountainside. On a tour you will discover a variety of interesting Chinese Buddha statues, as well as mystical images of Chinese warriors and dragons. A visit to this sacred place is highly recommended and is almost a must on any island tour.
Tip: Until today there are more than 20 temples on the island to discover. Here you can find the most beautiful temples on Koh Phangan.
Than Sadet Waterfall
A real natural attraction is the Than Sadet waterfall in the same named national park. It is one of the most interesting waterfalls that Koh Phangan has to offer and a popular stop on island tours. Even some kings of Thailand are said to have visited this picturesque waterfall. It impresses especially with its location in the dense jungle and with countless cascades in a paradisiacal setting. On a length of 3 kilometers you can find many small natural pools, which inviting for having a swim. Especially beautiful are the spots at Thong Nang, Sampon and Daeng waterfalls. An unforgettable experience that should not be missed on any trip to Koh Phangan.
A real insider tip for a visit to Koh Phangan is the small peninsula Koh Raham in the west of the vacation island. It belongs to the Koh Raham restaurant, but is accessible to everyone and a visit is a very unique experience. The special thing here is above all the extraordinary scenery, which enchants with countless beautiful details, swings and hammocks directly over the water. In addition, there is access to the sea at the tip, where you can marvel at many colorful fish while snorkeling. If you like, you can spoil yourself with a delicious cocktail and stay until evening to enjoy the sunset there.
Tip: Right next door is the popular Secret Beach, which is ideal for swimming and relaxing.
Haad Rin Beach
In the south of the island there is the famous village of Haad Rin, where the world-famous Full Moon Party takes place. Once a month it gets really crowded and loud here, because party lovers from all over the world make a pilgrimage to this event. If you prefer it quiet, come outside this time and then enjoy, amazingly, one of the most beautiful and quiet beaches on the island! For a vacation in this area, we would still recommend Leela Beach, which is located nearby and already mentioned above.
Thong Nai Pan Yai Viewpoint
Another must visit on Koh Phangan is the beautiful Thong Nai Pan Yai Viewpoint. It is located in the northeast, on a small peninsula near the resort of the same name Thong Nai Pan, and thrills with a magnificent view of the palm-lined coastline. The drive or climb to the viewpoint is quite steep, but once at the top, one of the most beautiful viewpoints on Koh Phangan awaits you. From the terrace of the famous 2C bar, visitors experience an indescribably grandiose backdrop of dream beaches, jungle and mountains while enjoying cool drinks.
Tip: Beautiful and perfect for a vacation are also the two bays of Thong Nai Pan. Here you will also find a lot of wonderful accommodations, like the dreamlike Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa.
A real paradise in the north of Koh Phangan, and on top of that one of the insider tips of the island, is the Bottle Beach. This small, secluded beach paradise can only be reached by taxi boat from Chaloklum, by jeep or via an almost 2-hours hike. Arrived you will find a fine white dream beach with turquoise blue sea, high palm trees and deep jungle in the hinterland. From time to time even some monkeys can be spotted in the trees. Most visitors come for a day visit, but those who love the peace and quiet can also spend their vacation here! Along the beach there are small, very simple bungalow complexes and nice restaurants, which provide the necessary catering.
Tip: For a very special view of Koh Phangans don`t miss to climb the Bottle Beach Viewpoint.
Wat Paa Sang Tham
Wat Paa Sang Tham is located in the island’s interior, very close to the famous Chinese temple, and is another interesting attraction on Koh Phangan. Especially surprising are the countless small statues and the many lovingly designed details of this temple complex. You should not miss the large golden rock, which is a bit hidden in the jungle, and conjures a mystical and impressive atmosphere. Again, admission is free, but a small donation is always welcome.
Haad Sadet & Silver Cliff Resort Viewpoint
If you love it very quiet, it is best to visit Haad Sadet beach on the east coast of the island. Here you will experience the most pristine part of Koh Phangan, including jungle, tall palm trees and extremely quiet flair. The beach is a bit more coarse-grained and forms with the large granite rocks and the original appearance a real lost place scenery. Until today there are still no big hotels, but only small family bungalow complexes. In addition, it is still really untouristy here, you can wonderfully relax and switch off.
The view from the restaurant of the Silver Cliff Resort and also from Plaa`s Thansadet Resort , where you can enjoy a unique panorama with a cool drink, is unique.
Full Moon Party
The island actually became really famous because of the Full Moon Party, which takes place once a month at the time of the full moon. At this period, especially in the south of Koh Phangan everything is crowded and who prefers it quiet, should then avoid the entire area around the Haad Rin. Up to 30,000 visitors from all over the world make a pilgrimage to the island once a month for Full Moon Party to experience this legendary event. Other cool, smaller events are the Waterfall Party right in the jungle of Koh Phangan and the Eden Party at the dream beach Haad Yuan.
Tip: Also note that for the Full Moon Party the ferries are booked up early and you should get tickets in advance. Also, accommodations at Haad Rin are quickly sold out and must be reserved early enough.
Ang Tong Marine National Park
If you get bored despite the many cool activities and the countless attraction on Koh Phangan, you still have the option to go on a day trip. One of the excursion highlights is definitely a visit to the Ang Thong National Marine Park. Here there are 42 islands to discover and there are great coral reefs for snorkeling. If you like, you can climb the famous Ang Tong Viewpoint and enjoy the most beautiful view of the archipelago.
Snorkeling & Diving
Koh Phangan is surrounded by some amazing snorkeling and diving spots. The coral reefs around the island are simply breathtaking and so you have the opportunity to marvel at a magnificent underwater world. Nice spots for snorkeling can be found for example at Koh Ma, Haad Tien, Haad Yao, Haad Salad and Secret Beach. Recommended for diving is Sail Rock, also called “Hin Bai” where you can enjoy some of the most spectacular underwater scenery.
Therefore, also some diving schools have also settled on the island. Really popular and awarded several times is Chaloklum Diving, which offers SCUBA diving, snorkeling & PADI courses on Koh Phangan for now 25 years!
How to get to Koh Phangan
There are several ways to get to Koh Phangan:
By plane: Koh Phangan does not have its own airport. The nearest one is on the neighboring island Koh Samui, or then in the mainland at Surat Thani. After that you will have to take the ferry to the island.
By bus & ferry: In many vacation destinations of Thailand you can book combination tickets with bus & ferry. There are also numerous offers online at 12go.asia.
By train & ferry: If you want to travel by train from Bangkok, it is best to take the night train to Surat Thani. From there, continue by bus or minibus to the ferry port.
Tip: Cheap tickets for flight, bus, train and ferry to Koh Phangan are best found online at 12goasia.
Where to stay on Koh Phangan
There is a really wide range of accommodation on Koh Phangan. Whether you are a backpacker, a family with children or individual traveler, every vacationer is sure to find a perfect place to stay here. From backpacker hostels to bed and breakfasts, bungalows by the sea, yoga retreats and luxurious 5-star hotels, everything is available. If you are looking for a recommended accommodation on Koh Phangan, then we can give you these tips along the way…It’s worth a look!
- 4-star hotel on the beach: The Buri Rasa Koh Phangan enchants with super nice bungalows by the sea, with delicious breakfast and a top price / performance ratio!
- Wooden bungalows on the beach: In the Castaway Beach Bungalows real Thailand feeling comes up. Directly at the sea, you can experience dreamlike sunsets and a unique scenery – a real insider tip!
- Backpacker Hostel: The See Sea Backpackers House is a nice, quiet hostel in the south of Koh Phangan. Here inspires family atmosphere and cozy vibes among like-minded people.
- Resort in the jungle: The Kiri Tawan is located in the jungle inland and amazes with cool bungalows directly in nature next to deep jungle. The location with the huge round stone formations is an absolute dream!
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