Thailand Koh Phangan Guide
Koh Phangan is notorious for the crazy Full Moon beach parties which follow the lunar calendar. But the island has remained one of Thailand’s most popular destinations because serenity, adventure and good times coexist in harmony. Koh Phangan manages to maintain a hippy island vibe, where yoga and healing retreats prevail alongside its sinister party-island image. On top of that, Koh Phangan has it all as far as unspoiled beaches go. Haad Salad, Thong Nai Pan, Malibu, and Bottle beach are classic examples of this tropical island perfection. There’s a whole world of scenic treasures waiting for you to uncover on Koh Phangan, too. Laden with all the peace, relaxation, colorful temples, wild waterfalls, luscious vegetation and sparkling sands you could wish for.
Koh Phangan is one of those islands in Thailand big enough to lose yourself and avoid tourist crowds; while having everything on your hands. Located between Koh Samui and Koh Tao, it is estimated to have a 40km perimeter on all sides. Ridden with intriguing beaches of its own, Koh Phangan is as beautiful to see on land as it is from the air. Koh Phangan relies on ferries and private speedboat transfers from the mainland or Koh Samui to get visitors in and out of the island.
Koh Phangan holiday experience promises an array of exciting sights, fantastic beaches, packed markets, intriguing waterfalls, and the chance to explore neighboring islands in-depth. Today, more travelers are most likely to experience Koh Phangan’s tranquillity on a hike, in a lemongrass-scented spa, riding leisurely along dirt paths or by drifting alongside colorful fish at one of 20 dive and snorkeling sites. You don’t need to have mastered the downward dog to realize that the island has, in the Buddhist sense, a balance.
Dry weather is the ideal time of travel for tourists, and Koh Phangan does that in style. From March through September, this dry weather is usually in full swing. Offering hot and bright days with just the right temperature to support lounging on the beaches and islands, that is the time when you want to plan your trip between. The rainy season starts from October to January and, although there are sunny days, there is also a chance of intense storms and rains, while the sea tends to be rough.
Every month during the full moon days, the island receives thousands of party-goers who’re dancing and drinking on beaches till early hours. For them, Haad Rin and Baan Tai areas are the best. However, it is still a tranquil island with a relaxed atmosphere, especially in the northern part, which is undoubtedly the best area to stay in. For families and honeymooners, there is no place like Thong Nai Pan or Bottle beaches. However, by far the most relaxed place to stay on the island remains Haad Salad and Haad Yao areas on the west coast. Head over there if you’d like to experience the authentic tropical island, secluded beaches, and avoid tourist crowds. This area is known for its colorful coral reefs and world-class snorkeling spots.
Koh Phangan is blessed in being bordered by some of the most beautiful Thai islands, complementing its ability to serve as a great holiday location. In the south, Koh Phangan is boxed in by Koh Samui island. Going 35km in the northern direction brings you to Koh Tao, and you can enjoy the sights at the Ang Thong National Marine Park if you were to head west. Besides these, Koh Phangan is also noticeably close to Koh Nang Yuan, and it even has a little island of its own, Koh Ma.
What makes Koh Phangan very different from Koh Samui is in how both locations have been developed. Over time, Koh Samui has been recreated with the need of tourists in mind, eliminating most of the natural scenes which can be found over at Koh Phangan. If you were going for a more city-like feel, Koh Samui would undoubtedly win here. For a more authentic experience that takes you closer to nature, though, you can never go wrong with Koh Phangan.
Koh Phangan and Koh Tao share more in common than they are different, but the little differences are loud, so to speak. Both locations are primarily tranquil and serene. They are both laid back areas that give you a peek at what a natural habitat is supposed to look like. When the full moon comes around, though, Koh Phangan sheds its shell and becomes a frenzied location. This dual personality makes it more desirable to those looking to have a blend of calm and the occasional life of the party. While Koh Tao has been known as a diving haven in the first place.
The first thing to note here is the weather – the seasonality could be quite the opposite for Koh Phangan and Koh Chang that is pRotected by the mainland. Koh Chang is a much larger island with plenty of jungle experiences, including elephants and wild monkeys. Yet it is not as beachy and pristine as Koh Phangan. Both islands can be quiet and serene, too, leaving little to separate them with. However, Koh Chang doesn’t enjoy the extensive bordering on all sides, which Koh Phangan promises, proving Koh Phangan to be the better location for travelers who like to explore their locale.