Koh Phangan Travel Guide ~ What to Know Before You Go!

by Tsvete Popp
Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan, Thailand

There is no doubt – Koh Phangan is our favorite island in Thailand!

Koh Phangan is home to 12.000 residents. However, during the Full Moon, there can be anywhere from 10,000 – 30,000 people occupying the small island. Visitors from all across the globe travel to one of the most famous beaches of Thailand called Haad Rin, to celebrate the night of the Full Moon. Not only the island’s vibrant nightlife, there is also another more hidden side of Koh Phangan which we fell in love with, the first time we visited the island back in 2021. White sand beaches, hanging palm trees, picturesque views, clifftop bars, and friendly locals. Unfortunately, this is a side of Koh Phangan most travelers fail to experience. Either they arrive for the full moon party and then leave the following day – or they stay for a few days, but fail to uncover the island’s true magic.

Koh Phangan is a pristine hippie paradise! The island is mountainous, naturally beautiful and quieter, and less developed than nearby Koh Samui, Koh Phangan is home to some of the Gulf of Thailand’s best beaches. In this travel guide, we will tell you everything you need to know about Koh Phangan and share all of our best tips and secrets.

Koh Phangan

Where to Stay

As you would expect from a major travel destination in South Asia, Thailand has no shortage of options when it comes to accommodation. As always, I’d suggest you stay somewhere central, to make accessing all the attractions as easy as possible.

Explorar Koh Phangan – Adults Only Resort and Spa: an innovative and genuine hospitality brand dedicated to a new way of traveling; blending leisure, remote working, relaxation, and discovery.

Explorar Koh Phangan

It’s our second time on Koh Phangan, and this time, we decided to stay near the super famous Haad Rin Beach as we were going be attend the Full Moon Party in March this year. The good vibes in this part of the island are everywhere as party people from all around the world are coming to celebrate together the full moon each month.

Explorar Koh Phangan – Adults Only Resort and Spa was located on the sunset beach of Haad Rin, and within 10 minutes walking distance to the main Haad Rin beach. Here, we had direct beach access to the golden sands and shallow turquoise waters of Koh Phangan. Moreover, we could enjoy world-class sunset panoramic vistas every single day! The resort is adults only, which ensures the perfect getaway for travelers and digital nomads who are searching for the mix between holidays, working, and party 🇹🇭

Explorar Koh PhanganKoh Phangan is well-known for its countless paradise beaches and the unique dropout flair that can be felt almost everywhere on the island. 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. Our Adults Only Hotel Explorar Koh Phangan – Adults Only Resort and Spa is located strategically on a beautiful sunset beach, and only 10 minutes by walking to Haad Rin! However, the hotel is quiet and perfect for a really idyllic vacation.

Explorar Koh PhanganExplorar Koh Phangan

Our compelling reasons why we recommend staying at Explorer Koh Phangan:

Idyllic Beachfront Location: Explorer Koh Phangan offers a picturesque beachfront location that epitomizes the beauty of the island. Nestled along the pristine shores of Koh Phangan, this resort allows you to wake up to breathtaking ocean views and enjoy direct access to white sandy beaches. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or adventurous water activities, the resort’s prime location ensures an unforgettable beach experience.

Stylish and Comfortable Accommodations: The resort boasts stylish and comfortable accommodations that cater to various traveler preferences. From cozy rooms to spacious villas, each accommodation option is thoughtfully designed with modern amenities and elegant furnishings. Whether you choose a private villa with a plunge pool or a beachfront bungalow, you can expect a comfortable and rejuvenating stay at Explorer Koh Phangan.

Exquisite Dining and Amenities: Explorer Koh Phangan offers a range of amenities to enhance your stay. Indulge in delectable culinary experiences at the resort’s restaurants, where skilled chefs prepare an array of international and local dishes using fresh ingredients. Unwind at the resort’s spa, where skilled therapists offer relaxing massages and rejuvenating treatments. Additionally, take advantage of the resort’s swimming pool, fitness center, and recreational activities to make the most of your stay.

Explorar Koh Phangan

Explorar Koh Phangan

Explorar Koh Phangan

Begin your search for the perfect accommodation now while the excitement is still fresh in your mind. Discover stylish and affordable options, and find the best accommodations at the lowest prices:

Explore a wide range of hotels in Thailand here (Booking.com)

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Explorar Koh Phangan

Things to do in Koh Phangan

Things to do in Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan, also spelled Ko Pha-ngan, is more than just a party destination. This gorgeous island offers a multitude of attractions that make it a must-visit destination. The pristine beaches with crystal-clear waters are absolutely stunning, creating a tropical paradise. The scenic roads, lined with swaying palm trees, wind through lush landscapes, providing a captivating backdrop for exploration. With minimal traffic, renting a scooter to discover Koh Phangan at your own pace is an absolute joy.

Food enthusiasts will be delighted by the plethora of dining options available on the island. From fresh fruits aplenty to a wide selection of vegan restaurants and cafés, the culinary scene is a haven for healthy eaters. Indulge in delicious, nourishing meals that will satisfy your taste buds and keep you energized for your island adventures.

Koh Phangan’s weather is another reason to visit throughout most of the year. With near-perfect conditions, you can enjoy the island’s offerings without worrying about extreme temperatures or heavy rainfall. The pleasant climate sets the stage for memorable outdoor activities and beach relaxation.

Koh Phangan

Beaches and Sunbathing in Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is home to an array of captivating beaches, catering to various preferences, from bustling shores to secluded hideaways. Whether you seek a vibrant atmosphere or a serene retreat, this island has it all. Haad Rin Beach stands as the liveliest spot, while Haad Yao and Thong Nai Pan provide a tranquil and unhurried ambience. Discover the island’s top seven beaches, each offering a unique experience: Haad Chao Phao, Leela Beach, Haad Salad, Chalok Lum Beach, Haad Rin, Baan Tai Beach, and Mae Haad Beach, renowned for its exceptional snorkelling opportunities.

Koh Phangan

Snorkelling in Koh Phangan

No doubt Mae Haad Beach is one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan. It has gone through a lot of changes in recent years and road conditions have greatly improved providing easier access.

There are a few resorts located around Mae Haad Beach. Though thanks to the roomy beach it never feels overcrowded stretching over 800 meters. At low tide, there is a sandbank beach that joins Mae Haad Beach to the small island of Koh Ma. This is where you can find the National Marine Park. That makes it one of the best areas in Koh Phangan to go snorkelling.

The waters here are extremely rich in sea life, from gorgeous coral reefs, turtles, and small reef sharks. It is extremely unspoiled and being at one of the far corners of Koh Phangan it rarely gets busy.

This is a true slice of paradise and is great competition for the best beaches in Koh Phangan. If you are looking for the perfect sunset there is no better place than Mae Haad Beach.

Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan

Diving in Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan boasts an incredible diving scene, offering a plethora of underwater wonders for diving enthusiasts. The crystal-clear waters surrounding the island provide excellent visibility, creating a captivating diving experience. Explore vibrant coral reefs teeming with diverse marine life, including colorful tropical fish and fascinating sea creatures. Dive sites such as Sail Rock and Southwest Pinnacle are renowned for their dramatic underwater landscapes and encounters with majestic whale sharks and barracudas. Whether you’re a seasoned diver or a beginner, Koh Phangan promises an unforgettable diving adventure.

Koh Phangan

Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan

There are different stories on the internet of the origin of the Full Moon Party, some say that a group of friends celebrated a birthday during a full moon night and that it was so good that they came back the years after. Other resources say that a club in Haad Rin organized a party to give thanks to travellers for visiting the area.

Anyhow, most resources I checked say that the birth of the Full Moon Party was around 1985 in Haad Rin, where they still celebrate that crazy night. The best time to attend a full moon party is outside of the rainy season, which normally starts in November and ends in January. April throughout July is the hottest time of the year. A good time for partying when it’s not so hot and wet would be between February to April.

Koh Phangan

Hiking in Koh Phangan

If you can handle the heat, Koh Phangan is one of the most rewarding islands in Thailand for hiking. From the Khao Ra viewpoint to undiscovered beaches, several tour operators on Koh Phangan offer guided hikes to some of the island’s most scenic points.

Koh Phangan

Muay Thai in Koh Phangan

Several Muay Thai gyms operate on Koh Phangan, offering everything from beginner classes to one-on-one coaching. Good options include Chorenrit Muay Thai Camp, which is located in Thongsala, and Diamond Muay Thai near Nai Wok Beach.

Explore Koh Phangan by Scooter

With a scooter, we visited almost all the beaches of Koh Phangan. The scenery is kind of similar: finer to slightly coarser white sand, turquoise blue water, and a few beach bars where you can sip a fresh coconut. For 24 hours, the rental usually costs around 250 baht. You will find scooter rentals throughout the island. The catch is: There is no insurance. This means that you always have to pay for any damage yourself. When renting, the passport will be definitely required as a deposit. We always have bad feelings about it and try to avoid it. Instead, we always provide a different ID (for example Tsvete’s driver’s license) and a cash deposit.

Koh Phangan

Get A Thai Massage in Koh Phangan

When you travel in Thailand, the following scenes can be found everywhere: small shops lined with comfortable chairs with footstools with visitors having foot massages, and inside, line of comfortable chairs with a footstool; many visitors, rolling up to their knees, are enjoying a special service – Thai women are kneeling beside their feet and continuously kneading these overworked limbs.  A similar place, not too far away from that, many visitors are laying pleasantly on a comfortable mat and being pulled and stretched into pretzel shapes again and again by local women. A Thai massage is usually done on the floor using a deep massage and stretching technique that was developed in Thailand.

Most traditional Thai massage spas are simple without too much decoration or promotion. An ordinary massage lasts about 1 hour and consumes 300-500 baht, but a foot massage is about 40-50 minutes and costs 300-400 baht. Of course, it is more expensive if you massage at any five-star hotel – the price can be triple, or more. If you get a massage on the beach, it will cost you 300 baht per hour.

Koh Phangan

Visit Koh Ma in Koh Phangan

Koh Ma is a small island connected to Mae Haad beach by a sandy strip, offering a unique coastal experience. With its uninhabited status, the island provides a serene and untouched environment. It’s important to note that Koh Ma has no proper paths, so caution should be exercised when exploring to avoid accidents. However, the snorkeling opportunities around Koh Ma are exceptional, with vibrant corals and a diverse array of fish species. The rocky sea bed adds to the adventurous appeal, especially around Mae Haad Beach and the northern side of the island.

Koh Phangan

Watch the Sunset from Zen Beach in Koh Phangan

Zen Beach is an idyllic spot for witnessing breathtaking sunsets, enveloped by a vibrant atmosphere. The ambiance is enriched by the presence of acoustic musicians, spiritual seekers, yogis, and individuals immersed in meditation. Situated near Sri Thanu, the hub of numerous yoga schools and a concentration of spiritually inclined individuals, Zen Beach exudes a unique vibe compared to other areas on the island. It’s a haven where like-minded souls come together to embrace tranquility and serenity, while being captivated by the enchanting ocean views.

Koh Phangan

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