Koh Phangan sits within the Gulf of Thailand between Koh Samui and Koh Tao and has a global reputation for being the go-to destination for Full Moon Parties for the past 20 years. The island offers some good snorkelling and diving spots, hiking opportunities such as trekking to the Khao Ra Mountain viewpoint or to one of the islands’ seven waterfalls, exploring via sea kayaks, and plenty of gorgeous beaches (more than 30!) with white soft sands and azure blue and emerald warm waters to unwind on.
Full Moon Party
Half Moon Party
Khao Ra Mountain
Ang Thong Marine Park
Wang Sai Waterfall
Thong Sala Night Market
Yang Na Tree
Diving at Sail Rock
Haad Salad Beaches
Thong Nai Pan Beach
Koh Phangan sits within the Gulf of Thailand between Koh Samui and Koh Tao and has a global reputation (definitely in the whole of Southeast Asia!) for being the go-to destination for Full Moon Parties for the past 20 years. The island offers some good snorkelling and diving spots, hiking opportunities such as trekking to the Khao Ra mountain viewpoint or to one of the islands’ seven waterfalls, exploring via sea kayaks, and plenty of gorgeous beaches (more than 30!) with white soft sands and azure blue and emerald warm waters, cool sunset bars to unwind on. The island itself is full of lush green vegetation that can be explored on foot where you will discover waterfalls and wildlife. For water lovers preferring “fresh waters to dip in, many hotels have an infinity pool, and much better still, an outdoor infinity pool, where you can soak in the waters while gazing at the blue skies and awesome surroundings. There is plenty to do on this island so you will never be bored.
Koh Phangan Thailand- so many options
Beach activities such as beach football and beach volleyball, water sports like jet skiing and sea kayaking, snorkelling, diving, sailing, hiking or taking day trips to other islands. You can try going up to Khao Ra, the highest mountain on the island at 627 metres with the trail passing through a chilly forest, or to Secret Mountain, described as one of the island’s best-hidden secrets, with breathtaking views, one of the best Koh Phangan attractions.
Things to do in Koh Phangan with kids include day trips to nearby islands, mini-golf, visiting waterfalls, snorkelling and other beach activities and having fun sampling the different fare at the food stalls at the Thong Sala Night Market or taking a Ko Phangan Thai cooking class together to learn to make pad thai the most famous Thai cuisine and other classic Thai dishes. Thai restaurants and hotels offer a cooking class often.
There is also the Slip N Fly. Slip n Fly is a new water park in Koh Phangan, almost within the city centre, with plunge pools and other water games. To recharge after the partying, or to have a different kind of fun with your friends or family, go and visit Slip n Fly Park!
Older kids and adults would also enjoy watching Muay Thai bouts. These Muay Thai fights are a common feature in the resorts and even a beach bar or two, in Koh Phangan offers in its night scene.
Koh Phangan weather is warm all year round with both a wet and a dry season. The dry season from November to April is the best time for visiting Koh Phangan. However, be aware that most of the waterfalls dry up during this season. Close to the rainy season would be a good time to still appreciate the island’s waterfalls. April to June is the hottest time with temperatures verging on sweltering. If you are interested in joining the (in)famous Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan, you can schedule your trip near the rising of the moon.
Depends on what you are looking for and what things to do in Koh Phangan you wish for. If you are wanting backpackers and party central then stay around Haad Rin (where the main parties happen, especially the full moon party) or Baan Tai beach, which is a slightly quieter version of Haad Rin but still has a very lively bar and beach club scene. For those looking for a more laid-back stay, try Chalok Lam Beach, Mae Haad (or its quieter version, Koh Ma), Thong Sala, Haad Yao and Haad Salad as your place to stay in Koh Phangan. For a mix of exploration and relaxation, Thong Nai Pan Beach is low-key but has waterfalls nearby, lush vegetation and lots of wildlife. Srithanu beach has calm waters and caters to high-end resorts. On the north side is Coconut Beach, a resort of modern stylish bungalows and houses at Haad Khom beach accessible only by boat or a private road.
Getting to Koh Phangan From Bangkok: The fastest way is to catch a flight to Koh Samui and then take a speed boat or ferry to Koh Phangan’s Thong Sala Pier. This entire trip will take about 3-5 hours. Another option is by train or bus to Surat Thani City then take a boat or ferry to the island.
From Koh Samui to Koh Phangan: It’s about a 40-minute ferry ride to Koh Phangan.
From Phuket to Koh Phangan: You can catch a flight to Koh Samui, which only takes 55 minutes and then take a ferry from there. There is no airport on Koh Phangan, so the closest airport is Koh Samui. Or catch a bus to Surat Thani port then take a ferry to the island from there. The whole trip should take around 8 hours including transfers.
Yes, Koh Phangan definitely is! There is more to this little paradise than just parties. Koh Phangan beaches are abundant and sensational with powder-soft sands and azure coloured warm waters. The island offers good trekking where you will discover waterfalls and wildlife. Snorkelling and diving with PADI scuba diving courses are available.
There are mixed opinions throughout traveller forums. The best way to find out is to go try the Full Moon Party in Koh Phangan at least one time and decide for yourself.
This southern Thailand island paradise has much more to offer than just parties. Koh Phangan has more than 30 beautiful beaches and green vegetation that can be explored on foot where you will discover waterfalls and wildlife. Khao Ra Mountain can be hiked in about three hours with amazing views for the lookout. There are plenty of good snorkelling and diving opportunities with PADI scuba diving courses available. You can try sea kayaking or take a day trip sailing to Ang Thong National Park.
Koh Phangan is considered to be safe overall. However, it is best to take caution going around the island after the times of the parties when drunk driving is common and motorcycle accidents are frequent.
A trip to Koh Phangan island is more expensive than the Thailand mainland and its neighbour Koh Samui. This is especially apparent around the time of the parties when prices can increase significantly. Koh Phangan accommodations are vast with something to match every budget. However, if you want to be assured of value for money Koh Phangan budget, we at THG are here to assist you.
Koh Phangan is the fifth-largest island in Thailand. This tropical island with its white-sand beaches, palm trees, delectable Thai food, lively bars and clubs that you see all around the island, Koh Phangan is the home of the full moon parties for which the party animals among travellers return to the island yearly. For several decades, Koh Phangan has been known as the party island in Thailand and carries that tag until the present.
Koh Phangan is some 70km near the mainland and does not have an airport. Ferries transport travellers from the mainland and the nearest island of Koh Samui. Koh Phangan is popular for its lush tropical jungles which visitors explore the island for, stretches of white-sand beaches (the island has some of the best beaches in Thailand!) and numerous dive sites, and also for its full moon parties.
Travellers comments on Koh Phangan in Thailand say that it was an easy experience for them and their kids to explore the island. It is quieter than its nearest neighbouring island and has retained much of its natural attractions and yet a lot of things you need when travelling with kids are available in Koh Phangan.
To top its natural attractions, there are so very many things to do for families in Koh Phangan – take a boat trip or boat tour to the nearby islands to explore or to scuba dive, stroll or play on the beaches, visit the night market, the Koh Phangan National Park, join the numerous Koh Phangan events all over the island.
Koh Phangan beaches are among the most popular and visited of Thailand beaches prior to the pandemic which has caused the Thai government to close down several islands and provinces. As of the first week of August, there have been some easing up. Travellers entering Thailand under the Phuket Sandbox and the Samui Sandbox program can now enter Koh Phangan island, too, as long as they are fully vaccinated (with a vaccine registered with the Thailand Ministry of Health or approved by the World Health Organization) and their country of origin is in the list of countries allowed to enter Thailand with a visa exemption (tourist visa for only 45 days max), non-immigrant visa (up to 1 year) or Thai visas with a re-entry permit.
There are many ways to get around the island of Koh Phangan. For group travellers, there are minibuses or songthaews or cars for rent. For those who want to visit nearby Thailand resorts, there are boats to rent. Then there are motorbikes or motorcycle taxis and bicycles to rent.
There is so much to say for what to do in Koh Phangan at night!
Among the top of the list of nighttime Koh Phangan activities is a visit to the Thong Sala Night Market. Said to be a must in the things to do in Koh Phangan, this night market will be your heaven. Then there is the Full Moon Party, the most popular being held at Haad Rin Beach. There is also the Half Moon Party Koh Phangan which is held in the forest part north of Ban Tai Village, between Thong Sala and Haad Rin, which are the arrival piers of Koh Phangan. A parking area has even been designated for bikes and taxis going to and from this event the whole night.
Another of the great things to do on Koh Phangan is enjoying the sunset. Koh Phangan’s sunsets are too stunning and have made the island one of the best places to visit in Thailand. And one of the best viewpoints is said to be the Amsterdam Bar, where you will find the best Koh Phangan sunset. Located on the east coast of the island, Amsterdam Bar is easy to find transport to, for you to be able to have your breathtaking sunset while savouring delicious Thai food then sipping a drink at the swimming pool, with music in the background!
Or if you want to end your day with a relaxing dip, go to Mae Haat Beach, on the north of the island, where two currents meet. The water has two different colour shades separated by a small strip of land which transforms into a natural bridge at high tide. During low tide, you’d feel like you’re walking on water!
Koh Phangan’s name is from the word “ngan” which means ‘sand bar in southern Thai because of the many sand bars off the coast of the island.
Historians and archaeologists infer that the first migrants to Ko Phangan were sea gypsies travelling by boat from the Malay Peninsula. There is evidence of human settlements on Ko Samui and Koh Phangan more than two thousand years ago, like the Bronze Drum of the Dongson Culture, aged 500-100 BCE and discovered on Koh Samui in 1977.
The island has also been a longtime favourite of Rama V or Chulalongkorn (among all the other Thai islands), who visited Koh Phangan 14 times during his reign, and other past kings.
Koh Phangan island is located in the Gulf of Thailand as part of the Surat Thani Province, Southern Thailand. It is 65 kilometres from the mainland between its two “sister” islands Ko Samui to the south and Ko Tao to the north of the island. Very near Koh Tao is the tiny island of Koh Nang Yuan, also popular for day trips with its wonderful diving spots and snorkelling beaches.
The Full Moon Party is a night-long event first held in Haad Rin beach on Koh Phangan island in 1985. The party starts on the night of, before or after every Full Moon, hence the name. Since then, just before this event, thousands of travellers have come from all over the world to join in the carousing and merrymaking of music, drinks and dance all the way until the sun comes up. The event has become iconic of the island and has spread to other beaches.
However, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, this event has been cancelled until further notice from the Thai government.
Yes, you can take your car to go to Koh Phangan nowadays. There is a ferry service that allows car ferries from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan or Surat Thani to Koh Samui and Surat Thani to Koh Phangan routes.
This is a bigger vessel than the original ferries to the island. It can carry up to 70 cars and 400 passengers. There are three trips daily from 7 am to 6 pm plying the Koh Samui to Koh Phangan route, each trip taking an hour and a half.
Discover Thailand's top must-see destinations & everything you need to know for your next trip to "the land of Smiles".
Follow our accommodation guide to choose the best places to stay during your holiday to suit your plans, budget and expectations.
Plan for an unforgettable holiday escapade and uncover the fascinating assortment of things to do and see in Thailand's most popular destinations as well as those lesser known travel spots and routes.