Koh Phangan: Top 10 places visitors shouldn’t miss

nice-beach-koh-phanganSalad beach. photo: Shutterstock

Koh Phangan Thailand

Koh Phangan is one of the most beautiful islands in Thailand.

The landscape is comprised of white sand beaches and lush green mountains which make it perfect for travelers looking to unwind and relax.

This beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand offers a lot of breathtaking sights to explore and we have painstakingly selected the best of the best.

I hope you enjoy them!

Things to see in Koh Phangan

To find Phangan’s unspoiled and undeveloped areas, you will need to get off the beaten track.

The ideal way to get around the island is to rent a scooter. The roads are mostly very good and you’ll be able to scout for the best beaches.

This may seem like a daunting idea to most newcomers to Thailand, but it only takes a couple of minutes for you to get the hang of it and feel like a local.

Here are the things I loved most about Koh Phangan:

1. Thong Nai Pan Noi

Thong Nai Pan Noi beach
Thong Nai Pan Noi beach. Photo: Shutterstock

An amazing beach. Quite and very relaxing. It’s rated the best beach in Koh Phangan.

This area is surrounded by very large, high-end hotels and resorts that are the most expensive on the island.

Worth a stay if you have the money.

 

2. Thong Nai Pan Yai 

Thong Nai Pan Yai beach
Thong Nai Pan Yai beach. Photo: Shutterstock

Shallow, white sand, and crystal clear water which makes it great for small children.

Very quiet and it often feels like a private beach. Has a good mix of accommodation from budget hotels to romantic expensive ones.

If you are a party person, this beach is not for you.

 

3. Bottle Beach

bottle beach koh phangan
Bottle Beach. Photo: Shutterstock
koh phangan beach
Relaxing on Bottle Beach. Photo: Shutterstock

Bottle Beach is often considered as one of the most beautiful beaches of Koh Phangan.

The only downside is that it’s very remote and difficult to access so you’ll need to make some effort to get there.

If you’re not staying in this area, maybe it’s best to get a taxi if you want to visit.

Scuba and snorkeling are offered from the resorts in the area.

 

4. Salad Beach

Haad Salad beach
Salad beach. photo: Shutterstock

Pure white sand and gentle warm sea.

The beach is about 600 meters long with bungalow after bungalow along the beach with all of them having restaurants to enjoy some drinks and watch the sunset.

A Beautiful and peaceful beach which is good for some drinks but not to party.

 

5. Haad Yao Beach

Haad Yao beach
Haad Yao beach. Photo: Shutterstock

Haad Yao beach is also called long beach for its one-kilometre stretch.

This area attracts mainly young travelers, particularly from December to March, as there is always something going on here.

If you are looking for nightlife, food, entertainment, dancing, music, they have it.

 

6. Ao Chaloklum Bay

Ao Chaloklum Bay
Ao Chaloklum Bay. Photo: Shutterstock

This area is the main fishing port where the local fishermen keep their longtail boats.

There are many inexpensive seafood restaurants and fresh seafood including squid, which the local people sell along the coast.

Besides eating, you are able to enjoy the hidden and not touristic beach all for yourself!

 

7. Mae Haad Beach

Mae Haad Beach
Mae Haad Beach. Photo: Shutterstock

The biggest attraction here is a beautiful sandbank.

At low tide, you can walk on a narrow strip of sand connecting the beach to a small island called Koh Ma.

This area is a National Marine Park, and the best place in Koh Phangan to go snorkeling.

 

8. Thong Sala night market

Koh Phangan night market
Koh Phangan night market. Photo: Shutterstock

Phangan’s premier night market is located in Tong Sala and is called Panthip market.

It’s the best place to eat on the island.

Yes, it’s on every night and opens early in the evening. It’s a must for those wanting to try every kind of Thai food you can imagine, from vegetable curry puffs to coconut cake.

There is also another Thong Sala night market located on old Chinese street. This one is on every Saturday from 5 pm.

 

9. Koh Phangan full moon party

If you’re planning on coming to Phangan purely to party make sure you stay in Haad Rin. Simple as that.

This area has the largest and most concentrated collection of bars and clubs on the island.

Haad Rin beach
Haad Rin beach during the full moon period. Photo: Shutterstock

Haad Rin is also home to the Full Moon Party, which is on most backpackers’ ‘bucket’ list.

The party is on Haad Rin beach. You don’t need a ticket.. just walk down and enjoy.

There are many different bars along the beach to buy drinks from, all with their own DJ blasting some beats.

There is a 100 THB fee to enter the party – but this charge goes towards cleaning the beach the following day.

full moon party koh phangan
Swedish girls at the party. Photo: Shutterstock

 

10. Visit other islands near Koh Phangan 

The last but not least, thing you can do is visit some of the surroundings islands.

The Koh Phangan to Koh Tao day trip is the most popular. Boats depart from Thong Sala pier and arrive in Koh Tao’s Mae Haad pier.

The Songserm service takes around 1 hour 30 minutes while the Lomprayah High-Speed Ferries take 1 hr.

Another day trip is to visit Angthong National Marine Park.

koh phangan tours
The viewpoint at Angthong National Marine Park. Photo: Shutterstock

Angthong is a stunningly beautiful archipelago of 42 tropical islands which are protected by UNESCO.

Many tourism agencies on Phangan island offer day trips to the park on which you can kayak, snorkel, hike and relax on the stunning white-sand beaches.

Angthong’s viewpoint might just be the most stunning vista in all of Thailand, but be warned that the hike up requires a reasonable amount of effort.

How to get to Koh Phangan

There is currently no airport on Phangan island.

  • The quickest way to get there from Bangkok is still on a plane flying to Samui (about 1 hour) and then ferry to Phangan.

From Bangkok by Bus/Ferry

For a longer and cheaper trip, you can travel with Lomprayah who provide a bus-ferry combo service.

The first portion of the journey is by bus from Bangkok to Chumphon Pier which usually takes 8-9 hours.

From Chumphon pier, there’s a ferry to Phangan which takes about 4 hours.

The downside is that you would lose an entire day as the total trip will take anywhere between 12 to 16 hours.

Tickets can be bought easily at the Lomprayah office or in any travel agency in Bangkok.

From Bangkok by Train/bus/ferry

Alternatively, you can buy a joint (train, bus, and boat) ticket.

The first portion of the journey is an overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Surat Thani which will take around 12 hours.

On arrival to the train station at Surat Thani, staff will be waiting for you to board the bus to Donsak Pier which will take around 2 hours.

The third and final part of the journey is the ferry from Donsak Pier to Phangan which will take 2-3 hours.

If you want to buy a combination train/boat ticket you can do so at Bangkok’s Hua Lamphong train station or at the various travel agent offices located on the second floor.

You can also buy a ticket at most travel agencies in Bangkok.

Island hopping by ferry to Koh Phangan

If you don’t fancy the direct route and looking to break up the journey, I would suggest the following itinerary:

BangkokHua Hin (Train)

Hua HinKoh Tao (Bus/Ferry)

Koh TaoKoh Phangan (Ferry)

Koh Phangan – Koh Samui (Ferry)

Or can skip Koh Samui and go direct to Surat Thani.

Koh Samui – Surat Thani (Ferry/bus)

Surat ThaniBangkok (Bus/Train)

koh phangan ferry
Island hopping to Koh Phangan. Photo: Shutterstock

Ferry from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan

Thousands of people make this trip and during the ‘Full Moon Party’ periods, each ferry gets filled to capacity.

The quickest and most comfortable way to get a ticket is to book in-person through a travel agent the day before departure.

Travel time on the boat takes between 30-45 minutes. Most tourism agencies will have a pickup service from your hotel to the pier.