Koh Phangan is an island off the East Coast of Southern Thailand. Located roughly a third of the way from Koh Samui to Koh Tao, the island is known for its world famous full moon parties and coconut trees.
Monthly full moon parties attract thousands of travellers from all over the world to Koh Phangan. If your idea of the perfect holiday involves crazy long beach parties, you should join the crowd of 20,000 partygoers dancing and drinking on the white sand of Haad Rin's Sunrise Beach under the full moon. There are half-moon and dark-moon parties taking place in Koh Phangan as well, so you will not be short of action even if you won't be able to make it at the right time of month for full moon.
If partying until you drop is not your thing, Koh Phangan is still the island worth a visit as there’s much more to this island than just crazy beach parties. You can find over a dozen nice beaches in Koh Phangan suitable for any type of beach holiday – from secluded beaches far from the crowds to beaches with deluxe spas nearby. Most of the beaches are not difficult to reach making it easy to stay on one beach and visit other island’s beaches just on day trips.
West Coast Beaches
Thong Sala - the capital and main ferry port of the island - is located on the west coast of Koh Phangan.
There are plenty of small bays and nice quite isolated beaches on the west coast of the island. Sunsets on the beaches here are spectacular.
Just 7 minutes of walk to the north of Thong Sala you can find Ao Nai Wok - a quiet bay with a long white sandbar in front of it.
Next is Ao Wok Tum - the southern section of the wide mostly undeveloped bay that joins with Ao Hin Kong, untouched place which is great for watching a sunset in solitude.
Moving more to the north you will find Ao Si Thanu - a bay with a nice sandy beach but not so good water and little shadow from trees.
Another beautiful small bay with a low developed beach and nice water is Haad Son.
A small quiet but a little bit more developed beach on the west coast is Haad Chao Phao – here you can find some resorts and bungalows as well as several beach bars and restaurants to enjoy the sunset more comfortably.
The longest and slightly more developed beach on the west coast of Koh Phangan is Haad Yao — a long white sandy beach with a lot of palm trees, beach bars, restaurants and even 7-11 nearby.
A narrow sandy beach Haad Salad — the northernmost beach on the west coast of the island featuring several high-end resorts.
North Coast Beaches
The north coast is home to several nice beaches, including secluded Bottle Beach, the island’s main fishing port and the picturesque islet of Koh Maa.
On the north west of Koh Phangan there’s a wide sandy beach Mae Haad which at low tide is joined to islet of Koh Maa by sand spit. The coral reef just off coast makes this beach a nice place for snorkelling.
Haad Thong Lang is an undiscovered peaceful bay with a shallow coral bay and a reef that creates a beautiful lagoon in high tide. It is a perfect place for escaping from the crowds.
The island’s main fishing port Chalok Lam is a not touristy fishing village with a nice narrow beach under palm trees in front of a long beautiful sandy bay.
Haad Khom is a pretty little white sandy beach on the eastern side of Chalok Lam Bay, just within 20 minutes of walk from the village. It’s a nice quiet beach with clean sea offering some of the best snorkelling on the island because of its extensive living coral reef.
One of the most secluded beaches in Koh Phangan is Haad Khuat, also called Bottle Beach. The beach is accessible by boat or by a long (more than 2 hours long) and tough hike. This nice long and wide soft white sand beach is very relaxed and quiet.
East Coast Beaches
On the east coast of Koh Phangan there are some of the most isolated island’s beaches and the place where the famous Full Moon Party is taking place.
Twin bays Ao Thong Nai Pan Yai and Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi with two wonderful beaches are located on the north-eastern part of the island. If you are looking for a nice even if not the quietest beach with a variety of restaurants nearby, these two beaches might be just for you.
Small beach Haad Thien is a favourite choice for people trying to escape from Haad Rin. You can find The Sanctuary - a healing centre with yoga, tai chi, meditation and massage activities – on this beach, which is accessed only by boat or footpath.
A nice sandy and chilled beach Haad Yuan is just a hop away from a party crowd of Haad Rin. Good choice if you want to stay at a quieter beach and to be not too far from Full Moon Party scene.
The most touristy and crowded village in all Koh Phangan and the home of the famous Full Moon Party is Haad Rin. Crowds of tourists dance and drink every full moon on the white sand of Haad Rin's Sunrise Beach (Haad Rin Nok). Haad Rin Nok is a very picturesque beach which by day is full of sun worshippers and in the evenings becomes the centre of island’s nightlife scene.
South Coast Beaches
The south coast of Koh Phangan runs from the island’s capital and main ferry port at Ao Thong Sala on the west to Haad Rin on the east. The beaches on the south coast facing Koh Samui are protected by the coral reef about 200 metres offshore and the wide white sand beach here gradually slopes to the reef making the sea here very shallow.
The longest stretch of uninterrupted beach on the entire island is Ao Ban Tai, the beach facing Koh Samui. Ao Bann Tai is the middle part of the long beach that runs the length of the south coast.
Another beach on the south coast is Ao Ban Kai – an idyllic beach between Ban Tai and Haad Rin. The beach of Ban Kai bay is quite broad and has countless coconut palms providing shadow.
How to get to Koh Phangan?
Ferries to Koh Phangan
You can get to Koh Phangan only by boat. There are more than enough ferries going to Koh Phangan from Koh Samui, Koh Tao and Surat Thani. Choose your ferry to Koh Phangan:
Buses to Koh Phangan
For reaching Koh Phangan, you need to take a bus from Bangkok to Chumphon or from Bangkok to Surat Thani. There are regular bus services from Bangkok’s Southern (Sai Tai Mai) Bus Terminal to both Chumphon or Surat Thani. Buying a combined bus and ferry ticket usually a good option.
Trains to Koh Phangan
Chumphon and Surat Thani can also be reached by train. Southern Line trains leaving Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station stop at Chumphon and Surat Thani. It is possible to buy a combined train-bus-ferry ticket.
Flights to Koh Phangan
There are three airports that can be used for travelling to Koh Phangan - Koh Samui Airport (USM), Chumphon Airport (CJM) and Surat Thani Airport (URT). There are plenty of domestic and international flights serving these airports so you will never be short of options when combining your flight with a ferry trip to Koh Phangan. Fly from Bangkok to Koh Samui, from Bangkok to Surat Thani or from Bangkok to Chumphon. Airlines offer combined flight-bus-ferry ticket but buying a bus-ferry ticket at the airport usually is the cheapest option.
Weather in Koh Phangan
From January to March you can expect good weather in Koh Phangan, with little if any rain. From March, temperature starts to rise, usually reaching peak levels in April and May. The wet season is starting to be felt in September when the monsoon brings plenty of rainfall and a rise in humidity.
For more detailed information about Koh Phangan's weather patterns during the year check Weather in Koh Phangan.
You are planning to continue your trip up north or to visit island on the West Coast after visiting Koh Phangan? Check when is the best time to visit Thailand's other destinations and choose destination with the best possible weather conditions.