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Koh Phangan is an unspoilt island located about 15km North of Koh Samui and about 55km from Surat Thani on the Thai mainland. The interior of Koh Phangan remains largely unchanged by rising tourism levels and the island boasts some of Thailand's most beautiful, unspoilt white sand beaches.

Koh Phangan's climate is blissfully warm and tropical all year round, with the main rainy season from October to November/early December. April is probably the hottest month, when the Thai people celebrate Songkran, the Thai New Year, with a nationwide water festival. The island is busy all year round as it offers a range of activities and attractions that appeal to a wide variety of visitors.

Koh Phangan has a hippy-style reputation, which is not entirely undeserved. It is mentioned heavily in Alex Garland's 1996 novel The Beach and also hosts the famous Full Moon parties, which every self-respecting backpacker has frequented. More recently, however, the island has become known for its many spas, detox centres, holistic retreats and yoga schools. Koh Phangan embodies peacefulness and tranquility, and this can be seen in the lifestyle and attitude of its many different residents.

The West coast of the island is very family oriented and peppered with delightful local beachside restaurants serving freshly caught fish, crabs, lobsters and giant prawns. It is also home to some charming shops and boutiques especially in the modest capital Thong Sala, which is located on the South West corner. This little village is the liveliest spot on this side of the island, and all kinds of diversions can be found here, as well some a local market and numerous examples of local village life.

Further round the island lies Haad Rin beach. The journey from Thong Sala to Haad Rin is easily and cheaply made in one of the local pick up taxis known to Thai people as ‘Song Taew’. Alternatively, a moped can be hired almost anywhere on the island, but the road is not for the faint hearted, even in a car. The mountainous terrain on the way to Haad Rin does provide some breathtaking views along the way that more than make up for a bumpy ride however, with some lovely beaches to stop and admire along the way.

Haad Rin beach is the island's main centre of tourism and doesn’t disappoint, especially when it comes to nightlife. This is also the location for the monthly Full Moon Party and is therefore a busy mix of international visitors at this time of the month with sellers offering every possible holiday indulgence to the party loving throng.

In marked contrast to all this activity and bustle, the North coast of Koh Phangan is an altogether more laid back part of the island. Bottle beach and Thong Nai Pan are great places just to get away from it all, turn off your phone, climb into a hammock and settle down with a good book. Fresh coconuts are delicious and grow in abundance on the island, they are also natural hangover cures for the partygoers, so also make for an excellent addition to any hammock experience.

Whether you just want to kick back and relax or to party all night, every night Koh Phangan caters to every holiday pleasure with relaxed ease. In terms of accommodation, the traditional backpacker bungalows have now been joined by more sophisticated, high-end resorts and there is also a burgeoning private villa market on the island, with several properties offered to rental guests through companies like Koh PHangan Holiday Homes at excellent nightly rates and in some of the island's most stunning locations.

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