Koh Phangan offers a remote tropical wilderness, with excellent beaches and a lively nightife scene, all accessible in under half an hour by boat from Koh Samui. A number of roads, both dirt and paved, zigzag across the island providing access to hidden areas surrounded by dramatic untouched scenery. Visitors can explore the outer perimeters of the island, even discovering fascinating inlets alive with sea life which can only be accessed by hired fishing boats.
Although famous for the Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan also has a different, subtler face than most people see. The small, tropical island has become home to a number of health, massage and wellness centres, many of them nestled in the ancient forests offering yoga, tai chi, detoxification and other ancient restorative cures. These centres now also attract well known teachers and practitioners from many countries around the world, who offer regular courses and instruction for visitors looking to learn new life skills.
If nightlife is the main reason for a visit to Koh Phangan, then Haad Rin is the place to be. Every month party lovers head for the full moon and howl and dance the night away with up to thirty thousand others on the island’s mot famous beach, which has long been known as the country’s biggest celebration. An international crowd of young and old mingle and sway with a shared passion for music, dancing and fun, while vendors set up makeshift bars on the beach to fuel the fun, also offering food and memorabilia.
When the dancing comes to an end, then a visit to the crystal waterfalls of Than Sadet National Park is the perfect contrast to the full moon party madness. It is little surprise that this natural wonder was once a preferred spot for Thai nobility. The park is also home to Koh Phangan’s highest peak, Khao Ra, which, for the more adventurous, can also be climbed. Those who take up the challenge are rewarded with unrivalled views of the island. Meanwhile, Scuba diving is also becoming a popular pass time off the coast, and with little wonder considering the short travel time required to reach some of Thailand’s best dive sites. Other water sports are excellent options for fun and adventure, including kiteboarding, wakeboarding or sea kayaking.
Being so close to the water, the local seafood served at many of the restaurants on Koh Phangan is always fresh and tasty, and can be enjoyed at very reasonable prices. With the increasing number of visitors, sophisticated international restaurants have also become very popular. Fresh sushi is just as easy to find as straight-from-the-oven pizza. Of course, the finest of Thai food is also available in contemporary settings throughout the more popular areas or from one of the many street vendors that serve up tasty treats and local delicacies.