Koh Phangan Travel Tips. An article sharing travel tips about visiting Koh Phangan. How to get there and more…
Koh Phangan is an island full of treasures located in the south of Thailand. The island is most known for its Full Moon Party, a party held at the Haad Rin beach every month when there’s a full moon. Up to 30.000 people travel to the party every month to enjoy the music and party culture. But that’s what Koh Phangan looks like from the outside, the fact is that the island has so much more to offer than just drinks and parties.
Koh Phangan is surrounded by stunning beaches, beautiful scenery and the sunsets on the west side of the island is to die for. What most people don’t know about is that there’s a vibrant spiritual community located on the west side of the island in Srithanu, where westerners have created an abundance of classes in yoga, meditation and other healing work.
How to get there?
Located around an hours flight from Bangkok, Koh Phangan doesn’t have its own airport. You fly to Koh Samui and take a 30 minute boat from there. This means that the island isn’t overcrowded with people since most “regular” tourists rather stay at Samui than go the extra mile to Koh Phangan. But for those who do, they’re in for a treat.
When you take the boat from Koh Samui, make sure you choose a boat that goes to Thongsala in Koh Phangan, unless you’re staying in Haad Rin, then take the boat there.
Koh Phangan Travel Tips
Rent a scooter!
The easiest way to get around the island is to rent a scooter (around $6 per day) and there’s plenty of modern scooters to rent in Thongsala right when you get off the ferry. The price gets cheaper depending on how long you rent it and what season it is. Most scooters are very modern and always ask for the newest ones so that you get a high quality one.
Getting from the south end of the island to the north takes a little more than an hour, so it’s not a huge island. If you’re not an experienced driver it will warn you to ride to Haad Rin in the south, because the hills are very steep. It’s an incredible landscape but it’s not for the beginner. Then it’s better to take a taxi. There are no tuk tuks on the island that Thailand usually are known for, but there’s taxi cars with room for up to 8 people for around $5-6 per ride.
Places to live
Whether you’d like to stay in a traditional thai house, a brand new modern home or a hotel, Koh Phangan has a wide variety of places to stay in. If you’re looking for hotels then use the regular places like booking.com. You can also use airbnb. But if you’re staying long term then using one of the estate agents is a good choice. It costs a little extra to use them, but they will spare you the time and energy of going out yourself and looking for a place. They can send you photos of all the places available at the time you’re staying and also depending on your preferences.
The best place to live on the island is on the middle east side in the Srithanu area.
The alternative is to drive around the island and look for signs saying “house for rent” then contact the local thai people who own the house. They usually speak decent english and are easy to work with. Me personally never found it to be worth the while, because the agency people won’t charge that much extra and it saves you plenty of rejections on the phone where the house has already been rented out.
Prices per day (high season december – april):
Cheap thai house: $9
Modern house: $16
Traditional thai food on the island is usually good and is easy to find and the cheapest to eat. Around $1.5 per meal. But there’s a wide variety of western food, italian, indian and mexican food. Plenty of vegetarian/vegan options around the Srithanu area around the yoga community. Highly recommend Pure Vegan and Orion. A good meal at a nice restaurant is around $6.
What to do on Koh Phangan?
Are you tired from the stressful everyday life in the city? Then Koh Phangan has an abundance of places for you to relax and tap into yourself and heal. Healing centers Orion, Sammakaruna, Anahatha yoga and Pyramid yoga center offers courses in mindfulness and spiritual work with high quality trainers who know what they are doing. There’s plenty of free courses, otherwise they cost from $6-15 per class.
You can get thai massage all across the island for a great price. Every place has offers an hour massage for $10.
If you like music there’s plenty of places around the island that offer live music. On Fridays there’s a reggae bar called Rasta Home where talented locals play all the reggae classics and it’s packed with people who are filled with excitement. If you want to play an instrument yourself go to The Jam Bar on Thursdays and Sundays, where you get to play your favourite songs with skilled musicians. They have all the instruments needed!
The big supermarkets are called Big C and Tesco, located in Thongsala to shop for food and cheap clothes. Around that area you can also find local boutiques with an abundance of locally made items. It’s well worth the while.
7 Hidden Treasures You Can’t Miss
- Snorkeling at the Sail Rock. Go to Baan Chaloklam and visit Sail Rock Divers, learn how to dive and take a daily boat trip to Sail Rock located an hour with boat from the island. It’s a magnificent place to experience tropical fish and corals.
- 360 Viewpoint Bar. Located near Chaloklum is the 360 Bar where you will get a stunning view of the north part of the island and the sea. See the sunset that starts around 6pm with the most incredible view you can’t even imagine. They also serve drinks and food. It’s a bit of a steep ride so beware of that if you’re on a scooter.
- Zen beach at sunset. In the heart of Shirtanu, about a 7 minute walk or a minute scooter ride is the Zen beach. Here’s where a lot of people gather every day for sunset around 6pm. There’s a bar with fresh coconuts right on the beach and often there’s live music by talented bongo players and singers. A camp fire is also lit after sunset and you just can’t miss out on it!
- Sunset Hill. Do you work remotely? This is the place to work at. Luxurious, great food and great service. It’s a bit pricey but you get all the value from it. Stunning view and the sunsets are to die for, it leaves you speechless.
- Gaia natural spa. In the jungle about a 15 minute scooter ride from Srithanu is the Gaia spa. Here you can enjoy taking a refreshing bath in a cold plunge and then go into the sauna. They’ve got full body massages and at night you can enjoy live music from the most talented players on the island.
- Restaurant Good Time. Best service on the island? If you’re looking for local thai food and want to have a positive experience you have to go here. The waiter who is a local guy is one of the friendliest people I’ve ever met. Food is good, service incredible.
- Rent a nice scooter and ride to the other side of the island. In Thong Nai Pan on the east side of the island you will experience high waves and the most beautiful long beach. The road from west to east is stunning in it self, with hilly roads, tall trees and beautiful landscapes, well worth the trip!
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