Koh Phangan, also known as Koh Pha Ngan, is an island located in the Gulf of Thailand and is a part of the Chumphon Archipelago. The island is in the Southeastern part of Thailand, in the Surat Thani Province. A popular tourist attraction, the island is conveniently located halfway between the islands of Koh Samui and Koh Tao, and is popular for the full moon party at Haad Rin Beach. The island is known as the location for the 1996 famous novel "The Beach" by Alex Garland, which was later, adapted into a film, with Leonardo Di Caprio cast in the leading role.
Koh Phangan has an estimated perimeter of approximately 40 km, which takes about 10 hours of walking time to cover and the distance to Koh Samui is about 15 km, whereas to Koh Tao is about 35 km. The main town and the administrative center of the island is Thong Sala, which also acts as the islands main ferry port.
Here is a list of popular attractions on Koh Phangan:
Ao Nai Wok
This small bay, also known as Baan Manali Beach, is a popular tourist beach, featuring a pristine white strip of sand. The location is particularly attractive for windsurfing, kayaking and sailing, as well as snorkeling or other extreme sports. Tourists can go on kayaking trips all the way to the wild islands of Ko Tae Nok and Ko Tae Nai, located within a 10 minute paddling distance.
Haad Chao Phao
This small, quiet beach is located on the western shore of the Koh Phangan island and is very sought after by tourists who want a secluded, relaxing spot to unwind. There are bungalows that are available as housing accommodations, offering budget rooms with complete facilities. Several small restaurants and bars offer drinks and meals even during the night. A famous location is the Pirate Bar, that regularly hosts the Moon Set Party, just a few days before the Full Moon Party.
Located just within a stone's throw from Haad Chao Phao, Haad Yao is a slightly more developed beach area. It has numerous bars, restaurants, 7-11 stores, ATMs and a handful of resorts. The beach is sandy and the water is sparkling clean, offering plenty of snorkeling spots where the bottom becomes rocky (there are also a lot of sea urchins and caverns). Accommodation in Haad Yao starts from 150 to 200 baht.
This idyllic cove is littered with high-end resorts for tourists arriving with their families. The beach features white sand and the water crystal clear. Also, the beach has plenty of shadowy areas, where children can play safely, protected from the hot, tropical sunlight.
Haad Mae Haad
This white sandy beach is joined to Ko Maa, a national marine park and features some of the best snorkeling and diving spots on the island. As an accommodation, tourists can check in to the numerous resorts and bungalows. There is also a small village which has a variety of restaurants, bars and souvenir shops. The beach is surrounded by a dead reef, offering spectacular coral growth.
Haad Khuat, also known as Bottle Beach, is one of the most secluded beaches on the island and is only accessible by longtail boat
. Tourists can also reach the island after a 2 to 3 hours long hike from Haad Khom beach. The beach has little accommodation options, but the prices are very affordable, ranging from 200 to 300 baht for a bungalow. The water is very clear and is good for swimming even during the dry season. Unfortunately, due to its isolation, the beach doesn't have ATMs, restaurants or convenience stores.
Thong Nai Pan
This scenic area includes the beach resorts of Ao Thong Nai Pan Yai and Ao Thong Nai Pan Noi, which are two small bays featuring mind blowing beaches. The area is very sought after by couples or families with children. The beach has a range of local Thai restaurants, to international 4 star cuisine restaurants.
How to Get There
The easiest and cheapest way to travel to Koh Phangan is by a ferry from Koh Samui. You can check the schedule and buy tickets online at www.ferrysamui.com
Guest writer: John Chen is a travel writer currently located in Bangkok, Thailand. He likes writing about Thailand and he writes not only about traveling in Thailand, but also about business, culture, education economy and food.