The moment we set foot on Koh Phangan, we felt the tropical paradise island vibes! This is our most favorite Thai island because of many reasons. The beaches, nature and overall vibes are so chill. Please don’t only go to this island because of its famous Full Moon party. But also please don’t skip this island because you think it’s only party people who come here. Koh Phangan has things to offer for everyone!
We’ve spent 2 weeks on Koh Phangan in June, but could’ve stayed longer. During those 2 weeks we’ve explored every corner of the island. And now we share with you this complete guide with all the best things to do on Koh Phangan!
How to get to Koh Phangan
You can reach Koh Phangan only by ferry as it doesn’t have an airport. You can catch the ferry from Samui to Koh Phangan or from Surat Thani on the mainland. It depends where you’re coming from and what the easiest way for your circumstances is to travel to the islands.
Because we also stayed for a few days on Koh Samui, we took the ferry from there.
Best time to go to Koh Phangan
You can visit Koh Phangan year-round, although there is a rainy season which lasts from September until November. The dry season is from late December to March and this is also the peak season. The weather is hot, bright and not too humid, just the perfect circumstances for lounging on the island’s fantastic beaches. We spent two weeks in June on Koh Phangan which is shoulder season, and had perfect sunny weather every day!
How to get around Koh Phangan
The best way to explore the island is by motorbike. For around 200 baht per day you can rent a motorbike and be free wherever you go. But take into account that the roads on the island can get steep. If you’re not feeling safe on the motorbike, you can also go by Songthaew which is a shared taxi bus.
Where to stay on Koh Phangan
This always depends on what you’re looking for. If you’re a party animal and you’re only coming for the parties, the best option is to stay in the south near Haad Rin beach. But if you’re more a nature lover and you’re going to Koh Phangan to relax, eat healthy, do some yoga and connect with nature, you’re better of at the north west coast of the island. Especially Sri Thanu village is the perfect place to stay for vegan food and yoga lovers. There are many hotels and beach resorts you can choose from in different price categories. And of course the price of the accommodation also depends on if you’re going in high or low season!
Relax at the beautiful beaches
If you’re heading to the Thai islands one of the best things to do is relaxing on the beautiful paradise beaches. There are some beautiful hidden gems scattered around the island. In the south of the island you will find the famous and busy Haad Rin beach where the Full Moon party is held every month. But if you’re more into relaxing and quiet beaches, then head to Bottle beach in the North, or Zen beach in the West of the island. Those two beaches are our favorites as we prefer the more hidden gems.
Hike to one of the beautiful viewpoints
Tired of relaxing on the beach? Or do you want to work out after one of the many parties on the island? There are a few great hikes to do on the island. You can choose to hike to viewpoints or the hidden gem Bottle beach. Hiking up to the viewpoint Khao Ra is absolutely a must-do. The path is well maintained, although it’s not marked very well. The round trip up and down takes about 3 hours, depending on your pace.
Cooldown at the Koh Phangan waterfalls
There are some cool waterfalls to explore in the jungle of the island. They are easy to get to, so this is one of the best things to do to cool off after a day of exploring. Phaeng waterfall is the most well known, but Paradise waterfall, Wangsai Waterfall and Than Sadet waterfall also wort a visit! But you have to take in mind that these waterfalls won’t have any water during the dry season. We’ve visited Koh Phangan in June, and there was literally no water running down the waterfalls.
Read more about the Koh Phangan waterfalls in this blogpost
Explore Koh Phangan’s sandbank
Depending on the tide, you will see a beautiful sandbank in front of Hin Kong Bay. You can easily walk from the beach to the sandbank, but be aware of jellyfish! Especially during certain seasons. If you have a drone you can make some awesome aerial footage here. You will see people walking their dog here, or do a little run, or just enjoying their time on this deserted sandbank. You can find another sandbank connected to Koh Ma island in north Koh Phangan,.
Watch the sunset at Amsterdam Bar
Watching the sunset is one of those magical things to do on Koh Phangan. We always take the time to watch the sunset and it is together with sunrise our favorite time of the day to film or take photos. On the west side of the island are some awesome bars and beaches from where you can watch the sunset. Amsterdam bar is one of them, with an incredible 180 degrees view on the ocean and surrounding islands. They only have low tables with cushions to sit on the ground which gives that extra chill vibe of this bar. Order a drink, and eventually something else, and enjoy the sunset!
Thong Sala night market
If you haven’t been to Thong Sala night market, also known as Pantip Foodmarket, you haven’t been to Koh Phangan! No, but seriously, this streetfood market is sooo good!! During our 2 week stay on Koh Phangan, we ate at least 6 times at Thong Sala night market. There are many different food stalls with lots of options including vegan, and you can get a great meal for around 100 Baht. A must visit!
Rent an off road motor
One of the best things to do on Koh Phangan is renting an off road motorbike to explore the island off the beaten path. Especially on the east part of the island are many dirt roads in the jungle where you absolutely need an off road bike to be safe. So if you have your motorbike license, plan a day to explore Koh Phangan off the beaten track. There are lots of beautiful dirt roads leading to hidden and deserted beaches along the east coast. With an off road bike you can, for example, easily get to Bottle Beach which is otherwise not done with a normal scooter. The whole journey is an adventure in itself. Driving around the island is a genuine feeling of freedom and a lot of fun for the guys and girls driving the motor!
Full Moon party
Many people know Koh Phangan from the monthly Full Moon party. Once started as a beach party with a few backpackers celebrating the birthday of a friend during Full Moon, has grown into a huge famous monthly recurring party that attracts thousands of backpackers.
If you like to party hard, this is the place to go! But not only Full Moon parties are being held at the island. There is also the Half Moon Koh Phangan party and even a waterfall party! Check the dates for all those parties here.
Feel the sunset vibe at Zen beach
Every day during sunset, a group of spiritual expats come together on Zen Beach to play drums, do acro yoga and connect with others. The sunset vibe at Zen beach is something different which we haven’t really felt before on another beach. When the sky turns yellow, orange, red, purple and pink, a group of people play drums. The fairy lights and crickets create that extra special vibe that tickles your senses. Bring a towel, order a coconut at the beach shack, sit down and enjoy the view. It will be a never-to-forget evening on Koh Phangan!
One of the best dive sites in the Gulf of Thailand is without a doubt Sail Rock, situated between Koh Phangan and Koh Tao. The rock is about an hour boat drive from Koh Phangan and suitable for divers of all levels. The species you can see here are manta rays, barracuda and even whale sharks! You can dive here year-round, but the best diving conditions are from April to October. The costs are between 70 – 80 dollars, depending on the dive school you book with.
Eat healthy at the many vegan cafes in Srithanu
If you want some variation from the delicious Thai food, there are plenty of options. Especially in Srithanu village are many vegan and healthy food spots. During our two weeks on the island we stayed in this village, and we loved all the healthy food spots! Smoothie bowls or vegan burgers, healthy drinks and smoothies. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it in this yoga and Digital Nomad orientated vegan village!
Attend a yoga class or retreat
In addition to the above, many yoga classes and retreats are held at Srithanu village. Also known as the most relaxing place to stay on the island and a great spot for Digital Nomads and health & yoga lovers. There are plenty of options to attend a Yoga class or retreat, just find out for yourself what suits you the best! Orion Retreat is one of the examples where you can find Yoga classes and retreats.
Visit Kuan Yin temple
On your way to Phaeng waterfall or to the North side of the island, for example Chaloklum beach or Bottle beach, you will pass the Chinese Kuan Yin temple. It is absolutely worth it to stop here to take a quick visit to this temple. The place of worship consists of three buildings. The main shrine where a beautiful statue of the Goddess of Mercy is placed and two lower buildings. One which is used for meditation and sermons and the other as guest rooms. Just outside the main hall is a gigantic Buddha statue that faces Chaloklum Bay and glistens in both sunlight and moonlight. All the structures have a clear Chinese influence.
Visit the Ang Thong Marine Park
You can visit the Angthong Marine Park by arranging a boat tour via your accommodation or try to bargain a good price at the Thong Sala pier. The archipelago is a national park made of 42 islands scattered in the Gulf of Thailand close to Samui and Koh Phangan. It takes around 45 minutes for a one way boat trip to get to the Angthong Marine Park. The islands cover more than 100 square kilometers and consists of mountains, jungles and white sand beaches. There are also caves, waterfalls and lakes to explore on your trip. The area itself is protected and home to a wide variety of exotic animals. And if you’re into camping, you can even choose to camp the night on one of the islands by hiring a tent!
Relax at the hidden Bottle beach
Our top 3 beaches include Bottle beach in the Northern part of Koh Phangan. This hidden gem is an adventure to get to. But once you’re there you will be treated with a beautiful white sand (and mostly) empty beach. This beach is perfect for people who want a quiet place and are in for an adventure to get there. We went all the way to the beach with the motorbike which had some challenges involved. The road is very bumby with lots of holes. But Atiba is a very experienced motorbike driver. He has his motorbike and international drivers license and knows what to do with challenging steep unpaved roads.
To be well prepared before you go to this beach, read our complete guide about Bottle Beach here
Get a massage
If you want to relax and treat yourself with a massage, there are plenty of options scattered around the island. Get a Thai massage if you like pressure point therapy, or an oil massage if you’re more into a relaxing massage. Prices vary depending on the salon and massage you choose from around 400 Baht per hour.
Visit neighbour island Koh Tao
If you’ve made it all the way to Koh Phangan, you have to visit the smaller neighbour island Koh Tao as well. From there you can also explore the beautiful Koh Nang Yuan. Koh Tao is a beautiful tiny island with plenty of options to relax on the beautiful beaches, hike to one of the viewpoints, swim in the crystal clear water, dive or snorkel and more!
More Koh Phangan travel inspiration
For more travel tips about Koh Phangan, head over to these blog posts:
For more travel inspiration to Koh Tao, head over to these blog posts:
Planning to travel to Koh Samui? Then head over to this blog post: