While I was traveling in Thailand, I had the opportunity to visit many islands in the south of the country. One of them particularly caught my attention : the island of Koh Phangan, best known as the Full Moon Party island. I went to Koh Phangan in October 2017, the month when the cremation of the former King of Thailand took place. Everything was so quiet, especially in Koh Phangan. If I did not have the chance to experience the Full Moon Party, I was able to discover a calm island with hidden gem ! Discover my six reasons to visit the beautiful island of southern Thailand.
6 Reasons to visit Koh Phangan
Lounging on the beaches of Koh Phangan
One of the highlights of a trip in Thailand is to relax on a white sand beach. Koh Phangan has many beautiful beaches. Some of them are busy with many bars and restaurants, others require to go by bike to discover a small paradise, away from mass tourism. You will find the city center and the party beaches, such as the famous Haad Rin Beach of the Full Moon Party in the south of the island. To discover small gems, you must go to the north of the island. One of my favorite beaches was Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach. Here, you can enjoy 800 meters of white sand, turquoise water and a calm surrounding. My second favorite is Mae Haad Beach in the north of the island. If you go there at low tide, you can walk on a sandbar lined on both sides by the sea.
Discover the temples
On the small island of Koh Phangan, you can discover more than 20 temples open to the public, including 16 Buddhist temples. The oldest temple on the island is Wat Phu Khao Noi, next to Thongsala. The monks are here in the morning only and speak a bit of English. I also recommend a visit to the Chinese temple, Wat Paa Sang Tham which is built in a totally different style from what we usually see in Thailand. From this temple, you also have a great view of the sea in the background !
Party on Koh Phangan
Many people come to Koh Phangan for the Full Moon Party which takes place every month. As the phenomenon has grown and all the tourists can not be there on the day of the Full Moon Party, there are many variations of the evening on the beach. The Black Moon Party is 15 days before and after the Full Moon Party and the Half Moon Party take place twice a month. During these evenings on Haad Rin Beach, there is a bar located at the end of the beach on a rock. This bar hosts all DJs and it is called the Rock Bar. Even if you do not go to Koh Phangan during one of the versions of the lunar evening, you can have a drink in this bar enjoying a great view of the beach! To drink really cheap cocktails (a Mojito bucket for 5€) I recommend the bar at Coral Bungalows which hosts some pool parties.
Than Sadet Waterfall
As you know my passion for waterfalls, it is not a surprise that I went looking for the waterfall Than Sadet, the most famous of Koh Phangan. It is actually a succession of streams and ponds. You can swim in the waterfall, massage your shoulders with the falling water and also jump into a pool of water if you feel like it. The waterfall is also known because it is related to Thai Royalty. You will see, marked in a rock, a sign of King Rama V who was deeply in love with the island of Koh Phangan.
A road trip around the island
If you feel comfortable driving a scooter (which is not my case yet), you will love discovering the island with your two wheels. The roads are really winding with many natural wonders to discover. Otherwise, I recommend the Mingalaba Road Trip ! For only 500 THB, a guide takes you to the island’s most beautiful beaches, the Than Sadet waterfall and have a cocktail at ThreeSixtyBar watch a sunset. I really have a great memory of it.
Try scuba diving
All around the island of Koh Phangan, you will find many diving centers as scuba diving is a really popular activity here. Personally, I have not tried the experience, I prefer the freedom of a mask and a snorkel to discover the underwater world. But whether with bottles on your back or a simple snorkel, the experience is just as exciting, because the seabed of Koh Phangan are so stunning !
What I did not like about Koh Phangan
To be completely honnest, I will not be able to find negative points specific to Koh Phangan, but to Thailand in a general way.
- Elephant torture : even if these despicable attractions are hidden in the jungle of the island, they are a reality. It seems that some tourists are, in the best cases, not yet aware of the torture that these elephants are experiencing or, in the worst case, aware but not concerned. You can find more information on the Peta website.
- The drunk backpacker who forgets respect : this is a scourge that seems to affect all countries of Southeast Asia. You know this tourist, who claims himself to be a backpacker and that under the pretext that he is drunk, he can be disrespectful to everyone ? In Koh Phangan, it seems that this species is very widespread, too bad !