Ko Pha Ngan, nestled between Ko Tao and Koh Samui, offers more than just the renowned Full Moon Party. Our week-long stay on this island was an entertaining and peaceful experience compared to bustling Koh Samui. We could have easily spent more time in Ko Phan Gan. If you’re planning to spend some time on the island, here is our Ko Pha Ngan travel guide and top 5 places to visit.
How to get to Ko Pha Ngan
Travelling to Ko Pha Ngan is effortless if you’re already in Ko Tao or Koh Samui. Book your trip without a hassle on 12go.asia. The ferries are comfortable and they have AC. It’s just as easy if you’re coming from anywhere else in Thailand. There are multiple daily ferries from Surat Thani and Donsak Pier.
Top 5 places to explore
Our extended stay in Ko Pha Ngan was a more enjoyable experience compared to Koh Samui. It was much more authentic and felt less touristy. Unless you are visiting only to party and attend a Full Moon Party, you won’t come across hordes of tourists.
Driving your scooter is fairly easy around the island. The roads are well-maintained and there isn’t that much traffic. You can always grab a taxi if you don’t want to drive, but it’ll be more costly.
Here is our Ko Pha Ngan travel guide and top 5 places to visit
For sunset enthusiasts, Ko Pha Ngan’s beaches are a paradise. The most popular beaches such as Salad Beach and Secret Beach are on the East Coast. If you enjoy sunrises, you won’t be disappointed either. In the South-East, there are beautiful beaches such as Haad Rin and Haad Yuan. Further North lies the most secluded and maybe the most beautiful one on the island, Thong Nai Pan Beach.
If you don’t want to drive to those beaches, you can always hire a boat. It is much quicker but also more expensive. The majority of them also have resorts. They can be quite fancy and come with a bigger price tag.
Hiking might not be the first thing that comes to mind when we speak of Ko Phan Gan. While the island’s hikes are not overly strenuous, they offer splendid vistas and a feeling of achievement.
A notable hike leads to Bottle Beach, where you can unwind at a beachfront restaurant or in the crystal-clear waters. To get there, you have to park your scooter here and follow the trail. After about 1h30, you finally arrive at Bottle Beach. However, your hiking isn’t done yet. There is a beautiful viewpoint where you can see the bay and the surrounding area (only 20 minutes up). Finally, the hike back to your scooter is much easier than the way there.
The most challenging hike on the island is to its highest point, Khao Ra (627 meters altitude). It’s not very difficult but it’s best to start early in the morning before it gets too hot. The hike up takes an average of 1h30 but depends on your level. There isn’t much to see along the way and the viewpoint at the top isn’t very breathtaking. However, it’s a good workout!
Haad Yuan Beach
The hike to Haad Yuan Beach starts near Haad Rin Beach. It takes about 1h30 to get there. It’s a beautiful and quiet white sand beach. To return to Haad Rin, you can either walk back or hire a boat. The best way to end your day is to enjoy the sunset at Haad Rin.
Our accommodation was approximately a 20-minute drive from the daily night market, which we visited regularly. There were plenty of food stands and the best juices!
Every Saturday evening, an entire street turns into a walking market. There are even more food and drink options. You can also buy plenty of souvenirs.
Full Moon Party
Every month, many tourists visit Ko Phan Gan for its famous Full Moon Party. Sometimes, more than 20,000 people from neighboring islands reach Haad Rin Beach to party all night to the sounds of house, trance and many other music genres. There are plenty of drugs and alcohol, so be ready for a crazy night and the morning after. It’s one of the most popular events in all of Thailand.
There are several other locations across the islands where you can find a party on any given night. You can see several flyers with the events’ details by the most popular beaches or at the night market.
Price: 200THB entrance + additional costs if you need transport
Thailand’s most popular sport is Muay Thai. Regardless of where you are in Thailand, odds are there will be a stadium or a gym in the area. Ko Phan Gan is no exception. Gyms are scattered across the island, with a total of nine stadiums available.
If you are interested in this martial art, you can try a session at a local club. You can also attend an event but prices vary depending on who’s fighting and how many fights are scheduled. Tickets should be more or less 1000THB.
Where to stay on Ko Pha Ngan
Most tourists opt for accommodations along the island’s western coast or in the southern region. Those are the best places to relax by the beach, to attend all the events and to be close to all the restaurants. If you are looking for a little more tranquillity, you can go inland or in the East.
We decided to stay at J. B. Hut near Secret Beach. We spend under 4000THB for an entire week in a private room with amazing sunset views and a pool. It was within walking distance from many restaurants and less than a 20-minute drive from all major attractions around the island. There was no breakfast but we could buy fruits nearby. You can always visit their restaurant for a meal anytime during the day.