Koh Phangan is one of the most visited islands in Thailand. Many people know this place thanks to famous Full Moon party. But it has so much more to offer – stunning beaches, lovely viewpoints, incredible underwater life… Koh Phangan has a very different vibe when compared to Koh Samui or Koh Tao. Keep on reading to learn more about all the amazing things to do on Koh Phangan.
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How to get to Koh Phangan
Since Koh Phangan is an island without airport, there is only one way of getting here – by ferry. Nearest airport is on Koh Samui.
Traveling by plane
The nearest airport is on Koh Samui island. There are direct flights from a few cities including Bangkok. You can get your plane tickets at skyscanner.com. Flights are usually not too expensive. You can also fly to Surat Thani and catch a ferry from there.
Traveling to Koh Phangan by ferry
from Surat Thani
Price: 12-29€ including bus+ferry
Duration: 3 – 5 hours (including bus transfer)
Most ferries heading to Koh Phangan depart from Donsak pier (map) near Surat Thani. When buying a ticket via 12go.asia you have bus transfer from Surat Thani town included. It is actually 65km to pier and takes 1 hour. You can purchase tickets with transfer from airport, train station or office of the company you choose.
There is also an option to get to pier yourself and only pay for the ferry. But taxi driver asked 600TBH for this ride, which is the price we paid together for bus and ferry. So I think it might not be cheaper after all.
Arriving to Surat Thani airport?
If you are flying to Surat Thani, you will need to get a taxi or Grab to get to town. Grab drivers are actually banned from taking passengers from airport (taxi mafia I guess). So expect your driver to ask you to go to departures entrance. We paid 330TBH for a ride to town.
IMPORTANT: It is advised to purchase your ferry tickets in advance, especially during high season. You can use the following search form (and help us earn a little without you paying anything extra).
from Koh Samui or Koh Tao
Price: 7-9€ from Koh Samui, 14-19€ from Koh Tao
Duration: 30min – 1 hour from Koh Samui, 1-2 hours from Koh Tao
You can reach Koh Phangan from Koh Samui or Koh Tao by ferry. When traveling from Ko Samui, there are a few different piers used by different companies. All of them arrive at Thongsala pier. If you are traveling from Koh Tao, there is just one pier where you can catch ferry to Koh Phangan. You can book tickets at you accomoddation, on the street at booking offices, directly at pier or use 12go.asia for advance online booking. We personally prefer 12go.asia since it’s fast, easy, there’s often very little price difference and we can pay with card. Most places only accpet cash and using ATMs in Thailand is expensive. You can use the search form below to check the ferry schedules.
How to get from port your hotel
Once you arrive to Koh Phangan there will be taxi drivers waiting for you at pier. For a transfer to Zen beach, Haad Yao and this area it is around 200TBH per person. If you are going to Haad Rin it’s 150TBH.
Best time to visit Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan has a bit different weather than other parts of Thailand. The high season falls between December and March. The weather is nice and sunny with little to no rain. The prices are higher and everything is more crowded.
Between March and August there is dry and hot season. The waterfalls are dry during this time so don’t even bother visiting them. We came in June and had a lovely weather. And lastly the wet season is between August and December. That’s when the island is hit by many heavy rains. It is not a good time to explore Koh Phangan.
YOU SHOULD KNOW: Not many people realize this but Koh Phangan, Koh Samui and Koh Tao do not have typical 4 tides per day. There are only 2. The high season between December and March is also a high tide season. This means high tide is stronger and water is deeper than in the other season. During summer months it’s low tide season and water is too shallow on some beaches. Some months you only get low tide during daylight. Then it’s really important to choose the right beach to actually enjoy swimming.
How to get around Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan has no public transport. The only way to explore the island is Songthaew or motorbike. Being limited to songthaews can completely change your plans. To be honest we think we would never be able to really enjoy the island without having our own motorbike.
- Motorbike – by far the best way to explore the island is on two wheels. You can easily rent bikes everywhere around the island. The prices start at 250TBH per day. You only need to give them your passport or cash as a deposit.
- Songthaew – if you don’t feel confident riding a scooter you can use songthaews. They can be found in many places around the island, especially the most touristy ones. But you are for sure gonna pay more than for a bike rent. And it might also be harder to find one during certain hours, especially in the morning.
9 Things to do on Koh Phangan
If you book any of the tours below, we will earn a small comission. You still pay the same.
1. Hike to Bottle beach & viewpoint
Bottle beach viewpoint is the of the best viewpoint on the island! It is sooo mind-blowing. It’s basically a huge long and not so wide rock sticking out between the trees. You will get beautiful views over Bottle beach and never ending sea. The hike itself is very easy and short. It only takes 15 minutes to reach the viewpoint. I’m sure just one look at our photos will make you add this place to your plans.
You’re for sure gonna visit the Bottle beach as well. You should be able to hike down there directly from the viewpoint. I think it’s 1.5km. If you are coming to the beach on a scooter, that’s not gonna happen. The road is so steep and terrible that scooter are not allowed. You have to park 2km from the beach and walk from there or take a taxi.
2.Go snorkelling at Haad Salad or Mae Had
Both Haad Salad and Mae Had were our favorite snorkeling sites during our stay on Koh Phangan. Remeber that Koh Phangan only has 2 tides per day. We came in summer when it’s low tide season and low tide always alsted all day. Super shallow water made it very hard to reach certain snorkelling spots since the gorund is full of sharp rocks. Both Haad Sala and Mae Had have a nice sandy passage that you can follow all the way to the reef. The reef is usually around 100m+ far from the shore.
Mae Had is certainly the most beautiful snorkelling spot we’ve ever visited! It is sooo full of life! There are literally hundreds of fish swimming around you with many beautiful colorful corals of different shapes. It was unbelievable! Haad Salad is also very beautiful but there was less fish when we came.
TIP: There might be strong underwater currents. Be careful when you go snorkelling and don’t go alone. Always let someone know where you’re going. If you start to feel a current turn around and come another time.
3. Watch sunset at Zen beach
Zen beach is the perfect place for a sunset and some socializing. Many people gather here to drink beer, have a swim, talk or enjoy the good music at Grasshopper bar. On the right there is also a nudist beach. There should be drum circles happening every evening. Apart from that you’ll see many people coming here to do acro-yoga or some hula hoop dance. It is simply beautiful way to end your day.
4. Walk over a sand bank to Koh Ma island
This can only be done during low tide. Once you arrive at Mae Had beach you will see a sand bank connecting Koh Phangan and Koh Ma islands. It’s a very short stretch of sand. You an enjoy sunbathing in the area and definitely go snorkelling here! This is the best snorkelling spot on the island!
5. Full Moon party
Of course we have to mention this one. It is the main reason why many people come to this island. Full Moon party is an experience you can’t miss. During high season Haad Rin is completely crowded with people who want to have fun. There are different stages, types of music and lot of fun things you can do! If you are not in the area for Full Moon party, check out the Half Moon party schedule.
TIP: Full Moon party used to be free for everyone. Nowadays they charge 200TBH per person. Half Moon party costs 45€.
6. Try scuba diving
Whether you are a certified scuba diver or you’ve never done this before, you will enjoy your time under water here. Koh Phagan has many beauitful reefs and diving spots full of life and colorful corals. Go diving around the island or choose some of the further locations such as Sail Rock. Ask at diving centers and see what they will suggest. Some diving spots work better during certain seasons. You can get scuba certified here or just go on a fun dive (no experience needed).
7. Ang Thong Marine Park
Visiting Ang Thong Marine Park is a true paradise for nature lovers. Exploring the park offers a range of activities, from snorkeling and diving to kayaking and hiking. You’ll have the opportunity to discover hidden lagoons, white sandy beaches, and awe-inspiring limestone formations. The only way to explore this area is by joining a boat tour or organizing a private boat trip. You can organize your trip in any booking office on the island. If you are coming from Koh Samui, check out the tours below:
8. Explore different viewpoints
There are a few different viewpoint around the island you can visit. Our favorite one was Bottle beach viewpoint. You can also climb up to Khao Ra, the highest peak of the island. It takes around 3-4 hours one way. Or simply grab a scooter, ride around the island and you will find many amazing viewpoints along the way. One of them is this view over Chalok Lam bay.
9. Healing experiences
Koh Phangan is a paradise when it comes to topic of healing and self-care. Especially north-west of the island. The streets are literally lined up with different options. Focus more on your body and do some yoga retreat, or practice breathwork if you want. There are various Tantra and couple retreats, too. You can learn more about your health and nutrients… I’m sure you’ll find something interesting for you!
10. Trip to Koh Samui and Koh Tao
A trip to Koh Samui and Koh Tao islands is a tropical adventure offering the perfect blend of natural beauty and vibrant island vibes. Koh Samui has some really beautiful beaches, while Koh Tao is a haven for divers and snorkelers. Both islands offer stunning beaches, delicious seafood, and a laid-back island lifestyle. It’s a getaway that combines adventure, relaxation, and the beauty of Thailand’s tropical paradise. You can easily organize a day trip to the islands on a ferry.
Where to stay on Koh Phangan
First of all you should keep in mind that south of the island (Haad Rin) is more of a party hub. There are many clubs and events happen almost every day. If you are looking for something else, stay in the north-west. This part of Koh Phangan has rather laid back hippie vibe.
If you use the map above to book your stay you pay the same and we earn a small comission.
Luxury stay - Explorar Koh Phangan
If you are looking for a nice comfortable hotel with good vibes we recommend Explorar Koh Phangan (book here). It is right on the beach in Haad Rin. There are many events in the area so you won’t get bored. The rooms are spacious, nicely furnished and staff is super friendly. They have wonderful swimming pool where you can chill all day and many activities throughout the week. You can try yoga, cooking class and more.
Luxury stay - Panviman
Staying at Panviman (book here) was an incredible experience. We recommend their villas especially for couples looking for a romantic and private stay. The resort is spread on a hill right in the jungle. You get amazing sea view from many rooms. The resort is a bit older but has very nice natural vibe! Our room was just beautiful. They also have amazing swimming pool area.