249 hotels in this place
Ko Pha Ngan is an island off the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand and forms part of the Chumphon Archipelago. Halfway between the islands of Ko Samui and Ko Tao, it is known as a land of coconut trees and the world-(in)famous Full Moon Party that have placed the island firmly on the Banana Pancake Trail.
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Points of Interest in Koh Phangan
- Than Sadet-Ko Pha Ngan National Park The park (free of charge) is named after the river Than Sadet (literally, "Royal River"). The river forms the largest waterfall on the island, which was visited by several Thai kings. Very difficult to reach on motorbike, one of the worst roads on island. Down at the sea at Than Sadet Beach, there are a few places to stay.
- Visit the beautiful waterfalls and lookouts in the interior of the island. The best lookouts are Domesila viewpoint, a 15 min hike from Phaeng waterfall in Phaeng National Park (free of charge). There is another waterfall viewpoint a 20 min walk from Phaeng waterfall. From Bottle Beach you can hike to the rocky viewpoint above valley with great views over northeast part of island, hiking to the top should take 30-45 min depending on your condition. You can visit Wat Khao Tam viewpoint on the road between Thong Sala and Haad Rin which you can reach on motorbike and then it's easy walk for few minutes to the temple with viewpoint at Ko Samui and southern coast of Ko Pha Ngan. Another viewpoint is in Chalok Lam on the road to Haad Khom, it's well signposted from the main road.
- Visit Ko Maa off the northwest coast of Ko Pha Ngan. It offers one of the best snorkelling places on the island. Other places to do snorkelling are Haad Khom beach (very shallow water on the coast during low tide, be careful) and Haad Yao.
- On the road between Thong Sala and Chalok Lam is a beautiful Chinese Temple (free) overlooking Chalok Lam Bay.
- There is an elephant camp on the way from Baan Tai to Thong Nai Pan (300 baht for a 30 min ride. Also one close to The Chinese temple on the road from Thong Sala to Chalok Lam (300 baht for 30 min ride. On the price list it's officially 500 baht). Very close is also an archery range.
About Koh Phangan
The best time to visit the island and also high season is Dec-Mar when the water is clean, and good for swimming. It's also not rainy and temperatures are pleasant. Another high season time is Jul-Aug after the dry season when the water is rising.
- Archery (First Bow and Arrow Archery) (Close to Chalok Lam on the road to Thong Sala). Four archers can have a go at the same time. People are very friendly (German spoken during high-season) and helpful. 15 min for 150 baht.
- Diving. Ko Pha Ngan has lovely sites around the island which are perfect for both beginners and trained divers. From easy dives off the beach to longer trips by boat you can experience the world of tropical diving. The waters around Ko Pha Ngan are much nicer than most people know: fine hard corals with a good range of reefs and tropical/pelagic fish. Sailrock, undoubtedly the most famous dive site in the Gulf of Thailand. Between Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Tao, all the wonders of this exciting site can be explored by all levels of divers. This spectacular rock rises out of the water creating the best wall dive with a maximum depth of 40 m. Providing a great range of marine life, spectacular underwater scenery, rock formations. There are several PADI dive-schools on the island, including: Haad Yao Divers a PADI 5 Star IDC Dive Resort on Haad Yao and Haad Chao Phao; Reefers Dive Resort on Haad Yao Beach; Sail Rock Divers; Lotus Dive Resort, both in Chalok Lam; and Phangang Divers, in Haad Rin. You will, however, find many more dive schools throughout the island. Under Thai law, dive operators must be registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand to improve quality of service, safety and help protect the customer from fraud. Check to make sure you are booking with a TAT registered dive centre.
- Full Moon Party. If you're after party heaven you can't do better than Haad Rin, an expanded village of beach bars, cheap chicken burgers, and low cut figure-hugging outfits. It is most popular one night a month, the night of the Full Moon Party. Every bar is hopping, the beaches packed with trance, dance, buckets, and various other suspicious substances. However, if the sight of thousands of bottles and other trash repulses you, make sure you leave the beach area before the sun comes up, or grab a garbage bag and help tidy up a little. If you're not on Ko Pha Ngan during the full moon, don't worry: there are other parties to be had, including Half Moon (twice a month), Black Moon, Jungle Experience (1 & 9 days before every full moon party) as well as the Shiva Moon party. Haad Rin offers a variety of entertainment venues just steps away from the famous Full Moon Party beach, where travellers and locals come to get away from the repetitiveness of the beach party scene.
- Herbal Sauna (Near the 7-Eleven in Baan Thai, on the southwest side of the island.). Daily, 13:00-19:00. * The herbal sauna at Wat Pho with separated mens/women's rooms is a great relief after long party nights. Always wear a sarong (over your bikini, for men it's OK to use shorts). Remember that you are on temple grounds and locals find nudity offensive. This is not a European sauna, sitting naked will get you into trouble. You can stay as long as you want. 50 baht, towel 10 baht.
- Hiking. Can be done all around the island. There is a trail that leads between Haad Rin and Haad Tien, which many enjoy. The route can become difficult to discern, and bringing enough water is necessary. If you are feeling adventurous, ride a motorbike to the end of the concrete road at Haad Khom from where you can hike through steep terrain and jungle on the coast to isolated Bottle Beach. The overgrown and difficult trail is occasionally marked with bottles and the hike takes 2–3 hours. Ride back to Chalok Lam with a taxi boat (150 baht/person) from where it's 30 min walk uphill to the Haad Khom main road where you parked your motorbike (or you can hike all the way from Chalok Lam). Another good trail is to the best viewpoint on the island (in good weather), Khao Ra Viewpoint, on the highest hill on the island.
- Muay Thai. Gyms such as Thai Jungle Gym offer training and workout facilities, as well as camps such as "Horizon" located in Haad Tien (east) which is an intensive training camp. There are also frequent bouts in Thong Sala and Haad Rin for spectators.
- Watersports. Rent or take courses in sailing, windsurfing, kite-surfing or paddle boarding. All are available in only few locations such as, Sl2k Adventure at Baan Manali Resort in Ao Nai Wok or "Cookie Salad" at "Haad Salad".
- Yoga. Offered at multiple places including Agama Yoga, which is in the northwest of the island and has month-long intensive courses.
For the most part, this is not the place to come to experience Thai food or culture. For a slightly more authentic experience (and cheaper than the well-decorated cafe/restaurants by Haad Rin beach), patronise the more modest street carts where you might see some Thais eating.
The best area for cheap eats is definitely the food carts in Thong Sala, the main town on the island. In the evening you can eat at the night market (from 40 baht/meal (usually curried meat with rice or fried rice or pad Thai), soups from 30 baht, pancakes from 20-30 baht, meat on sticks 10-30 baht/stick.) Free Wi-Fi in a roofed hall. Across the road from 7-Eleven in Chalok Lam are also some Thai street stalls where you will find locals eating. In front of Tesco you can buy sticks with fried meatballs for 5 baht/stick and at the junction next to entrance to Tesco parking lot you can buy in the morning (07:00-09:00) sticky rice with pork/chicken/livers packed in banana leaves for 10 baht for a small portion. There are also a few street stalls. There is also a small market next to 7-Eleven in Thong Sala in the direction of Haad Rin (after Walking St traffic lights) with Thai meals for 30-50 baht.
Under Thai law, travel agents that offer ticket, tours, tourism services, hotel reservations in Thailand must be registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to improve quality of service and help protect customers from fraud. Please check to make sure you are booking through a TAT registered travel agent.
In both Thong Sala and Haad Rin vendors sell pretty much anything you can think of, and probably some things you don't need at all. You can try to bargain, but realistically, the prices are set. You may get a deal every now and again, but it's the exception to the rule. Remember that you're in a tourist area and that prices usually are above the level of Bangkok. The further you go from the ferry piers, the better your chance of haggling gets.
Main purchases you will find on Ko Pha Ngan include hammocks (check out "Hammock Home Gallery" in Thong Sala) as well as some of the local artist's works. Most of the clothing is of the variety that you will find in Bangkok, but generally it is a bit more expensive, as it has been imported to the island for sale.
Art Galleries are considered to be a rising business on Ko Pha Ngan. Most of the places will offer variety works and services including custom orders and art reproductions. These galleries have reputations for affordable prices and fine quality artistic skills.
- Tesco-Lotus (Thong Sala). 10:00-22:00. The biggest supermarket on the island. Sells cheap microwaveable dishes. The bakery makes a change from Thai food.
This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Ko Pha Ngan on Wikivoyage.