Helping you get familiar with the island of Koh Phangan
Helping you get familiar with the island of Koh Phangan
The island of Koh Phangan has more than 20 beautiful white sandy beaches which are perfect for those looking to unwind and relax. Aside from the mayhem of the Full Moon Party – for the other 28 days of the year, it is a peaceful spot, full of yoga classes, more low key parties, nature, waterfalls, snorkeling and mountain trails.
Here is a blog about the 4 main areas of the island of Koh Phangan, which are all distinct in terms of landscape, types of beaches, reefs, nightlife and accommodation. We hope this little taster of the island of Koh Phangan helps you to decide where you would like to stay on this amazing island and where you may like to explore on a motorbike or with a local driver.
The north west of the island of Koh Phangan is known for its beautiful beaches, stunning sunsets, laid back vibe and the best snorkeling and dive spots. The area offers many lovely resorts and well run local restaurants and is a great option if you are looking for a quiet environment. Koh Phangan’s north west coast is where you will find the island’s most diverse coral reefs. It’s possible to snorkel and scuba dive off the beach at Haad Salad, Haad Yao and Mae Haad.
Many of the beaches along this stretch are less built up than the south east and south western parts. The north west coast of Koh Phangan is one of the best places to watch the sunset on the whole island. Almost all year round you can witness the stunning evening views along the north west coast, from Haad Khom, right down to Srithanu Beach. Also in the north west of Phangan is Chaloklum which is a working fishing village where you can watch the local fisherman depart and arrive from their daily catch out at sea. Dive centres also use Chaloklum as their main port for taking customers out on diving or snorkel trips.
The north west coast is also home to the longest beach on Koh Phangan, Haad Yao. Stretching almost 1km, Haad Yao beach is big enough to attract the crowds in high season while still leaving more than enough room for everyone. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and resorts here to accommodate your needs whether you’re party goers, or an older person looking for peace and chill.
The areas surrounding Srithanu beach, are popular with the spiritual community. This part of the island has many open spaces, both at the beach and in the jungle, that it creates the ideal place to practise yoga and meditation. There’s lots of well established and well priced yoga retreats, detox centres and holistic practitioners in the north west of the island especially.
The north east of the island Koh Phangan is surrounded by jungle and known for the relaxed atmosphere and seclusion from the crowds. The beautiful small bays are stunning and the luxury resorts of Koh Phangan canmainly be found here. The rugged mountainous coastlines are some of the most beautiful on the island. Giant boulders nestle into the clear turquoise waters, creating a striking look and feel. Bottle beach (Haad Khuad) is a popular beach for day trippers and despite being very much on the tourist trail is still very peaceful.
The Thong Nai Pan beaches also sit on the north east coast of Koh Phangan. Thong Nai Pan Yai and Thong Nai Pan Noi are beautiful bays, great for swimming with pristine white powdery beaches. The area has retained its laid back village vibe and offers a range of accommodation to suit every budget. Also in the north east area of Koh Phangain, hidden away on the eastern side of the island is Than Sadet which is a gorgeous bay where you are guaranteed peace and tranquillity. There are only a couple of places the stay here, all which are basic bungalows but it has a lovely vibe and is well worth exploring.
The south west of the island of Koh Phangan is a good choice for those who want to be near the nightlife while staying in a more quiet area than Haad Rin. There are lots of transport options to take you to Haad Rin for the shopping and night life and the area also has the main port of Thong Sala which has become a very cool shopping destination in its own rignt. The south west of Koh Phangan is a central location to explore the island and there are many great beach side resorts to choose from.
Thongsala the heart of Koh Phangan The town has dozens of attractions and shops and all the amenities you could wish for on a small island for locals and tourists. Unique boutique shops are springing up to cater for the more discerning shopper and there are plenty of handicraft shops to keep the tourists happy. The main ferry terminal for Koh Phangan is situated in Thongsala, so beaches surrounding the town are rarely used for beach goers since many boats come and go from the pier, and the beaches are not kept clean.
Hin Kong and Wok Tum are just south of Srithanu. Here the beach is narrow and long and the shoreline runs parallel and very close to the coastal road. For uninterrupted views out across the ocean and to Angthong National marine Park, stop by Plai Laem beach which is at the base of Khao Hin Nok, a mountain that dominates the landscape, making it an area of rounded boulders and views over the national park.. This stretch of beach is certainly a beautiful setting for those who enjoy capturing those picture perfect photos of paradise.
Haad Rin is located on a small peninsula at the most Southeastern tip of the island of Koh Phangan and is the epicentre of the famous Full Moon Party and the island nightlife in general. The village has a really nice vibe outside of the full moon party time and has some great shopping opportunities, international restaurants with great priced food, and has lovely hand made jewellery for sale too. Despite one of the beaches along this coast being the venue for the world famous Full Moon Party, this area also has many small secluded bays ideal for total relaxation.
Haad Rin Beach is wide, with fine sand created by the waves of the Northeast Monsoon. The water is clear and ideal for swimming except during the monsoon months of November-January. Haad Rin Nai lies on the opposite side of a little peninsula, 500 metres from its famous sister the Full Moon Party beach. The sand here is narrow and the water shallow, and it is often covered rubbish. Most accommodations are distinctly budget in quality, though the prices during party time are ramped up.
Sri Kantang Beach is one of the hidden surprises of Koh Phangan. Though it is just a short walk from the famous Full Moon Party beach and the noisy concrete ‘village’ Sri Kantang beach enjoys the silence and atmosphere of a hidden escape. The beach is quite narrow, but with lots of foliage spilling over it, and even a small forest of trees growing up out of the sand. If you go exploring just once, go and find this beach and stretch your legs just a short way from Haad Rin.
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Image courtesy of flickr.com – Featured image Stefan Magdalinski view over The Sanctuary, Haad Yao Beach by, eric molina, looking over Thong Sala by Ian XYZ and Haad Rin beach by Fabio Achilli