17 May Why Koh Phangan MUST Be On Your Thailand Bucket List
Koh Phangan might be known as a party paradise but it’s also a paradise for nature lovers who are just looking to kick back and enjoy the scenery, get close to the wildlife, and make friends with the locals who are some of the smiliest and kindest people on the planet. With its tranquil white sand beaches, crystal clear waters, jungles, and mountainous interior, Koh Phangan is a true tropical island waiting to capture your heart so hop on a scooter and explore this idyllic island to your heart’s content. Still need convincing that Koh Phangan deserves more than a full moon weekend? Read on!
The Nightlife – The legendary all-night full moon beach parties are the whole reason that Koh Phangan is on most backpackers radar as a must-visit destination along with the half moon, quarter moon, and black moon parties. Party animals looking to create memories that last a lifetime won’t want to miss out on the best beach party in the world but should certainly stick around to see what else Koh Phangan has to offer!
The Beaches – Crystal clear water laps against the white sand to make you feel like you arrived in heaven. Koh Phangan is a dream come true for beach fans and there are so many beautiful ones that you’ll be hard pressed to choose a favourite! Mae Haat is a sight to behold due to the 2 currents that meet resulting in 2 conjoining shades of blue/turquoise. Haad Khuat otherwise known as Bottle Beach is another ‘must visit beach’, more wild and rugged and only accessible by boat or a walk through the jungle where as Leela Beach is one of the top places to watch the sun go down.
The Scenery – Koh Phangan has 7 waterfalls you can visit with Paradise Waterfall, Than Prawer Waterfall, and Than Sadet Waterfall top of the must see list. For those seeking something a little more arduous, the 3 hour hike up Khao Ra Mountain will leave you marvelling at Mother Earth but if that sounds like too much effort, take an organized trip to visit some of the 42 uninhabited islands that make up the Angthong Marine Park.
The Wildlife – Arriving onto Koh Phangan your first encounter with the wildlife is likely going to be when you inadvertently share your room with a gecko or two who reside on the wall of your balcony and come inside when you leave the door open! Long tailed Macaques can be seen along the road and in the hills of Haad Rin and sometimes make it down to the trees by the beach whilst monitor lizards live around fresh water spots so keep an eye out when visiting the waterfalls. If hiking deep in the jungle, do be aware that Cobras and King Cobras live here but you’ll likely only see the harmless green coconut snake. Off shore, you’ll find manta rays, marine turtles, and a whole array of colourful fish with whale sharks and barracudas at the dive site of Sail Rock so be sure to stick your head below the water!
The Food – Visit the Night Market in Thong Sala on a Saturday night and dine your way around thanks to the numerous street food stalls where you can try the local delicacies – anyone for larvae? Aside from traditional Thai food you’ll be able to feast on Asian and Western foods including sushi, pizza, falafel, and so much more. If you love to cook then take a cookery class and learn to cook authentic Southern Thai food as well as other Asian favourites.
The Culture – From the modern day coffee culture to the temples and shrines, Koh Phangan offers plenty of cultural opportunities. Visit Wat Phu Khao Noi, the oldest temple on the island, or the Chinese Temple, which is a must for architecture fans and photographers. You can also discover Thailand’s National Sport; Muay Thai and perhaps learn some of the moves of this martial art.
The Accommodation – Where else can you spend very little on accommodation yet have your every need catered for? Koh Phangan has accommodation to suit every budget and every style of traveller. Whether you want a buzzing social scene of a Koh Phangan hostel like that offered by Mad Monkey, a hostel with the amenities of a hotel, or want to go upmarket and stay in a stylish wooden bungalow with private pool that feels like it should cost the earth but actually doesn’t.
The Weather – When Bangkok is stifling hot and Chiang Mai a tad too chilly in the evenings, Koh Phangan with its refreshing sea breeze is simply perfect between December-March which is the peak tourist season. From April-August the humidity increases along with the rain but though the rain might be frequent, it’s short-lived with the sun appearing afterwards with some stunning rainbows.