Ko Pha Ngan Travel Guide

more than just parties

There is this small island in the Gulf of Thailand, where the worlds of hardcore parties and a peaceful rest collide. Without a shadow of a doubt, Ko Pha Ngan is a true paradise for all the party-loving travelers, and a must stop for all backpackers.

But it is also much more. What puts Thailand on the map of the world’s most desired destinations, are its wonderful beaches. The island of Koh Pha Ngan is no exception. Beautiful white sand that glitters in the sun, crystal clear waters in all shades of emerald blue, and palm trees casting a comforting shadow. Just imagine laying in a hammock, sipping from a young coconut and having the time of your life. Sounds pretty cool, right? Here you can rest during the day and recharge your batteries for the wild nightlife, and its most famous Full Moon Party.

Thailand, Koh Phangan - Beach view - Tropical Island paradise of Thailand

This little guide will help you with suggestions about what to see and do.

What to see and do in Kho Pha Ngan

Beach life

A perfect tropical paradise with a postcard scenery is one way to describe the beaches. Some host wild, never ending parties, while others provide a perfect refuge to enjoy in solitude and tranquility. If you get bored from soaking up the sun, fear not. Most of them offer a wide variety of activities. Get a relaxing massage, play sports, or pamper yourself in all imaginable ways.

This is one of the most developed beaches on eastern coast of the island. Nai Pan Noi beach, Koh Phangan, Thailand

 There are about 10,000 people every month at this Phangan beach Full moon party,

Nightlife

As already mentioned, the island is the haven for those who live for parties. However, none of them comes close to the best and most known Full Moon Party. Between 3.000 to 10.000 visitors come to this small island every month to dance away under the moon. With its ever growing popularity, they now even have Half Moon, Full Moon, and Black Moon parties.

Get your martial arts on

by learning Muay Thai. This is a combat sport of Thailand that requires a great deal of mental and physical discipline.  If you want to know more about “the art of the eight limbs”, join one of the classes or if you don’t feel like fighting yourself, go see a match.

Thong Sala night market

is the place to be if you love buzzing food markets. Indulge in the variety of different snacks and delicious dishes at very reasonable prices.

Take a cooking class

Simply because Thai food is too delicious to only enjoy it when you’re there. Take one of the many wonderful cooking classes and learn all about Pad-Thai and the other significant Thai dishes. Classes run in small groups where you’re guaranteed to have fun, make new friends and tickle your palate.

Thai cooking class

Yang Na

Admire Yang Na Yai Tree

Let the sight of this giant tree take your breath away and remind you of how wonderful nature is. This more than 160 feet high tree, located near Wat Pho, is sure to impress everyone, not just nature lovers. To make it even more special, the locals often garnish it with ribbons.

Visit one of the temples

Go see a herbal sauna at Wat Pho, or let the Guanyin Temple take you on a Chinese-like adventure! It’s dedicated to Guanyin, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. The oldest temple on the island is Wat Phu Khao Noi, but remember to set your alarm and wake up early in the morning if you want to see the monks. Wat Khao Tham, on the other hand, is a calming and peaceful place with beautiful viewpoints.

Colorful dragon sculpture at the Goddess of Mercy Temple Shrine at Chaloklum, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand. With views of jungle covered mountains in the background.

Travel costs

Accommodation

Row of bungalows on a tropical beach, Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand

There are countless of places to be found- from guesthouses, hostels, hotels, resorts, bungalows, and the list goes on. Staying at a fancy resort costs anywhere between 180-350 USD. However, many places offer great value for money. You can stay in clean, comfortable rooms with top location, on-site restaurants, overlooking the sea from 22 USD and up. If that’s too much for you, or simply looking for low-key places with super affordable prices, and don’t mind sharing your room with other people, you can find hostels for backpackers for as cheap as 3 or 5 USD per night!

Food and drinks

Eating at local restaurants and street-side cafes will cost around 2 USD, tourist places tend to be a bit pricier but still shouldn’t break the budget; expect to pay between 3 and 5 USD. If you fancy a Western meal you’ll have to reach deeper into the pocket… But why choose that when you can enjoy authentic Thai deliciousness at super low prices! Beers at a bar cost around 3 USD, so opting for a market might be a better idea as they cost less than 0.80 USD there. Stick to bottled water, and have around 3 USD ready for your coffee fix.

Seafood Platter at the beach, with blue sky and ocean in the background. With the plate of food on a table in the foreground. Taken on Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand.

 People joins celebrations of the Thai New Year or Songkran in Ko Phangan

Transportation

It’s best to avoid tuk-tuks and go for the pick-up truck taxis (songthaews). A single ride costs less than 4 USD and less than 5 USD for an area that is harder to reach. Why skip tuk-tuks? Because they have set prices and you won’t be able to bargain unless you’re in a large group of people. Hint – negotiating for prices is pretty common in Thailand.

Sights

Statue on the Koh Pha Ngan island, Thailand

Since the beaches are the main attraction and don’t cost anything, you can save some bucks here. Parks to walk in, do some trekking, or simply enjoy some peaceful sights are free of charge too. Entrance fee for the Full Moon party is 3 USD.

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