The island of Koh Phangan in Thailand with its 168 square kilometres is the second largest of the Samui archipelago. This island in the Gulf of Thailand is known for its sandy beaches, colourful underwater world and its relaxed atmosphere. That is why more and more holidaymakers are choosing Koh Phangan as a destination in preference to Koh Samui and therefore the number of tourists coming to the island is increasing every year. Koh Phangan is also becoming more popular with young travellers and backpackers from all over the world. The reason for this is the exuberant Full Moon party at the well-known Haad Rin Beach. Koh Phangan has around 10,000 inhabitants and about half of them live in the island’s capital of Thong Sala. Here you will find a good tourist infrastructure, but the most important place for tourism is Haad Rin in the south of the island. Tourism is the major source of income on Koh Phangan, followed by palm plantations and fishing.
However, Koh Phangan has a lot more to offer than just beaches and partying. You can discover here further dream islands situated off the coast of the island and inland you will find unspoilt nature, including breath-taking waterfalls and exotic animals.
Best time to travel to Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan has a tropical climate with an average annual temperature of 28°C. The main season for holidays on Koh Phangan is from December to April when it is relatively dry and not too hot, and from February to April is also the least rainfall. Even though this is the cool season on the island, the average temperature is still around 26°C and at night the temperature hardly ever falls under 20°C.
From May to August it gets really hot and temperatures can reach an almost unpleasant 40°C and holidaymakers with circulatory problems should avoid this time. As well as a dry and hot season, there is also a rainy season on Koh Phangan which is from September to November. Most of the rain falls in October, normally in the form of short, heavy showers and mainly at night.
About the beaches
The beaches in the south of Koh Phangan are beautiful and great for swimming. In general the beaches in the south are rockier than the ones in the north. It is in the south that the main centre of Koh Phangan's night life is to be found and particularly the beaches around Haad Rin are known as the party Mecca of the island, as it is here that the famous Full Moon Party takes place. The beaches around this party centre have a very good tourist infrastructure, but they are also mostly overcrowded.
Among the most famous beaches in the south of the island are the Full Moon Party beach of Haad Rin and the Haad Rin Nai Beach, also known as Sunrise Beach and Sunset Beach. As the names suggest, at the one beach you can enjoy the sunrise and at the other the sunset.
East of the party hotspot are further nice beaches such as Haad Yuan Beach and Haad Tien Beach. The atmosphere here is more relaxed, but you still can enjoy partying here. If you had enough of parties then you can relax at the remote Wai Nam Beach.
Beaches in the east of Koh Phangan
The beaches on the east coast of Koh Phangan are less influenced by tourism and have a relaxed atmosphere. White, sandy beaches, green coconut-trees and the blue sea provide ideal surroundings to completely unwind. Many of the beaches on the east coast can only be reached by boat and relaxation is guaranteed here. Very often more exclusive accommodation is to be found here, which is also reflected in the general atmosphere. One of the highlights on the east coast is Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach situated in the bay of the same name. This beach is a popular destination for couples who have just got married and want to spend their honeymoon here. Especially romantic are the wonderful sunrises which you can enjoy at all the beaches on the east coast.
Beaches in the north of Koh Phagan
The fine sandy beaches in the north of Koh Phangan are ideal for anybody looking for relaxation, and the offshore coral reefs are wonderful for snorkelling. Bottle Beach is justifiably seen as one of the most beautiful on the island. This dream beach can only be reached via a three kilometre long dirt track or by boat, and is situated in a tropical bay and is truly beautiful. Easier to reach, and just as nice is Chaloklum Bay. The white sandy beach has a Caribbean atmosphere and is very popular. Mae Haad Beach is ideal for snorkelling and at low tide you can explore the small offshore island of Koh Ma by walking over to it.
Beaches in the west
At the beaches on the west coast of Koh Phangan you can enjoy wonderful sunsets. At the northern end of the west coast are both small and large bays which are ideal for relaxation.
While you can relax in a hammock at the fantastic Haad Son Beach, Srithanu Beach is very popular among yoga fans. Haad Yao Beach is one of the nicest on the island and this dream beach looks picture postcard perfect along its length of 1½ kilometres. The coral reef near the beach has a wonderful underwater world which you should not miss out on.
South of the island’s capital of Thong Sala there is a long sandy stretch along the coast. Here you will find Baan Kai Beach und Ban Tai Beach which are ideal for families, as getting into the water is easy here because it is shallow at the water's edge. Water-sports enthusiasts can also enjoy the very good conditions here.