Koh Phangan is one of my favorite islands in the world and I think this place is very unique compared to all the other islands you could visit in Thailand. It has a laid-back vibe as well as beautiful beaches and offers plenty of freedom for the people that come here. This will be a full travel guide about Koh Phangan and I will share with you everything I know about the island so you can have your best stay here.
How to Get There
Koh Phangan is located next to Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. It doesn’t have an airport so you have to beat it by ferry. There are two main ways to get here by plane: you can take the convenient but more expensive way and take a flight from Bangkok to the island of Samui and then take a quick 30-minute ferry ride to Koh Phangan which cost around $140 one way or you take the cheaper but longer route with a flight to Surat Thani, then a two-hour bus ride to the coast followed by another 2.5 hour ferry trip to Bhangarh. The cheaper way cost around $40 one-way, so it’s quite a big difference.
Accommodation on Phangan
Although there are some luxury hotels on the island, most of the accommodations are rather good standard or basic bungalows right next to a beautiful beach. You could either book a hotel or go for an AirBnB but either way you can expect to find anything between $30 and $150 per night depending on what you are looking for.
Location is key on Phangan because the island is bigger than you might think and depending on what you are expecting from your stay you should choose the accommodation properly. If you want to stay far away from everything, I would recommend the entire north and northwest of the island. If you want to have a bit of everything and want to be able to reach all the places around the island quickly, I would recommend staying somewhere in the Thong Sala which is also the only real town on the island. From there, almost everything is the same distance so no matter where you want to go you can reach it fairly quickly.
If you are just coming here to party, I can recommend staying in Haad Rin or somewhere next to it. Haad Rin is a beach on the far southeast of the island and it is famous for hosting the full moon party once a month. There are a lot of party tourists there and even though partying can be nice on Phangan I wouldn’t necessarily stay in this area because you might miss out on what the island has to offer apart from them.
Getting Around the Islands
There are three main ways to get around the island – by rental car, motorbike, or by taxi. Since all the taxis here are controlled by one Taxi Company, the prices are quite high and services not really that good. The only times I would recommend taking a taxi is when you are going to a party and want to drink alcohol. Renting cars might be an option for some people but in general I would say it’s not really necessary and by far the best way to get around the island is renting your own motorbike or scooter. It’s one of the main reasons I love this place so much because driving a motorbike here gives you the ultimate feeling of freedom.
It’s fairly safe and convenient. You have to pay around $6 to $8 per day for motorbike and you have to give them your passport as a deposit. Don’t be worried about this as it is just a normal procedure in Southeast Asia because they need to have some form of security. If you choose your rental shop wisely for instance by checking Google ratings everything will be fine and you won’t regret it. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t even recommend Phangan to anyone who isn’t willing to rent his own motorbike because it has such a huge impact on how good your experience will be on the island.
The food in Phangan is amazing and still fairly cheap compared to other regions in Thailand like some parts of Bangkok or Samui. You can get awesome local Thai food for $2 or choose from the plenty of international restaurants that are run by foreigners and offer good quality as well. There are also lots of good cafes around the island and coffee would be around $1.50 or fresh fruit smoothie around $1.
I hope this travel guide helps you make your next trip to Phangan an unforgettable experience.