Koh Phangan Island
Koh Phangan is a small island situated in the Gulf of Thailand not far from the mainland city Surathani. Commercially it is best known for it’s world famous Full Moon Party, however there is much more to the island than most of our visitors see. Koh Phangan hosts some of the best beaches in Thailand, beautiful national parks, coral reefs and of course activities like wakeboarding and watersports.
(video courtesy of TruTravels)
The island was first inhabited about 600 years ago, when passing monks built the temple Wat Phu Kao Noi just outside of Tong Sala. In later years the locals grew mainly coconuts but also many other types of fruits and material such as rubber. It wasn’t until relatively recently that the beaches became populated by resorts and tourists. For the last 20 years tourism has become an increasing source of income for the local people here in Koh Phangan. The Koh Phangan people are very friendly and always do their best to make you feel welcome, if you respect the people and their culture you are sure to have a great experience on the island of Koh Phangan.
There are different vibes around the island catering for all interests. On the west coast we have alot of Yoga schools that have attracted many people from around the world interested in learning the healing and spiritual arts. There are many different styles of yoga, meditation, Reiki, Theta healing, Tantra and detox courses on offer.
The south coast along from Tong Sala to Haad Rin is where the late night bars and parties are focused. Since the first Full Moon Party in 1987 the party scene on Koh Phangan has grown exponentially, now we have every type of moon party from half moon, black moon, Shiva moon and moon set parties. For myself, being on the slightly matured side, I prefer the smaller parties like Eden Garden, Guy’s Bar, Merkabar and the Lighthouse venues, which have great music, a smaller crowd of 100-200 people and not so many dribbling kids eating the sand after drinking too many buckets.
The east coast is much more secluded as the beaches are much harder to access by road. There are still some beaches that can only be accessed by boat with Haad Yang being the last beach on the island without any construction or development. Than Sadet is famous for it’s visit from King Rama V, who signed his initials into a rock near the water fall there. In the north east corner is Tong Nai Pan beach, this is still one of my favorite beaches with beautiful fine white sand, deep bays which are great for swimming and during the west wind season makes a good location for wakeboarding with it’s flat water and wind shielding mountains, it has now been developed into a high end part of the island with 4-5 star hotels lining the beach. I also love Bottle Beach, a quiet secluded beach, which was the first place I arrived on my first trip to Koh Phangan when backpacking around Asia, to me it felt like I had escaped from the hustle and bustle of London and found my own tropical desert island away from all the madness of the rat race in the city, it was the first time in my life that I felt I had found my home.
Wake Up! Wakeboarding is situated in Chaloklum on the north coast of the island. Chaloklum was once the main port on Koh Phangan due to it’s year round deep water and wind protected location. The pier is no longer used by transport ferry boats but still gets heavy use from the local fishing industry and the dive schools. Chaloklum has become the home of water sports and sea activities such as diving, sailing, wakeboarding, waterski, freediving and fishing. The Thai fishing industry is still a big source of income for the countries economy, with squid being one of the main exports from Chaloklum village. The village is close to the islands most beautiful reef in Mae Haad, still brimming with life and coral it is an incredible place to snorkel or dive and is easy to get to from the boat or from the beach.
With so much to offer, Koh Phangan is sure to be a great holiday destination for all. For some ideas of activities for you or the family while you are on the island, check out some of these places: Diamond Muay Thai, Itsarami Angthong national marine park sailing trips, KBA Kiteboarding school, Wipe Out water park, Just For Fun canopy adventures. If you prefer to have some activites organised for you then check out TruTravels, they are really friendly and relaxed, a very unique tour company that won’t make you feel like a package tourist.