Koh Phangan is a small island situated in the Gulf of Thailand not far from the mainland city Surat Thani. 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.
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.
how to get here
There is no airport here on the island so there are a few ways to travel here from Bangkok to Koh Phangan. I recommend flying down if you don’t mind spending a little extra on the travel. It is much faster than the bus and train so you won’t lose too much of your holiday time, you will have more time for wakeboarding and relaxing this way. My personal preference is to fly to Surathani with AirAsia as it is only a little more than the bus or train but much more convenient and comfortable. Flying to Koh Samui is the most direct but can be a little expensive. So it depends on your budget and how quickly you want to get down here, I have listed below some travel information for travelling to Koh Phangan from Bangkok, Surathani and Samui. Also directions on how to get to Wake Up! Wakeboarding in Chaloklum village when you arrive on the island.
Bus or Train
Travel by Government bus from the Southern Bus Terminal in Bangkok all the way to Koh Phangan everyday at 7.30pm arriving on Koh Phangan at 10am the next day, or
Travel by Lomprayah bus and ferry everyday at 6am arriving at 4.20pm or depart at 9pm arriving at Koh Phangan 11am the next day, or
Travel by train from Bangkok to Surathani.
Train departure times – 8.05am, 1pm, 2.45pm, 3.10pm, 3.35pm, 5.05pm, 5.35pm, 6.30pm, 7.30pm, 10.50pm.
Train arrival times – 4.45pm, 12.22am, 1.23am, 2am, 3.45am, 4.24am, 5.48am, 6.23am, 7.06am, 8.05am.
If you want to catch a plane, you can fly with Bangkok Air direct to Koh Samui, they leave every hour from 6am-10pm. Bangkok Airways can be quite expensive however, so if you are on a budget but still want to get here faster than by boat or train you can also fly with Air Asia or Nok Air to Surathani
From Koh Samui
If you are going from Samui you can catch the Lomprayah Catamaran that leaves Mae Nam pier at 8am and 12.30pm, also from Nathon pier at 11.15am, 1.30pm and 5pm. You can also come with the Seatran ferry which leaves Bangrak pier at 8am, 12.30pm and 3.30pm. The Sonserm boat goes from Nathon pier at 11am and 5.30pm.
If you arrive at Surathani Airport you can buy a ticket to Koh Phangan from one of the booths on the ground floor of the airport. The Lomprayah Catamaran departs from Donsak pier to Tong Sala Koh Phangan everyday at 9am, 11am and 2.30pm and takes about 3 hours. You can also go with the Raja Ferry which departs from Donsak pier everyday at 7am, 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 6pm and takes between 2 and a half to 3 hours. There is also the Songserm boat that leaves everyday at 9am and 3.30pm. The bus from the airport to the pier takes about 1 and a half hours.
From Tong Sala, Koh Phangan
The best place to arrive on Koh Phangan is Tong Sala pier. You can catch a taxi for about 100-150bht per person to Chaloklum, or you can rent a moped for 150-200bht per day. The Wake Up! Wakeboarding office is opposite Malibu Resort in the village of Chaloklum. There should be maps available at the pier so pick one up on your way out and follow the main road through the middle of the island from Tong Sala to Chaloklum. Turn left at the 7-11 in Chaloklum and follow the road for about 1-2km until you get to Wake Up! Wakeboarding on the left side of the road.
Please contact us below if you need any help or advice with transport or tickets.
Chaloklum is a small fishing village on the North side of Koh Phangan island. The fishing, particularly of squid, has been the main source of income for the local people in the village. This means the tourism industry has not developed quite as quickly as it has on other parts of the island and the village has kept it’s authentic Thai atmosphere.
In the 11 years that I have been here I have noticed a slow but positive level of development. The ex-pat community has grown with more and more ‘farang’ coming over to live or start businesses. There is now a massive choice of Thai food and sea food restaurants, and due to Chaloklum’s location in the main fishing area of the island, the fish is always fresh straight off the boats. The influx of international people has certainly helped the variety of food available, with Italian, Indian, Mexican and European restaurants opening up. Cucina Italiana is run by the famous Genni, who has been living in the island for 15 years and has regular visitors from all over the island, Thursday and Sunday nights he fires up his pizza oven from fresh cooked pizza, his deserts and pasta are also fantastic.
As for the nightlife, Chaloklum is generally the sleepier end of the island yet there are still some great bars that often stay open late into the night. The Lost Dog bar has a great pool table, beach front terrace and delicious tex mex food. The Crow bar situated back in the jungle is more of a late night place, often they will provide free food on ‘party’ nights, which often end in a mountain of empty beer bottles and shot glasses, the Chalok bar is the most recent addition run by a lovely young Italian couple that rock the walls off their bar with a fine selection of great tunes. There are also a few smaller beach bars open during the daytime where you can grab a cocktail and sit on the beach looking over the beautiful Chaloklum bay.
There are many places to stay on the island of Koh Phangan, ranging from cheap budget accomodation (300 Bht per night) to higher end places that can go up to 6000 Bht per night.
In Chaloklum village some of the recomended budget bungalows are Rose Villa, North Beach, Wattana and Sarissa resorts. The middle to higher end places from around 1000 Bht are Chaloklum Bay Resort, Dee Dee Retreats and Baan Hin Ngam Villas.
If you have trouble contacting any of these places please feel free to contact us and we will help you find somewhere to stay. Some more ideas on accommodation can be found here: http://www.kohphanganhotelreviews.com/
All of these resorts are along the beach front, and have easy access for the boat to pick you up at your door for a wakeboard session.
When you are not wakeboarding, relax in a hammock and take in the tropical paradise around you while watching the wakeboarders ride in the bay. There are also plenty of other activities within walking distance to do while you are here.
Chaloklum has 4 scuba diving schools offering fun diving and PADI courses from open water to instructor level. There are also Phangan Safari where you can go elephant trekking or see the snake show, First Bow and Arrow centre for Archery and plenty of jungle walks and treks in the mountain.
A short taxi ride will take you to the other parts of the island, so you will not be far away from the Full Moon Party, Half Moon Party, Black Moon Party, Jungle experience and all the other parties that go on across Koh Phangan. There are also some beautiful waterfalls to see during the rainy season.