Koh Phangan is one of Southeast Asia’s island jewels, so, how many days on Koh Phangan is enough? The simple answer is as many as you want because the island is a stunning Thai island paradise with natural beauty and a plethora of things to see and do.
How many days do you need in Koh Phangan to see and cover everything? This is a slightly different question. There are so many activities and places to see, people can spend weeks and weeks and still not cover everything.
It would be very difficult to spend less than 3 days on Koh Phangan and say that you’ve really ‘seen’ it, but on the opposite end of the scale people do spend months frittering away their days, chilling at beach bars, and generally taking things easy.
Koh Phangan is that kind of place – easy. Haad Rin is the best know destination, but there are so many beautiful parts of the island to visit that it could take weeks to see them all. The south of the island is generally accepted as the party location, the north has Koh Ma and Mae Haad.
Koh Phangan is an island in the Gulf of Thailand and is the middle of a series of 3 islands. It is sandwiched between the larger Koh Samui, the uber tourist island in the Gulf, and Koh Tao, the diving mecca of Thailand.
Foreigners started arriving in numbers to Koh Phangan in the 80s, just as Koh Samui was becoming developed. Backpackers and budget travelers started to look for a more adventurous destination than Samui. They found their way on the slow ferry to Koh Phangan.
How many days should you spend in Koh Phangan?
Some people find that three to five days is sufficient to see the main attractions, while others prefer to stay longer to fully relax and enjoy the island’s laid-back atmosphere. Ultimately, it will depend on your personal preferences and how much time you have available.
Where to stay in Koh Phangan
Some of the best areas in Koh Phangan to book your accommodations include Haad Rin Beach, Baan Tai/Baan Kai, Thong Sala, Srithanu, Haad Yao, and Mae Haad. You can read more detail of the best places in Koh Phangan in this article: where to stay in Koh Phangan.
For me, Haad Rin Beach is the best base for first-timers and those who want to eperience the famous Full Moon Party. Here are some of the best hotels in Haad Rin:
|💖 Best Area to stay in Koh Phangan:
|💎 Best luxury hotel:
|The Cabin Beach Resort
|🏨 Best mid-range hotel:
|Sarikantang Resort And Spa
|💰 Best budget hotel:
|Sea Breeze Resort
The Cabin Beach Resort, 4-star resort is located along the Leela Beach and within easy walking distance from Haad Rin Beach. Each room is equipped with a private bathroom equipped with a bath or shower, complimentary toiletries and a hairdryer.
Sarikantang Resort And Spa, a fabulous mid-range hotel with all the luxuries of a high-end spa resort. Located just meters from the beautiful Leela Beach, the hotel offers stunning ocean views, a beachfront yoga pavilion, and a private beach for guests to revel in exclusivity.
Sea Breeze Resort, more affordable but with no compromise on quality. You can easily reach Leela Beach, Haad Rin Nai Beach, and Haad Rin Nok Beach.
How to get to Koh Phangan?
Traveling to and from the island and the party has been made easy nowadays. You have a choice of staying in Haad Rin where there is a selection of accommodation to suit all budgets, you can fly into Koh Samui Airport and take a speedboat over to Haad Rin for the night.
You can arrive from another part of Koh Phangan on any of the available methods of transportation laid on to ferry people to and from Haad Rin.
If you are departing from Bangkok and heading to the island, the easiest way to manage your travel is to head to the Khao San Road area and jump off one of the many tour buses which depart daily.
Getting to this tropical island for an extended stay leaves travelers with many options, you can catch a train to Surat Thani town and get a ferry across, you can fly into Surat Thani Airport and book onwards accommodation on the island, or you can make your way via any number of private speed boat connections from the mainland.
Most visitors arrive at Thong Sala pier, and there are always many eager tuk-tuk and songthaew (pick-up trucks) drivers waiting to transfer you to your location of choice.
Best things to do in Koh Phangan
Of course, the main draw for backpackers and the younger, hipper crowd to visit Koh Phangan is the full moon party. Although lost in time and much disputed, many believe the party has its origins in the mid 80s when a bungalow operation, Paradise Bungalows, held a party for its guests.
The parties gained fame by word of mouth, and they subsequently grew to be attended by up to 30,000 people. The epicentre of the full moon party has always been in Haad Rin, however, other parts of the island do hold parties as well.
Today, the party is still going strong and you will find bars pumping out all kinds of music to daylight, guest houses filling up in the days before the party, and a carnival atmosphere all along the Haad Rin coastline.
Food and accommodation are plentiful in and around the party and all over the island. In Haad Rin, you can enjoy the best Thai food, and sumptuous western food, and the prices aren’t too steep either.
The world-famous Pad Thai is sold on the streets of Haad Rin, with vendors lining the paths to the beach on party days. Guesthouses, private rooms, luxurious hotels, and villas are all on offer for visitors.
But, the full moon party isn’t the only thing to do and see on the island, there is an abundance of other sights and activities to while away your time. For starters, there are other parties.
The success of the full moon party has launched a succession of parties for different moons, from the half-moon party to the black moon party, the island now has over 20 different party days in any given month on Koh Phangan.
One of the most popular alternatives to the full moon party is the waterfall party, which takes place in Baan Thai in the middle of the island. It is more of a nightclub than a party, so it holds numerous events every week.
Sunsets and chill vibes are the order of the day at Amsterdam Bar. The bar has become famous for its reggae and relaxation. The panoramic views perched on a cliff are what people come for.
Then, the beaches are a heavy draw for many. In the north of the island, there is Mae Haad beach which stands out because it has a connection, with a walkable sandbank at low tide, to Koh Ma. Mae Haad Beach and Koh Ma are renowned for snorkeling and scuba diving. The vibe at the beach is very chilled and relaxing and there are plenty of hammocks and swings to keep you amused.
Slightly further along the northern coast, you will find Bottle Beach, one of the more difficult beaches to reach on the island. The beach is pristine because of its seclusion. To get here, you might want to jump in a boat taxi to avoid the 2 hour hike from Haad Khom Beach.
Other beaches on offer on the west coast, with backpacker hostels and more expensive accommodation, include along the west coast Secret Beach, Leela Beach, Haad Yao, and Haad Salad.
The north of the island is also known for its yoga retreats. Yoga retreats are now driving much of the visitor numbers. Indeed, there are so many retreats that it can be difficult to choose if you don’t have first-hand knowledge.
Heading eat, the east coast of the island is definitely less busy. However, Thong Nai Pan stands almost alone as a little party mecca for those wanting to escape the frenetic pace of the Full Moon and the beach crowds of the north.
For day trips, Ang Thong Marine Park, off Koh Phangan’s west coast, is a popular destination., The day trips on offer will take you around some of the 42 small islands which make up the marine park and take you to visit some of the secluded bays and beautiful beaches which go to from this marine park.
If more adventurous pursuits are your thing, then the Just for Fun Canopy Adventure might well leave an impression. Located in the centre of the island, there are 3 zip lines that skim across the jungle canopy top and offer thrills with views.
To take things more sedately, a visit to the Buddhist temple of Wat Phu Khao Noi may be in order. It is a gleaming white temple set in the mountains and offers a sanctuary from the beach life.
Alongside the more traditional Thai Buddhist temple of Wat Phu Khao Noi, there are several Chinese Buddhist temples on the island. Just a stone’s throw from Thong Sala, and heading into the mainland, you will find a couple of nicer examples, but the stand-out is the Kuan Yin temple.
There’s a night market in Thong Sala, not far from the pier, and this offers many of the local food ingredients if you want to start cooking for yourself.
Of course, the island is teeming with natural attractions, there’s waterfalls with natural pools for swimming, there’s mountains, and there’s amazing nature. You can hike for hours and hours, you can ride all-terrain vehicles across mountains and valleys, and you can get up close with the nature which the island offers you.
So, How many days in Koh Phangan is enough?
Limiting yourself to a bare minimum of 3 days on the island will mean limiting yourself to one of the main hubs, probably Haad Rin. This may give you time to go to a party at night and perhaps see a few beaches during the daytime, however, this could be a bit of a misadventure – spending a week or longer is probably a requirement for Koh Phangan as you won’t get bored. You can literally do anything, and spend however much time you want, in this island paradise.
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