In the Gulf of Siam, just north of Koh Samui, is Koh Phangan, an island that’s highly recognisable due to the distinctive limestone karsts that protrude from its turquoise waters.
Phangan has somewhat of a split personality. Although notorious for the ever-popular Full Moon Parties frequented by thousands of backpackers each month, the stunning island offers much more than all-night parties, and shouldn’t be dismissed by those looking to get away from it all.The festivities take place at Haad Rin beach on the southern point of the island, and the area is populated with clubs and bars. Further north however, lies the true spirit of Phangan – dense inland jungles and sleepy secluded bays just perfect for watching the lazy tide roll in.
Calm waters, ultra-soft sands and pretty palms; Haad Salad is a beautiful sheltered cove up on the northern coast of the island. Locally translated as ‘pirate beach’, the shallow bay was so named as in days gone by it was inaccessible to the Thai navy, making it a favourite spot for smugglers to hide away within. Today it’s more likely to be used by chilled out beachgoers, each searching for their own spot of paradise to treasure. A handful of back beach bars offer a place to enjoy the sunrise with a long drink.
One of the best beaches in Koh Phangan, and arguably in the whole of Thailand, is Bottle Beach. Whether you travel via relaxing long tail boat or opt to embark on a tough jungle trek, what waits for you is a secluded sandy setting where you can get away from it all.
Venturing out to the natural mountain pools on the way to Ban Tai is highly recommended when visiting the island. The cool, fresh water runs off the mountains and provides visitors a wonderfully natural place in which to bathe. A refreshing dip is especially enjoyable when the weather is hot and humid.
GMT +7 hours
13 hours 40 minutes
Best Time To Go
January to April
Koh Phangan enjoys a tropical climate, with lots of sunshine and high humidity. There are three main seasons: the dry season, from January to April; the hot season, from May to September; and the wet season, from October to December. Most people opt to visit during the dry season, when the climate has a comfortable average of 28°C, although the weather can still be agreeable up to August, despite the occasional shower. Koh Phangan's wet season is very turbulent, with monsoons and strong winds commonplace.