Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand: Travel/Tourist Information Guide
Ko Pha Ngan is the home of the world's best beach Full Moon Party. It is a small island in the Gulf of Thailand in the southern region of the country with an area of about 125 square kilometers. The island is a part of the Samui Archipelago with its two sister islands; the larger island of Ko Samui to the south and the smaller Koh Tao to the north. The main tourist attraction is the Haad Rin hosting the Full Moon Party. The nightlife is what the island boasts. Almost every beach in this island offers variety of bars and clubs like the Club 9; the largest indoor club in Ko Pha Ngan few steps away from the famous Full Moon Party. Ko Pha Ngan is abundant with beaches that has numerous resorts and hotels that offer accommodation. The beaches also offers markets and shopping stalls for mementos and souvenirs. Some of the activities in Ko Pha Ngan are wake boarding, Muay Thai at the Jungle Gym, archery at the First Bow & Arrow Club, elephant trekking, and yoga.
Beaches & Nightlife
Ko Pha Ngan has a gift of beautiful beaches and nightlife. The beaches have an array of restaurants, bars, hotels, and resorts. The island's beaches are already well-developed and there is a great number of tourists that visit the island especially during the summer seasons. Some of the famous beaches are the Haad Rin, the Haad Yao, the Thong Sala, the Chaloklum, and the Ao Thong Nai Pan.
The Haad Rin is the most popular beach in the island. It actually consists of two beaches; the Haad Rin Nok and the Haad Rin Nai. The Haad Rin Nok is situated in the southeast of the island and is considered as one of the best in the island of Ko Pha Ngan. It has a lot of restaurants, bars, and resorts. Although it is only 800 meters long, it is hosting the monthly Full Moon Party. It is the most celebrated and longest-running dance culture events in the world. Aside from the famous party, the beach has the most vibrant nightlife with bars like the Cactus, the Kangaroo Bar, the Lazy House, the Outback, the Reggae House, and the Tommy Bar.
The Haad Yao is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island and it is even considered as one of the best in the country. The name Haad Yao means "Long Beach", which is in contrast with its length about 1 kilometer. It's ideal for beach activities, water sports, and smaller beach parties. It has a younger sister, the Haad Salad, which is a mere meter wide. It is quieter with less swimming possibilities but nevertheless beautiful. The best nightlife in these beaches are the Apache, the Bebop, and the Jack's Bar.
The Thong Sala is known to be the second fiddle to the Haad Rin. It is also regarded as the disembarkation destination before heading on to another beach. It has now developed over the years with a lot of shopping destinations, restaurants, and bars. Some of the best destinations for a nightlife are the Girlie Bars, the Harp Bar, the Masons Arms. Some of the best places to shop are the Panthip Plaza, the No Name Buddha Shop, the Hammock Lovers Gallery, and the Tesco Lotus.
Chaloklum Bay & Mae Haad Beach
At the northwestern coast of the Ko Pha Ngan, the Chaloklum and the Mae Haad beaches are located. The Chaloklum Beach is two-and-a-half kilometers long with the main village and pier in the middle. The pier is one of Ko Pha Ngan's fishing location and the surrounding mountains and hills making a maximum wind protection perfect for wake boarding with its calm water. The Mae Haad is a more tranquil beach with several bungalow operations with a couple of resorts on the beach front. Some of the best nightlife spots in these beaches are the Café del Mar, the Omega, the Sheesha, the Lost Dog, and the Wake Up! Bar.
Ao Thong Nai Pan
The Ao Thong Nai Pan is located on the northeast of Ko Pha Ngan. It has two adjacent beaches; the Thong Nai Pan Noi and the Thong Nai Pan Yai. There are cheap beach side bungalows, a top-end resort, and several mid-range options. There are also restaurants and bars like the Beach Bar at Havana Beach Resort, the Easy Corner, the Luna Lounge, and the Sand.
There are other attractions in Ko Pha Ngan aside from the beaches. There are also other natural attractions in the island that are mostly visited by tourists, some of the most beautiful views are the Island's Tallest Tree, the Khao Ra, and the Phaeng Waterfall. The Island's Tallest Tree has a height of 14 meters. It is a monstrous tropical rubber forest tree near the Wat Pho. The Khao Ra towers over the island and affords great scenic views. There is a central running over the island’s crest from Ban Tai to Thong Nai Pan Beach on the island’s northeastern side. The Phaeng Waterfall is one of the largest waterfall on Ko Pha Ngan. It has two levels and it offers many tracks leading to viewpoints in the mountain. The waterfall belongs to Thon Sadet - Koh Phangan National Park. Another beautiful waterfall is the Wang Sai Waterfall.
There are other attractions like the temples. Some of the most visited temples are the Kuan Yin Chinese Temple, the Wat Pho, and the Wat Phu Khao Noi. The Kuan Yin Chinese Temple is made up of seven different buildings, each are attractive and with extensive views. The temple is housing a large golden Buddha image and wind chimes throughout. The Wat Pho is a popular attraction that attracts many health enthusiasts because of the herbal sauna and massage center in the temple. It is probably the best massage destination on the island. The Wat Phu Khao Noi is the oldest temple on the island. It is the most tranquil location in Ko Pha Ngan with a lot of retreats that are held here. Visitors are requested to park outside the grounds and to not pose with the Buddha images.
If travelling by plane, the closest airport is the Ko Samui Airport. There are domestic filghts from Bangkok, Phuket, and Chiang Mai. For international flights, it only caters flights from Singapore. From the airport, there ferry docks to Ko Pha Ngan. Fast Lomprayah catarman costs 300 baht and Songserm Express costs 200 baht. Another best option in arriving by plane is the Chumphon Airport, it has cheaper flights from Bangkok. From the airport, there are high-speed ferries going to Ko Pha Ngan via Koh Tao, it costs 450 baht. A cheaper flight from Bangkok is also catered in Surat Thani Airport. However, visitors need to take a bus and a ferry from the airport to Ko Pha Ngan, which is less convenient.
Motorcycles can be rented throughout the island. Semi-automatic 100-125 cc motorbikes can be rented at 120 baht per day or 170 baht per day for the automatic 100-125 cc motorbikes. If staying in the island for a couple of days, the will be a big discount on the rental fee. Upon renting, tourists are asked to leave passports and a minimum deposit of 1000 baht. Riding a motorcycle on an island with a great nightlife might be very dangerous especially at night. Staying on a safe side and taking a songthaew is another option. The price of a ride is 100 baht or even higher. This is the only form of taxi available in the island. Some tourists choose saving a lot of money by just renting a motorcycle. In a fun way of getting around the island, a round-the-island, all-day boat tour is available.