If you’re planning a trip to Thailand this year, I have a special recommendation for your destination right here: with Koh Phangan, your holiday break can go no wrong, and I guarantee you’ll have the time of your life if you set aside some time to visit this Thai island. I recently spent a week there, and I want to share my enthusiasm and trip impressions with you here – and who knows, these tips may just come in handy for keen travelers about to set out on their big Thai adventure.
Koh Phangan basics: Transport and accommodation
An ideal destination for tourists who dislike crowded streets and beaches, Koh Phangan is situated in the Samui Archipelago off the southeast coast of Thailand and it can be reached by a short ferry ride. Once you arrive on the island, you can hitch a cab to your hotel but you’ll want to bargain the ride price because local taxi drivers tend to set highly prohibitive ride fees. You may decide to rent a scooter and you won’t need a license to do this, but you’ll have to drive carefully as the local roads are heavily sanded, which is why the most frequent injuries treated in the healthcare centers and hospitals on the island are precisely those suffered by a fall from a scooter or motorbike.
My boyfriend and me decided to book our accommodation in Dakanda Resort because the price fit our trip bill perfectly. Dakanda Resort offers bungalow accommodation and the hygiene is relatively fine, considering the price. If you opt for the bed and breakfast deal, you can expect to get a menu with available dishes and you will be able to order your favorite off the list. Of course, tourists on a more substantial vacation budget can rent a villa on the coast and enjoy their stay with maximum luxury and style.
Thai cuisine: Where and what to eat in Koh Phangan
What I’ve found during my stay on the Thai island is that when in Koh Phangan, do as the locals do food-wise. Local restaurants will work just fine for most tourists when it comes to prices, taste and dish offer, but if you want to really taste Koh Phangan, I suggest you go and grab your food off the local street vendors. The only problem with the grubs sold on the street is hygiene, but if you know where to buy your food, you’ll be 100% covered. I recommend you shop for your meals from street vendors you see the locals buying their grubs from, and there’s another word of advice I have for Thai food first-timers: unless you warn your food seller to do away with dressings and seasonings, you should be prepared for abundance of fiery flavors because most local dishes are hot and packed with spice and herbs like chilly peppers and sriracha sauce.
If you prefer your food fresh, you should definitely check out the local Food Market and take your favorite pick from a range of fresh supplies and various beans. You might as well leave your belt at home, because once you’ve tried the stuff off the Market, you will always come back for second helpings. A word of the wise to the restaurant lovers – book your table at the Bamboo Bistrot and enjoy a real homelike meal with hearty staff always looking to please your refined palate and lots of tasty dishes on the menu (the offer includes traditional French cuisine, Thai dishes and snacks like pancakes and sandwiches).
Entertain the stay: Koh Phangan nightlife and favorite tourist spots
Tourists who want to truly feel the Koh Phangan nightlife pumping through their veins on their holiday should definitely go to the Full Moon and Half Moon Parties. A well-known nightlife event on the Thai island, Full Moon and Half Moon Parties gather thousands of young people from around the world on Haad Rin beach and the usual dress code includes fluorescent clothes, perfectly supplemented with a dash of glowing body paint.
Travelers who prefer a daytime adrenaline pumping experiences to all-night parties can try sailing, kayaking and wind surfing north off Thong Sala, while avid explorers and hikers will probably appreciate the opportunity to climb up the Sri Thanu volcanic cape to the south of the Haad son bay. Holiday-makers wishing to lounge around the beach can take delight in the relaxing Haad Salad beach or the calm Haad Chao Phao west from Koh Phangan, while beach-lovers who look for more than just sands, waves and peace in their beachside experience can take a trip to the Haad Yao, the northern part of the Haad Chao Phao, which offers lots of white sand paired with trendy beach bars and popular restaurants. On your Haad Yao day, you can also go snorkeling, diving or swimming in the warm sea, but if this is not enough for you adventure-wise, you may take a short trip to the Haad Mae Haad beach which is connected with national marine park Ko Maa and check out some stunning marine life there.
I loved my stay in Koh Phangan and I intend to return to the island soon for another take on this Thai paradise. I would strongly advise any tourist with a passion for different cultures, adventure and lifestyles to book their stay in Koh Phangan ASAP, because this is one of the best places to experience Thailand at its finest on your holiday. In the meantime, I’m all in on planning my next vacation at Koh Samui where I’ve already booked one of the incredible villas with a stunning view the ocean and all the vital facilities to round off my perfect trip with superior style, comfort and glamour.
Olivia Still is a world traveller, blogger, and ardent foodie. Her life mission is to visit every corner of the world, experience the sights, the cultures, the cuisines and share it all with you.