It is often the case that people visiting a place for the first time head for the main tourist hub and never manage to escape the ‘tourist traps’. When these people return home and talk to their friends who have been to the same area they often realize that they didn’t make good enough use of their time; that they weren’t adventurous enough. In order to avoid that sense of regret for all those planning on going to Koh Phangan for the first time, I have compiled this short list of highlights.
1) The number one attraction of Koh Phangan is undoubtedly the Full Moon Party or FMP as it’s also called. Just 10 minutes away by bike or taxi from Haad Rin is the small village of Ban Tai. At Mac Bay in Ban Tai is the Black Moon Party, and in the jungle 5 minutes up the Thong Nai Pan road is the Half Moon Party. Both are well organized parties with 1 main stage. They are well attended events that all serious party heads shouldn’t miss.
2) There is a walking trail from Haad Rin north to the small beach of Haad Yuan. It is a beautiful secluded beach without mains electricity that seems a million miles away from the noise and crowds of Haad Rin. It takes about an hour to walk to Haad Yuan. You can catch a longtail boat back to Haad Rin if you are too tired for the return journey.
3) Koh Phangan’s highest mountain is Khao Ra. It takes about 2 hours to reach the summit and on the way is a great waterfall called Phaeng Waterfall. The views along the trek are great and it gives you the chance to see something of the unspoiled interior of the island.
4) Another waterfall worth visiting is Than Sadet waterfall. This waterfall is near the quiet hippy beach of Than Sadet. For Thais it is a place of pilgrimage because 3 Kings of Thailand have carved their initials on a rock near the waterfall.
5) Tucked away in the north east of the island are the two gorgeous beaches of Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai. They are set in a lush amphitheater of mountains and are often regarded as the best beaches on Koh Phangan.
6) Koh Ma, Haad Yao and Haad Salad on the west coast of Koh Phangan all have coral reefs just off shore. They are great for snorkeling and contain lots of marine life.
7) The main town on the island is Thongsala. It is a great spot for souvenir shopping. At night there is a lively night market with the cheapest food in Koh Phangan. It is a must for those wanting to experience authentic Thai culture.
I’ve confined my list to seven items so people on a short holiday can do one thing a day and still have plenty of time for mingling with the herds in Haad Rin.