Koh Pha Ngan travel and tourist guide

Located in Thailand’s Surat Thani province, Koh Pha Ngan is an island famous for its great natural beauty and legendary Full Moon parties. Of all of Thailand’s islands, this is perhaps the one that attracts the most backpackers and much of the island has a bohemian atmosphere. Its proximity to neighbouring Koh Samui is making it gradually more appealing to package holidaymakers and those of a more mainstream persuasion.

Koh Pha Ngan has a good visitor infrastructure with a variety of accommodation options, although the majority of establishments are in the budget to mid-price range category, while upmarket resorts are springing up quickly. While some development is taking place to satisfy package holiday tourists visiting from Samui, the trend is still predominantly towards the younger and less mainstream generation. There are no tuk-tuks, go-go girls, five-star hotels or traffic jams here.

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Attractions & Activities
Rave the night away at one of Had Rin’s monthly Full Moon parties or enjoy a daytrip around neighbouring islands. Koh Pha Ngan is also developing as an adventure destination…more
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Accommodation
Countless budget backpacker venues cater to the masses, while selected mid and upper price establishments are on hand for more discerning visitors who still like to let their hair down…more
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Restaurants & Bars
Eat at your own guesthouse, a street stall or at any of the many traditional Thai restaurants around town. Koh Pha Ngan is becoming more developed with Western eateries arriving…more

Transportation
There’s no airport on Koh Pha Ngan, but it’s easy enough to take a ferry here from Surat Thani or Koh Samui with great all-in-one deals from Bangkok which include transfers as well…more

Koh Pha Ngan guide – full moon parties and pristine beaches

Had Rin is the island’s most famous beach and where much of the most popular budget accommodation can be found. It is also the setting for the Full Moon, Half Moon and Black Moon parties, which makes it the island’s centre of hedonistic activity.

Whether or not visitors choose to stay at Had Rin, it’s certainly one of those places that no holiday on Koh Pha Ngan would be complete without visiting. The beach is lovely, but the crowded lanes of internet cafés, cheap restaurants and bungalows, cramped onto this small peninsular, aren’t as appealing. Forget finding accommodation here over the Full Moon period unless you arrive several days beforehand.

Tong Sala is the capital of the island and the first place that the majority of visitors get to see on account of it being home to the main ferry port. Despite all the visitor traffic it receives, the town is not over-developed and retains a traditionally Thai atmosphere which is enhanced by its good selection of eateries, roadside food vendors and evening food market. It’s an odd mix of necessity, tourism services and souvenir t-shirt markets.

Tong Nai Pan, located in the northeast of the island, is commonly referred to as ‘TNP’ by backpackers and is home to the beaches of Ao Tong Nai Pan Yai and Ao Tong Nai Pan Noi. The beaches are popular with the bohemian crowd and yet overdevelopment is absent, with no high-rise hotels or apartment blocks to spoil the skyline. It’s perhaps the loveliest part of the island, with a good balance of amenities and a natural setting. More on Koh Phangan beaches.

Then there are the popular beach areas of the northwest including Had Yao and Had Salad, which offer mixed choices of accommodation. Chalaoklum Bay at the northern side is a sweeping bay that has retained its traditional fishing character and has some resorts. See our comprehensive Koh Phangan tourist guide.

Further reading…