Are you planning a trip to Koh Phanhgan? Read the below travel guide on things to do in Koh Phangan to make the most of your Koh Phangan visit.
Sprawling over an area of 125 sq km, Koh Phangan is the fifth largest island in Thailand and is situated between Koh Samui and Koh Tao. The place is mostly renowned for its boisterous full-moon parties and backpacking tourists. But there is so much more to this island that goes beyond the typical stereotypes. This stunning island boasts lush jungles, towering mountains, cascading waterfalls, a mesmerising marine park, and, of course, its captivating beaches, which offer serenity and tranquillity. Along with it, you have the buzzing night market and beautiful temples.
If you are seeking inspiration on what to do in Koh Phangan, here is our list of the best things to do in Koh Phangan:
1. Spend a day at Ang Thong National Marine Park
Of all the Koh Phangan attractions, Ang Thong National Marine Park is one of the most visited. It’s a stunning archipelago of 42 tropical islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Spanning over an area of 102 square kilometres, it is home to exquisite limestone cliffs, white sandy beaches, numerous birds, and lush jungles. Perfect for doing outdoor activities in Koh Phangan like snorkelling, diving, camping, and hiking, this marine park is the jewel of the island. There is also a restaurant in the park where you can gobble up tasty Thai cuisine. It is open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. The best way to reach this marine park is by taking speedboats.
2. Admire the Best Waterfalls in Koh Phangan
It’s not just the sand and the sea; Koh Phangan has many cascading waterfalls that are breathtaking to watch. You can hike your way to the waterfalls, take a dip, and click insta-worthy photos of your expedition. Start with Phaeng Waterfall, which is the most beautiful waterfall in Koh Phangan and located in Thansadej National Park. Next is Wang Sai Waterfall near Mae Haad Beach. Click a photo, and it makes for the perfect screensaver on your device. And last but not least, Sramanora Waterfall, which has two pools around it. You can relax and take a dip in the cooling waters of these pools.
3. Do a hike until Bottle Beach
A sliver of white sand and azure water with lush greenery—that is the Bottle Beach for you. One can grab a drink from the surrounding outlets and admire the scenery before them. Reaching this breathtaking beach is challenging, but that’s what makes it interesting. You can hike your way through the lush jungle of Haad Rom on different tracks, which range from about two kilometres to three kilometres. Travel tip: Always hike in groups, carry bug repellent, wear sturdy shoes, and carry a first aid kit with yourself.
4. Visit the Serene Temples in Koh Phangan
Explore the serene aspect of Thai culture in Koh Phangan by visiting its temple. They are a testament to Thailand’s relationship with Buddhism and impeccable architecture. You can easily accommodate a visit to temples in your Koh Phangan sightseeing plans. Some of the stunning temples to explore include Wat Nok, Wat Khao Tham, and Wat Pho.
5. Try scuba diving in Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan, located in the Gulf of Thailand, is home to exotic marine life, aquatic plants, colourful fish, manta rays, corals, etc. All these underwater elements make it exciting for any scuba diver, both new and experienced. You, too, can be a part of underwater exploration at the best dive sites in Koh Phagan, including Haad Yao, Koh Ma, Sail Rock, Ang Thong National Marine Park, Hin Yippon, and Chumphon Pinnacles. There are also a few diving schools that can train you on how to use diving equipment and help you get a diving certification.
6. Discover Koh Mah
Separated from Koh Phangan, Koh Mah island is connected to the former via a small strip of sand, which is likely visible during low tide. The aquamarine water surrounding this island is crystal clear. And since fishing isn’t permitted, you can see plenty of small rocks, colourful corals, and tiny fish around the island. Snorkelling is permitted; however, be careful of the sea rocks. This island gives you a quick escape from the crowds on Koh Phangan. One can also soak up the sun, do yoga, and go on a picnic.
7. Head to Thong Sala Night Market
Thong Sala Night Market is an absolute must-visit destination in Koh Phangan. This vibrant marketplace offers a variety of tasty Thai food and drinks at affordable prices. Here, you will find many food stalls serving mouth-watering dishes such as pizza, mango with sticky rice, pad Thai noodles, Tom Yum soup, and more. Stroll through the market to fully absorb the charming atmosphere of the place. In addition to the delightful food, you can also shop for unique souvenirs to take back to your loved ones. The market opens from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m. To fully enjoy the Thong Sala Night Market without feeling rushed or overwhelmed, it’s advisable to arrive early in the evening.
8. Be a part of the Full Moon Party or the Half Moon Party
No visit to Koh Phangan is complete without experiencing the legendary full moon and half-moon parties. Plan your trip accordingly, and immerse yourself in the wild and vibrant atmosphere of these renowned parties. The epicentre of these festivities is Haad Rin, where revellers come together to dance, drink, and enjoy the pulsating music under the twinkling stars. As a tourist, it’s essential to experience at least one full moon party on this vibrant island, which is the fifth-largest island in Thailand.
9. Go on an adventurous ATV trip
For those of you who like to engage in thrilling and fun adventures, being a part of an ATV tour in Koh Phangan is an absolute must-try activity. The adrenaline rush from exploring the rugged terrain and lush jungle in a fully automatic vehicle is an experience like no other. There are many ATV tours in Koh Phangan of which you can be a part. Most ATV tours last for an hour and a half. As you ride your four-wheeler across the trails, make sure to stop and capture the panoramic views with your camera. Without a doubt, this is one of the most thrilling and adventurous things to do in Koh Phangan and is not to be missed!
10. Take a bicycle tour of Koh Phangan
Explore the hidden gems of Koh Phangan on a thrilling bike tour. Pedal your way through lush greenery, scenic hills, temples, local markets, and around beautiful beaches. The best way to experience a bicycle tour is in a group, as you discover the island’s charming nooks and crannies with like-minded individuals. Exploring the island on a bike is a unique experience that you will never forget. Along the way, you’ll have the opportunity to meet local communities, friendly Thai people, cosy cafes, scenic routes, and so much more. So don’t miss out on this exhilarating activity that promises fun, adventure, and unforgettable memories.
Things to Remember: When on a bike tour, do not forget to pack a first-aid kit, sun block, mosquito repellent, raincoats, snacks, and a water bottle.
11. Take a Thai cooking class.
Immerse yourself in Thai culture by taking a Thai cooking class during your stay in Koh Phangan. Famous globally, Thai cuisine is a delicious and versatile cuisine that is well worth learning. Impress your loved ones with your newfound skills by taking a cooking class while on vacation. Koh Phangan offers many options for cooking schools where you can learn the basics of Thai cooking, such as C&M Culture Centre in Sri Thanu and The Phangan Cooking Class. These schools will provide you with all the necessary tips and tricks to work with Thai ingredients and spices and whip up your favourite Thai dish whenever you want.
12. Learn some Muay Thai boxing in Koh Phangan
Muay Thai is a martial art and the national sport of Thailand. Most of the matches are held every night in different arenas. Take this opportunity to catch an exciting bout between two Thai fighters. In Koh Phangan, you can find many gyms and stadiums that offer training to people of all levels. The training sessions typically last about 2 hours and are available at an average price of 300 THB. It’s an excellent opportunity to learn something new and experience the thrill of this unique sport. So don’t miss out on the chance to train with skilled instructors and gain a deeper appreciation for Thai culture through muay Thai.
13. Have a fun day out at the Challenge Phangan Waterpark
Challenge yourself to overcome various obstacle-based challenges within a set time frame and emerge victorious at Challenge Phangan Waterpark. This water park is reminiscent of the famous show Takeshi’s Castle and is perfect for those who love water parks or are adventure sports enthusiasts. You are bound to fall in love with the fun activities offered here, such as ziplining, stepping stones, rolling barrels, balance beams, big red balls, and an indoor playhouse. With crystal-clear water surrounding you, the experience is further heightened.
Location: 84/32 Moo 8, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani, Thailand, 84280
Timings: Opens from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.
14. Go trekking in Koh Phangan.
Experience Koh Phangan’s natural beauty and wilderness through trekking—a thrilling adventure that takes you through rugged terrain and lush forests. The island’s eastern coast is an ideal spot for hiking and camping. While the central mountainous area around Khao Ra provides breathtaking panoramic views of Chaloklum and Thong Nai Pan, Although the route is not too challenging, it can be easy to get lost, making it essential to hire a guide. Be a part of this exhilarating activity and discover the hidden gems of Koh Phangan.
15. Kayaking in Koh Phangan
Kayaking is a fantastic way to unwind and explore the hidden gems of Koh Phangan. You can discover unspoiled coves and beaches that are otherwise inaccessible. The west coast is a popular destination for kayakers due to its calm waters. If you’re a beginner, do not go kayaking alone. It’s important to have a guide or join experienced kayakers. Safety should always be a priority, so make sure to wear protective clothing like a life jacket. Take in the picturesque views while you paddle and enjoy a relaxing day out on the water.
Places to rent Kayak from: Haad Son and The Beach Village
Rent of Kayak: Anywhere from THB 150 to THB 200 per hour
Best time to do kayaking in Koh Phangan: December to March
16. Boat trips in Koh Phangan
Experience the ultimate Koh Phangan adventure with a long-tail boat or ferry ride. Start your journey from Sadet Beach and explore the stunning granite rocks, cliffs, and coral reefs along the way. You can stop at various points to take in the picturesque views and even snorkel to immerse yourself in the crystal-clear waters. You may also stumble upon beach restaurants and bars to enjoy a delicious meal and drinks while soaking up the beach vibes with your friends and family. Don’t forget to capture the memories with some amazing photos!
17. Relax at Mae Haad Beach.
Mae Haad Beach is one of the most beautiful beaches in Koh Phangan. It provides a peaceful and relaxing atmosphere. Located on one of the north-western sides of the island, it is lined with swaying palms and pearly white sand. This beach is perfect for lounging and lazing around, as it has many beach swings and hammocks. You can sit in the shade to read your favourite book or soak in the sun while enjoying the sea breeze. One can also get a traditional Thai massage and try dishes from the nearby restaurants.
Best time to visit Mae Haad Beach: The best time to visit Haad Mae Haad Beach is between December and March.
18. Meditate at the Wat Khao Tham.
After all the partying and engaging in island adventures, how about you end your Koh Phganan trip on a tranquil note? Maybe try some meditation at the Wat Khao Tham temple and meditation centre. This centre is open for meditation from the 10th to the 20th of every month. By visiting this temple, you can immerse yourself in Thai culture and spirituality while also finding much-needed “inner peace”. Make sure to plan your visit during the centre’s opening days to ensure you can fully experience everything this beautiful location has to offer. Add this temple to your list of things to do in Koh Phangan, and end your trip on a peaceful note.
Location: Tambon Ban Tai, Amphoe Koh Phangan, Chang Wat Surat Thani
Timings: 09:00 AM to 06:00 PM
Entry Fees: The temple entry is free, but donations are appreciated.
So these were the best 18 things to do in Koh Phangan that you can consider in your itinerary on your trip to the beautiful island. Once you reach the island, you will realise it is more than just a backpacker destination. The laid-back and relaxed vibe of this place lets you connect with nature on a deeper level, and if you’re not into partying, there are still plenty of activities in Koh Phangan that you can do to make your trip worthwhile. Explore Thailand tour packages, and you can plan your ultimate Thai vacation. Start exploring today!
FAQs on Koh Phangan: Things to do
Q1. Is it worth going to Koh Phangan?
Yes. Apart from being a backpacker destination, Koh Pahangan is an ideal place to get close to nature, carry out adventure activities, engage in cultural tours, and visit Buddhist temples.
Q2. What is Koh Phangan best known for?
Koh Phangan is best known for its full-moon parties, which attract tourists from all over the globe.
Q3. What is the best time to visit Koh Phangan?
The best time to visit Koh Phangan is from December to March, which is the cool season.
Q4. What are the things to do in Koh Phangan when it rains?
If your plans to explore Koh Phangan are dampened by the rain, fret not; there are still plenty of things you can do when it rains in Koh Phangan, like pamper yourself with a spa, take a Thai cooking class, watch a muay Thai match or learn its basics, join a pottery class, read a new book, visit a temple, and do yoga and meditation.
Q5. Where does the full moon party take place in Koh Phangan?
The full moon party takes place on Haad Rin Beach in Koh Phangan on every full moon night.