For many people, the island of Ko Phangan will be widely associated with one thing and one thing only: a good party. Whilst we can pledge that it is great for just that, Ko Phangan has many other good things to offer when we travelled there in 2018. The island continuously stands as one of the top islands visited by travellers every year. Below, we have complied a list of activities that will tell you exactly why.
1. Waterfall Party
Unfortunately, we weren't in Thailand for the same date as the world famous Full Moon Party... however, we are super happy about that now as we got to go to the Waterfall Party instead! This party happens in Baan Tai and is located in the middle of the jungle, right next to a waterfall. It's hosted on two nights each month, almost always two days before/two days after Haadrin's Full Moon Party.
Starting our pre drinks at Cats in Space Hostel, we took a bumpy jeep ride with a bunch of other travellers, into the middle of the jungle and partied the night away with the help of some amazing DJ's playing house and techno classics. Doors open at 11 and stay open till a very modest..8am (We made it until 6:30 when the sun came up and called it a night). Over the past few years, the event has become well established with over 2000+ ravers attending each time. Highlights of the event don't just focus around the awesome music, you can enjoy numerous fire displays, acrobat performances, firework displays, 'fun fair rides' and clothes/jewellery stands too. Tickets cost 1600THB (£37) and can be bought online, at any hostel or on the door.
2. Mae Haat Beach
Famously known as the place where two tides meet. Two different tides of water end directly opposite each other, allowing a strip of the beach in between them to still be uncovered when they do. Grab your camera and head down to the beach at high tide to get a shot of you standing right in the middle, sort of like a modern day Moses, parting the seas in 2018.
Top Tip: Make sure you go there somewhere between high and low tide because if you go at low tide the waters are too far apart to actually get any decent pictures!
3. Herbal Sauna Baan Tai/Humongous Tree
In Koh Phangan there is a very, very, very big tree. Those 3 very's are actually an understatement still - This tree is a whopping 14 metres in Diameter! We all love a good picture, looking tiny in front of a ginormous tree, so definitely give this tree a visit when you are in Koh Phangan.
Whilst you are there, make sure you have your swimsuit/shorts packed as it is located right next to a herbal sauna. It's the perfect place kick back, relax and sweat out some of those naughty toxins gained after the full moon parties, plus it'll only set you back 120Baht. If you need some extra love, they also offer massage here. Opening times: 2pm - 7pm.
4. Moonlight Cinema
For the ultimate detox night, head to Moonlight Resort. This resort is so unique, providing the most chilled atmosphere and showings of awesome movies 2-3 times per night to help you chill out whilst in Koh Phangan.
They have a super-healthy menu, with mostly detox shakes and vegan options available. Their shakes actually contain 5HTP, which is a supplement to help increase serotonin levels, thereby increasing your mood and creating smiles all round, even with a stinking hangover. Others contain melatonin boosters (helps you sleep) and magnesium (helps brain function) for when you really do need a helping hand.
Check their facebook for movie times and whats showing as each day has a different theme. Movies start from 5pm onwards on a weekday and around 2:30pm on the weekend. Price is 150 Baht per ticket.
5. Thong Sala Night Market/Big C Weekend Market/Food Court
One thing you are not short of in Ko Phangan are places to eat. Whilst we were there, it wasn't the best weather, so a majority of our time was spent stuffing our faces at these three markets. As you can tell by many of our other blogs, we do love a good Night Market, and so do the majority of travellers in Ko Phangan by the looks of it. The markets were packed with people every time we visited them, which goes to show how deliciously good the food there was.
Thong Sala Night Market
We loved the No Name Chicken, Frozen Ice Cream Rolls, ridiculously cheap Fruit Shakes and sugared Bread Rolls from here. Some stands offered whole dinner options where you can mix-up portions from different meat and vegetable dishes - these were super-tasty!
There is a quirky food court at the back of Thong Sala Market, which has a few cool vegan/vegetarian stands, be sure to check this out too!
Big C Weekend Market
Our luck had it that we arrived in Ko Phangan on the weekend. There were hundreds of stands set up outside the Big C Supermarket, selling all-sorts such as food, clothes, bracelets and even household utilities. The Market usually runs on Saturday and Sunday from 4pm - 10pm.
The clothes were quite cheap and there was absolutely loads to choose from. As neither of us have any room left in our cases, our attention was focused more towards the food! Be sure to try the bamboo burnt rice and chicken sticks in this Market. They are amazing!
The Food Court
The food court is open every day from around 4pm and it was absolutely divine. The back wall consists of stands that serve actual meals such as pizza, roast chicken, tradition Thai food, roast duck, pasta, and soups. Whilst the stands in the middle serve different kinds of meat sticks, pancakes and waffles and other kinds of deserts. There is a coffee shop on the left hand side with a huge seating area in the middle of it all. We had a ritual of going here when we wanted a healthy dinner. We ordered two grilled sweetcorns from one of the ladies on the front stands and then headed to the back left corner to a lady who sold chicken breast with rice and salad for 40 THB. Delicious!
6. Full Moon Party
If you are going to Thailand, there is a very strong chance that you will have heard about the Full Moon Party. If you haven't... what rock have you been hiding under?! Come out from under there and have a party!
(Obviously we were very sad not to be going to this so please leave us a comment to let the other readers know if this is still worth going to!)
Once a month, depending on the lunar calendar, the full moon party takes place in Haad Rin, Koh Phangan. It's the most popular party in Thailand for a reason, boasting fire shows/fire jumping ropes (be careful with this one!), cheap alcoholic buckets, luminous body paint and acrobatic performances, all whilst you rave out to international dj's on the beach.
Tickets usually cost around 100 THB (£2.50) and starts from 6pm. There is also a half moon party for all those that miss the full moon party, which is funnily enough.. half way through the month!
7. Paradise Waterfall
You'll find this on maps.me and if you're a waterfall lover like us then its always worth a visit! The drive there is pretty entertaining and the final slog is up a very, very steep hill. Being two on one bike we thought we would be getting off and pushing at some stages. Likewise, as with most islands roads this one is treacherous, so unless your a confident driver and love weaving in and out of pot holes like Jac then jump off at the bottom and walk the last 500m.
We went at the peak of the dry season but the waterfall was still pretty cool and by no means dry. Theres a pool at the bottom you can swim in. The little fish here actually pick at your feet so you will also basically be getting a free fish foot spa!
For the more adventurous, the tree at the bottom over hangs the pool can be climbed and jumped from. Be careful in dry season as you can hit the bottom pretty quick if you don't jump in the right place so make sure you copy a local like Jac!
Theres any entry cost of 20 Baht but you get a free bottle of water which is always great.
8. Slip N Fly Water Slide
There's not too much I can say about this one... other than the fact it is a humongous water slide where you can slip off a nearly vertical drop... and fly into the air before hitting the water with a splash below. This awesome slide was opened in Thong Sala 2014 and has boomed in popularity since then. It isn't open every day and is usually open for 2-5 days twice per week, around the time of the half moon and full moon party dates. Around the slip n fly slide, there are 2 bars, BBQ food stalls and international dj's playing wicked tunes whilst you slip n fly off what seems like the face of the earth!
Address – Google : Unnamed Rd Tambon Ko Pha-ngan Amphoe Ko Pha-ngan Chang Wat Surat Thani 8428
9. Amsterdam Sunset Bar
Amsterdam Bar, is located on the South-West of the island in Wok Tum and is one of the best places on the island to catch a beautiful sunset. We think the best thing about this bar is that the Sunset doesn't come without a hefty 100 step walk to the bar, up the side of the mountain! You'll be rewarded as you sit down, relax, grab a beer with some friends and take a dip in the well-needed swimming pool they provide whilst watching the sunset.
The panoramic views offer the most instagram-worthy landscapes, allowing you to capture the whole west-coast of Koh Phangan in one picture.
Address: Koh Phangan district, Surat Thani, 84280, Thailand
10. Rent a Motorbike And Explore The Beaches
One day, we just rented a motorbike and explored every beach on the island. It was so fun as we literally got to see all walks of life in the island, from the busy backpacking towns and the fisherman's villages, to the local communities and the expensive resort areas. You can find all of the beaches on Maps.Me, we won't map it all out for you as it's more fun to make your own little adventure across the island! Make sure to top up with plenty of petrol before you leave!
Overall, Koh Phangan is our party go-to when in South Thailand. The Waterfall party was awesome and the island had so many cool activities to be experienced afterwards... that and lots and lots and lots of food, which is always a winner with us pair of foodies. If you have any questions, please drop a comment below, we would love to hear from you.