The ULTIMATE LIST of things to do in Koh Phangan 🇹🇭
The island with a certain feeling of freedom and hedonism attached to it, being able to charm every person who sets foot on it’s hilly land.
Civilization is expanding and much is changing. Koh Phangan is now filled with hotels and more tourists and visitors than ever before, but some things still remain unchanged. For example, it’s hilly landscape covered in jungle giving the appearance of a place out of Jurassic Park. The white sand beaches and glorious sunsets continue to delight lovers of wild, unspoilt beauty.
Koh Phangan sort of cultivates laziness. Reading a book on the beach, resting in a hammock, counting the clouds and cooling off in the warm sea are things you want to do all day, everyday. But these are not the only things that you can do in Koh Phangan. The island has so many activities that keep life interesting and we will explore the best ones.
Explore the beaches of Koh Phangan
There are around 30 different beaches on Koh Phangan. That’s quite a bit of choice isn’t it? Each of the different beaches has it’s own crowd of people that you’re likely to meet. Some of the beaches are more rural (secret) than others. You can explore them one by one if you like, on a bike, moped or taxi. Although some of the more remote beaches may only be accessible by boat.
- Bottle Beach (Haad Khuad)
- Haad Wai Nam
- Thong Nae Pan Yai and Noi
- Koh Raham
Get a Thai Massage
The abundance of massage palours and spas simply don’t allow you to ignore getting a Thai massage. You can choose from many types of traditional Thai massage including the classic slow and deep reaching style, as well as the lighter version combined with yoga and natural aloe vera treatments.
The beautiful nature and peaceful atmosphere of the surrounding landscape add to the relaxation and allow you to fully rejuvenate your body and spirit.
Some of the most popular massage places in Koh Phangan include:
- Tuk Massage
- Orion Healing Centre
- Siam Healing Centre and Yoga
- The Dome
- Cocohut Spa
- Kanda Massage
- Ple’s Massage
Do Some Yoga
Yoga and detox programs are very popular on the island of Koh Phangan. Because the passion and demand for yoga by the island’s visitors is so high, finding a yoga class won’t be a problem. Depending on how long you’re there for, you will be able to find a yoga class schedule that suits you – from single sessions to a whole 6-months worth of lessons.
You can even earn a yoga instructors diploma while you’re there. Yoga classes usually cost around 300 baht, but discounts are available if you buy a block of lessons at once.
The best yoga schools in Koh Phangan are:
- The Yoga Retreat
- Orion Healing Center Yoga Studio
- The Sanctuary
- Ananda Resort
- Pure Flow Yoga
- Samma Karuna
- Gaia Yogashala
Try diving or snorkeling
There are several diving schools on the island of Koh Phangan, offering programs for both, experienced divers, as well as beginners. Although the coast of Koh Phangan is not the best place for diving in Thailand, it still has some amazing diving sites.
For example, Sail Rock divers resort offers good depth and clear visibility. Most importantly, there is always plenty of sea life there including the gentle giant that is the whale shark. There are a lot of diving schools that offer snorkeling and diving tours. Normally you depart between 11 and 5 PM and the tour should include transportation, diving equipment and lunch.
Another good snorkeling/diving spot is on Koh Ma, a mini-island connected to the northern part of Koh Phangan by a slim strip of sand.
Take a cooking class
Thai food is some of the finest cuisine in the world. So many people get there and just eat, eat and eat some more. You could go a step further and actually learn how to cook your favorite dishes yourself by signing up for a cooking class. There are plenty of ‘cooking schools’ on Koh Phangan where you can get recipes straight from the source, learn to cook them and have a great time!
Cooking classes are usually very relaxed and happen in a fun environment.
The best rated cooking classes on Koh Phangan are:
Visit the Angthong National Marine Park
Buy a one-day tour ticket from the Thong Sala pier and you can go on a boat tour through the Angthong National Marine Park. It’s picturesque green oases are scattered around in emerald water. When choosing what type of boat you would like to go for, choose a speedboat. It should reach the park in just 45 minutes compared to other boats that may take up to 2-3 hours to get there.
You can stay in the park overnight by booking a bungalow or renting a tent on the spot. A double tent costs around 250 baht pp, including a torch, sleeping bag and mosquito net. The park also has a restaurant on site and kayak or boat rental is also available for swimming among the beautiful inlets. Visiting the national park costs 300 baht for adults and 150 baht for children. For fully organised tours the costs start from 2000 baht per person. See their website for more up to date information.
Koh Phangan waterfalls
Noisy waterfalls flow through the green, dense hills of Koh Phangan. The waterfalls are only “noisy” throughout the rainy (monsoon) season, while during the dry period the water retreats to reveal the river channels. If your stay in Koh Phangan coincides with the rainy season, you should hike to the source of the waterfall, especially if you enjoy swimming in cool water.
The difficulty of reaching any of the waterfalls in Koh Phangan varies, some can be reached quite easily, while others require some time and effort.
Go to a Full Moon Party
Full Moon Party is a huge event with lots of booze, dancing, loud music and neon paint. It happens every month on the night of the full moon, when Haad Rin beach turns into a huge dance floor. During the ‘high season’ (New Year’s Eve) the event can reach around 30 thousand attendees.
The dress code is simple: swimwear, t-shirt, anything that glows and plenty of neon paint.
If big crowds is not for you, feel free to check out any of the smaller parties happening at the same time on other beaches in Koh Phangan. For example the Half Moon Party and Quarter Moon Party. There is also the Black Moon Party. We wrote all about attending a Full Moon Party, check it out below.
Take in the view from above
Koh Phangan is well known for it’s heavenly sunsets and there are two ways you can see them from a height. The first is to get up on an observation platform – there are several of them around the island. The second way is to just sit back comfortably at a bar or hotel terrace on a hill.
One such place can be found on the terrace of the Utopia Hotel. It’s been called the best spot on the island for watching the spectacular sunsets. You can get to the highest point on the hill by following the viewpoint signs up from Utopia Hotel. When you get there you can climb to the top of an abandoned building!
Visit the temples of Koh Phangan
There are temples of various faiths built around the island. Although the temples in Koh Phangan are not very unique or particularly impressive compared to other places in Thailand, some of them are still worth seeing.
For example, one of the most beautiful and photogenic places is the Kuan Yin Temple (Chinese Temple). Another temple worth visting is the Wat Phu Khao Noi – an enduring Buddhist temple with a picturesque white exterior in tranquil mountainside surrounds.
Have you tried kayaking?
There is a kayak rental place on almost every step. All of them roughly charge the same amount (around 100-150 baht/hour). One of the most popular routes for kayaking in Koh Phangan is on the west coast from Wok Tum to Koh Ma, along the beaches.
Some highly rated kayak rental places:
Samui Luxury Boat also offers jetski and boat rental if you fancy something faster.
Go on a boat tour
Boat tours are organised by almost all local resorts and travel agencies. There are several route options, but the most popular ones are visiting Than Sadet Waterfall, Thong Nai Pen and Bottle Beach.
Boat tours are a great way to see other islands in the area like Koh Samui.
Some highly rated boat tour operators are:
Visit the Koh Phangan Heritage Garden
The Heritage Garden is the ideal place for doing some amazing nature photography with bright colours. The garden has a huge variety of plants, with more than 200 species of water lily out of 2000 different plant species in total. The pounds are filled with fish, including giant carp. There is an entry fee to the garden, but it’s rather symbolic with just 50 baht per person.