Surrounded by lush tropical jungle and breathtaking white sand beaches, Koh Phangan is Thailand’s fifth biggest island and an awesome area to visit. Koh Phangan is a true paradise, and we’ve got the inside scoop.
The island is most known for throwing its many Full Moon Parties, but there is plenty more to explore on the island. Adventures on the island range from diving and hiking to boating excursions and immersing in the culture. We’ve rounded up the top things to do in Koh Phangan to help you plan your next trip!
Top Koh Phangan Attractions
1. Ang Thong Marine Park
The unspoiled archipelago of Ang Thong Marine Park is the perfect setting for an outdoor adventure in Thailand. It consists of 42 small islands, and you could easily spend several days here admiring the tropical scenery and cruising through the open waters.
Day trips to Ang Thong Marine Park are one of the top things to do in Koh Phangan, click here to see all tour options. During your visit, you can join a boat tour, which will take you around the islands for swimming, snorkeling, and sunbathing. You can also rent kayaks and do your own self-guided tour.
It would take weeks to visit every island in the park. However, you can make the most of your visit with stops to tourist favorites like Koh Wua Ta Lap, Koh Mae, Koh Sam Sao, and Koh Paluay.
2. Rent a Car or Motorbike to Explore the Island
With white-sand beaches and emerald blue waters, Koh Phangan draws in visitors from around the world. One of the best ways to see the island’s most intriguing sights is to rent a car or motorbike. This way, you can take your time and explore the beaches, mountains, and jungles at your leisure.
For a day of sunbathing explore the best beaches in Koh Phangan. Head to Haad Nam Tok, otherwise known as Waterfall Beach. If you are looking for activities like jet skiing and volleyball, then go to Haad Rin, one of the most bustling parts of the island.
With a car or motorbike, you can also drive to Koh Phangan’s most scenic viewpoints. Khao Ra is the tallest point of the island and offers sweeping views of the lush green forests. Haad Rin and Haad Yao are also known for dramatic viewpoints.
How much is a motorbike rental in Koh Phangan? – 250+ baht ($8 USD)
How much is a rental car in Koh Phangan? – 1,500+ ($50 USD+)
Most motorbike and car rental places require a deposit, this is typically your passport OR a set amount of money around 5,000 baht. We choose the cash option, as handing over a passport is a big no-no to us.
We opted for a car due to how much camera gear we had, we couldn’t risk being on a bike. A car was just easier and safer for us. We rented our car with Janny Car Rental, they picked us up at the ferry and brought us to their shop where we picked up our car. We booked online with them in advance and would rent with them again, all communication was done via email.
Related Article: Thailand Tips All Visitors Should Know
3. Chase Waterfalls
For something more adventurous, hike inland to visit some of Koh Phangan’s famous waterfalls.
Phaeng Waterfall is the tallest and most impressive waterfall on the entire island. However, it’s only worth visiting during the wet season, when the waterfall is in full force. If you come during the summer, you might see nothing but a few dried rocks!
Paradise Waterfall is another popular spot for tourists and locals alike. It can be reached without hiking, which makes it easy if you’ve rented a car. You can visit Paradise Waterfall year-round; its shimmering emerald pool is always full of swimmers.
For something unique, visit the Sramanora Waterfall. During the day, the waterfall is the perfect area for hikers and swimmers. Once the sun sets, Sramanora turns into a jungle nightclub! Throughout the year, people flock to Sramanora Waterfall for live music, fire dancers, and free-flowing alcohol buckets. The jungle setting makes these waterfall parties one of the coolest things to do in Koh Phangan.
4. Watch the Sunset
What better way to relax than drinking a tropical cocktail while the sun sets on Koh Phangan? We recommend grabbing a couple of friends and finding your favorite beach bar to soak in the beautiful scenery around you.
In Koh Phangan, there are a few beach bars that are known for having unparalleled views during sunset. If you’re on the eastern side of the island, head to 2C Bar Sunset and Restaurant. With trendy cocktails and a picture-perfect beachside location, you could easily spend the entire night relaxing in this lively bar.
Three Sixty Bar is another option for people on the northern side of Koh Phangan. This cliffside bar overlooks the ocean and surrounding beaches, offering a tranquil escape to watch the world-renowned sunsets. They also serve a variety of refreshing, blended cocktails made with fresh fruit from the island.
- 2c Bar Sunset and Restaurant
- 55/8 thongnaipan yai bantai, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280
- Daily 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., 6 p.m. – 12 a.m.
- Three Sixty Bar
- Ko Phangan Sub-district, Ko Phangan, Surat Thani 84280
- Daily 10 a.m. – 12 a.m.
Related Article: Koh Lipe The Maldives of Thailand
5. Koh Phangan Full Moon Party in Thailand
You can’t visit Koh Phangan without attending one of their world-famous Full Moon parties! Roughly once a month, Haad Rin beach turns into one of the most lively and boisterous parties in all of Thailand.
Thousands of visitors from all over the world come to Koh Phangan’s Full Moon parties to drink, dance, and have fun until the early hours of the morning. Often wearing neon clothes and covered head to toe in vibrant body paint, partygoers hop from beach bar to beach bar.
Whether you’re coming to dance to techno and trance or to be mesmerized by a live fire show, there’s always something entertaining on the beaches of Haad Rin.
- Haad Rin Ban Tai, Ko Phangan, Surat Thani 84280
- Once a month starting at 10 p.m.
- 100 Baht
Please make sure to place your garbage in the trash. It’s sad to see how much garbage is left on the beach after the full moon party in Koh Phangan. If you have the time join the volunteer residents the next morning to clean up the beach. It’s a great thing to help clean up the day after the party, the amount of cups/straws/garbage that goes out to sea is sickening.
6. Visit Koh Phangan’s Beaches
The charming island of Koh Phangan is teeming with tropical beaches around every corner. Although it shouldn’t be challenging to find a relaxing spot for the day, some beaches are quieter than others. If you have a car or motorbike, you can easily spend your day hopping from one beach to another.
The hidden beach of Chao Phao is a great place to escape the crowds of party goers and tourists. It’s also an excellent spot for snorkeling and diving, as the calm reefs are filled with colorful corals and schools of fish.
Located on the northern side of the island is another one of our favorites, Chalok Lum Beach. This tranquil fishing village is never overcrowded, and is full of bobbing longtail boats, making it an ideal spot for peace and quiet.
If you want to be near a few restaurants and resorts, Baan Thai Beach is for you. Lined with swaying palm trees and beach bars, Baan Thai Beach is one of the best spots to watch the sunset.
7. Take a Boat Trip to Bottle Beach
Although many people consider Bottle Beach one of the best things to do in Koh Phangan, its remote location can make it challenging to get to. The steep roads are not very safe, which means you shouldn’t try driving a car or motorbike to Bottle Beach.
The easiest and safest option is to take a boat taxi from Chalok Lum Beach. At just 150 baht per person, the boat also boasts impressive views during the short 15-30 minute trip to the beach.
In our opinion, the journey to Bottle Beach is well worth the effort. It’s clean, secluded, and much more laid back compared to other touristy beaches on Koh Phangan. You can scuba dive in the crystal waters, kayak around the neighboring islands, or unwind with a beachside Thai massage.
Although Bottle Beach can be tricky to get to, you’ll be rewarded with one of the most beautiful seaside hangouts in Koh Phangan!
8. Take a Cooking Class
Although you could spend your entire vacation eating in Thai restaurants, why not learn from the locals? Thai cuisine is known for its fresh and spicy ingredients, and on Koh Phangan, you’ll have a wide range of cooking classes to choose from.
Try your hand at making Pad Thai, a famous dish made from rice noodles and peanuts. You can also find a class to teach you how to make soups like Tom Khai Gai or Tom Yum Goong.
- The Phangan Thai Cooking Class
- 101/13 moo 1 Thongsala, Ko Phangan, Surat Thani 84280
- Daily 7 a.m. – 9:30 p.m.
- 3 dishes 1,200 baht ($40) OR 4 dishes 1,500 baht ($50 USD)
- C&M Learn Thai Culture
- 84/4 Moo 8, Sri Thanu, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280
- Daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.
- Several cooking class options
9. Hike Up Khao Ra
Towering 627 meters above sea level, Khao Ra is Koh Phangan’s highest peak. If you want to see one of the best spots on the island, a scenic three-hour hike to the top will reward you with dramatic views of the beaches and coastlines.
Starting at Khao Ra Terrace, you’ll wind your way through the lush jungle as you make your way up the mountain. Generally speaking, the trail is for medium to advanced hikers, as some parts can be steep and require you to use the trees and branches for support. Heading back down the mountain can also be tricky. If it recently rained, the dirt path may be muddy and slippery, making the decline extremely difficult.
We recommend only hiking up Khao Ra on a clear day. That way, you’ll have a full view of the entire island below you. Otherwise, you might not be able to see much if the weather is foggy or overcast.
10. Island Hop with a Boat Tour
Although you could spend days or weeks relaxing on Koh Phangan, you might want to explore some of the neighboring islands. The best way to island-hop your way around is by boat. Island hopping in Thailand is one of our favorite things to do.
There are several options for boat rentals, including private and guided tours. Explore some of the remote islands in Ang Thong Marine Park, or spend the day relaxing on the beaches of Koh Tao and Koh Nang Yuan. You can also venture 15km south of Koh Phangan to visit the beautiful island of Koh Samui, one of Thailand’s most popular destinations.
However, you don’t have to leave Koh Phangan to enjoy a boat tour. There are several companies that offer boat trips to some of the island’s hardest to reach hidden locations.
11. Dive Sail Rock
Easily considered one of the best dive spots in Koh Phangan, Sail Rock is brimming with spectacular marine life. Named after the giant rock peeking out of the ocean, Sail Rock is the perfect location for both beginner and experienced divers.
Beneath the waves, you’ll find many different types of corals, including cup corals and giant black corals. You’ll also be surrounded by schools of barracudas, snappers, and groupers. If you’re lucky, you might have the opportunity to glimpse a few sea turtles and scorpionfish too.
There are several tour companies that offer daily diving trips to Sail Rock. We recommend Sail Rock Divers for PADI courses and fun dives.
- 15 Moo 7 Chaloklam Ko Phangan Sub-district, Surat Thani 84280
- Daily 6:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.
- 1,200 – 3,000 Baht
12. Dinner on Thong Nai Pan Beach
During your visit to Koh Phangan, you’ll undoubtedly have your fair share of amazing meals. However, there’s nothing more authentic than sitting in a beachside restaurant with plates of fresh seafood and local ingredients.
Baan Tapannoi Restaurant is located right on the shores of Thong Nai Pan Beach. This no-frills dining establishment has an outdoor BBQ, where you can enjoy grilled fish and other seafood cooked right in front of you. They also serve a variety of other classic Thai dishes, like curry, pad thai, and spring rolls.
However, it’s the atmosphere that makes Baan Tapannoi Restaurant worth visiting. The whole place is rustic and chic, and the trees are decorated with colorful hanging lanterns. Best of all, you can sit with your feet in the sand while you enjoy your mouthwatering meal.
We ate several meals here as it was really good and a quick walk from our hotel Santhiya Resort.
- Ban Tai, Ko Phangan District, Surat Thani 84280
- Daily 7:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
13. Thong Sala Night Market
Immerse yourself in a world of mouthwatering foods at Thong Sala Night Market. Located directly in front of Thong Sala Pier, this nightly market whips up some of the best snacks and meals in Koh Phangan.
The variety of available dishes is almost overwhelming. You’ll find everything from fried meat skewers and coconut shakes to vegan burritos and crispy spring rolls. Best of all, the food is really cheap, so you can try as many items as you’d like. Most dishes are between 20 – 100 baht.
As long as you come hungry, you’ll have no problem finding something to satisfy your tastebuds at Thong Sala Night Market.
- Thongsala Rd., Ko Phangan, Surat Thani 84280
- Daily 5 p.m. – 10 p.m
Make sure to read our street food safety guide, you don’t want to get sick on your holiday.