Things to do on Koh Phangan
Obviously, one of the main things to do on Koh Phangan is to get drunk at one of the parties, such as famous Full Moon party on Haad Rin sunset beach, Half Moon party in Baan Tai jungle or Black Moon Culture on Baan Tai beach. Or at least this is what everyone does, basically. But for me the best thing on Koh Phangan is to be lazy at one of the best beaches that the island can offer you.
But there is much more to do on this stunning island than just to sunbath and swim at the beach. And get ready to fall in love with the island even if you are not a party person.
Things to do on Koh Phangan
– Wat Khao Tam temple is the oldest temple on the island. It has a great view of the west coast, even better one than from the highest peak of Koh Phangan, Khao Ra.
– Wat Khao Noi is a temple almost inhabited these days, but there used to live a monk who became friend with Jamiroquai and they were visiting each other. Then he left and we are still not sure why. Nowadays, the temple is still a nice place to see, especially the mosque for praying if you are into it and want some piece and quiet.
– Chinese temple – Wat Paa Sang Tham is a temple built in a Chinese style so completely different from all the others in the area. Very colourful, with statues of Chinese men holding their long beard in the left arm and great view of the mountains. Khao Ra with its 627 m above sea level can be seen from the temple on the right side.
– Wat Srithanu – close to the Laem Son lake, is a very beautiful temple with many tombs around it. The monks really do take care of this temple.
– Wat Pho temple – offers a traditional massage, herbal steam sauna and treatments for your hair, skin and face.
There are 7 waterfalls around Koh Phangan island: Sramanora waterfalls, Phaeng, Thaan Prapaad, Thaan Sadet, Wangsai, Paradise and Thaan Prawes waterfalls. It is nice to visit the waterfalls but be sure there is going to be some water in them as during the dry season it is very possible you will see just the amazing scenery around the place where there is usually a waterfall. It was like this when I visited Phaeng waterfall in the second half of October, it was just all dried up. But anyway you should come to the national park and hike from Phaeng waterfall around 20 minutes up to Domesila viewpoint to get to see the whole Western coast of Koh Phangan anyway, even in the dry season.
Check out Drop in club hotel – it was probably the first hotel built on Koh Phangan, it is kind of big but looks very very old now. It is still famous so many tourists book a room in it which is kind of illogical as there are so many nice places around the island. Check it out just to know where not to stay.
Visit the Baan Tai Pier – where you can get a very nice view of the sea, Koh Samui island on the horizon, beaches on your left and right side and some very cute traditional Thai boats.
Pay a visit to Thongsala festival – Chak Phra festival every year in late October (it was from the 18th to 28th October 2011 when I was there) – great to try some local dishes, listen to live concerts, just hang around the Walking street Soi Krung Thai and buy some stuff or just to enjoy the friendly atmosphere.
Take a ride on a motorbike from Thongsala to Haad Rin – the road is all the time up and down the hill, so always on the top of the hill on your right you will get the best view of the whole southern coast of Koh Phangan and together with Koh Samui island on the horizon.
Shopping in Haad Rin and Thongsala – if you need any swim wear, summer clothes, flip flops or souvenirs, you should take a look in the shops in Haad Rin town or Thongsala as both of them are full of them for good prices.
Thai boxing – there is a boxing stadium right in the center of Thongsala and if you have a chance, just go there because the real Thai street atmosphere will get under your skin. I was completely in a different world when there. I didn’t even breathe until the match was over. It is nothing like watching boxing on TV.
Muay Thai lessons – courses to get to know more about the national sport of Thailand and learn how to box. Here is my article about 10 reasons why to learn Muay Thai.
Archery – there’s an Arrow club on the way from Paradise waterfall North to Ao Chaloklum beach.
Jungle trekking – the middle part of Koh Phangan is still covered up with the jungle full of palm trees, durian, jack fruit and some other trees you have never seen before, so it is a nice experience to visit the jungle as it’s completely different from the coast of Koh Phangan.
Canopy tour with zip-line and dancing bridges – is available for you to enjoy the rainforest of more than 300 m above sea level. You can do it near Baan Tai on the mountain road going to Thong Nai Pan.
Khao Ra trek – around 3 hour trek to the highest point of Koh Phangan for experienced hikers. From the summit in the good weather you will see Koh Tao and the Northern coast of Koh Phangan.
Diving and snorkeling – the Koh Phangan West coast beaches together with Haad Khom in the North, Angthong Marine National park and the Sail Rock area half way to Koh Tao, are the best places to get to know the underwater life close to Koh Phangan.
Yoga retreats, massages, Buddhist meditation and much more – can be done at more places around the island to nourish your body, soul and mind.
Thai cooking lessons – to learn how to cook traditional Thai meals.
Phangan home-made ice cream – on the way North from Thongsala to Chaloklum, before Phaeng waterfalls, there’s this Phangan home-made ice cream where an old lady makes the ice cream. You can get 2 scopes in a coconut and even drink the coconut milk afterwards. It is orgasmic! The prices are kind of European, 110 baht for 2 scopes in a coconut, but definitely worth it!
Mama Poh’s restaurant – a small restaurant next to the road from Thongsala North to Chao Phao beach. It is run by an old woman who doesn’t speak English so you have to write the number of the dish you want on the paper so then she can check it out in her Thai menu and cook it. The restaurant is actually also the place where she lives at so it looks a bit messy there, but it is a traditional Thai restaurant with the best food I’ve ever eaten. The portions are just so huge and everything tastes amazing! The menu is really long and you can order a lot of Western dishes in here for 2 or 3 euros. For sure, my favorite restaurant on Koh Phangan. And the ‘mama’ always smiles at you in such a nice way!
Chaloklum restaurants – the best place to eat some sea food is in Ao Chaloklum as it is the main fishing port of Koh Phangan.
Food market in Thongsala – to dine out in Thongsala is very easy and cheap. You can choose from plenty of Thai dishes at the food market that opens every day at 5 pm.
Lucky resort – if you want to swim a little bit in a swimming pool for free and even have some coktails inside the pool and the place you are staying at does not offer this, you should visit the Lucky resort then which is situated on the West coast between Haad Gruad beach and Haad Salad. The swimming pool is always clean and empty and overlooking the sea.
Koh Ma island – a small island connected to Koh Phangan with a sandbar. Take a walk along the sand bar or go snorkeling somewhere close.
Secret unfinished resort – when you go to Utopia resort in the North-west of Koh Phangan, but at the parking lot you head off to the left through the grass instead of going to the right to the Utopia resort, you will come to a resort without a name that is just half-built. The best time to come here is for sunset as you will see the whole Koh Ma island on your right side and the sunset at the Haad Mae Haad beach on your left. It is a must see! There are cute Flinstone wooden chairs for you to sit and enjoy the sunset.
The biggest tree of Koh Phangan – located close to Wat Pho temple is a nice spot for a picture.
Laem Son lake at Srithanu – a picturesque lake close to the beach on the West coast where you can try rope swing for free.
Kayaking, kiteboarding, wakeboarding and windsurfing – all these water sports can be done at one of the beaches of Koh Phangan.
Fire competition – there are some done at hotels at the beach.
Doesn’t matter which one of the activities on Koh Phangan you choose, you will not be happy to leave. Honestly, Koh Phangan is holidays that never end.