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Ko Pha-Ngan Tourism And Travel Guide
23.4° C / 74.2° F
December to September
2 to 3 Days
Chumphon International Airport (350 kms)
Surat Thani (134 kms)
Ko Pha Ngan makes for a tourism delight in Thailand, especially for its party haven status due to the Full Moon parties it throws every month. Off course, the island has many more facets to it and is also home to amazing beaches, jungles, great food and a laid back vibe when the party is not in full swing. If you are looking to visit Ko Pha Ngan for the party or otherwise, here’s a travel guide to help you plot your trip.
How to Reach
You can easily take a flight to Bangkok from anywhere in the world and then a connecting air or road journey to Ko Pha Ngan’s nearest airports.
Bangkok is connected well to airports like Chumphon International and Koh Samui International, both of which have regular buses and ferries to Koh Pha Ngan.
Ko Pha Ngan is home to two important piers - Haad Rin and Thong Sala. You have frequent ferries to these piers from islands like Koh Samui, Surat Thani and Ko Tao. Most of these ferries take anywhere between 2-4 hours to reach the island.
By Road/ Rail:
Direct roads connect Ko Pha Ngan to Bangkok, Surat Thani and Ko Samui. However, you have no direct rail connection as Ko Pha Ngan does not have a railway station of its own. The nearest bet is Surat Thani Railway Station.
When in Ko Pha Ngan. you will not need much in terms of transport except a hired motorbike or scooter. Bicycles are also quite fun to go around town and beaches. And you also have taxi stands to catch one, or cabs that you can hire from your hotel or B&B.
Weather and Best Time to Visit
Ko Pha Ngan is actually pretty good most of the year, but the dry and cool seasons are better than monsoons.
The Cool Season (December to February):
This is the high season for Full Moon parties, what with the temperatures at a nice 28-30 and almost no sign of rains. Most tourists choose to visit Ko Pha Ngan at this time. The drawback is, so many tourists make the island too crowded and too expensive.
The Hot Season (March to June):
As the heat increases, tourists start retreating. This season has a little possibility of rainfall but is still a good time for holidaying. There may be a high sun and much heat but the beaches are good, especially for the ones who come from colder climes.
The Pre Monsoon (July to September):
The pre-monsoon season transitions from a hot, almost dry time to the heavy rains. That doesn’t mean this season sees a heavy downpour, but there are regular drizzles and some dark showers. Since the rains don’t disrupt most activities, this is still an okay time to visit.
The Monsoon (October and November):
Thunder storms and heavy downpour drench the island and everything comes to a standstill. Not a good time to visit unless you want to be cooped up in your rooms, enjoying the lush scenery.
Things to Do
Pump up at the Full Moon Party:
99% tourists planning a trip to Ko Pha Ngan do so for the Full Moon party, a special phenomenal all-nighter on the Haad Rin Beach, that takes place every full moon night. Here party-goers paint their bodies in UV paints, drink from buckets, get wasted and dance and eat all night by the sea. The entry fee is 100 Baht and then you can weave around buying your drinks, accessories and paints.
Visit Beaches and Waterfalls:
Ko Pha Ngan boasts of some awesome sceneries of beaches - Ban Tai Beach and Haad Rin Beach being the most famous. Waterfalls like Than Prawet and Wang Sai are also amazing for a nice hike and picnic.
Take Diving Lessons:
PADI Open diving certification courses are not only the norm in Ko Tao but here also. Many schools take these 3-4 day courses and the diving sites to practise are almost the same as those at Ko Tao - Southwest Pinnacle, Sail Rock etc.
Take a Cooking Class:
Thai food lovers, don’t leave Ko Pha Ngan without learning how they make authentic Thai dishes. Many cooking courses, short term and one-day workshops help you with that. Some that are loved by the tourists include Same Same, C&M and Jang’s Thai cooking school.
Ko Pha Ngan is far from any fine dining experiences, because here travellers and tourists are always in search of some tasty ‘cheap eats.’ The Thong Sala night market is the best place to go for a food tour, and also for nightly cravings of pad Thai, pizza, pasta, sandwich, soups or Thai rice. There are many good cafes and restaurants as well, like the Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar, Valentino (Italian, European), Capana (smoothie bowls and healthy, vegan fare) and Secret Mountain (Thai).
What to Shop
Okay, so Ko Pha Ngan may not be as hopeless for shopping as Ko Tao, but it is far from the shopaholic dream that is Bangkok and Phuket. Here you will be able to buy good party clothes, bikinis, jewellery and flippers along with beach stuff. Hammocks are particularly famous here and must be bought if you have a big enough house back home. You can bargain at most places but be prepared to be stone-walled as the markets are tourist-heavy and the shopkeepers know that you are not the only customer they are going to have.
So try and be polite instead of threatening to walk away, and gently work out the kind of deal you want.