Where is the best place to stay on Koh Phangan

The Island of Koh Phangan has a diverse range of accommodation options and small towns and villages each with their own character. Some will appeal to certain types of visitor more than others. It can be difficult to choose where to stay as the guides will tend to tell you that everywhere is great, which in their own way they are, but this is of little help in choosing where to stay.

Here is our guide to choosing the beach location which will suit you best.

1. Luxury in Koh Phangan

Thong Nai Pan Noi

Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach

If you are looking for a luxury break in Koh Phangan then you should head to the small village of Thong Nai Pan Noi in the North East of the island.

Thong Nai Pan Noi has one of the best beaches on Koh Phangan. It’s about 800 meters long with clean white powder sand which slopes gently into the water. Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach is perfect for swimming from December through to September. The beach is within a sheltered bay and the sea is perfectly calm most days. It’s popular with families as children can play safely in the water.
Better Than Sex
Better Than Sex Restaurant and Lounge
Luna Lounge
Luna Lounge

Thong Nai Pan Noi has a small laid-back village with a good range of independent restaurants. The best two of these are Luna Lounge and Better than Sex at the edge of the village. Both restaurants serve good quality Thai, European and fusion cooking. The food at Better that Sex is slightly better than Luna Lounge, with some unusual Burmese dishes, such as curry with sour mango, and good Italian pasta and pizzas. Also worth mentioning are Jip Shop which serves tasty Thai food at mid-range prices, and Baan Muay Thai which serves authentic Thai food at very cheap prices – try the ‘Kanaa Moo Grop’ (Chinese cabbage fried with crispy pork in light oyster sauce) and ‘Gai Pad Prio Wan’ (Thai style sweet and sour chicken).

Visitors to Thong Nai Pan Noi have no fewer than 4 luxury resorts to choose from. If you bear in mind there are only a total of 6 luxury resorts on the whole island you can understand why we describe Thong Nai Pan Noi as THE luxury destination in Koh Phangan.

Buri Rasa
Buri Rasa from 2,900 THB per night

BOOK BURI RASA RESORT

Buri Rasa is Thong Nai Pan Noi’s newest resort which opened for business in 2012. The style of this new resort is something of a departure from the design of typical luxury resorts in Thailand. The rooms are a bit smaller, and the design is more modern with pastel colours rather than dark heavy wood tones. You get a lot for your money at Buri Rasa with room prices approximately half that of the other luxury resorts in Thong Nai Pan Noi. The beachfront location is excellent as is the hotel restaurant and bar, which are similarly good value for money. The rooms are very comfortable and guests benefit from the newness of the fittings and furnishings. The ground floor rooms feature very nice terraces with chairs and tables leading onto either the garden or the beach. Overall a reliable and good value choice, particularly for couples.
Panviman
Panviman Resort and Spa from 2,600 THB per night

BOOK PANVIMAN RESORT

Panviman is one of the first hotels on Koh Phangan having opened way back in 1987. It has changed a lot since then with a lot of new rooms and facilities having been added. The design style of the resort can best be described as ‘eclectic’ which is a reflection of its organic development over the last 25 years. The newest rooms, which are luxury individual cottages, are the best. The Presidential Suite built right on the rocks at the water’s edge on the headland is spectacular. The sliding glass doors open onto a private plunge pool and terrace right on the shoreline. The hotel rooms are nicely appointed and we have enjoyed staying there on numerous occasions. However, they are packed closely together and you feel as though you lack privacy on your balcony when the hotel is full. The dining options at Panviman are good. There is a cliff side restaurant where they serve a sumptuous buffet breakfast, and a beach restaurant with a BBQ and excellent Thai menu – in our opinion the best Thai food on the island.

Rasa Nan Da
Rasananda from 7,762 THB per night

BOOK ANANTARA RASANANDA

Koh Phangan’s most luxurious and most expensive hotel. The rooms range from hotel style to private beachfront bungalows where your terrace leads onto the sand. Built in 2008, Rasananda was a ground breaking development in the island’s hotel scene, and rivals the established resorts on Koh Samui and Phuket. It was Rasananda that established Thong Nai Pan Noi as a destination in the itinerary of the international ‘jet-set’. Several celebrities such as Jordan (Katie Price) have stayed at Rasananda.

The location and the construction of this resort is great, however, we feel that it is slightly let down by the standard of the catering. By comparison with the rest of the island its international menu is good, however, by comparison with resorts in the Maldives or the Caribbean it still has some way to go. Our feeling is that they would have been better off doing simple things well, rather than attempting a more complicated menu and failing to hit the mark. The supply chain of products in Southern Thailand makes creating a truly international menu very difficult. This said, there are so many restaurants within a short walking distance; the quality of the resort restaurant is not a deciding factor when you make a booking decision in Thong Nai Pan Noi.

UPDATE: Rasananda is currently offering Japanese cuisine. This appears to be more of a successful departure.
Santhiya
Santhiya Resort and Spa from 4,700 THB

BOOK SANTHIYA RESORT

Santhiya is a self-contained resort with the Island’s largest swimming pool, complete with faux waterfall. If you have children they will happily entertain themselves for the whole holiday in the pool whilst you relax with a drink at the poolside restaurant and bar enjoying the panoramic sea views. The accommodation is split between hotel blocks and individual cottages, some with private pools. The resort is a truly magnificent construction, made largely in wood along the design style of the Northern Thai Lanna culture. The reception and restaurant are masterpieces of intricate wood carving, all designed by the owner who is an architect.

The decision to use this much wood works well in the communal areas but has proved a poor one when it comes to the older cottages, which alas are looking slightly tired now. It was built in 2004 and the original rooms are in need of some modernisation. How much you enjoy your stay may well depend on which rooms you get.

This is the most successful hotel on the Island with a constant stream of visitors from all over the world (particularly Asian countries) on package tours. The vast majority of the visitors enjoy their stay and tend to remain within the confines of the resort for the whole time they come to Thong Nai Pan Noi. This is partly because the catering is good, and partly because it is slightly difficult to reach the main beach and village from the resort. If you want to easily access the local restaurants, as opposed to having a resort based holiday, you might be slightly better off staying at one of the other hotels.

2. Parties in Koh Phangan

Half Moon Party

Half Moon Party

Most of the people who come to Koh Phangan come for the parties. If you fall into this category you are best off staying in the Ban Tai area, which is the beach running northwards from the main port town Thong Sala. Many people immediately opt for staying in Haad Rin which is the location of the Full Moon Party, however, you are much better off staying in the Ban Tai area for three main reasons. Firstly, aside from the Full Moon Party, Ban Tai is where most of the action is. The Ban Tai area is close to the Half Moon Party, Jungle Experience, Loi Lay party, Ban Sabai after party, Black Moon, Sramanora Waterfall Party, MerKa Ba and Ku Club. There is something going on most nights throughout the year. Secondly, by staying in Ban Tai you can access a really good range of restaurants and bars. The restaurant options include the excellent Fisherman’s Restaurant, fast food at the Food Factory, or Muu Gra Tat, a type of hotpot cooked at your table, at Hell’s Kitchen. Lastly, and most importantly Ban Tai is much more relaxed than Haad Rin. The constant influx of often badly behaved tourists to Haad Rin has given the locals something of a hard edge.

There are lots of affordable accommodation choices in Ban Tai, many with a pleasant beach side location. Depending on your budget, you might consider one of the following three resorts:
The Beach Village
Beach Village from 250 THB per night
If you are on a budget, or don’t care too much about where you stay because you haven’t come to Koh Phangan to sleep, The Beach Village is an excellent choice. They have a range of dormitories beds and small inexpensive bungalows. They also have a swimming pool, a bar and restaurant, and host the popular Rhythm and Sands party. This is a good choice if you are on your own and you want to meet people.

Milky Bay
Milky Bay from 890 THB per night

BOOK MILKY BAY RESORT

This is a very nice bungalow resort in peaceful garden setting. It’s a cut above the other Ban Tai bungalows resorts with 6 different room choices. All the rooms have air-con and satellite TV making them great places to recover from the night before. There is a pool, restaurant and gym, where they teach Muay Thai, on-site. Milky Bay is a professionally run resort from the same people behind Lime N Soda and the Food Factory.

3. Families in Koh Phangan

Haad Salad

Haad Salad

Haad Salad is a small tucked away bay. Pirates used to hide here, hence the name which means Pirate Bay. It’s a bit away from the parties and crowds that come to Koh Phangan. Everything tends to shut down (except the Reggae Bar on the edge of the village) at about 9 pm. The peace and quiet, in combination with the value for money family friendly resorts, makes this an ideal place for a family holiday.

There are things to do and see a short taxi journey away. There is great snorkelling in Mae Haad, which is the next beach. About 3 km to the North is Chaloklum where there is a range of activities such elephant trekking, archery and wake boarding. To the south is Haad Yao which is a great swimming beach with a lively town.
Salad Beach Resort
Salad Beach Resort from 1,200 THB per night

BOOK SALAD BEACH RESORT

Salad Beach Resort is the most popular resort for families on the West Coast. It’s value for money, it’s friendly, and the facilities are a good standard. It’s busy all year round and you should book in advance. There are lots of things in the hotel grounds: beach front restaurant, pool, spa, supermarket, and motorbike rental shop. The resort is fairly large with 53 rooms, about half bungalows and half hotel rooms. All the rooms have air-con and satellite TV. The hotel rooms all have balconies, and the bungalow have verandas where you can sit outside. The accommodation is set within a lovely landscaped garden with water features.
Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa
Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa from 4,200 THB per night

Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa is one step up in luxury from Salad Beach Resort and two steps up in price. The two hotels are next door to each other. The rooms and bungalows are better: bigger and better furnished. There are two restaurants, the main restaurant and the beachside BBQ terrace. The resort runs a very popular Thai cookery course with the jovial Chef Tummy. There is also a large beachfront swimming pool, which is filled with saltwater – good to know if you are allergic to the chemical used to clean the water in the pool.

4. Peace and Quiet in Koh Phangan

Mae Haad

Mae Haad Beach

There are plenty of deserted beaches in Koh Phangan. However, many of these are difficult to get to and have too few facilities for most visitors. Of the beaches you can get to fairly easily, and have enough restaurants, telecoms connectivity and shops to satisfy most visitor’s basic needs, Mae Haad beach is probably the most peaceful.

Mae Haad is a sleepy little village with a handful of restaurants, bars and resorts. There are also a couple of independent shops including Om Bakery. It tends to only get busy during the late morning and afternoons with people who come here for the snorkelling, which is the best on Koh Phangan. There is a coral reef about 25 metres from the shore line with plenty of fish – the area is a protected national park. Snorkels and flippers can be rented by the hour from Island View Cabana. As well as snorkelling, and chilling out on the perfect beach, there is also a waterfall in the jungle about a 10 minute walk from the beach.

In Mae Haad you have two good accommodation options:
Island View Cabana
Island View Cabana from 300 THB per night
Island View Cabana has classic Thai style wooden beach bungalows right on the beach. There aren’t too many of these left now on Koh Phangan as the larger resorts have gone ‘up market’. There are 4 grades of bungalow, some have air-con and fridges, others fans. It is not the luxurious rooms or facilities which you come here for, it’s the beach front location. If you are after a beach and inexpensive days chilling on a great beach, you can’t go wrong with booking at this resort.
Mae Haad Bay Resort
Mae Haad Bay Resort from 2,300 THB per night

BOOK MAE HAAD BAY RESORT

Mae Haad Bay Resort is a decent 3 star resort. The rooms feel luxurious. There are 7 room types, the smallest is a generous 45 sqm. Bear in mind that the average room size in a smart Bangkok hotel is 32sqm. The largest room is the massive 129 sqm Sunset Beachfront Suite Room. The centre piece of the hotel is the impressive swimming pool and adjacent decking area. All the rooms look onto the pool area. This great hotel has an open air restaurant & BBQ, a lobby lounge and a poolside bar. It’s close, but not right on, the main Mae Haad beach. The walk though is less than 1 minute around the side of the resort.

5. Beach Lovers in Koh Phangan

Bottle Beach

Bottle Beach

If the most important thing for you is the quality of the beach, then we recommend Bottle Beach (‘Haad Khuat’ in Thai) in the North East of Koh Phangan.

Bottle Beach used to be a hippy enclave with no electricity and very basic bungalows. It was, and still is, a little bit difficult to reach. The road to Bottle Beach starts near Thong Nai Pan Noi and it’s rough going in places. The road journey to Bottle Beach requires a 4×4 car or a white knuckle ride on a motorbike (you can do it on a moped but we don’t recommend it). The other way of getting to Bottle beach is by long tail boat from Thong Nai Pan or Chaloklum. There isn’t much there, a few bars and restaurants and no real night life. The beach though is fantastic and very good for swimming in the sea. There is a certain charm to Bottle Beach and it’s a good place to chill out for a few days.

Bottle Beach has only four resorts. The best two are:
Haad Khuat Resort
Haad Khuat Resort from 400 THB per night

BOOK HAAD KHUAT RESORT

Haad Khuat Resort has 15 hotel rooms, which are quite good, and 13 bungalows which are very basic. The hotels rooms are probably the best rooms on the beach, and the restaurant here does the best food.
Bottle Beach 1 Resort
Bottle Beach Resort 1 from 700 THB per night

BOOK BOTTLE BEACH 1 RESORT

This a bigger resort with 6 different room types. The cheapest, the standard fan bungalows, have the best location the beach. The quality of the room though goes up with the deluxe bungalows. This family run resort has lots of character. The service here works on ‘island time’. This is a relaxed place and a few delays with the orders doesn’t seem to bother the clientele much.

6. Foodies in Koh Phangan

Phantip Market

Panthip Market

The best food is to be found in, and around, the main town Thong Sala. For authentic Thai food your best bet is Phantip Market in the centre of Thong Sala. From around 4 pm there are around 40 market stalls selling a wide selection of Thai dishes for the cheapest prices on Koh Phangan. If you are after a taste of Southern Thai cuisine try one of the rice and curry shops. There are some unique southern dishes such as Gaeng Som (yellow curry), Khua Kling (very spicy dry mince pork curry) and Gaeng Sataw (spicy thick curry with a bean similar to a peeled broad bean).

For more refined dining you should head along the Ban Tai Road towards Haad Rin and then towards the Fisherman’s Restaurant and Fish at Thips both close to Ban Tai Pier. For European food try John’s Bistro or Santorini both in the centre of Thong Sala. There is also a very good, and relatively inexpensive, Mexican Restaurant called Ando Loco just on the outskirts of Thong Sala. The owner’s giant Margaritas are legendary and his home grown chilli gives the food that authentic Tex-Mex taste.

The list of really good restaurants in this area goes on and on. There are some small ‘treasures’ to be found if you search around. One particularly good restaurant is just around the corner from Home Mart. Coming from Ban Tai turn right immediately after Home Mart and immediately on your left you will see a small restaurant on your left. There is no English menu, but probably the best Issan food on the Island. Ask for ‘Laab Moo’, ‘Namtok Moo’, ‘Gai Yang’ and ‘Khao Nio’ for a taste of authentic Issan food. You won’t be disappointed, but be warned this food is very spicy and they don’t tone it down for the tourists!

There are lots of places to stay in Thong Sala. These are our two recommendations, one is a bungalow resort, the other a hotel.
Lime N Soda
Lime N Soda from 560 THB per night

BOOK LIME N SODA RESORT

Lime N Soda is the perfect kind of beach bungalow resort. Cheap and well maintained with a swimming pool and affordable on-site restaurant. The bungalows are fairly basic but good value for money. This place gets very busy around Full Moon but is a really pleasant and laid back place to stay for the rest of the month. It’s an easy walk into Thong Sala or to Ban Tai Village where there is some good nightlife.

Baan Busaba
Baan Busaba from 950 THB per night
Baan Busaba is the kind of well-run and nicely furnished mid-range hotel you find all over mainland Thailand, but not unfortunately in Koh Phangan where most of the accommodation is either bungalows for party goers or more upmarket accommodation for families. You might not think about staying away from the beach during a trip to Southern Thailand, however, we say give this hotel a go. It’s a slice of metropolitan comfort with a good range of satellite TV channels and a comfy bed. The only downside of this hotel is that it’s about a 1 km into the centre of Thong Sala and a bit further to Ban Tai. If you ride a moped then it’s a very simple straight road into town and onto Ban Tai. If riding mopeds is not your style then you can normally find a motorbike taxi or songthaew (pick-up truck taxi) who will take you the short drive back to the hotel at night.

7. Detox in Koh Phangan

Agama Yoga

Yoga in Koh Phangan

Whilst Koh Phangan is best known for its party scene, and more recently its emerging luxury tourism market, it has a long history of yoga, meditation and alternative therapies. Meditation and fasting is an important part of the Thai Buddhist culture. For a traditional Thai Buddhist ‘spiritual detox’ go to Wat Khao Tam in Ban Tai. For a cleansing herbal steam bath try Wat Po temple also in the Ban Tai area in the South of Koh Phangan.

For a yoga and detox you are best off heading to the west coast of the island around Sri Thanu and Haad Yao. Agama Yoga in Sri Thanu is the number 1 yoga centre on Koh Phangan. There is also the Yoga Retreat on the main road from Haad Yao to Chaloklum. There are also some places on the west of the island where you can learn Thai massage. C&M Study Centre in Sri Thanu runs massage courses as well as Thai language and cooking classes. You might also want to visit Chantima Massage and Holistic Massage Training centre where they offer an impressive range of beauty treatments and 5 day Thai massage courses. Our sources tell us that the courses are professionally run and the centre is kept very clean.

UPDATE: Agama was embroiled in controversy a few years ago when its head swami was accused of sexual misconduct. He fled the island and the authorities.
Ananda Wellness Resort
Ananda Wellness packages from 4,000 THB
Ananda Wellness is a hotel where they run detox programmes combining fasting, herbal detox, colonics, massage, yoga classes and steam sauna. There are courses for different periods of time: 3.5, 7.5 and 11 days. The accommodation is either bungalows or hotel rooms. They are adequate but basic. In addition to the facilities related to the treatments and courses, they have a salt water swimming pool and restaurant called ‘Love Kitchen’ which serves vegetarian and vegan food, as well as a full Thai menu.

Activities for West Koh Phangan

PARTIES

The Jam

The Jam

Location: Hin Kong
Opening Times: Saturdays 9 pm until late
Cost: Free

Running since 2008, The Jam is Koh Phangan’s most popular live music event. It happens every Friday, and some Wednesdays, throughout the year. The Jam is located on Hin Kong beach front about 10 minutes by car or motorbike from the main port town of Thong Sala. It kicks off at about 9 pm with different bands and acts each week. The Jam started out as a group of friends getting together and playing music on the beach, hence the name. Keeping true to its origins, there is an Open Mike element to the night so if you are a musician bring your instrument. Ask at the bar if you want to join in the music making fun.

HEALTH & FITNESS

Diamond Muay Thai

Location: Nai Wok (near Thong Sala)
Opening Times: 8 am & 4 pm Mon – Sat
Cost: 400 THB per session. 2,000 THB per week. 6,000 THB per week.

Diamond Muay Thai is a relative newcomer to the Island starting in 2011. The upside of this is that the equipment and facilities are in a good condition. This Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) camp is about 5 minutes West of Thong Sala right next door the Mason’s Arms, which is the Koh Phangan’s only authentic English pub. Its run by Head Instructor Mon, who spent most of his youth and adult life training and fighting in Bangkok. Diamond Muay Thai has very quickly established itself as one of the top Muay Thai gyms on the Island. Active fighters from Thailand and abroad have trained here. There is a boxing ring, free weights, covered training area, heavy kick bags, gloves, shin guards, boxing gloves and wraps for use by students.

UPDATE: Their website is currently offering ‘huge covid 2021 discounts’.

Agama Yoga

agama yoga

Location: Sri Thanu
Opening Times: 8am to 9pm Mon – Sat
Cost: Price on Application

They take their yoga seriously here, and its the top yoga centre on Koh Phangan affiliated to the wider Agama Group based in India and Mexico as well as Thailand. The teaching takes place in a purpose built in training hall. They teach a ‘First Level Intensive Course’ for beginners over a 4 week period. The first lesson is free. The aim of the course is teach beginners 20+ asanas in detail. Check the website (www.agamayoga.com) for start dates for the courses. They run throughout the year. For those who have completed the beginner’s course there are more intensive courses available. They can be contacted on +66 (0) 892 330 217. Some people have suggested this place has a ‘cult’ like feel to it. We don’t endorse that view.

UPDATE: In 2018 the swami at Agama Yoga fled Koh Phangan in disgrace as allegations appeared in international newspapers about rape and sexual abuse. The Shambala Hall was burnt down shortly afterwards. The agamajustice.com website publishes all the details. No doubt yoga will return, but the Agama brand is seriously tarnished.

Ananda Wellness Resort

Location: Hin Kong
Opening Times: 9 am to 6 pm
Cost: Detox 3.5 day – 7,500 THB

This is a ‘partner’ business to Agama Yoga. It has rooms to stay, a 150 m2 yoga hall, herbal sauna, salt water pool, and massage house/spa. The most popular activity here is the Detox programme. Fasting needs to be supervised and this is the point of the Detox programmes. For when the fasting finishes they have a restaurant called ‘Love Kitchen’ which serves fresh vegetarian and vegan food. Many people who come here choose to combine a stay at Ananda Wellness Resort with yoga at the nearby Agama Yoga for a complete ‘body and mind’ wellness experience.

UPDATE: They are taking advantage in the hiatus in customers to refurb parts of the resort.

Haad Yao Lounge & Fitness Centre

Haad Yao Lounge & Fitness Centre

Location: Haad Yao
Opening Times: 9 am – 6 pm
Cost: 275 THB per session

It’s the only gym in the village and it’s above a bar. What more do we need to say to sell the benefits of Haad Yao Lounge and Bar. We could tell you it has 17 different exercise machines, including rowing machines, elliptical trainers, ab machines, bench press, free weights and exercise bike. We could tell you about the great sea views from the gym. We could tell you about the excellent and friendly service. However, we don’t see the need to bother. This is the only gym in the area and if you want a workout its your only choice.

UPDATE: Google has marked this place as permanently closed.

ADVENTURE SPORTS

SL2K Adventure

SL2K Adventure

Location: Baan Manali Resort at Nai Wok
Opening Times: Ring +66 (0) 77 377 917
Cost: Equipment rental 500 THB per hour. Course 1,500 THB for 2 hours.

There are three activities on offer here: paddle board, wind surfing and beach kayaking. You can rent equipment or take a course. Its the same price for paddle board as for windsurfing. Renting a kayak costs 200 THB for two hours. They are based at Baan Manali Resort and you will find them on the beach front.

Phangan Wipeout/The Challenge

Location: Laem Son lake near Haad Yao
Opening Times: 10am – 6pm every day
Cost: 500 THB per person.

For anyone who hasn’t seen this on the TV: the concept is an obstacle course on water. Its a fun activity for the young, or young at heart, and a great fitness workout. The course has 6 obstacles: Rope Swing, Monkey Bars, Rolling Barrels, Stepping Stone, Iceberg (large inflatable climbing wall), and Dumbell. There is a small element of risk particularly in falling from the Iceberg, however, they provide life jackets and supervision. The idea is to get around the course as quickly as possible and there is a ‘leader board’ which may appeal to the competitive amongst you. We should mention the pleasant lake view restaurant and bar where you watch people flounder around the course. They have rebranded: it is now ‘The Challenge’.

CLASSES

C&M Study Centre

C&M Study Centre

Location: Sri Thanu
Opening Times: Classes run from 8am to 2pm
Cost: Single sessions from 350 THB. 3 day massage course 2,500 THB

There are all kinds of courses on offer here: Thai language, Thai cooking, Thai massage, Thai culture and traditions, and Thai handicrafts. Taking a course is a good way way to get to know Thailand better. Language courses cost 350 THB an hour. Learning how to do Thai massage over 3 days costs 2,500 THB. They will teach you how to cook a very wide range of Thai dishes. If you have a particular favourite dish they will teach you how to make it and you can impress your friends when you get home. Visit or ring +66 (0) 894 876 207 for course times and prices.

DIVING

Pirate Divers

Pirate Divers

Location: Haad Salad
Opening Times: 10 am to 7 pm
Cost: Discover Scuba 3,500 THB. Open Water 12,500 THB.

Pirate Divers is a small and friendly diving school. No actual pirates, but lots of fun. They run diving trips most days in high season either by converted fishing boat or by longtail boat to local diving sites.

France Plongee

France Plongee

Location: Haad Salad
Opening Times: Ring +66 (0) 77 349 323
Cost: Discover Scuba 4,000 THB. Open Water 12,500 THB.

French diving school aimed at French speakers. This is a very professional operation with branches all over Thailand. We say ‘Oui!’ to diving with France Plongee.

SPA/MASSAGE

Pure Relax

Pure Relax

Location: Nai Wok
Opening Times: 10 am to 10 pm
Cost: 60 minute Thai Massage 300 THB. Bikini Line Wax 600 THB.

Well managed small spa in an air-conditioned building. They offer a range of massages and beauty treatments. The ‘Coconut Nourishing Package’ at 2,800 THB is very popular. The massages and treatments come with spa like extras like robes, sandals, steam showers and complimentary teas. For bookings telephone +66 (0) 816 211 170.

Papaya Massage

Papaya Massage

Location: Sri Thanu (near Agama Yoga)
Opening Times: 9 am to 7 pm
Cost: 60 minute Thai Massage 300 THB

This is a small but well regarded massage house offering traditional massage. Its near Agama Yoga. To book call +66 (0) 778 7483.

Chantima Massage & Holistic Massage Training Centre

Chantima Massage & Holistic Massage Training Centre

Location: Hin Kong
Opening Times: 9 am to 7 pm
Cost: 60 minute Thai Massage 300 THB. 60 Aromatherapy Oil Massage 600 THB

This massage house is a cut above the rest in terms of both services and facilities. It’s very nicely decorated in traditional Thai style and comfortably furnished. They offer a wide range of treatment from Thai massage, waxing, wraps, reflexology to more exotic treatments such as the Dead Sea Mud Mask (1,200 THB) and Himalayan Crystal Rock Scrub (800 THB). They also teach Thai massage here; a 5 day basic course is 8,000 THB a person. Courses are taught by the experienced Chantima Gongnawk. For bookings telephone +66 (0) 851 175 270.

BEACH TRIPS

Haad Yao

Haad Yao

This is the best beach on the West Coast and it’s the only one which is really good for swimming. Haad Yao means ‘long beach’ in Thai and it stretches for 1 km. Many people describe this as the ‘perfect’ beach on account of its powder white sand and palm trees running the length of the beach. If you are staying in Bantai or Thong Sala, Haad Yao makes a great day trip. You can swim, and snorkel (there is reef about about 400 metres out), and you eat and drink. Haad Yao has a wealth of good bars and restaurants right on the beach front. We recommend Chok Dee, Haad Yao Villa, Happy Elephant and Seaboard Bungalows. If you venture a bit back from the beach Absolute Island, Crave Restaurant & Lounge, and Haad Yao Lounge are excellent places to eat and drink.

Activities for North Koh Phangan

LOCAL CULTURE

Chaloklum Village

Chaloklum

Location: Central point on the North Coast
Opening times: Year round all hours
Costs: Free

Chaloklum is a working fishing village with pier and a small laid back shopping area. The big draw for tourists are the dedicated fish restaurants serving the fresh catch from the boats that are based in the town. The 4 dedicated fish restaurants (Nong Nok, Aunjai Seafood, Seaside Restaurant, and Hai Thong Seafood) have wooden piers built on stilts over the beach. This is Koh Phangan’s own mini version of Hua Hin. The fishing industry dominates this village with squid drying on the beach and locals selling prawns and other seafood from buckets on the pier. The village also has some more modern attractions like the stylish Mandalai Hotel and stylish modern bars such as the Omega Bar and the Zhoba Jazz Bar. This is also a centre for diving with 5 diving schools located in the area. The local temple of Wat Pha Sanctum is also worth a visit if you come to the area.

Kuan Yin Chinese Temple

Chinese Temple

Location: On the main road 3 km before Chaloklum
Opening Times: 8am to 5pm
Costs: Free

This small Chinese style Buddhist temple features a Chinese style Chapel, two further buildings in Chinese style with a large smiling Buddha statue. The temple has a fantastic hill top location overlooking the north coast and is worth visiting for the view alone. The temple itself has an interesting history. Built in 1992, it was paid for by the fund raising efforts of Bangkok resident Mrs Malawan who visited Koh Phangan in 1990 for a religious festival. During her visit Mrs Malawan had a dream about building a lantern to guide the fisherman of Chaloklum on dark nights. Rather than a lighthouse, Mrs Malawan built a temple dedicated to the Chinese God of Mercy (Kuan Yin) which is lit up every night by lanterns. The temple is visited by Thai and Chinese Buddhists every year for important religious festivals in January, May and August.

TOURS

Koh Phangan Elephant Trekking

elephant trekking

Location: 2 km outside of Chaloklum near Baan Thapong Village
Opening times: Treks available 10am to 3pm open every day
Costs: 500 THB per person

Koh Phangan Elephant Trekking has 8 fully grown elephants and a trekking area of 10 square miles of forests, waterfalls and a small lake where the elephants bathe. The treks last about a hour and visitors sit in a paladin (seat) on top of the elephants back with a mahout (elephant trainer) sat on the neck of the elephant guiding it along. To avoid disappointment during busy times around the Full Moon Party we suggest you book in advance online at www.kohphanganelephanttrekking.com where you will receive a 10% discount per person.

HEALTH & FITNESS

The Press Gym

The Press Gym

Location: 1 km before Chaloklum
Opening times: 10 am to 6 pm (later in high season)
Costs: 200 THB per day, 600 THB per week, 1,500 THB per week

This new and modern gym is the only one in the North of Koh Phangan. It’s one of Koh Phangan’s better gyms, both in terms of equipment and the way it’s run. For cardio workouts it has an elliptical cross trainer, bikes and a rowing machine. For strength work outs it has weights machines, barbell, bench, dumbells, dips bar and a pull bar. Pretty much everything you need for a serious workout. Other facilities include big screen TVs, music speakers, lockers and showers. The mountain views from the work out room are great.

ADVENTURE SPORTS

Wake Up! Wakeboarding

wakeboarding

Location: Chaloklum
Opening Times: Book on +66 (0) 872 836 6755
Costs: Wake Board time 15 minutes is 1,000 to 1,400 THB & 60 minutes 3,500 to 4,300 THB

Wakeboarding is best described as a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing. You are towed behind a motorboat at speeds of 30 to 40 kph on a single wide ski. Wake Up! Wakeboarding has two speed boats: one with a Yamaha outboard 200 bhp and a Mastercraft X Star Boat with MC Power MCX 350 Horsepower. For those of you not familiar with speedboats, these are fast and modern and will ensure that you have a thrilling ride. Prices include instruction and equipment rental.

Bow and Arrow Club

bow and arrow club

Location: 300 m before Chaloklum
Opening times: 9 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week
Price: 15 minutes is 150 THB, 30 minutes is 300 THB and 60 minutes is 500 THB

Bow and Arrow club is Koh Phangan’s only archery centre. This well organised and run club was first opened in 2005. It has a family oriented atmosphere with patient and friendly instructors. The price includes instruction, equipment, bow and 5 arrows. There is a restaurant onsite serving food and drinks. For more information visit www.firstbow.info

DIVING

Dive Inn

dive inn

Location: Office in Chaloklum and at Island View Cabana at Mae Haad
Opening times: Telephone +66 (0) 77 374 262
Costs: Discover Scuba 3,500 THB & PADI Open Water 12,500 THB

This small dive school offers a range of diving trips by longtail boat or by converted fishing boat to dive sites such as Sail Rock, Angthong Marine Park, Chumporn Pinnacles and South West Pinnacles.

Chaloklum Diving

Chaloklum Diving

Location: Office in centre of Chaloklum
Opening hours: Telephone +66 (0) 77 374 025
Costs: Discover Scuba 2,000 THB & PADI Open Water 12,500 THB

One of Koh Phangan’s longest running dive schools established in 1995 by experienced dive instructors Nick and Micheal. This is one of the few dive schools on the Koh Phangan with their own dive boat, which is a large converted fishing boat with plenty of room to set up and relax between dives.

Sail Rock Divers

Sail Rock Divers

Location: Chaloklum
Opening hours: 6.30 am to 10 pm everyday
Costs: Discover Scuba 3,700 & PADI Open Water from 8,600 THB

This 5* PADI Dive Centre offers a full range of dive courses from absolute beginner to becoming a PADI Certified Diving Instructor. The large team of instructors includes the Island’s only resident PADI Course Director and a PADI Master Instructor. They also have two boats: a speed boat and a luxury cruiser. The dive school has it own resort with bungalows and pool.

Lotus Diving

Lotus Diving

Location: Chaloklum
Opening Hours: 7 am to 6 pm everyday
Costs: Discover Scuba 2,300 THB & PADI Open Water 10,800 THB

This 5* PADI Dive Centre has been in operation since 1999. Dive trips are made by a converted fishing boat and pre-dive instruction takes place in purpose built A/C class rooms and on-site swimming pool. The dive school has a number of bungalows on-site.

Core Sea

Core Sea

Location: Centre of Chaloklum
Opening Hours: Not specified
Costs: PADI Open Water 12,500 THB

This isn’t a dive school as such, it’s an accredited centre for oceanic research and education affiliated to American and European universities. They offer a range of volunteering opportunities on land and at sea. To take part in the sea activities you need to have a PADI Open Water Certificate, which you can take with Core Sea’s own PADI Master Instructor: the legendary ‘Diver Dan’ (Dan Slater) always guaranteed to put the ‘fun’ into fun dive. For Bachelors and Masters students in Marine Sciences or a related field Conservation Internships are available.

UPDATE: I suspect Diver Dan might have moved on.

BEACH TRIPS

Mae Haad Beach

Mae Haad

Location: North West corner of the Island

A day trip to Mae Haad beach is one of the must-do activities during a visit to Koh Phangan. This is a beautiful beach with stunning scenery including a small island (Koh Ma) just off the beach. However, the main attraction is the snorkelling. The area around Mae Haad is a protected marine park and it is teeming with sea life. There is a small coral reef about 25 metres out to sea. The sea bed is shallow and rocky but there is a cleared path out to the reef. Just follow the signs. You can rent snorkels and flippers for 80 THB an hour from the restaurant of the Island View Cabana. If you want to stay for the night your options are a beach front bungalow at Island View Cabana or a luxury room at Mae Haad Beach Resort.

Bottle Beach

Bottle Beach

Location: North East corner of the Island

Bottle beach, or Haad Khuat as it is called in Thai, is one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan. It’s quiet and unspoilt because it’s not easy to get to. The road to Haad Khuat starts near Thong Nai Pan on the East side of the Island. It’s a dirt road which is difficult to drive in sections. You need to go by 4×4 car. The journey is possible by motorbike but we don’t advise it unless you are an experienced motorcyclist. The easier way to get there is by longtail boat. You can normally arrange a trip from either Chaloklum or Thong Nai Pan. Once you get there the trip will seem well worth it. This is a trip back in time to Koh Phangan’s past as a hippy enclave. The beach is perfect, undeveloped, perfect for swimming and is surrounded by forest covered mountains. There are several restaurants which are part of Haad Khuat Resort and Bottle Beach 1 Resort which are both great places to stay for a few days.

NATURE

Trek Up Khao Ra

Khao Ra

Location: Start near Khao Ra Bungalows

95% of Koh Phangan is a forested National Park. The mountain of Khao Ra, which is 630 metres above sea level, sits in the middle of the national park. You get great views of Koh Phangan from the top. It takes about 2 hours to walk up and then about 1.5 to get down. Its fairly hard work because of the heat and you need to take at least 4 litres of water per person and some snacks. Be advised that it is fairly easy to get lost and under no circumstances should you go alone. The best option is to hire a Guide at Phaeng Waterfall. If you do decide to go up without a guide the start of the trail is near Khao Ra Bungalows on the way from Thong Sala to Chaloklum via the main road. Take the turning towards Khao Ra Bungalows. The trail starts near a small dam. there are few small signs to mark the way. It is a good idea to ask for directions when you get there.

Trek from Haad Khom to Bottle Beach

Trek Haad Khom to Haad Khuat

Location: Start from Haad Khom beach near Chaloklum

The walk is about 2.5 km from Haad Khom to Bottle Beach. It takes about an hour to get over the headland. On the way there are some impressive views of both the north coast and the east coast. The trail is very steep in places and involves climbing up and down large flat rocks which become very slippery in the wet. Don’t attempt this walk in the rain as you are very likely to have a nasty fall. The last part of the walk coming down to Bottle Beach is the steepest part. To start this trek take the road from Chaloklum to Haad Khom. Follow the new concrete road past the entrance to Ocean View Resort to where it comes to an abrupt end. From the end of the road the trail starts on the right hand side going uphill.

Visit Wang Sai Waterfall

Wang Sai Waterfall

Location: Mae Haad

Wang Sai waterfall is an easy 15 minute walk from Mae Haad beach. Follow the road out going toward Island View Cabana. Turn left about 150 metres before Island View Cabana through a wide grassy area. From there it’s simple to find with signs pointing the way. The waterfall is at its best November through to around May each year when there is the most water. Like the other waterfalls on the island, Wang Sai waterfall is series of falls stretching up the mountain. Wang Sai waterfall has some fairly big drops over large granite boulders and a large natural pool where you can swim. It’s not the best waterfall on the island, but it is well worth a visit if you go to Mae Haad beach. Snorkelling and waterfall – we can’t think of a better day out on Koh Phangan!

Visit Paradise Waterfall

Paradise Waterfall

Location: 3 km from Chaloklum

The turning up to the waterfall, marked by the sign in the photo, is on the main road from Thong Sala to Chaloklum through the centre of the island. The road is an easy drive on a scooter but please take it slowly, there are sharp bends and plenty of accidents. The turning to the waterfall is just past Phangan Safari on the right, if you get to Jungle Hut you have gone too far. You can drive up to the bottom of the waterfall. There is a small restaurant there where you can leave your car or bike. This isn’t the most impressive waterfall on the island, but it’s the easiest one to get to and its has pleasant surroundings and a pool where you can swim.

Activities for East Koh Phangan

Local Culture

Thong Nai Pan Wat

Thong Nai Pan Wat

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai

This small, but attractive, temple is home to a small number of monks who make up the local Buddhist clergy who attend to religious ceremonies for locals throughout the East Coast. The Wat (Temple) is very small. There is a large Buddha statute and shrine inside. Nearby there are larger temple buildings where the monks live and a hall where religious ceremonies take place. If you get up early enough you will see the monks collecting alms on both Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai every morning. Many of the restaurants provide cooked food to the monks. If you would like to visit the Temple, it is located at the North End of Thong Nai Pan Yai beach between the main road and the beach. Follow the signs for Indian Bar and continue on the dirt road until you reach the temple grounds. The Wat is free to enter as are the temple grounds. This said it would be appreciated if you left a small donation. Donations go towards the upkeep of the temple and assisting poorer members of the local community in times of need.

TOURS

Sorn Trips

Sorn Trips

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi

Sorn Trips is a small travel agency run by the friendly and reliable Mr Sorn. He provides 4×4 car tours around the Island for around 2,400 THB a day depending on where you want to go. He can also arrange shorter taxi journeys to other places on the Island such as the ferry port or Haad Rin. In addition to taxi services Mr Sorn can also arrange longtail trips for you. Mr Sorn is based in the middle of Thong Nai Pan Noi village Sandwiches. Ask in the small restaurant next door which Mr Sorn runs with his girlfriend. Alternatively call him on +66 (0) 828 148 227.

UPDATE: It is uncertain whether Sorn Trips will open up again for business post-covid. Much won’t be known until the dust clears after the pandemic.

Longtail Boat Trips

Longtail Boat

Location: Tong Nai Pan, Than Sadet, Haad Yuan, Haad Tien

Longtail boats are wooden boats with the long prow for which Southern Thailand is famous. They are powered by lorry engines mounted on the back of the boat connected to a propeller by a long metal shaft. Longtail boats are often brightly painted with distinctive religious designs. Longtail boatmen In Koh Phangan are all independent operators and if you want to take a boat trip you will need to seek them out or approach a travel agent to arrange a trip. In most of the East Coast villages you find them on the beach waiting for business. Longtail trips aren’t that cheap anymore, but they are lots of fun and a more comfortable way to travel to some of the more remote beaches on the East Coast. You can expect to pay around 1,500 to 2,000 THB to hire the whole boat for a half day trip. Popular trips are from Thong Nai Pan to Bottle Beach and Koh Ma for snorkelling. You can also have a fun day out out going south along the coast to Haad Yuan and Haad Tien stopping at small deserted beaches along the way.

PARTIES

Guy’s Bar

Location: Haad Tien
Opening Times: Every Friday from 10 pm till late
Cost: Free

The long running Guy’s Bar on Haad Tien is the only regular party on the East Coast. It normally draws a crowd of 100 to 200 people, many of whom are on the island long term for diving or yoga. The bar has an outdoor area where you can dance the night away and live DJs through the night. Friday night at Guy’s Bar is something of a Koh Phangan institution and has an intimate relaxed feel. Haad Tien is difficult to get to. There isn’t a good road connecting the beach to the rest of the Island. You can walk there in about an hour from Haad Rin but only in the daytime as the trail takes you through the jungle. The better option is to take a longtail boat there. It takes about 10 minutes from Sunrise beach in Haad Rin and costs around 200 THB per person.

HEALTH & FITNESS

Horizon Muay Thai

Horizon Muay Thai

Location: Haad Tien
Opening Times: Training at 8am and 4.30pm Mon to Sat
Cost: 300 THB per session. 700 THB per day. 4,000 THB per week.

Horizon Muay Thai Camp is the only Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) gym on the East Coast of the Island. This is a professionally run Muay Thai camp with 4 instructors, boxing ring and weights gym. You can use the weights gym separately to the Thai Boxing training facilities. There are structured classes twice a day every day except Sunday. Occasionally, they run fight nights with a 500 THB entrance fee for spectators. They also have accommodation for rent on-site. To get there take a longtail boat from Haad Rin or one of the east coast beaches.

The Living Room Gym

The Living Room

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am to 6pm
Cost: Daily, weekly and monthly rates available

The Living Room Gym is the only gym non-hotel residents are free to access. Buri Rasa, Rasananda and Santhiya on Thong Nai Pan Noi all have gyms but only for guests. This gym room is air-conditioned and features free weights, a multi-gym, running machines and an exercise bike. To use the gym ask downstairs at the Living Room restaurant and bar. They serve drinks and English breakfast in the morning and Italian/Thai food in the evenings. Most Sundays in high season they serve a good English style Sunday roast for around 200 THB a person depending on the meat.

UPDATE: This business appears  to have survived the lean times. However, they now focus on Italian food, and it is uncertain whether the gym still exists.

The Yoga Studio

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am Monday to Saturday
Cost: 300 THB per class. 1,500 THB per week.

This small Yoga Studio is tucked away near Wang Tong waterfall. On the way into Thong Nai Yai beach there is a turning on the right to Wang Tong waterfall. You need to follow this dirt road about 300 metres to get to the Yoga Studio. Classes are held in a covered studio with three sides opening onto a tropical garden. The Instructor, Mel, has studied with Yogi Vijay Amar in Dharamsala, India and teaches Hatha style yoga. There is also a vegan cafe on site and small art gallery with works from local artist Top.

UPDATE: Mel left the beach. However, yoga has never been more popular: you are sure to find yoga classes all over the island.

The Sanctuary Island Resort

Sanctuary Island Resort

Location: Haad Tien

Opening Times: Classes at 8am, 9am, and 4pm every day except Saturday
Cost: 300 THB per class. 1,600 THB for 7 classes

This is the island’s largest wellness centre offering a range of programmes including pilates, yoga and alternative therapies such as detox courses. They also have a tree house spa offering massage and beauty treatments. A traditional Thai massage costs 600 THB an hour. They offer good quality accommodation for those want to stay and have a vegetarian/raw/seafood restaurant for healthy eating. Haad Tien is a beautiful beach and a good place to visit and stay even if yoga and alternative therapies aren’t your thing.

ADVENTURE SPORTS

Phangan Jetski

Location: Beach on Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: Daylight hours on calm days
Cost: 1,000 for 20 minutes. 1,400 THB for 30 minutes. 2,600 for 60 minutes

This is a French managed water sports business with jetskis and a small speedboat. They offer jetski rental and jetski tours. A guided jetski tour around the Island costs 16,000 per person with a guide. They also run day trips by speed boat to Ang Thong Marine Park for 17,000 for the whole boat, or 2,000 THB per person for groups. You will find them on the beach where they set a stall every day when conditions are suitable at sea.

UPDATE: Thomas might have survived the slow year; whether he can survive the very mixed reviews on Tripadvisor is another matter. You might choose not to pollute and save yourself the worry of getting into a protracted argument about damage to the jetski.

DIVING

H20 Scuba

H2O Scuba

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am to 6 pm on the beach and 6 pm to 9 pm in the Village
Cost: 3,800 THB for Discover Scuba, and 12,500 THB for PADI Open Water Course

H20 Scuba is the east coast’s most popular dive school. They run professionally managed dive trips by luxury boat most days. Children and beginners welcomed, as are more experienced divers who can take advanced courses and do more adventurous dives. You can contact them (Lee or Alice) on +66 (0) 811 86 16 16 or through most of the resorts in Thong Nai Pan. They  have a shops in Thong Nai Pan Village.

UPDATE: Al is still posting regularly on FB, so they must still be plying their trade.

Tropical Dive Club

Tropical Dive Club

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach
Opening Times: 10am to 7pm
Cost: 3,500 THB for Discover Scuba, and 11,500 for PADI Open Water Course

Their booking office is located at the north end of Thong Nai Pan Noi beach at Thong Tapan Resort. They run a full range of SSI and PADI courses in both English and German. Dive trips are made by converted wooden fishing boats. They can be contacted on +66 (0) 77 44 5081.

Dreamland Divers

Dreamland Divers

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am to 7pm
Cost: 3,500 THB for Discover Scuba, and 11,500 for PADI Open Water Course

Located at the Dreamland Resort they offer a full range of PADI and SSI courses in several languages. Dive trips are made on Dreamland Resort’s very own converted fishing boat. They also offer snorkelling trips for non-divers. They can be contacted on +66 (0) 77 44 5181

SPA/MASSAGE

Tanaporn Massage House

Tanaporn

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi
Opening Times: 10am to 8pm during the tourist season
Cost: 60 minute Thai massage – 350 THB. Body care treatment – 1,200 THB

Open since 2007, Tanaporn Massage House is the most popular independent massage business on the east coast. Ably run by husband and wife team, Greg and Porn, Tanaporn Massage House owes its popularity to providing spa quality service at a fraction of the cost. The massage house itself is a traditional Thai house construction out of coconut and other sustainable local materials. The lady of the house, Porn, is a highly experienced masseuse having worked at major spas in Bangkok and elsewhere. Tanaporn Massage House offers a variety of massages and beauty treatments. Bear in mind that they are busy and you are likely to need to book one or two days in advance. Either visit the reception to make an appointment or telephone +66 (0) 810 787 814.

UPDATE: I’m not sure if Greg is still around.

BEACH TRIPS

Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach

Location: North coast of Koh Phangan

Thong Nai Pan Noi has been popular with tourists for over 20 years now. It used to be considered a must-visit destination on the independent travellers’ circuit. More recently the independent travellers have now all but disappeared and Thong Nai Pan Noi is now a luxury destination with three 5* Hotels and one very good 4* Hotel. What has been attracting generations of travellers is the stunning natural geography. Thong Nai Pan is one of two bays separated a head land. Both bays have powder white sand beach, and calm seas making it perfect for swimming. Going back from the beach is an amphitheatre of steep forested hills, virtually untouched by development. What has kept Thong Nai Pan Noi relatively pristine has been its remoteness. It has been pretty much cut off from the rest of the Island with the only access being by boat or by difficult drive along a 20km dirt road through the jungle. However, this has all changed now. The road is now concreted. The easier access now makes Thong Nai Pan Noi perfect for a day trip.

Than Sadet Beach

Than Sadet

Location: East Coast south of Thong Nai Pan

Than Sadet Beach is much less developed, and smaller, than Thong Nai Pan. There are two places where you can stay or eat: The excellent Mai Pen Rai Bungalows and the less expensive J S Hut Resort. It is a really laid back place. It’s like it was ten or more years ago. You need to make your own entertainment here. There is no mobile telephone signal, no internet, no TV and the electricity is from generators which are turned off every afternoon. The beach is a great distraction. Its excellent for swimming and you can rent kayaks from J S Hut to do the 20 minute paddle to the near by tiny Island of Koh Kong. There is plenty to see and do around Than Sadet in the adjacent national park with its waterfalls and trekking opportunities. To get to Than Sadet you need to either take a boat or 4×4 car.

Haad Nam Tok Beach

Haad Nam Tok

Location: East Coast south of Than Sadet

Haad Nam Tok is a pretty much deserted beach. Its difficult to get to. Its also one of the island’s most beautiful places. To reach Haad Nam Tok, take the road from Ban Tai towards Thong Nai Pan. About 400 metres after Jungle Flight there is a turning on the left signed posted towards ‘Than Prapad’. If you follow this steep dirt track though the jungle you first come to the site where they were building the Island’s first airport. Carry on past the short stretch of concrete road downhill. When the road starts to get very steep and broken leave you car or bike. Be warned, if you carry on beyond this point you will really struggle to drive back up. From there continue on foot. Keep to the right turn when you get to junctions. Its about a 1 km walk down to the beach. The last stretch is very steep and there is a rope in place. The beach has no permanent development. There is a bar with no electric opened for party nights, a small toilet block and a few tents pitched on the beach for rent. No shop, no water, no food. You need to bring your own.

NATURE

Than Sadet National Park

Than Sadet National Park

Location: 65km2 on the East Coast

The best known part of the national park is its waterfall. It stretches 2 km down to the beach in a series of waterfalls. The most spectacular part of the waterfall is at the bottom near Than Sadet beach. The waterfall is at its best November to March when it rains more. By August its pretty much dry. Three of Thailand’s kings visited the waterfall, including the last King. They all left inscriptions on rocks around the area. One of the rocks has the signature of all three Kings. Beyond the waterfall, the National Park is pristine tropical rain forest. The National Park authority lists the following animals as living in the national park: cervus monkey, spectacled langur, slow loris, javan mongoose, brahminy kite, white bellied sea eagles, snakes including pythons, cobras and green tree snakes, blyth’s mountain frog, and land tortoises. In addition to these we have spotted beavers, deer and civets. If you do go trekking into the jungle please remember it’s very easy to get lost. Bring water, food and a local guide.

Than Prawet Waterfall

Than Prawet Waterfall

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi

Very few people ever visit this waterfall which is a shame as its one of the best on Koh Phangan. The waterfall is located on the way into Thong Nai Pan Noi village. As you turn from the main road down to the village there is a valley on your left. The waterfall is in that valley. To walk up the entire length of the waterfall start at the small bridge on the opposite side of the road to the large general store at the edge of the village. The track is a bit over grown. Just follow the stream uphill. As the hill steepens the waterfalls start. They get better the further up the hill you go. The easiest way to walk up is on the larger boulders in the stream. There are pools where you can swim from November to around April. The going gets more difficult the further up the hill you go and you will need to climb up some short cliffs to make it all the way up this stretch of waterfalls.