Koh Phangan is a relatively small island in the Gulf of Thailand nestled in between Koh Tao and Koh Samui.
Yet it has everything you could wish for in a tropical island paradise: towering palm trees, white-sand beaches, coral reefs with exotic fish, and lush jungles filled with waterfalls all framed by the idyllic turquoise ocean.
But when most travellers think of Koh Phangan, they think of wild parties, neon paint and buckets full of alcohol.
Koh Phangan is home to the famous Full Moon Party. Travellers from all over the globe flock to this island to dance the night away with other tourists.
If you are a true party animal, you may just have the best night of your life at the Full Moon Party.
This beach party is absolutely epic and so much fun, but many people focus on this party scene too much and overlook all the other amazing parts of Koh Phangan.
The Best Things to do in Koh Phangan
With this list of the best things to do in Koh Phangan, I hope to shed some light on the other fun activities and natural attractions of the island.
So even if you don’t drink and don’t like partying, you can still have an incredible experience on this island.
You can snorkel, hike, kayak, scuba dive, and enjoy all the best parts of Thai culture like eating street food, exploring temples, and getting a Thai massage.
So whether you are interested in the Full Moon Party or not, Koh Phangan should not be missed on a trip to Thailand!
1. Hike to Bottle Beach
With a reputation as one of the best beaches and a top Koh Phangan attraction, Bottle Beach is a true gem of Thailand’s gulf.
Located in the north of the island, the beach is pretty hard to get to but the one-hour trek through the jungle is a fun adventure.
Wear good walking shoes and plenty of bug spray, and you’ll feel like you really earned your relaxing beach day once you arrive on the white sands of Bottle Beach.
The hike begins at Coconut Beach and is completely free!
READ MORE: Plan your trip to Thailand with our comprehensive travel guide!
2. Soar through the Air at Slip N Fly
For a bit of an adrenaline kick, visit the water park known as Slip N Fly.
This fun tourist attraction has a few pools, waterslides, and pool games as well as a bar and restaurant.
The park is most well-known for its two 40-meter long waterslides that scoop up at the end. So you pick up speed as you move down the slide, then the upward curve launches you into the air.
Some people attempt backflips and twists while they soar through the air, but the less daring can just enjoy the ride and hope they don’t bellyflop into the pool!
Slip N Fly is temporarily closed as of August 2022, but check the website for contact info to see if it’s open when you’re in the area!
- Location: 98/5 Moo 3, Madeuwan, Koh Phangan
- Hours: 11 am to 6:30 pm
- Cost: 700 Baht
3. Get A Thai Massage
After launching yourself into the air at the Slip N Fly, you might want to treat your body to a Thai massage.
Let the experienced local masseuses knead, twist, and smooth the kinks out of your muscles and you’ll feel so refreshed afterward.
Thai massage is a highly revered traditional practice in the country, so you should definitely experience it at least once while travelling through Thailand.
This is a great activity in Koh Phangan for anyone looking to relax a little.
4. Take a Day Trip to Ang Thong National Marine Park
This protected archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand is a stunning oasis of natural beauty.
Filled with hiking trails, limestone caves, towering cliffs, palm forests, coral reefs, sandy beaches, and much more, Ang Thong National Marine Park is a nature-lovers paradise.
You can only enter the marine park via a government-approved tour boat.
Luckily there are plenty of great tour companies that offer day trips from Koh Phangan to Ang Thong.
5. Visit Koh Ma
A trip to Koh Ma should definitely be on your list of Koh Phangan sightseeing.
This tiny island is actually separate from Koh Phangan, but is connected to the main island by a sand bar that is visible at low tide.
So head to the northwest of the island at low tide and you can walk along the sand bar to Koh Ma.
You can also enjoy sunbathing on the sand bar and swimming in the ocean to escape the heat.
6. Hike Khao Ra Mountain
This 627-meter high mountain is one of the best Koh Phangan attractions.
Hiking to the top will provide you with some amazing views, and the whole journey takes about 2-3 hours round trip.
You can hike the trail in sturdy sneakers or hiking boots, and be sure to pack lots of water and sunscreen.
To avoid the mid-day heat, try to hike in the early morning or late afternoon.
Khao Ra is located near the north of the island and the hike is free.
READ MORE: Plan your best trip with these Thailand itineraries.
7. Watch the Sunset from a Rooftop Bar
There’s something absolutely magical about watching the sunset from a tropical island.
Even better is watching an island sunset up high at a rooftop bar so you can enjoy an incredible panoramic view.
Koh Phangan has lots of rooftop bars and restaurants that make great vantage points for sunset. Here are a few of the best ones:
- Secret Mountain: Open 10 am to 9 pm
- Amsterdam Bar: Open 12 pm to 1 am
- Three Sixty Bar: Open 10 am to 12 am
8. Go Scuba Diving
Scuba diving is definitely one of the best things to do in Koh Phangan.
The Gulf of Thailand is packed with gorgeous marine life, including tropical fish, manta rays, coral reefs, and more.
The island has a few dive schools that can hook you up with gear or help you get your divers certification. Haad Yao Divers, The Dive Inn, and Chaloklum Diving are a few of them.
Among the best diving spots near the island are Samran Pinnacle, Hin Yippon, Koh Ma, and Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Sail Rock is arguably the best dive site in the entire Gulf of Thailand, so this is a great place to go and explore the waters.
Not every company goes to Sail Rock every day, as they try to protect it. If you want to go, it’s best to book it ahead.
If you’re really into scuba diving, also consider heading to Koh Tao. Just a short boat ride away, Koh Tao is known for its amazing diving!
9. Chill out on Thong Nai Pan Beach
Of all the Koh Phangan attractions, the beaches are undoubtedly the best.
People travel from far and wide to stretch out on the velvety white sand and swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Thai islands, so make sure you squeeze plenty of beach days into your Thailand itinerary.
While visiting Koh Phangan, head to Thong Nai Pan for the ultimate beach day.
Soak in the sun or lie in the shade under a coconut palm. Splash in the water and collect seashells.
Take plenty of photos because this beach on Koh Phangan’s northeast coast is truly beautiful.
10. Visit Thong Sala’s Street Markets
As the main hub of Koh Phangan, Thong Sala is a bustling town with plenty of fun things to do.
The street markets are the town’s best attraction; tourists and locals both come together in the evenings to browse through the local goods and gorge on some delicious Thai food.
The Phantip Night Market opens every evening and has some of the best street food on the island.
Every Saturday, the main street of Thong Sala turns into a Walking Street Market, also known as the Thong Sala Night Market.
At Thong Sala Night Market, the streets become pedestrian-only as local vendors fill the road with their own stalls selling souvenirs, clothing, jewelry, and other homemade goods. There is also plenty of Thai food to eat!
11. Watch a Movie at an Outdoor Cinema
For a fun night in Koh Phangan, head to the Moonlight Cinema.
Located near the night market in Thong Sala, this open-air movie theater is full of comfy pillows and plays a wide variety of new and old films.
You can buy snacks and drinks at the theater as well. It’s a highlight of many who visit Koh Phangan!
- Location: 46 Moo 1, Chaloklum Rd. Thong Sala, Ko Phangan
- Hours: 3 pm to 1 am (opens at 1 pm on weekends)
- Cost: 150 Baht per ticket
12. Seek out Some Waterfalls
In addition to all the ocean scenery and white-sand beaches, some of the best things to see in Koh Phangan lie inland within the lush jungle.
The island is home to lots of waterfalls where you can go have a picnic, take photos, and swim in the fresh flowing water.
Phaeng Waterfall, Than Sadet Waterfall, and Paradise Waterfall are three of the most picturesque falls on the island.
If you just hop in a taxi or songtaew and tell the driver the name of the waterfall you want to visit, they’ll know where to go.
READ MORE: Thinking of visiting other places in Thailand? Our new blog post will tell you the best spots to go!
13. Kayak in the Ocean
Cruising through the turquoise waters and soaking in all the natural beauty is one of the best things to do in Koh Phangan.
Many of the island’s beaches have kayak rentals available, with the average price being about 150 Baht per hour.
Make sure you are reasonably fit and aware of the ocean currents before setting out on the water and don’t kayak alone.
A popular place to kayak on the island is from Wok Tum to Koh Ma because the waters are generally calm here.
14. Take a Road Trip around the Island
If you want to see a lot of the island in a short amount of time, your best bet is to book a sightseeing tour.
There are a few tourism companies that offer either ATV or road trip adventures around the island, which is great if you don’t have your own form of transport.
Your tour will take you to all the best spots on the island, including beaches, waterfalls, rooftop bars, and other amazing places that you might not be able to see on your own.
15. Dance the night away at the Full Moon Party
For any party animals out there looking for a classic Thailand backpacker experience, add the Full Moon Party to your bucket list.
Some travelers come to Koh Phangan solely for the Full Moon Party, as it is a famous phenomenon among young travelers.
This party includes lots of neon body paint, lots of cheap mixed drinks in plastic buckets, and lots of loud music, flashing lights, and dancing.
It’s one of the best things to do in Koh Phangan if you like to party.
The party is held every full moon on Haad Rin Beach. There is a Sunrise and Sunset Beach on Haad Rin Beach, and the party is on Sunrise Beach.
Just keep in mind that lots of accommodations completely book up for the party, so book your bed as far in advance as you can!
- Location: Haad Rin Nok Beach
- Hours: Every full moon, all night long
- Cost: 100 Baht entrance fee
16. OR party at the Half Moon Party
If you love the idea of the Full Moon Party, but you won’t be in Koh Phangan during the actual full moon, have no fear!
The island also hosts a Half Moon Party at, you guessed it, every half-moon.
That means this party happens twice a month rather than just once, and it isn’t as famous but it is still super fun.
The Half Moon Party happens in the jungle instead of on the beach, and there are tons of different stages and dance floors bumping different types of music.
- Location: In the forest just north of Baan Tai
- Hours: Every half-moon, all night long!
- Cost: 2,400 Baht for one day (can book tickets online in advance)
17. Enjoy the scenery from the Haad Rin Viewpoint
For a panoramic view on the south of the island, head to the Haad Rin Viewpoint.
The climb to the top only takes about 15 minutes, but in the humid, tropical heat it can be quite tiring so pack plenty of water.
The trail starts behind the Fairyland Resort on the southern tip of the island. From the top, you can enjoy views of the nearby beaches and you can even see Koh Samui in the distance.
READ MORE: Make the most of your trip to Thailand with these travel tips
18. Go Snorkelling
If you’re not ready to commit to scuba diving, you can still explore Koh Phangan’s flourishing underwater marine life by snorkelling.
Snorkelling is cheap and easy, so anyone can do it. If you don’t have your own gear, you can rent a snorkel, mask, and flippers for roughly 100 Baht per hour.
One of the island’s best locations for snorkelling is Mae Haad Beach and Haad Son along the north coast.
19. Visit the Temples
With so much natural beauty to see and partying to be done, it can be easy to forget about all the stunning temples on Koh Phangan!
But the temples are amazing representations of Thai culture and Buddhist architecture, so you should definitely try to see plenty of them.
Some of the island’s most beautiful temples are Wat Nok, Wat Khao Tham, and Wat Pho (not to be confused with the famous Wat Pho in Bangkok).
20. Watch a Muay Thai Boxing Match
If you haven’t yet been to see a Muay Thai Boxing Match in Thailand, now is your chance!
This fast-paced, mesmerizing sport is super popular in Thailand, and watching a match is a great way for tourists to catch a glimpse of the local Thai culture.
Koh Phangan is home to 7 Muay Thai Boxing stadiums that host matches every evening. Some of them even have training classes so you can learn the basics of the sport for yourself!
21. Rent a Motorbike
To explore Koh Phangan on your own schedule, rent a motorbike and enjoy all the mobility you need.
Before renting a motorbike, make sure you have travel insurance and a copy of your passport to give the rental company.
Also take lots of photos of the bike before you ride it, so the company can’t blame any scratches or dings on you.
There are lots of motorbike rental companies around the island, and the average cost is around 150 Baht per day.
The most popular route to explore by motorbike is the west coast of the island.
Koh Phangan Travel Guide
After taking note of all the best things to do in Koh Phangan, here are some recommendations for where to stay and what to eat.
Accommodation in Koh Phangan
Whether you’re a budget backpacker who just wants to party, or an upscale traveller looking for the best quality beach resorts, Koh Phangan has it all.
Budget: Bodega Hostel
This hostel is loud, wild, crazy, and perfect for social butterflies and partiers in Koh Phangan.
It has over 1,000 great reviews on Hostelworld, and it is the best place to stay on the island for the moon parties and just for making friends and taking part in lots of fun, social activities.
Keep in mind that prices rise during the Full Moon Party, but the hostel is still cheaper than a hotel.
If you want a quieter atmosphere, there are plenty of other hostels on Hostelworld that aren’t party hostels, just do a bit of browsing.
Mid Range: Samutra Residences
This new and affordable resort in Koh Phangan is perfect for those who want to experience a bit of luxury without spending a ton of money.
With a super friendly staff, new rooms and private bungalows, a beautiful garden and private pool, and located in a quiet area, this place exudes an aura of comfort and relaxation.
Luxury: Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas
If you want a five-star stay in your own private villa on Koh Phangan island, this is the place to go.
Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas are located just a short walk from the scenic Thong Nai Pan Beach, though you may never want to leave the exquisite grounds of the resort!
Complete with delicious breakfast and friendly staff, you can enjoy the clean and comfortable upscale suites with either pool or garden views and take advantage of the spa and fitness centre on-site.
What to Eat in Koh Phangan
Budget – Moonsoon’s Restaurant
Located on the east coast near Bottle Beach, Moonsoon’s Restaurant is a super laid-back local restaurant with delicious, cheap local food.
They have local and western food, all at cheap prices. People also rave about the friendly, English-speaking staff.
Mid-Range – Restaurant Sunshine
Restaurant Sunshine on the west coast of the island is a relaxed eatery serving all the classic Thai dishes.
It is moderately priced, the portion sizes are hefty, and the atmosphere is welcoming.
Luxury – Milky Bay Restaurant
Located on a pristine beach and stocked with fresh and delicious seafood, Milky Bay Restaurant is one of the top-rated places to eat on Koh Phangan.
The menu is extensive, so you can eat classic Thai food, pizza and pasta, or freshly-caught fish.
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