Koh Phangan; the infamous party island, was so much more chilled than I initially expected. An outdoor cinema, crazy golf, beautiful beaches, yoga and meditation retreats and more vegan food than even I could eat was not at all what I anticipated from the full moon party’s host. Thailand’s Southern Islands are possibly the most touristy places I’ve been to in this country so far; meaning that they were evidently more expensive, BUT that’s not to say you can’t keep your budget tight here.
Here’s some ideas on what to do for free…ish.
Sun, Sand & Sea
Koh Phangan has some of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen; crystal clear waters with fish swimming in the shallows, white-almond like sand and green luscious rock like islands in the distance. If you’re wanting a party, head over to Haad Rin beach where the Full Moon Parties take place- there’s loud music, volleyball nets, street food but A LOT of people. If you’re after something more secluded make sure you check out Haad Son (AKA Secret Beach), we were the only people there and it was really beautiful. Our Hostel was on the bay of Mae Haad Beach which is worth visiting; it’s the place where 2 opposite currents meet, creating a walkway through the centre of the ocean.
Koh Phangan is literally huge; there are so many different areas to explore and each are vastly different from one another- from party crazy, to touristy, to yoga retreats, to paradise, this island has it all. To get around the island you will need to either jump in a Songhteaw taxi (Paang Mak- very expensive) where the minimum charge is 100 BHT OR you can hire a scooter for the day (150-250 BHT for 24 hours). One of my favourite things to do in the world is to hop on the back of Joe’s scooter and whizz around; the scenery is stunning, the fresh cool breeze is refreshing and you always end up finding the coolest stuff.
See some nature
There are some great waterfalls on this island; my favourite being Preng Waterfall. They’re pretty easy to access and you can swim in them too; just don’t make the same mistake that I did. Whilst hiking up the fall, I ended up onto the wrong track- a nature trail; what is wrong with that you may ask? Well, after 2 hours of an uphill climb I still wasn’t at the top (or prepared for a hike that day) I was wearing flip flops, had no water and the climb was pretty tough. Don’t be a Katie- check which way you’re going when you reach the top of the fall.
Eat, eat and eat some more
The vegan restaurants on this island were DELICIOUS- possibly some of the best food I’ve eaten in Asia in fact. Srithanu is the best area to look for veggie haunts but there are some really great places in Thong Sala as well, my favourites were; Green Gallery, Eat Co and Capana (watch this space for a Koh Phangan dedicated vegan post…)
See the wonders of Ang thong
Okay you’ve got me…this excursion definitely isn’t free, it costs around 2000 BHT which you may be thinking is actually a little pricey. BUT BUT BUT it is 100% worth every penny and if you don’t go you will kick yourself. We chose to go with Orion which although wasn’t perfect included; hotel transfers, breakfast (unlimited banana, watermelon and pineapple) boat ride, snorkelling, lunch (buffet of fried vegetables, tofu green curry and rice), unlimited water, coke and fanta, kayaking, entrance to the marine park and stop offs at the Emerald Lake and the view point- BARGAIN! Spend less on other days of your holiday to splurge on this one; I promise you, you’ll love it.
Note- I did not and will not recommend going to a Full moon party- first off, it’s not free (or cheap for that matter) second the leftover litter seriously impacts Thailand’s environment and it’s aquatic life, which I just can’t be an advocate for.
Much love from wherever I am xx