Phangan made an amazing impression on me, I did not expect that it would turn out this way. I thought it was an ordinary island, like Koh Samui, Phuket or Koh Chang, but it turned out not. It's all about the atmosphere and the contingent. Someone even weaves mysticism here and speaks of some kind of rose quartz, which is supposedly present in the rocks of Phangan and works like a huge magnet of love. And in my opinion, the whole point is precisely in the people who live here or who come for a short time. Nowhere else have I seen such an abundance of informals of various trends: yogis, raw foodists, spiritual practitioners, shamans, meditators, herb smokers, mushroom eaters, freelancers, various coaches, etc..
The content of the article
- one Preparing for the trip
- 2 Upon arrival on the island
- 3 Koh Phangan Map
Preparing for the trip
Description of the resort and why go to Koh Phangan
Here, once a month (on the full moon), the famous Full Moon Party is held, where young people from all over the world come to have a hard booze. And then families with children spend the winter quietly, and even package tourists come for a couple of weeks for a beach holiday. How do they all get along together? It's a mystery to me. It is quite difficult for an introvert to make new acquaintances and find friends, especially when you are over 30. But for me, Phangan was an exception. It is enough to get into one of the parties, and then you will spontaneously get to know different people, flowing from company to company.
You can easily regulate the degree of involvement in a particular party, starting with being completely immersed in the rhythm of a party-goer's life, and ending with not hearing anything about it at all. You can drink beer today while watching the sunset in an Amsterdam bar, and the next morning do yoga in one of the centers or with friends and acquaintances. I got the feeling that everyone here generally knows each other, although this is not so. It's just that many people are open to communication and for them there is no problem just to sit down at a table with strangers in some cafe and start a conversation..
I haven't had so many thematic communication for a long time. I will not say that I belong to any of the currents, but nevertheless I am interested in talking about yoga and meditation, blogging and remote business, about life experience and travel. Phangan is relaxing. I put in only a week to visit him, stayed two and still it turned out to be too little. It is difficult to understand Phangan in such a short time. Although you can completely not mystify this island and treat it like an ordinary youth resort.
Phangan is an amazing island. I perfectly understand those who came here for a short time, but got stuck for several years. I don't know if I managed to understand it in a couple of weeks, but, as they say, everyone will have their own Phangan. My Phangan is friends, techno parties, not Thai food at all, sports, wind in your face and some special atmosphere. For 6 years I here for the first time relaxed and rested. Phangan, one might say, just made me do it. And this is great, because I myself am not able, the habit of working seven days a week. Now this island will stand apart in my personal rating of resorts, where it is worth going not so much for the sake of the beaches, but because of the nature, atmosphere and people..
Which beach to choose
It is understood - which beach on Koh Phangan should you prefer to the rest, for living. Unlike Koh Samui, where I recommend that you first decide whether you will have a rental vehicle or not, in Phangan it is important to understand something else from the beginning - why are you coming here. Will you have a family-beach vacation, or you are by nature a vagabond-party-goer without children and anchors, or - you are going out of touch with civilization. It's just that the beaches of Phangan, in my opinion, are divided into three main parts: eastern, southern and western.
Can you imagine a Mercedes badge? Put it mentally on the Koh Phangan map and get three parts. The left (west and north-west) is considered the most resort, oriented towards the classic tourist, the one with children, suitcases, cameras and money. From Thong Sala to Chaloklam, there are beautiful, easily accessible beaches with good infrastructure, roads and a choice of beachfront accommodations. This is an option for those who are going to have a rest according to the classics. Main beaches: Sritanu, Haad Son, Haad Yao, Haad Salad, Mae Had and Malibu.
The lower part of Phangan (south) is not so beautiful, but very long beaches, also from Tong Sala, to Haad Rin itself. There are many resorts and cheap housing, good infrastructure, many large shops and fairly dense traffic. The bulk of the parties is concentrated in this part of the island, and therefore the south attracts young people and those who came to the Full Moon Party. This is an option for those who are going to have fun or are not ready to spend money on hotels, since the plans only include exploring the island and no obligations. Main beaches: Thong Sala, Ban Tai and Haad Rin.
The right side of Phangan (east and northeast) is a wild land with a large road in the center of the island, but difficult and confusing dirt roads lead from it to the coast, on which you will not ride every day. You can drive to the four main beaches of the east relatively calmly, but all the rest are a lost paradise where people go specifically to forget about other people. This option is for hermits who do not need either expensive hotels (although there are some) or a rented scooter. Beaches: Bottle Beach, Tong Nai Pan Yai and Tong Nai Pan Noi and Haad Yuan.
How to choose a hotel or house
With housing in Phangan, if we are talking about hotels in their classical sense, everything is pretty bad. Most of the housing is bungalow complexes with well-worn houses. I have stayed in many hotels and came across the fact that there are really a lot of old buildings, although everything looks great on the photos in the booking system (most likely a century ago). At the same time, the price for stale numbers remains the same, discounts are not given. I came up with such a formula - you need about 1500-2000 baht per day for the hotel to be more or less normal. If you pay a little more, then this actually does not affect the quality of housing in any way. Well, maybe the territory will be better, or the location of the hotel. Yes, we are, of course, about the season and peak season, in summer prices fall by 2 times.
By the way, yes, the location has a strong influence on pricing. If the bungalow is a beachfront, then for straw with cracks in the walls you can pay about 1,500 baht. In general, if it is necessary directly, so that there is absolutely a class «luxury», then these are completely different prices, somewhere closer to 5000 baht. For example, on Koh Samui, the choice is much wider and in general housing is better, and there are a lot of hotels, not bungalows. In fact, I'm not against bungalows, it's good to live in your own house, but, as a rule, their condition is worse than if it was one hotel building. Probably because it is easier to follow a large building..
Winterers and longsteers who want to rent houses on a monthly basis usually move to or near Sritana (west of the island), and along the road from Thong Sala to Chaloklum and to Chaloklam itself (north of the island). For me, these 2 districts are most suitable for long-term stays and there are most of the houses for rent there. And I would personally choose Sritana. Just in case, you don't have to look for apartments in Phangan, they are not there..
If you are traveling to Thailand for the first time, then I recommend booking a house or apartment in advance. This is done only through a realtor. Yes, they do not deal with the cheapest housing and take a commission, but this allows you to avoid unnecessary hassle in an unfamiliar country. Believe me, independent searches on the spot are difficult and not worth it. You are going to rest.
Send me a request to advise a trusted realtor, whom I myself trust. And then recently there have been a lot of scammers.
How to get to Koh Phangan
Phangan is located 700 km from Bangkok and 350 km from Phuket. There are no direct flights from Russia to Phangan, since there is no airport on it. You can get to Phangan only by sea. The nearest airport to Koh Phangan is on the neighboring island - Koh Samui. Samui Airport - private, and it accepts planes only of certain companies that break double - triple price compared to the prices of low-cost airlines.
My opinion: try to buy a single Moscow-Samui ticket right away, it will be with a transfer, but usually it comes out cheaper in total than buying several separate tickets. And certainly everything will be faster and more comfortable, especially with children (more about such flights). It is better to search for such flights traditionally on Aviasales, see directly to Koh Samui!
If you first buy a ticket to Bangkok or Phuket, then take a second ticket from Bangkok Airways (about 3,500 baht), then in an hour you will be on Koh Samui. From the airport on Koh Samui, you will be taken to the catamaran at the pier in Bang Rai in five minutes, and in another half hour you will be at Pangan Haad Rin.
The average option for money and comfort is a low-cost flight from Bangkok to the mainland airports closest to the island (Surat Thani and Nakhon Sitammarat), transfer to a bus, then transfer to a ferry that goes to Koh Samui and Phangan. When buying such air tickets (about 1,500 baht), you need to immediately take a ticket to the final point - Phangan, which includes a bus ticket and a ferry ticket. Everywhere they will take the hand, take you to the branded minibus, then they will put you on the ferry, you will not get lost.
If you are driving in economy mode, then your option is «bus + ferry» or «train + bus + ferry».
Climate and weather in Koh Phangan
The weather in Koh Phangan is very similar to that of Koh Samui and, in general, differs significantly from the weather reports for the mainland of Surat Thani province. It is a common occurrence when excessive rains in November and December are a complete surprise for a joyful tourist. People come to be in the sun on New Year's holidays, and receive heavy rain and flooding. Keep in mind that due to global warming, the weather has shifted not only in the Russian Federation, but throughout the world, so it may well turn out that the signs described below will not fall into any item at all.
At the peak of winter rains, the air temperature drops to 23 degrees, and in the heat it can be 34 in the shade - all figures are averaged. The hottest months in Koh Phangan are from February to April, the wettest are from November to January. In summer, there are monsoon rains throughout Thailand (which only reach Phangan in autumn), and the weather on the island is clear skies and short mushroom rains several times a day. At the end of September and in October, Phangan is not particularly happy with good weather, November is the peak of rainfall, December is a gradual improvement in the weather.
During the winter months, almost all of Koh Phangan's beaches (even the western ones, for all their shallow waters) have unpleasant waves and mud all over the beach every morning. Showers wash away all sorts of floating trash from the islands and after a storm all this rubbish ends up on the sand. There is little pleasant in such a place, but even such conditions are better than the Russian winter. And in pursuit - my advice: fly in March or summer. March is the golden month in Phangan, and in summer the season drops to zero, people go to explore Turkey and Egypt, and Thai beaches are empty. Prices are falling, sellers and landlords are becoming much more accommodating - beauty.
Upon arrival on the island
How to get to your hotel
If you do not plan to rent a bike immediately upon arrival (be careful with divorces), then taxis and boats in Phangan rule. Unfortunately, everything is bad here with the shuttle transport, so I highly recommend thinking about a bike or a rented car if you don't feel like messing with bikes. You can take a car on the mainland at any of the airports, for example, on Koh Samui, and then cross over to Panagan. Even in Bangkok, you can take a car on arrival and get on it yourself to the island, having seen the sights along the way, then move around Phangan and then return to Bangkok (or return it at the airport on Koh Samui, on the mainland in Surathani or Nakhon Simmarta, after flying further by plane ). Instructions on how to rent a car.
Rent a car with a discount>
Public songteos run mainly in the southern part of the island from Tong Sala to Haad Rin (you can stop right on the road), occasionally go to the west to Sritanu and Haad Salad, in the north they are practically invisible at all, but in the wild, roadless east they are basically do not go. Usually they always stand near the two main piers of Phangan: Tong Sala and Haad Rin. When you arrive, you will see how people are immediately crammed into them. In this case, the price will be about 50 baht..
If you stop an empty songteo, it can turn into a taxi and take you anywhere, but the price will be appropriate. For example, from Tong Sala to Haad Rin it will be somewhere around 400 baht, from Tong Sala to Amsterdam bar 200 baht. Plus minus how you bargain, although they are not very inclined to cut prices. But at night there is simply no other transport, only such expensive transportation.
Alternatively, if you are traveling to a normal hotel, then it will offer a transfer service, you can take it. And the same way back. The price depends on the hotel, but I don't think it will be very different from the cost of a taxi. Also, taxi transfers can be from local illegal expatriates. You can get to one or another beach by boat - taxi boat, but this is quite an expensive pleasure.
What to see from the sights
As I already wrote at the beginning of the article - there are one or two sights on Phangan and there are a lot of things to do. A big tree, an old temple, a large waterfall and a national park with a viewpoint are all the main attractions. Well, there are also all sorts of cult bars and establishments. It seems to me that I more or less managed to understand both the tourist part and the party part. The only thing, I could not persuade myself to go to the Full Moon Party, because everything is pretty trashy there, although it should have been. But I attended other parties, such as Samsara and Guise Bar.
Phangan took my flip-flops, sunglasses, almost took my phone (fell out while riding a bike), the dog chewed on my brand new trekking sandals, but gave much more in return. Despite the work, I finally managed to relax, for the first time, probably in 6 years, I just rested for several days. If you want to know about all this in more detail, then read my post with a list of attractions, where I brought out the main interesting places of the island. Temples, waterfalls, observation decks, entertainment attractions and parties - all in one place, only the best.
Where to eat, in which cafes
Phangan is an island of cafes for all tastes. Party Lighthose, Eden and Guy’s Bar on the edge of civilization, Rasta Koh Raham, Top Rock and AmstArdam Bar. Purely relaxed Bar Three Sixty, Orion Wellness Café and The Dome Sauna, vegan Akashi and Israeli Taboon. In addition to themed establishments, there are ordinary cafeterias where you can get good coffee and dessert, which is cozy, tasty and inexpensive: Doppia, Dot’s, Nira Bakery, Sweet Shell Caffee.
Dynamic music is played in many cafes and bars. You get used to it and then you start to miss her. Whoever says what, but even if you do not consider the island to be a party, you will still have the feeling that there is a party here somewhere, it is hard not to notice it. For more information about all the listed establishments and some more that did not fall into this post, read the article.
Transport on site
I came to Koh Samui after Phangan - what a terrible movement here, you can't leave the yard right away, you need to wait, bikes and cars are driving in a continuous stream. But the roads are better, the ring road is so generally flat, without joints and potholes. On Phangan you can feel much more that it is an island, that it is tropics, there is more nature. The Chaweng Lamai area is generally like a city. Something similar to Phangan - this is only Tong Sala and then, it is several times smaller. Koh Phangan has less distance between points and no traffic jams.
People mostly travel on rented bikes, because you just can't get enough money for songthaews and taxis. There is a problem with a divorce for repairs (when you are given an overpriced price for repairing damages, and sometimes they are not yours), but you can always solve this issue by renting a scooter on Koh Samui on more adequate conditions and without a passport pledge. On Koh Phangan, you still have to run around and look for the rental that does not want to keep your passport. Large rental cars with a worldwide reputation, which have excellent equipment and insurance - I have not found in Phangan.
Koh Phangan Map
Koh Phangan Map
Koh Phangan Map: