Koh Pha Ngan
Famous for its full moon parties, Koh Pha Ngan island is located between Koh Samui and Koh Tao. A land of coconut palms and beautiful beaches, it is a smallish island with a perimeter of 40kms, and its main town and ferry port, Thong Sala, is close to Ao Nai Wok beach with its sailing, kayaking and windsurfing.
No less than 30 beaches line its coast, with Haad Rin the touristiest and home to the Full Moon parties, and Bottle Beach one of the loveliest and most isolated. The rugged interior of the island holds Ko Pha Ngan National Park and the Than Sadet river and its magnificent waterfalls.
Elephant camps are an island feature and can be visited for rides and viewing the iconic animals. Ang Thong Marine Park’s diving, snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking are as good as it gets. Haad Rin and Thong Sala host Thai boxing matches, and yoga sessions and intensive courses are popular, as are boat trips around the coastline and to neighbouring islets.
The island offers a great selection of accommodation at all levels, from high-end spa resorts and upscale hotels to smaller boutique-style villas, beach huts and bungalows, guesthouses and budget lodgings. Over 250 properties classify as resorts, whether they are located around Thong Sala or in a secluded, lesser-known bay just kilometres from the action. For unbelievable sunrises and nature at its best, remote Thong Nai Pan Noi village has beach bungalows and a bohemian vibe.
Koh Samui Airport is closest to Koh Pha Ngan, offering routes from Bangkok and Phuket, while Surat Thani Airport is an alternative on the mainland. Getting here from both airports requires a ferry journey as part of a bus-boat combo, and the overnight train from Bangkok, as well as air-conditioned buses from Bangkok’s Khao San Road, stop at Surat Thani.
High season is between December and March, with pleasant temperatures and no rain, and again in July/August. April through June is very hot and dry, and the worst time to arrive.