An Introduction to Koh Phangan Island
Koh Phangan (or Ko Pha Ngan) is a lush tropical island paradise in the Gulf of Thailand, boasting unspoiled white sand beaches, azure seas and an unsullied jungle interior. Koh Phangan started as a back door escape from its larger sister Koh Samui but is now blooming into an international destination for tourists and travellers around the world. Although very popular, the island has yet to become highly developed and retains much of its natural beauty.
People here continue to live a peaceful rural Thai lifestyle. Coconut farming is an important source of income for the local people and there is a flourishing fishing community. There have been many changes caused by development, but Koh Phangan still has plenty of remote beaches and is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef. Coastal areas are lined with plantations of gently waving coconut palms, and the untouched rainforest houses a rich diversity of flora and fauna. About 8000 people live on Koh Phangan. Some are Chinese whose ancestors migrated from China over 100 years ago. The main population lives in Thongsala the main town of the island.
What is Koh Phangan famous for?
Koh Phangan retains a uniquely relaxed and laid back atmosphere. During the 1990s the island became popular with budget tourists seeking a simple beach lifestyle in paradise, complete with cheap accommodation, 'New Age' culture, and inexpensive Thai food. Koh Phangan is also famous for its monthly Full Moon Party at Haad Rin Beach. Apart from the island's reputation for full moon parties and a hedonistic culture, Koh Phangan is now becoming recognised for its splendour and natural beauty. Near Haad Sadet on the east coast is a a trail which leads to a series of waterfalls collectively known as Than Sadet or the 'Royal Stream'. There are many coconut plantations, lovely bicycle trails and forrested mountain terrain to explore. Its a place to go walking, snorkeling, swimming or to try new things as far ranging as belly dancing or Thai Boxing. Koh Phangan is all about taking it easy and leaving the mainstream behind.
Koh Phangan's two sisters
Koh Phangan has two sister islands: Koh Samui (a well known resort island) to the South and Koh Tao (a popular spot to learn scuba diving) to the North. Koh Phangan has a less modern atmosphere compared to Koh Samui and is generally less expensive. The lack of an airport has so far spared it from package tour development.