A 30-minute boat ride to the north of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan can be easily visited on a day trip. It’s also a great spot to enjoy a short stay. Commonly known as a backpacker’s paradise, Koh Phangan offers secluded tropical white sand beaches, and is home to peaceful luxury resorts as well as glorious sunsets and clear, deep waters ideal for divers.
Koh Phangan’s famed Full Moon Party is a favourite with backpackers, with many streaming to the island’s southern hotels for this legendary beach party. There’s also a Half Moon Party for those that miss the turning of the moon, hosted in the forested interior.
You can easily spend your days soaking up the rays on one of Koh Phangan's picture-postcard beaches; however, the spellbinding beauty of your surroundings may well awaken your inner explorer.
If this is the case, the crystal clear waters may prove irresistible thanks to their warm temperatures and varied marine life. The island is also surrounded by several diving spots accessible by boat, with regular organised excursions enabling you to explore their spectacular coral reefs.
On shore, the rocky inland terrain lends itself perfectly to both rock climbing and hiking. The magnificent Nam Tok Phaeng waterfall in the centre of the island is located at the end of a relatively short but visually stunning walking trail – offering you the perfect blend of scenery and exercise.
You can also look forward to sampling some outstanding cuisine in the island's restaurants, hotel resorts and street stalls. The night market at Thong Sala is a hive of activity until late in the evening, attracting visitors and locals alike in search of tasty seafood snacks and spicy noodle dishes.
And if you're looking for the perfect way to wrap up your evening, then few sights can match that of the golden sunsets which grace the skies over Koh Phangan every night. The eastern part of the island is awash with secluded beaches from which to take in the spectacle, whilst Secret Beach in the north-west corner is known to offer some of the best views on the island.
GMT + 7 hours
· Buddhism is the main religion and the Thai people are very conservative by nature. It is therefore important to respect local culture by dressing modestly when away from the beaches.
· Koh Phangan's residents speak Thai but English is widely spoken in bars, restaurants and resorts.
· The island has a population of roughly 12,000 people and is 125 square kilometres in size.