Koh Phangan: Our tips for the west coast

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Hello Koh Phangan, you wonderful island paradise! Koh Phangan is definitely one of our favorite travel destinations in Thailand. You can look forward to bright sandy beaches and cozy island vibes.

In the past 12 years we were over and over again on the paradisiacal island in the Gulf of Thailand and fortunately can say: Koh Phangan is still the same relaxed piece of earth that we knew and loved on our very first trip to Southeast Asia have learned.

In this article we take you on a journey to the west coast of Koh Phangan, which you can ideally explore by scooter. Some of the most beautiful beaches are located here. We will show you which beaches are particularly worthwhile, where you can find the best Thai food and of course we will share our personal tips for your holiday.

1. Dream island Koh Phangan: FAQs & first tips at a glance What can I expect on Koh Phangan? Great beaches: If the weather cooperates, then the beaches on Koh Phangan are really beautiful! The sand is fairly light and the water is turquoise blue. We will present our favorites along the west coast to you in more detail in a moment. Yoga, vegan food & massage : In recent years, a fairly large yoga scene has established itself on Koh Phangan. In addition to some yoga studios & retreats, you will now also find quite a few vegan restaurants and cafes. Relaxation & Recreation: The first two points sum it up well – Koh Phangan is not an island of great sights, but a place where you can let your soul dangle. Orientation on Koh Phangan At first glance (and compared to the neighboring island of Koh Samui), Koh Phangan seems rather small . However: The distances should not be underestimated, especially since you often have to accept detours due to the lack of road connections. As an example: From the north you are easy with the scooter 40 minutes to the south. We therefore recommend that you think about where you would like to stay overnight in advance, as there are differences.

In general, one can say that the south (around the full moon party beach Haad Rin) is the most touristy part of Koh Phangan is. Nevertheless, you can of course spend a great holiday here, no question.

The long West Coast (which this article is primarily about) is the same well developed, but a little more relaxed. What we really like here are the many great beaches and bays that can be found here. In general, we find the west coast to be a super starting point, since both the northern beaches and other spots such as the island’s capital, Thong Sala, can be easily reached from here.

The East of Koh Phangan is more secluded and quiet compared to the south and west with significantly less accommodation and restaurants. Great beaches can also be found here, which don’t slope quite as flatly as in the west. You can find our tips for this part of Koh Phangan in our detailed article: East Coast Koh Phangan.

How many days should I plan for Koh Phangan? Our standard answer to this question is: It depends. Some people stay two nights on Koh Phangan and then move on to the next island. Others spend their entire Thailand vacation on Koh Phangan.

Three nights are the minimum in our opinion – after all, getting to the island takes some time. In such a short amount of time, you’re more likely to focus on one region.

But we would rather recommend you to add a few more days – ideally over a weekend, because the weekly market in Thong Sala always takes place on Saturday. We will tell you more about this later in this blog article.

Haad Salad BeachMalibu Beach 2. Beaches on the west coast of Koh Phangan The west coast of Koh Phangan is blessed with beautiful beaches. You can expect numerous bays, all of which are quite similar: Turquoise-blue water, light-colored sand (sometimes finer, sometimes coarser) and, depending on the beach, some beach bars and accommodation. The following three beaches are particularly well-known and popular:

Haad Salad: One of our beach favourites! The sand here is particularly fine and in general we like the relaxed atmosphere. At Haad Salad there is also the perfect swing under the palm trees. A dream, isn’t it?Mae Haad Beach: This beach in the north of the west coast is one of the most famous on Koh Phangan. At low tide you can walk over a sandbank to the offshore island (“Koh Ma”). There is now a lot more going on here than there was a few years ago. Malibu Beach: The whitest sand of all the beaches mentioned is definitely on Malibu Beach. In our eyes, the beach is one of the most beautiful on Koh Phangan. Important tip: Low & high tide on Koh Phangan The beaches on the west coast of Koh Phangan are all very gently sloping. At low tide, the water often recedes so much that it is difficult to swim. We ourselves therefore like to use a tide app on our cell phones. So you have a good view of the ebb and flow and can better plan your day accordingly.

In general, the sea on Koh Phangan is very calm when the weather is nice. The beaches on Koh Phangan are particularly beautiful during the dry season (December/January to March/April). During the rainy season the sea can be choppy, which means that the beaches often don’t look quite as paradisiacal as one might have hoped.

Haad Salad BeachHaad Salad Beach Mae Haad Beach 3. Thai food & breakfast: Our restaurant tips for Koh Phangan Our favorite restaurant: Ying Ying’s Kitchen Delicious Thai Food is available at this friendly, family-run restaurant, located near Haad Salad Beach. Ying Ying’s Kitchen was once a tiny street eatery. There is now a new, larger location. The excellent quality of the food has remained the same.

The great thing about the concept: almost all dishes are vegetarian (with tofu) or with meat (chicken/beef). The degree of sharpness can also be freely selected. So there really is something for every taste.

Our conclusion: Delicious, authentic and inexpensive – what more could you ask for? We’ve been here countless times and have always had excellent food.

Orion Café: Delicious Smoothie Bowls Our Breakfast Favorite on Koh Phangan is clearly the Orion Café. It belongs to the Orion Healing Center, a famous yoga retreat on Koh Phangan. The secluded location right on the beach is beautiful – it’s worth a visit for that alone.

As you might have guessed, the menu mainly consists of healthy, plant-based dishes. We particularly liked the Mango Smoothie Bowl – so good that we didn’t have anything else for breakfast four days in a row. The only disadvantage: the prices are rather high.

Other restaurants and cafes -Tips Bubba’s: If you fancy avocado toast, granola, flat white & co , is in good hands in this café. There are two locations – one just behind Haad Yao Beach and one to the south at Ban Tai Pier.

Jumpahom Restaurant: If you are willing to wait a long time for your food, you will be spoiled with excellent Thai food here. The chef of the house is legendary and known throughout the island for her unusual sense of humor and excellent cooking skills.

Phantip Night Market: This night market in Thong Sala is a small paradise for foodies (daily from 17 Watch). Countless food stalls serve delicious Thai food here every day. The vegetarian selection is rather limited, but we have always found what we are looking for.

Dots Coffee: If you’re a coffee junkie like us, check out this coffee shop in the island’s capital, Thong Sala over. There is very good coffee here.

Dots Coffee Phantip Night Market 4. The most beautiful sunset bars If the weather is good, you can go to Koh Phangan’s west coast marvel at great sunsets. We usually go to a bar at sunset, and there are plenty of those on Koh Phangan.

Amsterdam Bar One of the most famous and most visited bars on Koh Phangan is the Amsterdam Bar. People meet here every evening to celebrate the sunset with a beer. The clientele is a mix of long-established Koh Phangan expats and young travellers.

Top Rock Bar The name says it all: The Top Rock Bar is located on a small platform surrounded by huge rocks. You have to climb a few steps first and then a narrow ladder at the end to be able to enjoy the view. The atmosphere is very special, you have to see it!

Three Sixty Bar One of the newer bars on Koh Phangan is located to the north the island. The Three Sixty Bar was opened on the roof of a ruined building and has since become one of the hotspots on Koh Phangan. From here you can enjoy a wonderful view of the sea and the small offshore island of Koh Ma.

5. Other highlights along the west coast of Koh Phangan: Temples, markets & Co. Sure, the beaches are in the foreground on Koh Phangan. But once you’ve had enough of salt water and sun, we have a few tips for you.

Chinese Temple One of the largest and The most famous temple in Koh Phangan is the Chinese temple. It is located in the inland of the west coast and is built on a slope. On a clear day you can enjoy a wonderful view over the jungle towards the sea.

The Chinese architecture of this temple is very remarkable and special. All in all: A sight that we can recommend you to visit if you feel like a bit of culture.

Revive Massage The ones by far We were allowed to enjoy the best massage on Koh Phangan (and one of the best in all of Thailand) in this inconspicuous massage studio called Revive.

The employees know their trade – and how! Unfortunately, too often in Thailand you only get a semi-professional massage. Here, however, you immediately notice that every move is spot on. So if you want to get really kneaded once (or maybe more often), then we can only warmly recommend Revive.

Walking Street: Saturday Market in Thong Sala In the island’s capital Thong Sala every Saturday from approx. 16/17 Clock the weekly market, the so-called Walking Street, over the stage. The street will be closed to car traffic. Instead, a pedestrian zone is created and with it a huge open-air market.

Countless market stalls offer their goods for sale – including souvenirs, clothing, bags and much more. You can also try lots of Thai delicacies here.

The market is now very popular and extremely well attended – both by locals and tourists. If you want to avoid crowds, it’s best not to be too late.

6. Rent & drive a scooter on Koh Phangan The cheapest and most flexible way and way to get from A to B on Koh Phangan is renting a scooter. Our appeal: only rent a scooter if you are experienced in driving!

Is scooter riding dangerous on Koh Phangan? Yes – riding a moped is always associated with a certain risk and Thailand is one of the countries with the highest number of road fatalities. Anyone who sits on the scooter must therefore be aware of the danger.

The good news: The roads on Koh Phangan generally there is little traffic – apart from certain places like Thong Sala. However, you have to be prepared for the fact that it is very hilly and curvy . If it’s raining or there’s sand on the road, extra caution is required! Most roads are asphalted and in good condition – but you always have to be prepared for one or the other pothole.

In summary, Koh Phangan is one of those places in Thailand where we have always found riding a scooter to be quite relaxed – it is completely different on Koh Samui or Phuket, for example.

What we do to minimize risks as much as possible:

We ride with helmet – always! We try to avoid to drive at night – on the one hand because of the darkness, on the other hand because there are always drunk people on the streets. Unwritten Law: During the Full Moon Party do not ride a moped! On this day, many get behind the wheel drunk and often cause accidents. Be careful not to burn yourself on the hot exhaust – we see people with this so-called “Thailand Tattoo” on every holiday in Thailand. Where can I rent a scooter on Koh Phangan? You will find one or more shops in every small town, rent the scooters. We ourselves have had good experiences with Tik’s Bike Rental in Srithanu. The best thing to do is to ask your accommodation, for example, which rental company is recommended in your area.

Important information about renting a scooter Price for 24 hours the rent usually costs around 250 Baht. Those who stay longer can try to negotiate a discount.Insurance: In most cases, insurance is not included! This means that you always have to pay for any damage yourself.Deposit: Meanwhile, the passport is almost always required as a deposit. We always have a lot of stomach ache and try to avoid it. Instead, we always offer the landlord another form of ID (e.g. Kathi’s driver’s license) and a cash deposit. That has always worked so far. International driving license: No landlord will ask you for an international driver’s license, but they will ask for the original. However, it can look different in the case of a police check. If you are unlucky, you pay a penalty (usually something like 500 baht). A driving licence: What many do not consider: Almost all mopeds are motorized too high to be able to rent them with a B driving license. The landlord doesn’t care, but you could be asked to pay if there’s a police check. And more importantly, if you’re involved in an accident and something serious happens, your insurance could get in the way! Refuelling: Gas stations are with about 40 Baht per liters a bit cheaper than the small shops on the side of the road that sell petrol in liter bottles each 40 until 50 Offer Baht. Is there an alternative to riding a scooter? Unfortunately there are no public bus connections, but there are so-called Songthaews. These red shared taxis take you from A to B together with other travelers. The prices vary depending on the distance, but overall they are significantly higher than if you are traveling by rented scooter.

A safer alternative to riding a scooter is also renting a car. This is a good option, especially for families with children. Here, however, you must have a price of at least 1. 350 Baht per 24 Calculate hours.

7. Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan An appointment you should definitely keep in mind, is the monthly Full Moon Party – regardless of whether you want to attend the party or not. Koh Phangan is famous far beyond the country’s borders for this exuberant event on Haad Rin Beach.

What can I expect at the Full Moon Party? The Full Moon Party always takes place on the full moon night. (Unless the date falls on a major Buddhist holiday, in which case the party will be postponed by a day or two.) The beach turns into an open-air disco.

In addition to fire shows and numerous stages, the Full Moon Party is particularly known for the excessive consumption of alcohol and drugs that takes place there.

Do you have to see the Full Moon Party with your own eyes? We find yes. The whole thing is really a quite a spectacle, that you can definitely watch live once – even if, like us, you’re anything but a party person.

We’re being honest though: After a while, the senseless drinking and the many drunk people got on our nerves, which is why we started earlier than planned to drive back to our accommodation. Another tip: Never wear clothes that are important to you. The neon colors can be stubborn.

Important: Book your accommodation in good time! Very important if you travel to Koh Phangan during the Full Moon Party: Book your accommodation well in advance! Koh Phangan is never as crowded as during the Full Moon Party. Especially in the main travel season (i.e. from January to March) you will hardly find a free room. The overnight prices also shoot up quite a bit.

If you don’t want to attend the Full Moon Party, we recommend that you change the date. If there is no other way, then don’t worry: you won’t notice anything about the party itself on the west coast of Koh Phangan.

8th. More travel tips for Koh Phangan: Arrival & Travel Guide Arrival to Koh Phangan There is no airport on Koh Phangan. That means : You always have to cover at least a short distance across the water. The nearest airport is on the neighboring island of Koh Samui.

Via Koh Samui Arriving via Koh Samui is the fastest option, to get to Koh Phangan. For example, there are numerous daily flight connections from Bangkok to Koh Samui, which unfortunately are relatively more expensive.

From Koh Samui we continue by ferry to Koh Phangan. The so-called speed catamarans cover this route the fastest. Lomprayah’s boats, for example, are very well known and used a lot.

Via Surat Thani Cheap flights are usually available to Surat Thani. From there it goes again with a speed catamaran to Koh Phangan. The crossing takes longer, but overall this option is often the cheaper one.

As an alternative to flying, you can also take the bus or the train from Bangkok to Surat Thani reach. Here you can search for connections and book your ticket: 10go.asia.

Recommendation for travel guides Variant 1: Guide for Thailand If your trip not only takes you to Koh Phangan, but also to other parts of Thailand, then we can highly recommend Stefan Loose’s travel guide. The Loose travel guides are really great, especially for Southeast Asia, well researched and very detailed.

You can buy the guide here: Stefan Loose Thailand

Variant 2: Travel Guide for Koh Phangan If you are staying on Koh Phangan for a longer period of time, then it is worth buying a separate guide book for the island. We also have a great tip for you here.

You can buy the guide here: Koh Phangan Guide

9. Staying the night on the west coast of Koh Phangan: Our tip Are you still looking for a great accommodation on Koh Phangan? Then we can warmly recommend the Mangata Boutique Bungalows. This newly opened boutique hotel is located on the west coast at Hin Kong Beach near the “yoga place” Srithanu.

The bungalows are very tastefully furnished with Thai elements – simply beautiful! In general, one notices from the first moment that this accommodation is run by the owners with an incredible amount of attention to detail .

The accommodation is directly on the beach. This is not the prettiest beach on Koh Phangan, as the water recedes quite a bit at low tide , but the flair is still breathtaking, especially at sunset. There’s also a wonderful pool for swimming.

Our conclusion: Beautiful, relaxed ambience & warm hospitality. It’s really bearable here.

You can book accommodation here: Mangata Boutique Bungalows

Transparency: Affiliate Links 28393 This blog article contains our personal recommendations in the form of so-called affiliate links. If you book or buy something through the links, we will receive a small commission. For you, this does not change the price at all. A thousand thanks from both of us!

Have you ever been to Koh Phangan? Maybe also on the west coast? Please leave us a comment. We look forward to your additional tips and experiences!