Koh Phangan: An introduction
Koh Phangan is a small island which is as rich in culture and history as it is in beauty. It sits in the Gulf of Thailand between Koh Samui and Koh Tao, has a population of approximately 12,000 smiling locals and covers an area of 168km2. The weather rarely drops below 30c (although the cooler monsoon season runs from Oct-Nov) and the water often matches the air temperature. Koh Phangan is truly a world of contrast with exceptional sightseeing opportunities. Away from the Diamond Thai boxing gym there is a vast array of white sandy beaches to laze on, trails through tropical jungle, ancient architecture and tradition. It is the perfect place to visit at any time of the year.
With so much to fill your days other than training at Diamond Muay Thai, save some power for the evenings as the island’s pulsating nightlife is not to be missed! There are a host of great restaurants and food stalls, lively bars but above all epic beach and jungle parties including the mind-blowing Full Moon Party. Koh Phangan has something for everyone. Your time away from the Diamond Muay Thai camp can be relaxing or as busy as you want.
Koh Phangan by Day
The island has an elegant and diverse natural environment to explore. From untouched rain forests, glistening waterfalls, mountains and spectacular coves- Koh Phangan can take your breath away. Phangan’s landscape, the character filled villages like Chaloklum or Srithanu and the ancient temples which exist here make the island both a beautiful and a spiritual place. Diamond Muay Thai students are spoilt for choice when it comes to daytime activities.
Koh Phangan has a contrasting landscape and the same can be said about the island’s beaches. There are idyllic white sandy beaches stretching around the island varying in character and atmosphere but always offering beautifully clear waters. Due to the tidal nature of Phangan, the best beaches for swimming tend to be on the north and east coasts. Wherever you head, students will be treated to impressive coves and sandy stretches. On Koh Phangan’s beaches you can enjoy beach activities or just chill-out laze and take in the palm fringed scenery after training.
For Diamond Muay Thai students who either aren’t training hard enough or have a lot of energy there are plenty of activities to enjoy on Koh Phangan. Look at the student discounts page for our special prices on tours. Land based activities include trekking, Yoga, elephant riding, zip lining and archery to name but a few. In the water there are fantastic diving, snorkelling, fishing, kayaking and jet skiing. Basically there is something for everyone!
Koh Phangan Nightlife
At Diamond Muay Thai we tend to train hard, fight hard and party hard. Koh Phangan has a fantastic array of entertainment options and a vibrant nightlife which can satisfy even the most hardcore of party animals. The island is always a happening place to be at night and comes alive with bars, live music, festivals and parties.
The Full Moon Party is held on Haad Rin’s eastern beach and for those who haven’t been….. The party is INSANE!! During peak season up to 30,000 revellers descend on Koh Phangan from throughout Asia to party hard from dusk ’till dawn in front of massive state of the art sound systems and light shows. Walking from one end of the beach to the other expect a blur of glow sticks and fluorescent body paint with people gyrating to every type of music imaginable. Beach access at night is 100baht upon which you receive a colourful bracelet which you can keep for posterity…Please be careful whilst partying and although there are medical facilities and ‘chill out’ zones, party goers often stretch their limits too far. Keep an eye on your friends and belongings.
The Half Moon Party is located in Baan Tai jungle and takes place one week either side of the infamous Full Moon Party. Prices for entry have increased to 500baht and we have listed the party dates. Other Moon Parties: Another rocking party which attracts a good crowd is the monthly Black Moon Culture. Located on a white sandy beach in Baan Tai, this is a pretty well organized party with decent underground trance music and is a UV decorated venue. ….a good excuse to pay the 200baht entry fee and crack open the body paint! Also worth checking out is the jungle based Shiva Moon Party and the Pirate Bar Moon Set Party which takes place near Srithanu and is a more chilled out social affair. Keep your eyes peeled for signs which are placed around the island indicating when the parties are.
Haad Rin is the focal point of Koh Phangan’s nightlife and it is here that you’ll find the largest number of beach bars and clubs pumping out every genre of music from cheesy pop anthems to psytrance and drum & base. On the beach ‘bucket bars’, fire shows and organized party games will keep you occupied before you dance the night away under the stars. Baan Tai on the south west coast has a busy and vibrant road where you can find plenty of things to do when the sun goes down. It is here that you’ll find the majority of ‘lady bars’ on the island if you fancy a game of pool and a bit of female attention! You will also find a few other decent bars and live music venues which feature open mic nights and well known Thai and farrang performers. Other late night options spread around the island include the sports bars and pool halls where you can catch up with your favourite team, karaoke bars and pool parties.
Getting to Koh Phangan
Flying to the island, the nearest airports to Koh Phangan are on the island of Koh Samui (USM) and Suratthani (URT) on the mainland. Koh Samui is serviced by Bangkok Airways and there are regular daily flights from around Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong. Suratthani is serviced by Thai Airways and the low cost carriers Air Asia and Nok Air. The latter two airlines offer great Bangkok- Suratthani deals. Upon your arrival to the airport visit a travel agency to purchase a bus and boat combo’ ticket for between 500 and 600baht to Koh Phangan. Nok Air also offers a combo’ flight/bus/ferry ticket from Bangkok for about 2500baht per person.
Trains leave throughout the day from Bangkok and south Thailand and stop at Surathani. The overnight sleeper train is the best value option when travelling to Koh Phangan. You will need to reserve your train ticket in advance as it is a popular way to travel. At the time of booking there is a choice of first and second class cabins which air either fan cooled or have air conditioning. Students often prefer fan cooled cabins as the air conditioning systems on trains produce cold and very dry air. You will receive a table, a sofa which is converted to a flat bed in the evening and a waiter serving food and beverages.
Bus tickets can be bought from the major tourist spots such as Bangkok, Phuket and Hat Yai. Buy a one way ticket to Koh Phangan. From Bangkok the cheapest is a combo’ ticket which includes an overnight bus to Suratthani and the onward ferry to Phangan. The cost varies but is usually around 700baht. Khaosan Road offers the cheapest deals. There are 2 types of VIP bus- a 40 seater and the more luxurious 24 seater. We also recommend travelling on the Government bus which leaves from Bangkok at 7pm.
Getting Around Koh Phangan
Mopeds are a great way to discover picturesque Koh Phangan. They can be rented from our contacts near to the gym with prices ranging from 150baht-200baht per day with discounts for long term rental. There are plenty of bike shops and mechanics dotted on the side of roads to help you fix flat tyres (approx 150baht) or buy fuel/oil. Dirt bikes to access rougher terrain can be hired for up to 750baht. It has become standard practice to deposit your passport when signing a motorcycle hire contract. Before your passport is returned the bike will be thoroughly checked for wear and tear and any damage to the bike will need to be repaid. Do not drink and drive and always wear a helmet!! Roads on the island can be dangerous and failure to do so may cost you more than a 200baht police fine!
Depending on the size of your group and your itinerary, 4×4 vehicles can prove to be cost effective and better equipped for the rougher roads on Koh Phangan. Prices range from 600baht-1500baht per day depending on the quality of the vehicle and rental duration. Some larger resorts and companies may offer insurance but most vendors do not provide this piece of mind. Be cautious as minor car damage could cause major budget damage!
Songtheows and motorbike taxis are available island wide. There are also boat taxis to take you to some of the more secluded spots on the island. A taxi stand is located by the ferry piers in Thongsala and another is located in Haad Rin near to the police station. Always agree a price in advance. Below are typical prices for main routes on the island but these vary depending on the time of day, your group size and the mood of the driver!
Koh Phangan Services
Medical Care is available throughout Phangan and there are several 24hr clinics and hospitals which offer good standards of treatment. Koh Phangan Hospital in Wok Tum is a cheap and well equipped option for minor injuries. This hospital and the majority of the clinics on the island will arrange emergency patient transfer to Koh Samui or mainland Suratthani if necessary. The Inter Clinics in Haad Rin and Phangan Medical Centre in Baan Tai also offer good standards of basic care but lack the facilities to cope with major injuries and serious medical conditions. Dental Care is available opposite the pier in Baan Tai. The clinic is only open between 5pm and 9pm and is closed on Sundays. The clinic has modern equipment, offers a high standard of care and appointments need to be made in advance.
Police are ever present on the island. A new Tourist Police office can be found by the Lomprayah pier in Thongsala. It is here where paperwork can be filed and any crimes reported. The majority of officers understand basic English and can often be seen throughout the island ensuring a safe environment whilst enforcing a zero drugs tolerance policy. There is another station based on the outskirts of Thongsala.
Banks can be found island wide and most offer an ATM withdrawal service however you may be charged upwards of 150baht for withdrawals. ATMs can also be found at Tesco Lotus and at Seven-Elevens. Money changers compete with banks to change foreign currency/travellers cheques although there is little difference between them with regards to exchange rates. Post office can be found in Thongsala. To send a postcard home will usually set you back about 12baht and stamps can be bought at the post office or Seven Eleven. If you are looking to send a package home expect to spend about 250baht per kilo. Shipping times vary but deliveries usually take between 7 and 10 days.
Laundry services are offered by the majority of resorts and guest houses on the island at prices start from around 30baht per kg. Coin operated washing machines may also be found which take 10baht coins. Internet is available in cafes and shops scattered around Phangan and are often 1baht per minute although a minimum charge of 20baht usually applies. This will allow you the use of ADSL broadband network on modern computers or via a wireless connection on your laptop. Bookshops selling recently published novels and older works in various languages can be found in the main tourist spots on the island. Used books can also traded and new ones purchased.