20+ Things to Do in Koh Phangan that You Can’t Miss [UPDATED]

Looking for fun things to do in Koh Phangan? We got you covered. We spent years living on and off Thailand and have made numerous trips to Koh Phangan.

Although Koh Phangan is commonly associated with non-stop crazy parties, what a lot of people don’t know is that there is an equally lovely quiet side to the island that is totally underrated.

When Tom and I first went to Koh Phangan, we purposely stayed away from the craziness of the full moon parties and opted to skip it altogether.

Instead, we spent our days exploring in our motorbike, finding hidden beaches and viewpoints. We’ve recently updated this article after spending yet another few blissful seasons (we come back every year) relaxing in Koh Phangan.

So if you want all the insider scoop on the best things to do on Koh Phangan Island, keep on reading!

Highlights of Things to Do in Koh Phangan

  • Island Road Trip– Road Trip around the best spots in Koh Phangan on a 4×4 truck taking you to explore mountain and jungle trails all over the island!
  • Discover Scuba Diving– This tour is perfect for beginners who want to experience scuba diving. Get an introductory course in one of Koh Phangan’s dive best sites, Sail Rock.
  • Speed Boat Tour to Koh Tao and Koh NangYuan– This tour takes you around two of the best islands surrounding Koh Phangan for a fun day out at sea! Highly recommended.

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Things to Do in Koh Phangan

1. Go Diving

I know that most people associate diving with Koh Phangan’s neighboring island, Koh Tao. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that some of the dive sites that you can reach from Koh Tao are the same sites your visit when in Koh Phangan.

Dive sites like the Southwest Pinnacle and Sail Rock are halfway in the middle and are great sites to explore. For those that are just looking to go snorkeling, checking out some of the beaches in Haad Salad and Haad Ya.

In all honesty, Dive Sites in Thailand are all pretty amazing but the ones near Koh Phangan and Koh Tao are pretty noteworthy.

Scuba diving in Sail Rock is my absolute favorite and is a must for any underwater enthusiasts! If you’re a certified diver, you can book this diving trip to Sail Rock here.

For beginner divers who want to do an introductory course while in Koh Phangan, you can book a discovery dive instead.

Tom and Anna scuba diving
Tom and I scuba diving in Koh Phangan

2. Visit Thong Sala Night Market

Thong Sala night market is a popular destination for tourists and locals alike on the island of Koh Phangan in Thailand. Located in the town of Thong Sala, the market is open every evening and features a variety of stalls selling a range of goods, including handmade crafts, clothing, souvenirs, and local food.

You can enjoy browsing the stalls, sampling the local cuisine, and experiencing the lively atmosphere of Thong Sala night market in Koh Phangan.

The Thong Sala Night Market is a must do while you’re in Koh Phangan. Unlike most night markets, the one in Thong Sala is full of food (dream come true for me!) The seafood selection is pretty good and the meals always come out so fresh and delicious!

You will find anything from traditional Thai meals to sushi rolls, fried potatoes, and many more. Don’t let the run-down parking lot feel throw you off! If you’re a bit apprehensive as to what to order, here’s an article on the best what to eat in Thailand.

A must-eats are:

  • Pad Thai
  • Mango Sticky Rice
  • Massaman curry
  • Grilled seafood (which are particularly good in Thong Sala!)

3. Go Boating in Koh Phangan

Set aside a day and do yourself a favor and explore the many beautiful beaches near Koh Phangan.

There are also boat tours which bring you to the hard to reach places like Thong Nai Pan, Bottle Beach, Ko Ma, and Ko Tae.

We rented a scooter and tried to reach Bottle Beach whose roads were steep and almost impassable. Although we succeeded, I will forever have that scar on my leg to remember that afternoon by.

Another fun day out while in Koh Phangan is visiting the nearby islands of Koh Tao and Nang Yuan Island.

Koh Nang Yuan was one of our favorite spots in Thailand- the viewpoint is a must! I will share more about this below!

4. Visit Ang Thong Marine Park

Visiting Ang Thong Marine Park is a must-do activity when in Thailand! Located just off the coast of Koh Samui, this beautiful archipelago is made up of 42 islands, each with its own unique charm and beauty.

However, despite being closer to Koh Samui, you can also easily visit this marine park from Koh Phangan.

The crystal clear waters are perfect for snorkelling, and the limestone cliffs and caves offer breathtaking views. There are also several beaches to choose from, so you can relax and soak up the sun.

The marine park is home to a wide variety of marine life, including colourful fish and coral, making it a popular spot for diving.

Although we personally visited Ang Thong Marine Park from Koh Samui, from Koh Phangan, the marine park is only a 45 minute speedboat ride making it very accessible.

For a unique experience, you can even stay overnight in a bungalow nearby (Ko Wua Talap) where you can rent kayaks (more on this below!)

5. Kayak Around Ang Thong National Marine Park

If you prefer a more active approach towards exploring Ang Thong National Marine park, we recommend doing it by kayaks as it is one of the best ways to see the place! You can easily row your way around the hundred of different islets amidst the emerald-colored waters.

As mentioned above, you can stay overnight in one of the island “headquarters” and rent kayaks to explore the marine park.

Alternatively, ask around the many tour agencies while in Koh Phangan for kayaking options in the Marine Park. In our opinion, you cannot go Koh Phangan without going to Ang Thong Marine Park.

Ang thong Marine Park Thailand
Aerial view of the Marine Park after from one of the view points

6. Rent a Motorbike and Explore Koh Phangan

Riding a motorbike in Koh Phangan can be a great way to explore the island and see all that it has to offer.

Some of the must-see spots to visit while on a motorbike include Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai, two beautiful beaches located on the north-east coast of the island.

Another popular spot is Haad Rin Beach, home to the famous Full Moon Party. Seeing it during the day offers another perspective to this often crowded beach!

If you’re looking for stunning views, be sure to head up to the Bottle Beach Viewpoint, which offers panoramic views of the island and the surrounding area. After you park your motorbike, there is a short 15-20 minute uphill climb but trust me, the views are 100% worth it!

Just make sure you wear shoes and bring some water!

Although we don’t recommend trying to find Bottle Beach via motorbike (I have the battle scars to prove it), we do recommend renting one and taking it around the island for a spin.

Riding bikes are the cheapest and best way to see a place! Koh Phangan itself is very steep and hilly so experienced riders are recommended.

Another awesome viewpoint in Koh Phangan is this hill with a lovely view of Haad Son.

If you’re coming from Ai Chao Phao, head towards Haad Yao. Keep riding down and soon you will be rewarded with a magnificent view of the island.

There are many more wonderful places to explore on Koh Phangan, so be sure to allow plenty of time to see as much of the island as possible while riding your motorbike.

7. Hike to Bottle Beach

Instead of trying to get to Bottle Beach by motorbike which turned out to be an absolute disaster for us, instead we recommend hiking there instead. Bottle beach is one of the BEST beaches in Koh Phangan.

The hike to Bottle Beach can be challenging but rewarding. Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your visit.

Before you start, it’s important that you have comfortable shoes and breathable clothing, as well as enough water and snacks for the journey.

As you make your way down to Bottle Beach, the trail will become rocky and at times narrow. Take things slowly and watch your step. When you arrive, you’ll be rewarded with a pristine beach surrounded by lush greenery. There are limited facilities here, so bring everything that you need for a day in the sun.

Look for the “Trek for Bottle Beach” starting point on Google Maps which is located near Haad Khom Beach.

If you don’t fancy trekking, you can also opt to hire a water taxi to take you to this stunning place.

Because it isn’t easy to get to, this is one of the quieter spots in Koh Phangan and is an absolute favorite of ours!

Editor’s note: To get around the islands, we’ve found the best way to book tickets for buses and boats are through Bookaway or 12go website.

8. Take a Cooking Class in Koh Phangan

Hi, I am Anna and I love Thai food. In fact, I am almost obsessed with it. It is by far my favorite cuisine within the South East Asian region.

Since I love it so much, what better way to spend a couple of hours than by learning how to cook (and eat) delicious Thai food.

Koh Phangan is no exception and has no shortage of cooking schools but schools like Same Same in Haad Rin, C&M Study Center, as well as Jang’s Thai cooking school come well recommended.

If you want to see all the cooking classes available in Thailand, check out the link below. Likened to be like the Airbnb for cooking, we’ve used Cookly in so many different countries and love their platform.

Tom Yum with prawns

9. Go Chasing Waterfalls

Contrary to what TLC told you, do go chasing waterfalls while you’re in Koh Phangan (god, I hope you’ll got that reference!)

There are about 7 different waterfalls in Koh Phangan, all relatively close to the main towns. Please do note that a lot of the waterfalls dry up during the rainy season.

However, if you are up for a nature trip, do check out Sramanora waterfalls, Phaeng, Thaan Prapaad, Thaan Sadet, Wangsai, Paradise and Thaan Prawes waterfalls.

Visiting these waterfalls while on Koh Phangan is a great way to spend a few hours!

10. Visit Ko Nang Yuan Island

Although I briefly spoke about visiting this island earlier, it is so beautiful, it derserves its own spot. If you love snorkeling and epic viewpoints, a trip to Nang Yuan Island is a MUST! Although very touristy, the snorkeling was amazing with large fish swimming in the nearby reefs.

The viewpoint is also pretty iconic so this is considered a must-do. You can either rent your own long-tail boats and snorkels.

We recommend going EARLY to get a spot by the beach and to enjoy it before the crowds arrive. This speedboat tour from Koh Phangan takes you to both islands, allowing you to snorkel in various spots along the way.

Koh Nang Yuan is located very close to Koh Tao so you might be able to hit two birds with one stone depending on which tour you book.

koh nang yuan island
The beautiful Koh Nang Yuan Island.

11. Go Trekking in Koh Phangan

If for some reason you are tired of lounging around on the beach, there are some great trekking trails by the Eastern coastline of the island.

You can head up to the tallest mountain in Khao Ra or head into the Phaeng Waterfall National Park. If you decided to head up Khao Ra, on a really clear day, you can even see the neighboring island of Koh Tao.

Insider Tip: Don’t forget to bring snacks and water with you to keep you hydrated during the trek For those that want a guide to accompany them, you can easily find guides by the National Park.

12. Attend a Yoga Class

It’s pretty ironic that after a crazy few days of binge drinking, people immediately look for some peace and quiet, opting to spend a couple of days meditating. Due to the hippie vibe that Koh Phangan has, there are many yoga centers and retreats happening on the island.

Get your ohm on by attending a few yoga classes. Yoga Retreat is in Haad Salad comes well recommended. If you’re looking for something more intense, we’ve heard great things about the detox programs in The Sanctuary.

Palm tree and boats moored in the sea at sunset

13. Watch the Sunset (Everyday)

Because I naturally gravitate towards the sun, watching sunsets in different parts of the world is sort of like a pasttime of mine. So believe me when I say that Koh Phangan has no shortage of beautiful sunsets.

One of our favorite spots is by Amsterdam Bar by Ao Playlaaem. The view from the restaurant area is out of this world! Relax in their many floor cushions as you enjoy the colors of the sunset unfold in front of you.

14. Get a Thai Massage

It is my honest belief that you cannot visit ANY Thai island without getting a massage.

Thai massage is a traditional form of bodywork that combines elements of yoga, shiatsu, and acupressure to promote relaxation and alleviate stress.

There are many massage shops and spas located throughout the island that offer Thai massage, and prices vary depending on the location and length of the massage.

While there are a plethora of beach massage services, if you want a proper one, a few highly recommended ones are Revive Massage as well as Pure Relax. Although the prices are a bit higher than the average beach massage, it is very much worth it!

15. Go to the Half Moon Party

If you want to party and dance the night away but aren’t in Koh Phangan for the full moon, do not fret as you have the Half Moon Party.

The Half Moon Party in Koh Phangan attracts visitors from all over the world and is held on the crescent-shaped Haad Rin Beach. Similar to the Full Moon Party, this event features a lineup of international DJs playing a range of music, from techno and house to reggae and hip hop.

The party usually starts around sunset and goes on until the early hours of the morning. In addition to the music, there are also fire shows and all sorts of entertainment.

Although the Full Moon Parties are bigger, the Half Moon Party is pretty fun nonetheless!

thailand fire show

16. Watch a Muay Thai Fight

Muay Thai, also known as Thai boxing, is a popular activity in Koh Phangan, and there are several options for those interested in learning or watching the sport.

If you prefer to watch a Muay Thai show, there are several stadiums on the island that host regular fights.

One of the most popular stadiums in Koh Phangan is the Than Sadet Stadium, located in the north of the island. Tickets can usually be purchased at the stadium on the day of the event, or from any tour agency-just ask around!

If you fancy trying it yourself, there are several Muay Thai schools on the island that offer classes. These schools typically offer group classes as well as private lessons, and the instructors are usually experienced fighters who can provide you with a solid introduction to this popular sport.

17. Kayak Around Koh Phangan

Another fun thing to do around Koh Phangan is to kayak around! We love kayaking as it an activity you can do pretty independently. The Western part of Koh Phangan from Wok Tum to Koh Ma is said to have the calmest waters.

You can easily head to any beach in Koh Phangan as most of them have kayak rentals available.

koh phangan

18. Visit a few Temples

Visiting temples in Koh Phangan is a great way to learn about the local culture and see some of the island’s most beautiful landmarks.

Some of the must-see temples to visit include Wat Phu Khao Noi, a beautiful white temple located on a hill overlooking the island.

Another popular temple to visit is Wat Khao Tham, a temple within a jungle! This is a great spot and they also often run meditation classes / retreats.

No matter which temple you choose to visit, be sure to dress modestly (cover your shoulders with a sarong) and remove your shoes before entering the temple grounds.

19. Attend the Full Moon Party

No trip to Koh Phangan would be complete without attending the infamous Full Moon Party. It’s almost a right of passage and is extremely popular amongst the travelers.

As mentioned, over the years, they have expanded their repertoire and have started celebrating the half-moon party, black moon party, and so on.

Nevertheless, it’s an incredible experience must-do experience in Koh Phangan that must be done at least once. As a word of caution, just have your wits with you when partying in Thailand (or anywhere in Southeast Asia). Don’t accept drinks from strangers and make sure you dispose of your beer bottles and buckets properly!

We’ve seen so many “day-after-full-moon-party” photos and it’s pretty grim seeing so much litter across the beautiful beaches!

full moon party koh phangan

20. Go Snorkeling in Koh Phangan

If you’re not a scuba diver but you still want to enjoy the vibrant marine life in Koh Phangan, don’t worry! Rent a snorkel and fins and enjoy the colorful underwater world.

Since Koh Phangan island is located in the Gulf of Thailand and is known for its crystal clear waters, coral reefs, and diverse marine life. There are many spots around the island where you can go snorkeling, including Haad Rin, Mae Haad Beach, and Chaloklum.

Haad Rin is home to the famous Full Moon Party and has a beautiful reef just offshore. Mae Haad Beach is a popular spot for snorkeling and diving, with a wide variety of colorful fish and coral to see. Chaloklum is a more secluded area with a shallow reef that is perfect for beginner snorkelers.

Transport: Koh Phangan to Other Islands

To get to the nearby islands from Koh Phangan, click here to reserve tickets, see the timetable of ferries, and more. Sometimes certain boat trips get sold out which is why we recommend booking transport ahead of time.

We recommend using Bookaway or 12Go website to view bus, boat, and train schedules ahead of time. We’ve used these websites all over Asia and it saves us the hassle of lining up in travel agencies or bus stations.


Where to Stay in Koh Phangan

Looking for where to stay in Koh Phangan? Here are a few of our personal recommendations on the best places to stay in Koh Phangan. Please take note that the island is HUGE!

There are different areas and beaches throughout the whole island so don’t forget to consider the location carefully when choosing where to stay.

If you want to stay in the quieter side of Koh Phangan but still attend the full moon party, you will need to make transportation arrangements.

Best Hostel for the Full Moon Party: Our House Hostel

If you’ve come to Koh Phangan to partake in the debauchery, Our House Hostel is the place to stay. Although seemingly crowded, it is the perfect place to meet people to party with. They have 10,12, and 36-bed dorm rooms where you are guaranteed to meet a fun bunch to party with.

This hostel in Koh Phangan provides free paint so you can get in the spirit of partying and is located minutes away from the full moon party beach in Haad Rin. (Prices start at $6 a night for a dorm bed)

To compare prices and read reviews, check: Booking.com  | Hostel World

Other Top Budget Hostels on Hostel World

Best Mid Range for Full Moon Party: Little Paradise

For those that really want to be right in the middle of all the action in Koh Phangan without having to stay in dorm rooms, this place is a good choice for you. The bungalows on top of the hill are a bit further from the madness but the climb up there is quite steep.

The rooms are clean and comfortable and the location is unbeatable. They also have a pool which is perfect for lounging about recovering from the night before.

To compare prices and read reviews, check:  Booking.com 

Splurge: Cocohut Village Beach Resort & Spa

This resort and spa is conveniently located on the very tranquil Leela Beach, Koh Phangan.  Guests are able to enjoy many Thai and international dishes at the onsite restaurant, before heading to the bar for a nightcap.

Leela Beach is one of the most beautiful places in all of Thailand and the resort makes sure that they plan many fun activities for their guests.  The breakfast is noteworthy and the rooms are well maintained, very spacious, and clean.

To compare prices and read reviews, check:  Booking.com 

Luxury: Kupu Kupu Phangan Beach Villas

The stylish villas at Kupu Kupu Phangan give guests the perfect place to unwind and relax during their stay.  There is a private beach for guests as well as a concierge to assist with booking tours.  Guests have plenty of outdoor activities to participate in that include snorkeling, scuba diving and windsurfing.

The rooms are luxurious and the day beds along their pool and beach are amazing. Their breakfasts in the morning is composed of a wide selection and is definitely worth every penny! They also provide a free shuttle to town during the day, but trust me-you really wouldn’t want to leave this place!

To compare prices and read reviews, check:  Booking.com

Click the yellow button below if you want to read the full article on where to stay in Koh Phangan with all our hotel and hostel recommendations!

There you have it, folks! While there are literally lots more to do while in Koh Phangan, our suggestion is to explore it on your own and find your little slice of heaven where you can relax and unwind.


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Anna Faustino

Editor In Chief

Anna is a co-founder of Adventure in You and has been traveling the world for the last 9 years, living in 5 different continents. She is passionate about giving destination advice, entrepreneurship, outdoor travel and discovering good food while on the road. Her expertise on travel, gear, and building businesses have been featured on Foundr, Business Insider, Forbes, Yahoo! Travel and more.

19 thoughts on “20+ Things to Do in Koh Phangan that You Can’t Miss [UPDATED]”

  1. I have been to Thailand twice and chose both times not to visit Koh Phangan, because i was afraid it would be busy with partying eighteenyearolds..
    but your photo’s look lovely and i feel i need to check out koh phangan someday.

    Reply
  2. I’m going to Thailand in November and a cooking class is what I’m most excited about! I love love love Thai food, though I’m a terrible cook, so we’ll see how it goes! (BTW- I appreciated your TLC reference 😉 )

    Reply
  3. I love any place where one can hike to multiple waterfalls. The food looks amazing and would love to take a cooking class.

    Reply
  4. It’s always nice when you can discover the quieter and more intimate parts of places that have a”party” reputation. Great list of suggested activities. Would have loved to see a picture of the food market 🙂 The cooking classes sound great. Great resource 🙂

    Reply
  5. While the Full Moon Parties are fun (I’ve been twice) my tastes have changed and now I’d definitely be seeking out the quiet side of Koh Phangan. I stayed on a quiet side of the island for a few days and loved it.

    Reply
  6. We were never into the party scene, but this list has definitely made me want to visit Koh Phangan! I’d love to visit the night markets and take a cooking class there! I think cooking classes are such a great way to learn about the culture (and eat yummy food along the way!)

    Reply
  7. I’d definitely skip the crazy party scene to take in the amazing nature in Koh Phangan.

    Reply
  8. Again, great tips! I’ve never tried cooking class before – as I don’t really cook at home – but it’s something that I’ve been thinking about doing more and more lately because I think it’s probably one of the best things to bring home from overseas, something that you can relive and enjoy again and again, years after a trip.

    Reply
  9. I have only been to Thailand one time, and to the tiny island of Koh Lipe way down by Malaysia! It was so peaceful and tranquil I loved it! If I ever visit Koh Phangan I will be like you and skip the whole party scene! I would love to go “chase waterfalls” (totally got the reference) and trek and motorbike and dive and do it all! Thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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