Are you planning a trip to Koh Phangan but aren’t sure what to do? Luckily, there are plenty of options available. To help you out, we’ve created this Koh Phangan itinerary. It should help you decide how to spend your time on this incredible Thailand island, offering tips on where to go, where to stay, and all the amazing sights, beaches, and adventures there are along the way.
Koh Phangan is an absolute paradise. A gem-shaped rock in the midst of the Thai Gulf, it’s got white-sand beaches fringed by palms, mountains clad in jungles, and rustic Thai fishing towns that ooze charm. The spot is probably most famous for its wild Full Moon Parties, which draw in over 40,000 revelers in the peak season. But they only happen once a month and are just a snapshot of everything that awaits here.
Find out how to spend your mornings, afternoons, and evenings to maximize your enjoyment in this stunning location with help from this Koh Phangan itinerary. It’s a step-by-step guide that we think takes in all the highlights of the isle in just 48 rich and adventurous hours. We’ve set it out so it’s easy to tweak and add things in, and the whole thing can be done in pretty much any order you like. So, let’s begin…
Where to stay for our Koh Phangan itinerary
Before we get stuck into the bulk of our Koh Phangan itinerary, it’s important to pick a place to stay. The good news is that it doesn’t matter all that much where you choose to go. This isle isn’t as large as Samui or Phuket. You can usually get anywhere within 1.5 hours max, either by scooter or on rented tuk-tuks and taxis.
That means you have the pick of a real glut of accommodation choices, from sleek honeymoon boutique hotels to budget backpacker digs. Here’s a look at just a few of our top options:
- Mangata Boutique Bungalows ($$) – Simply stunning bungalows that gaze over the west-coast beaches. There’s an infinity pool that you won’t forget!
- Phangan Arena Hostel ($) – Get down with the party crowd in Baan Tai, a hostel with its own games room, access to a football court, and fun-filled swimming pool.
- Anantara Rasananda Koh Phangan Villas ($$$) – The luxury option. Get a villa that opens up onto a sugar-soft beach and access to a restaurant serving haute Japanese cuisine.
Koh Phangan Itinerary: Day 1
We think you’ve earned some R&R on the morning of day one. You see, just getting to Koh Phangan can be a bit of a chore. It usually involves two boats connecting via Koh Samui, not to mention whatever inward travel from Bangkok you need to make.
Don’t just turn up and choose a place to stay on arrival. Instead, plan in advance. The better the resort you go for, the more enjoyable your time on the island will be. Research the best Koh Phangan hotels and choose one that has everything you desire. You don’t have to be wealthy to live in luxury in Koh Phangan.
With some of the lowest living costs of any tourist destination, you can choose a place with a pool and an incredible sea view without breaking the bank. For example, Mangata Boutique Bungalows has all this and more for 80 USD per night. On the morning of your first day in Koh Phangan, head to your chosen resort, order brunch, and enjoy it among the most serene surroundings. This will put you in the mindset for the vacation of your dreams.
After some quiet time, you’ll probably be ready to explore the island. Once you’ve had lunch, consider finding a motorcycle rental place so that you can discover new places more easily. Getting around this rugged terrain on foot can be difficult, especially considering the hot weather. At the same time, there isn’t much public transport to speak of. Therefore, the most popular ways to explore are on bicycle and motorcycle, with the latter being the most enjoyable.
You don’t need to have much of a plan. In fact, the less you plan, the better. Just go wherever your heart takes you, allowing yourself to get lost if you feel comfortable doing so. It’s a small island and you shouldn’t have too many problems finding your way home. There’s so much to explore on Koh Phangan that we don’t want to give too much away. Discovering it for yourself is always so much more rewarding.
There are many motorcycle rental companies to choose from. Just remember to search for them online and check that they have good reviews. This will help you avoid any bad experiences. The most highly rated motorbike rental firms include Mit Motor Bike For Rent, Budget Two, and Lala Agency. They’re each rated between 4.8 and 5 stars on Google, meaning you really can’t go wrong. They’re cheap, easy, and convenient. Spend the middle of your first day having the time of your life, zooming around the island on your rental bike.
The best way to cap off your first day in Koh Phangan is to attend a Full Moon Party. This is what Koh Phangan is famous for and it might be your only chance to experience this incredible occasion. Full moon parties were invented in Koh Phangan way back in 1985 but are now celebrated all across Thailand. They last all night, always take place on a beach, and occur – as the name would imply – during a full moon. That said, they’ve risen to become so popular that there’s usually something happening EVERY SINGLE evening in these parts. You’ve now got half-moon parties, jungle parties, and just bog standard beach parties.
There’s no better place to enjoy a full moon party than its home: Haad Rin. Each month, up to 30,000 people descend on that resort in southern Koh Phangan to party the night away. It’s supposedly where the moon is at its brightest and most beautiful but it’s also got a glut of bars and the perfect beach for dancing and drinking on.
For travelers not so keen on partying until the early hours, there are more chilled parts of Koh Phangan to know about. You could spend your first evening somewhere like Zen Beach or Relax Beach. They are both on the western coast, which means they have seriously spectacular sunsets. And they aren’t hedonism hubs by any stretch – the big, pumping DJ bars and fire shows are replaced with easy-going beer joints that play reggae.
After the excitement of the full moon party last night, you’ll probably want to retreat to the pool and enjoy a quieter, more relaxed morning. Make sure you rehydrate and replenish your nutrients with a healthy Thai breakfast. This is another chance to soak in the peace and quiet that island life has to offer. Last night, things got a little crowded as you danced with thousands of strangers to the loud pump of trance music. This morning, take it easy.
Thai food is among the most delicious in the world. On an island, it’s even better. In big cities like Bangkok, food can easily be imported from all over the place. That’s why American fast-food chains are common there and tastes exactly as it does everywhere in the world. In Koh Phangan, conversely, you’re restricted to only eating the most authentic, local cuisine. This is what makes it such a special experience.
It might sound strange to schedule breakfast into your Koh Phangan itinerary but just trust us on this one. You won’t have tasted anything like it. With your eagerness to explore the island, it’s easy to forget to eat. You need to slow down, find a good restaurant, and get your day off to the perfect start. The most highly-rated places to eat include Bustan, Valentino, and Fisherman’s. They all serve the freshest, healthiest, and delicious breakfasts.
When you’ve regained your energy, it’s time to explore the spiritual side of island life in Thailand. Next on your Koh Phangan itinerary has to be visiting temples. These are dotted all over the island and offer the most intricately beautiful architecture. Once again, you might want to rent a motorcycle to ensure you can get to all of them. Even if you don’t have a spiritual side, you have to marvel at the beauty of these structures as well as their cultural significance.
During your trip to Thailand, temples are bound to feature prominently. However, Koh Phangan arguably has the most impressive ones. Make sure you leave time in your Koh Phangan itinerary to visit all of them. They’re places where you need to be respectful so that everyone can enjoy exploring these enchanting places. You may want to pay your respects or simply wander around as many tourists do. It’s your choice.
If you’re pushed for time then the top three temples you should visit are Wat Phu Khao Noi, Wat Sri Thanu, and the Goddess of Mercy, which is a Chinese temple. However, there are over 20 temples you could visit if you give yourself enough time. Some are free, others aren’t, but all are worth a visit. Many are also inhabited by monks so just make sure you act with respect and follow the simple rules that will be written on signs near the entrance.
To end your weekend on the island, it’s worth visiting a rooftop bar where you can relax, unwind, and gaze out across this incredible island destination. Koh Phangan is an island with many different sides. There’s the peaceful, tranquil, tropical paradise vibe. There’s the crazy, raving, all-night party vibe. Then, there’s the spiritual and religious vibe. At this point in your Koh Phangan itinerary, you’ll have experienced them all.
End your trip with a cocktail in one of the island’s amazing bars. Ideally, find a rooftop bar with an incredible view. This will give you perspective, allowing you to reflect on the amazing two days you’ve had and just soak it all in. The best rooftop bar is aptly named RoofTop Bar but there are many others you could visit as an amazing way to cap off an even more amazing Koh Phangan trip.