Ko Pha Ngan
Setting The Scene This paradise island of glorious white sand beaches, which has gained worldwide fame for its wild full moon parties, is much more than the sum of its parts. Located in the tropical Gulf of Thailand, some 55km from the mainland, this laid-back island of 125 sq km and a population of only 12,000, attracts tens of thousands of tourists annually, with numbers swelling even more during the days of the Full Moon Parties. Koh Phangan has more than two dozen glorious sandy beaches spread around the island, with many kilometres of accessible coral reefs and lagoons, and a relatively unspoilt interior of rainforests with diverse flora, fauna and wildlife. What’s To See There is so much more to do here apart from the obvious activities of relaxing on the fabulous beaches, swimming in the warm sea, going shopping and having the parties of your life. Those seeking adventure can trek into the interior and visit beautiful waterfalls. You can climb rocky peaks and be rewarded with incredible views of the whole island - and even further afield to islands like Koh Tao. You can also hike along jungle trails to deserted island beaches, explore hidden coves and coral lagoons. A trip out to the stunning Ang Thong National Marine Park is not to be missed! The island is considered to be a deeply spiritual place, with many Buddhist temples. This tranquil atmosphere has spawned a flourishing industry of yoga retreats and meditation centres. For those looking for relaxation, Koh Phangan has plenty of superb Thai massage and spa centres. Offshore adventurers can go kayaking around the island and explore deserted beaches from the sea. There are many excellent snorkelling and diving spots just off the coast - or go even further out to nearby islands and rocks. If fishing is your thing, you can do anything from line fishing from the rocks, or head out on a boat big game fishing. All these water sports are very well served by highly professional and well-established businesses, right across the island. You can enrol for anything from beginners' courses to "train the trainer" courses in scuba diving and freediving, and you can also join organised snorkelling trips. Ever seen the TV series Wipeout and fancied having a go? You're in luck with the excellent "Challenge Phangan" floating obstacle course at Laem Son Lake. Whether you just want to spend a quite holiday idling away your time and chilling out on a quiet, tranquil beach; or you want to party hard, there is a resort and a beach with your name on it. Top Suggestions • Partying hard: Haad Rin beach – party central and home of the infamous Full Moon Parties. • Near the action but not right in it: Ao Ban Tai and Ao Ban Khai beaches in the south-west corner. • A beach with more laid-back nightlife: Nai Wok Bay and Plaay Laem Bay (West Coast) • Beautiful beach, with top snorkelling & swimming: Haad Yao (West Coast) • A tranquil secluded beach: Haad Sadet Beach (East Coast)
Paradise Waterfall (Nam Tok Phaeng)
An easily accessible waterfall where you can take a refreshing swim
A 10-day meditation course in a peaceful, scenic setting that might change your life
Ang Thong Marine Park
A tropical archipelago of 42 mostly uninhabited islands; magical to look at & explore
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