100-125cc motorbikes can be hired from around 200
baht/day; larger capacity models cost 300-700 baht/day.
Foreigners are without exceptions required to leave
their passport as a deposit.
Some rental shops overcharge for every scratch or dent.
They don't fix, but rather replace the whole part - so
note damages to the bike on the rental contract. Be
aware that your passport may be held against you until
you pay the exorbitant repair cost. This practice is,
justified or not, very common all over the region.
However, it's quite rare (though not unheard of) that
you would actually have to pay for the damage you
haven't done. In most cases, it's the combination of
inexperienced and intoxicated driving when accidents
happen. If you don't know what you're doing stay on the
safe side and stick with Songthaew.
Avoid riding at sundown, when the bugs are out en masse,
and result in brief periods of riding blind, while you
desperately try to clear your corneas. Try not to go
home with a 'KPN tattoo' - this can either result from
your tender-skinned body sliding along a bitumen road at
high speed with few clothes on, or from the inside of
your leg touching too hot exhaust pipe of the moped.
Care is needed if attempting to go over the notorious
Haad Rin hills, the roads at the eastern side of the
island, and north of Haad Yao. Especially the "Hill of
Tears" (first steep ascend from Thong Sala towards Haad
Rin) needs caution - use low gear only and rather have
your passenger walk, than bruised up.
Drunk driving in the West is illegal - in Ko Pha Ngan
it's suicidal. Better to sit in the back of a taxi than
hitting one head on at night, or end up in hospital.
Wear a helmet, avoid riding in flip-flops and stay
within your limits. The slower you drive, the less it's
It is also possible to rent small Suzuki jeeps, however
you will find that you can circuit the island in a day.
Songthaew pick-up truck taxis criss-cross the island for
around 100 baht a ride, or 150 baht for the less
accessible destination of Thong Nai Pan, if you share
taxi car with other people. As of 2009, taxi drivers
have cartelized to fix prices to 200 baht a ride - no
It is important to note that ALL taxi service on Koh Phangan is provided by songthaew. Should you choose to
go with a freelancer on a motorbike or in a pickup, make
arrangements quickly, quietly and pay surrepitiously.
Boats cruise the bays with your snorkeling gear until
somewhere takes your fancy. The round-the-island, all
day boat trip is a great way to see some of the best
beaches in the island.
Salad Beach on Ko Pha NganThan Sadet-Ko
Pha-Ngan National Park The park is named
after the river Than Sadet (lit. Royal
River). The river forms the largest
waterfall on the island, which was visited
by several Thai kings. Especially Rama V
liked the placed and visited 14 times.
Visit the beautiful waterfalls and lookouts
in the interior of the island.
The herbal sauna at Wat Pho is a great
relief after long party nights. It's near
the 7/11 branch in Baan Thai, on the
south-western side of the island. Don't
forget to leave a donation, always wear a
sarong (over your bikini) - remember that
you are on temple-territory and locals find
nudity offensive. This is not a European
sauna, sitting naked will get you into
If you're into fire, you'll find spinners
and twirlers on many of the beaches,
teachers abund and poi are easy to find.
Visit Ko Ma off the north-west coast of Ko
Pha Ngan.It offeres one of the best
snorkeling places on the island.
On the road between Thongsala and Chaloklum
is beautiful Chinese Temple with overlooking
on Chaloklum Bay.
There is a Elephant Camp on the way from
Baan Tai to Thong Nai Pan, take a photo or
try trekking through the jungle.
Explore the beauty of Koh Phangan Island,
through exciting day, evening and adventure
tours. Experience, diving, snorkeling,
kayaking, speed boat excursions to Ang Thong
National Marine Park, Muay Thai, fishing
trips, cultural tours, elephant riding,
enjoy the beauty of nature that the Koh Maa
area has to offer and have a relaxing boat
trip. With so many things to see and do your
time in Koh Phangan will be truly memorable.
Scuba Diving Koh Pha-Ngan has lovely sites
around the island which are perfect for both
beginners and trained divers. From easy
dives off the beach to longer trips by boat
you can experience the world of tropical
diving. The waters around Koh Pha-Ngan are
much nicer than most people know: fine hard
corals with a good range of reefs and
tropical/pelagic fish. Sailrock, undoubtedly
the most famous dive site in the Gulf of
Thailand. Located between Koh Pha-ngan and
Koh Tao all the wonders of this exciting
site can be explored by all levels of
divers. This spectacular rock rises out of
the water creating the best wall dive with a
maximum depth of 40 metres. Providing a
great range of marine life, spectacular
underwater scenery, rock formations. There
are several PADI dive-schools on the island,
amongst others, Scuba Fun Thailand by Cyana
Beach Resortlocated in Woktum bay, Haad Yao
Divers a small PADI 5 Star Gold Palm Dive
Center located on Haad Yao, Mae Haad and
Haad Chao Phao, Reefers Dive Resort located
in Haad Yao beach, Sail Rock Divers, Lotus
Dive Resort, both located in Chalok Lam, and
Koh Phangang Divers, located in Haad Rin. You
will, however, find many more dive schools
through out the island.
Full Moon Party - if you're after party
heaven you can't do better than Haad Rin, an
expanded village of beach bars, cheap
chicken burgers, and low cut figure-hugging
outfits. It is most popular one night a
month - the night of the Full Moon Party.
Every bar is hopping, the beaches packed
with trance, dance, buckets, and various
other suspicious substances. However, if the
sight of thousands of bottles and other
trash repulses you, make sure you leave the
beach area before the sun comes up, or grab
a garbage bag and help tidy up a little. If
you're not on Ko Pha Ngan during the full
moon, don't worry: there are other parties
to be had, including Half Moon (2 times a
month), Black Moon, Jungle Parties, as well
as the Shiva Moon party. There is always
something to do in Ko Pha Ngan.
Archery can be attempted at the "First Bow
and Arrow Archery" close to Chaloklum on the
road to Thongsala. Four archers can have a
go at the same time, people are very
friendly (German spoken during high season)
Hiking can be done all around the island.
There is a trail that leads between Haad Rin
and Haad Tien, which many enjoy however the
route can become difficult to discern, and
bringing enough water is necessary.
Muay Thai gyms such as "Jungle Gym" in Haad
Rin and Thong Sala Muay Thai offering
training and work out facilities, as well as
camps such as "Horizon" located in Haad Tien
(east) which is an intensive training camp.
There are also frequent matches in Thong
Sala and Haad Rin for spectators who don't
want to learn the sport.
Yoga is offered at multiple locations
including Agama Yoga, which is located in
the northwest of the island, and has month
long intensive courses.
Trip Around The Island One day in Paradise
Safari Boat, see everything interesting in
one day trip. Daily Tour. Visit Chinese
Temple, Elephant Camp, Bottle Beach, Thong
Nai Pan, Thansadet Waterfalls, see monkey
show, wonderful snorkeling.. have a fun with
Thai law, travel agents that offer ticket, tours,
tourism services, hotel reservations in Thailand must be
registered with the Tourism Authority Thailand to
improve quality of service and help protect the customer
from fraud. Please check to make sure you are booking
through a TAT registered travel agent.
Both Thong Sala and Haad Rin sell pretty much anything
you can think of, and probably some things you don't
need at all. You can try to bargain, but realistically,
the prices are set. You may get a deal every now and
again, but it's the exception to the rule. Remember that
you're in a tourist area and that prices usually are
above the level of for say Bangkok.
Main purchases you will find on Ko Pha Ngan include
hammocks (check out "Hammock Home" in Thong Sala) as
well as some of the local artists works. Most of the
clothing is of the variety that you will find in
Bangkok, but generally it is a bit more expensive, as it
has been imported to the island for sale.
Art Galleries are also considered to be rising business
in Koh Phangan, most of the places will offer variety
works and services including custom orders and art
reproductions. These galleries have reputations in
affordable prices and fine quality artist skills.
Tesco-Lotus delicious inexpensive bakery, open 10.00 -
22.00, in Thongsala
authentic experience (and cheaper than the
well-decorated cafe/restaurants by Haad Rin beach), look
at the more modest cafes where you might see some Thais
The best area for authentic cheap eats is definitely
Thong Sala, the main town on the island.
Umi ~ Vegetarian, 73/10 Moo 1, Thongsala, Tel 077377815,
. 10am - 6pm. Vege Good Food ! Simple and delicious
curries, salads and soups from around the world. Daily
specials menu including Indian, Korean, African,
Mediterranean and other World Food.
Me'n'u The signature restaurant of the five star resort
Rasananda at Tong Nai Pan Noi has become firmly
established as the island's premier eatery, sourcing
only the finest freshest ingredients to create their
Modern European cuisine, this has to be the finest
location of all the restaurants on Koh Phangan island, that
includes a 500 bottle wine cellar and champagne lounge.
Mr K - Had rin, soi cactus. On the alley (soi) leading
to cactus bar, past mama schnitzels is the best,
cheapest food in all of Had Rin. Yellow painted walls
and slightly grubby interior should not put you off.
Fellini, Srithanu. A new, stylish Italian restaurant.
Stone-cooked pizzas, a wide choice of pastas, steaks,
seafood, salads. Good choices of wine. e
Ando Loco - Thongsala's Mexican restaurant of the year
for two years running, authentic cuisine only using
imported spices, best tequilla and Margarita's on the
Little House, Central St Haadrin. Seems to be always
busy, popular with the locals. Fairly large cafe-style
diner with an open kitchen and resident puppy. Friendly
staff but don't expect a chat unless you speak islander
Thai! Four gorgeous and filling curries can be had for
200 baht - 5 euro. A coffee shake at D's across the
street will cost the same just for one.
Fire: dial 199
Police: dial 191 (077 377 114)
Tourist Police: dial 1155 (this supersedes the old
Koh Phangan Rescue Centre: dial 077 377 118
Full Moon Party (as well as others) is full of drugs,
but these days it's also full of plain clothed policemen
out to bust you. Be very careful if you intend to
consume illicit drugs. Road blocks are common,
particularly in the week before the FMP between Thong
Sala and Haad Rin. Thai police have also been known to
force urine tests. Remember that the Thais have harsh
penalties for drug offences and the police are working
to meet their "quota". Be aware that you may NOT be able
to bail yourself out of trouble - especially if you get
transferred to Surat Thani - and that bribing Thai
police will at least cut a deep hole into your travel
budget, if it is possible at all. Do not keep drugs on
you, in your room, or in your vehicle.
If you plan to drink at a party, make sure you have
reliable transportation set up beforehand. The roads
here are nothing to mess with, and too many people try
to drive home because they don't have a taxi waiting. If
nothing else, find a safe corner and sleep it off before
you head home.
It's not a good idea to accept drinks or food from
strangers, there are reported incidents of spiked drinks
(from both locals and "fellow" travellers). There have
been reports of LSD buckets foisted upon unsuspecting
partyers in Haad Rin. Drugged drinks are often and
unfortunately followed up by robbery, sexual harassment,
or even (gang) rapes. Best idea is to afford your own
drinks and stay with your friends.
On closer inspection of the buckets sold, most liquor
bottles are unsealed; thus there is uncerainty about the
true contents of every bottle. This may be why so many
people get sick.
However a local club owner states "we use the small
bottles for the buckets and it is cheaper and easier for
us to re-use the small bottles. The local stockists
always run out of small bottles so we often replace the
contents with that from a larger bottle of the same
liquor (some clubs use cheaper liquor - ask POLITELY at
the bar for original liquor and be prepared to pay more
for original liquor). The hangovers come from
dehydration - most kids drink buckets all night then
party in the morning sun on alcohol - best advise is
drink water regularly - even at night as its hot and
So before buying a bucket, check the seal of the bottle
and politely ask what's in it if you are worried. Apart
from that, remember the fact that buckets can be VERY
strong and unpredictable. If you intend to get drunk,
try to have solid food beforehand, or you might "lose
it" very fast.
It's advisable to leave all valuables in a safety
deposit box or at your guest house owner's hands instead
of taking them to the party.
Wear shoes or sandals to avoid injury from broken
bottles or burning cigarettes.
If you're averse to getting knocked on the head with
flaming batons, then don't venture too close to the Fire
Poi swingers on the beach, as skillful as they may be,
the fire sometimes gets out of hand and hit nearby
tourists. "Fire Skipping Rope / Jump through Fire Hoop"
are dangerous games provided a few of the beach bars,
take care of participating in these games, especially if
you are drunk!
If you plan to leave the island the day after the Full
Moon Party, be aware that the boats are usually packed
with other tourists who have the same idea. Make sure
you're not getting on an overloaded boat. Same applies
to taxi-boats before and after the FMP. The Thai
frequently overload their longtail boats and lost
luggage is at your own expense. Rather get off, reclaim
your money and wait for the next one.
There are many good places to stay in Ko Pha Ngan, if
you want to stay close to the action, but not TOO close
you may choose the resorts on the "sunset side" of Haad
Rin. You can stay just about anywhere on the island and
still get to the Full Moon Party, so don't be afraid to
venture away from Haad Rin, which is the most developed
and least Thai beach of them all. There are aver 30
coves and beaches on the island, each with it's own
distinct qualities. Check out local information to find
which beach suits you.
Try to WALK AWAY from every potential conflict with
locals. You will stand no chance and it's a surefire way
to get hospitalized. Also try not to get inappropriately
rowdy or swear at the beach bar staff. In April 2007 an
Israeli tourist got stabbed to death right on the
dancefloor in one of the bars on Haad Rin beach -
violence is frequent. The locals will not help you in a
fight and will in fact gang up on you whether you are
right or wrong, and "fellow" travellers will do their
best to stay out of it, too. If you find yourself
seriously aimed for, LEAVE THE PLACE IMMEDIATELY and
don't come back the same night. Thais who lose their
temper usually are back to normal the next day. Be
friendly and smile - you're on a holiday! Everything is
best done with a smile here as this is Thai culture.
cafes are plentiful and typically also offer
international calls, fax services and flight
confirmation. The connection and speed is generally
good. Expect to pay 60 baht/h (1 baht/m) for internet in
the central locations. One baht per minute is typical
for predominantly tourist-oriented shops, many of which
also offer lower rates for pre-paid blocks of time. It's
not difficult to find well-equipped, quiet, air-con
Internet caf?s that charge 60 baht/hour if you shop
around a little; likewise shops that can accommodate
users who want to hook up their own laptops can easily
be found. Printing (black/white) is usually 10 baht/page
(30 baht/page for colour).
Overseas calls can be made from many agencies and
Internet shops, as well as guesthouses/hotels and the
like - most advertise a rate of 15 baht/minute (or 25
baht/minute to mobile 'phones).
The Pha-Ngan's post office is located south of Thong
Sala. As well as the usual postal services, it handles
Western Union transactions and hosts a large number of
post/security boxes. On weekdays (except public
holidays) it's open 08:30-16:30, and on Saturday and
Sunday and public holidays it's open 09:00-12:00; tel.
077 377 118.