Located 70 km from the mainland and just 12 km from Koh Samui, Phangan does not have an airport and relies heavily on ferries from the mainland and Koh Samui to transport visitors. The island is renowned for its lush tropical jungle interior, many idyllic, long white-sand beaches and over 20 nearby dive sites.
Halfway between the islands of Ko Samui and Ko Taoit is known as a land of coconut trees and the world-famous Full Ko pa gnan Party that have placed the island firmly on the Banana Pancake Trail. The best time to visit the island and also high season is Dec-Mar when the water is clean, and good for swimming. It's also not rainy and temperatures are pleasant. Another high season time is Jul-Aug after the dry season when the water is rising.
If travelling to Ko Phangan during or near the time of the Full Moon Party, booking ferry transport to and from the island ahead of time is highly advised as the limited amount of ferries fill up quickly with the massive crowd coming in for the party. Upon arrival at the pier, Ko pa gnan up a free guide book phangan. Transportation to the ferry dock is easy to find at the airport.
Ferries depart several times a day with the last one around dusk. This should be simpler for travellers than arranging the individual segments separately. Flights from Bangkok are around 60 minutes. Nok Air offer a combined flight and ferry ticket on their website. Several types of ferries are available, of varying speed and quality. The Lomprayah catamaran is easily the best option for comfort and speed, although generally baht more expensive than the other ferries, most travellers Ko pa gnan locals, will happily pay the extra for the service.
Tickets can be bought online. Make sure to walk towards the exit of the airport where there is an Information counter and taxi stands. This ferry comes from Chumphon with flight, bus and train connections from Bangkok. From Surat Thani : There are ferries throughout the day from Donsak pier, 65 km out of town. Lomprayah are fast ferries and they sell tickets including transport from the city centre for baht. Raja are slow ferries and combined bus and ferry tickets from the city or Surat Thani train station are available for baht. There are six ferries a day, the timetable is available online.
The tickets can be bought online as well.
It costs baht for a space on a mattress on the boat. Tickets for these services can be bought at Sai Tai Taling Chan southern government bus terminal in Bangkok. Both ferries stop at Ko Samui first, and will drop you off at the pier of Thong Sala. Please note that both options will require you to change buses.
This should be a quick and easy change over. If there are no available options listed above usually only if you've arrived to the bus terminal quite late in the evening before a weekend or holidayyou can Ko pa gnan try a bus to Chumphon and board a ferry there, see "By train" below. You can buy a combo ticket on Ko pa gnan bus station, it will cost same as if purchased separately and the bus arrives 2—3 hours before ferry departure, so you shouldn't be late. Buses originating from Khao San Rd or other buses operated by travel agencies are famous for thefts from passenger luggage.
Under no circumstances should passengers on Khao San Rd buses leave valuables in bags that will go in the luggage storage areas, even if the bags can be locked.
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Consider it inevitable that every bag will be opened while the bus is in motion. A very good option, a little pricier, is using the morning bus and ferry combination from Lomprayah. A reputable company with an office near Khao San Rd and the option to book online through their website.
The air-con bus is very new and the connection to the ferry gives the opportunity for a toilet break and to eat something. One way is 1, baht.
They also have a night bus. An overnight train from Bangkok is an interesting option. Trains arrive in Surat Thani or Chumphonand from there you can transfer by bus and then boat.
Both stations are on the southbound Hat Yai line, but arrival times in Chumphon when using night trains Ko pa gnan annoyingly early in the morning. For example, the recommended express train 85 arrives around after which you'll have to wait about 3 hours for the ferry. On the other hand, if you continue down to Surat Thani you can sleep an extra 3—4 hours plus you will arrive in daylight. Considering the waiting time in Chumphon and the longer ferry trip you will eventually get to Ko Pha Ngan at about the same time. Combined train-bus-boat tickets can be bought direct from the official Advance Booking Counter at Hualamphong station in Bangkokalthough if your train is late, and your boat is already gone then you will have to pay extra for the next boat.
Thus the t ticket may not be the best choice. If e-booking is not available or not suitable to you for some reason, train tickets may be reserved up to 60 days in advance and paid for by. If your heart is set on going by train, start early, be persistent, and have a backup plan to go by bus or plane. There are many rental locations all over the Ko pa gnan.
What you need to know before you go
They have formed an association and all have the same prices, saying this should prevent the problems with the scams that many people complained about before. Do not rent from the rental shop across from Phangan Cottage tel which charges only baht for normal bike but takes passport and will scam for damages. Some rental shops overcharge for every scratch or dent. They don't fix, but rather replace the whole part - Ko pa gnan note damages to the bike on the rental contract. Your passport will be held until you pay the extortionate repair cost.
You can negotiate the costs down from exorbitant to high, but keep your cool, don't yell and stay polite. This practice is very common all over the region. It's not unheard-of that you are asked to pay for damage you haven't done. Some good advice is to take pictures of your bike as you rent it, but Ko pa gnan the guy has your passport, this won't do any good.
If you don't know what you're doing, stay on the safe side and stick with songthaews. 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 Ko pa gnan corneas. Try not to go home with a "Thai tattoo", this can either result from your tender body sliding along a bitumen road at high speed with few clothes on, or from the inside of your leg touching a hot exhaust pipe.
Also keep in mind that many, if not most, travel insurance policies will not cover motorcycle accidents, especially if you do not have a Thai drivers. Care is needed if attempting to go over the notorious Haad Rin hills, the ro Ko pa gnan the east side of the island, and north of Haad Yao. Use low gear only and have your passenger walk. This is still quite good concrete road where you need only use brakes compared to mud ro on the northeast part of the island to Bottle Beach, which are the worst on the island with many potholes.
Drunk driving in the West is illegal not on Ko Pha Ngan, where police don't check. On Ko Pha Ngan it's suicidal.
Better to sit in the back of a taxi than having a smash-up at night and ending up dead or in the hospital. Wear a helmet. Police will fine you baht for Ko pa gnan and set up roadblocks occasionally before noon in Thong Sala, for example. When driving, stay within your limits. The slower you drive, the less it's gonna hurt.
It is also possible to rent small Suzuki 4WDs, however, you will find that you can circle the island in a day. Petrol is quite overpriced at many places.
One of the places selling it for reasonable price is the 9. Songthaews criss-cross the island asking from baht a ride, if you share the taxi with other people.
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You can and should bargain for a lower price, especially if your destination isn't that far. The taxi driver cartel tries to fix prices at baht a ride. Do not accept the price at the pier and walk rather m to the roundabout in Thong Sala where there is a taxi station with normal prices.
All taxi service on Ko Pha Ngan is provided by songthaew pick-up truck. Should you choose to go with a freelancer on a motorbike or in a pickup, make arrangements quickly, quietly and pay surreptitiously.
Usually is the best option to save money and be flexible and avoid using songthaews at all is to rent a motorbike after arriving in Thong Sala as you will be probably leaving from this pier. You can later Ko pa gnan the motorbike here and it can save you a lot of money. For that you can have a semi-auto motorbike rental for 6—7 days or a fully automatic for 4—5 days and you are free to ride anywhere between arrival and departure and it's also the best way when looking for accommodation instead of taking taxi and walking around with a lot of baggage.
Cruise the bays with your snorkelling gear until someplace 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. Ko pa gnan Thai law, travel agents that offer ticket, tours, tourism services, hotel reservations in Thailand must be registered with the Tourism Authority of Thailand TAT to improve quality of service and help protect customers from fraud.
Please check to make sure you are booking through a TAT registered travel agent. In Thong Sala and Haad Rin vendors 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 Bangkok. The further you go from the ferry piers, the better your chance of haggling gets. 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 considered to be a rising business on Ko Pha Ngan.
Most of the places will offer variety works and services including custom orders and art reproductions. These galleries have reputations for Ko pa gnan prices and fine quality artistic skills. For the most part, this is not the place to come to experience Thai food or culture. The best area for cheap eats is definitely the food carts in Thong Salathe main town on the island. Free Wi-Fi in a roofed hall.
Across the road from 7-Eleven in Chalok Lam are also some Thai street stalls where you will find locals eating.