A warm and sunny tropical vacation is a must for all travel fanatics or aspiring tourists. While long walks in historical museums and tours of grand palaces hold their attraction, the relaxation and serenity that one feels at an island or tropical resort are unmatched to any other!
Imagine yourself basking in the bright sun, watching the cold azure water crashing gently onto the sand, and the delicious snacks to accompany the perfect view at Koh Pha Ngan. Now keeping this picture in your mind, we would like to introduce you to a beautiful Island, which is probably Thailand’s best-kept secret, but not for long!
How to Get to Koh Phangan?
Many tourists that visit Thailand usually always go to the capital city of Bangkok. Once you have enjoyed the city life of the capital and want to head to a quieter and relaxing area like Ko Pha-Ngan, you have multiple transportation options at your fingertips.
Bangkok to Koh Pha-Ngan by Bus
If you are looking for a more direct route, you can get onto a bus plus ferry from Bangkok to Koh Pha-Ngan. The bus plus ferry combo will take you to your destination in around 10-16 hours and roughly takes the same amount of time as the previously mentioned route. The price for the direct Bus plus ferry ranges from $30-43 per person.
By Train via Surat Thani
Other popular options include taking a train or bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani, another nearby location with the closest train station. Once you arrive in Surat Thani, you can take the high-speed boat or ferry to reach Koh Pha-Ngan directly; however, this route will take a chunk out of your time and may not be viable for most travellers on a time crunch.
For the availability of seats, it is ideal to book your ticket in advance to readily get an affordable rate for your preferred means of travel.
|Bangkok||Surat Thani||Train No.||Sleeper Berths|
Duration & Prices
Each of the transportation routes comes with a different price tag and caters to each individual’s budget. Following, you will find the breakdown of the time duration and fares for all travel, to choose the most appropriate method.
If you opt to take the train or bus from Bangkok to Surat Thani, it will cost you around $22-50 for the Bus and $14-23 for the train. The tickets’ price range and availability can change according to the season and the tickets’ demand. The train has an additional feature of in-house snacks, entertainment, and, most importantly, a washroom! Going from Bangkok to Surat Thani will take you around 9-12 hours on your chosen bus or train vehicle.
Ferry Travel from Surat Thani to Koh Pha-Ngan
The buses will drop you by the pier from where you can quickly get onto the ferry and go straight to the island. The ferry is relatively comfortable, and the air-conditioned interior will keep you cool and calm despite the warm summer months. The ferry ride will take you around 3-4 hours, so keep a day aside just for travelling from Bangkok to Koh Pha-Ngan.
|Train Station||Koh Phangan||Cost||Company|
|07:45||12:30||370 THB||Raja Ferry|
|07:30||12:30||400 THB||Phantip Travel|
Via Koh Samui
Koh Phangan is located next to Koh Samui. Getting Koh Samui from Koh Phangan is possible in two ways – by Ferri and by Cruise.
To reach the island on a ferry from Koh Samui takes around 30-45 minutes. The ferry is the cheapest method of daily travel and only costs you $5-10 per person. The ferry will provide you with a scenic journey of the island and its nearby areas and the AC’s added facility.
|Ferry Station (Koh Samui)||Koh Phangan||Cost||Special Note|
|12:00||13:30||$10||Leaves from Samui Airpot|
|15:00||17:00||$16||With Hotel Transfer|
|08:00||9:30||$5||Leaves from Lipa Noi Koh Samui|
Note: Besides abovementioned ferries, several other ferries depart from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan in different parts of the day. Please check all available ferry list over here.
You would likely be looking to explore the gorgeous beauty of the island at a relaxing pace on a cruise ship, where you can bask under the starry night and enjoy a good meal. There is a variety of cruises available; however, they do come with a hefty price, which is, of course, well worth your money and gives you a day’s worth of entertainment.
If you are looking for a cheaper version of a boat tour, you can opt for the Marine Park Speedboat Tour that will set you back $45, or if you are a sea lover, you can take advantage of the snorkelling tour for $84. If you have money to spend, the private Koh Pha-Ngan tour for $168 will give you an intimate and personalized tour of the island at your own pace and privacy.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan by Flight
As someone who has chosen to save time and travel in comfort, Bangkok’s flight to Koh Samui will take you only an hour and a half, and the one-way flight costs you around $65-200. Availability and cost of flying are also heavily reliant on the year and number of tourists that season. A direct flight from Bangkok from Koh Samui will safely transport you to your destination in no time. There are more than ten flights daily, especially during the summer season, so you can easily book a flight at a time of your convenience. Once you reach Koh Samui, you are at a distance of 15 kilometres from Koh Pha-Ngan, which you can easily cover by a boat or ferry.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan by Speed Boat
Koh Pha-Ngan enjoys its status as a hot tourist island, and the only way to reach it is through the water as there is no airport on the island. There are daily boats that travel from the mainland to this island, and the tourist has many opportunities to get on one of these boat rides. There are three ports in Koh Samui that will directly take you to the island via ferry. If you are looking for another option, then a car ferry is available that takes you from Koh Samui to the island from the Raja Ferry Port.
Things to do in Koh Pha-Ngan
Nature has blessed the island of Koh Pha-Ngan with a rich and diverse topography that varies from a pristine coastline and sandy beaches to high mountain ranges and the densely populated national park with its wide range of exotic flowers, trees, and insects.
Dense Mountain Range
The Ra Mountain is a part of the towering dense mountain range on the island, although it is hard to access. You must contact one of the tour services or a local from the area to help you manoeuvre the dirt roads and rough topography. However, once you get to the mountain top and experience the breathtaking view of nature laid at your feet, the journey becomes worth it! The mountain range is a great way to become one with nature, and you can easily spend a whole day hiking on the designated trails and exploring deep within the mountains.
Another excellent location for all the nature seekers is the Phaeng waterfall, which is considered the largest on the island. The perfect time to visit the waterfall is right after the monsoon season when the water is in full swing, and the strong gushing flow will genuinely be a mesmerizing sight for its viewers.
- Entry fee- 20 Thai Baht
The waterfall is a part of the more extensive national park, so another day trip can be made while visiting this waterfall. You can enjoy the wide variety of nature at the park and take beautiful pictures at the viewpoints to show your family back home! Tour guides are readily available if you want to learn more about nature and get the full experience. The hiking trails and viewpoints help to give you a small peek into the overwhelming power of natural beauty on this island.
- Entry fee- 100 Thai Baht
Temples and Spirituality
The island comes with many Buddhist temples that attract many people for spiritual or historical reasons. There are about 20 different temples on the island for you to choose from according to your taste.
Wat Phu Khao Noi
Our suggestion would be the oldest and most peaceful Wat Phu Khao Noi. The temple’s name refers to ‘temple of the small mountain,’ and you are bound to come across one of the many spiritual retreats held here throughout the year.
You will encounter extreme silence near the temple and visitors, which may seem a bit daunting but, in reality, proves to be the utmost peaceful and calming experience. You can respectfully observe the temple rituals if you are simply an onlooker, but you need to avoid photography near the statues.
- Free entry for all
Kuan Yin Chinese Temple
Another famous and tourist favourite spot is the Kuan Yin Chinese Temple, located north of the island. The temple premises contain an amalgamation of different buildings, each with its view of nature and the vast island. The building’s architecture is in line with the Chinese style and includes dragons, a red and golden colour palette, and specially shaped roofing.
- Entry fee- 40 Thai Baht
Make sure you go in modest clothing to enter the temple and save yourself any hassle. The dress code applies to both genders.
- Clothing should cover your shoulders.
- Your legs should not be bare.
- Avoid any tight-fitting clothes.
- Make sure your clothes do not have any holes in them, e.g. ripped jeans.
One of the island’s most notable features is the crazy moon phase parties hosted once every month. Each phase of the moon is celebrated through the full moon, half-moon, and even black moon parties. The party is held on the Haad Rin beach and is open to all visitors to the island. From nightfall till dawn, you can see the party-goers enjoying the beat drops and the delicious drinks. No matter what time of the year you visit, you are likely to attend one of the fun-filled moon parties at the beach.
- Entry ticket (upon arrival) – $45
- Pre-booked tickets- $41
Massage and relaxation
The island lays a heavy emphasis on yoga and the art of spiritual healing, primarily through various massages. You can easily find many yoga centres and retreat spots, where you can spend a whole day to relax and unwind. The physical and mental exercises are known to calm your nerves and help you shed your stress.
One of the more popular spots is the Wat Pho, where you will find many tourists flocking. Despite the crowds, the centre’s isolated location paired with the lily pond outside the building adds to a serene and tranquil feeling. You can enjoy the herbal saunas and deep oil massages at the Centre for a small and fair price.
- Entry fee- 100 Thai Baht
- 30 min massage- 260 Thai Baht
- 1-hour massage- 420 Thai Baht
Entertainment for the Whole Family
Many people visit the island on a family vacation, where they often get bored of the temples and mountains. You can plan a whole day of fun-packed activities that you and your children will thoroughly enjoy at any of the beaches on the island. Our pick would be the Chalok Lam Beach, a relatively secluded and private area where you can leave the loud tourists behind. You can enjoy the water and spend a day swimming and building sandcastles with your children.
Challenge Phangan Park
Located on the west side of the island, this is a water theme park that includes a series of water-based obstacle courses, slides, and pools. The obstacle course comes with a timer, so you can make a family competition out of it and see which member finishes the course in the shortest time. There are various monkey bars, stepping stones, balance beams, and other activities that you need to complete to get to the finish line.
- Day pass- from $16
Thong Sala Night Market
After exploring nature all day, you can hit the night market to enjoy a taste of the local flavours. The market is located in the parking lot of a 7-Eleven, where you will find freshly caught seafood and many Thai delicacies for extremely affordable prices. The hustle-bustle of the market, and the bright yellow lights, help the night time come to life and make it an enjoyable experience for the visitor.
The night market is a vital part of the Thai lifestyle, and a visit to this location will give you the perfect window into the island’s inhabitants’ culture.
Thai Cooking Class
The perfect end to your visit would be to enrol yourself in a Thai cooking class, which is a prevalent and trendy custom between most visitors. The Thai cuisine is world-renowned and sought after at many fine dining and upscale restaurants. What better way to enjoy this delectable food than to create it yourself?
You and your family can spend time bonding with each other over the mouthwatering Thai food you will be cooking, and who knows, you may even end up learning a trick or two!
- Prices vary according to class duration and meals.
The perfect way to get the full island experience is to try out all the local Thai food available at the street vendors. The street food is cheap, tasty, and hygienic, and will keep you full throughout the day as you explore the area. If you are looking for fast-food chains, you will mostly find local chains except for one Burger King Joint.
Try to follow the following suggestions as much as can while you’re in Pha-Ngan Island.
Given how Koh Pha-Ngan receives most of its heavy tourist traffic in the summer months, it is vital to be carrying a heavy-duty SPF with you. A sunscreen containing anywhere from SPF 40-100 is ideal for the harsh summer sun that will be blazing directly on you during your boat or ferry ride. A large sun hat or a cap will also help save you from the heat and protect you from sunburns.
If you are one of the travellers on the train or bus, you will have a relatively long journey, so we advise you to carry plenty of snacks and drinks for the way. Make sure you keep yourself hydrated as you lose many minerals and salts through sweating!
Although it is a no brainer, you are highly advised to travel in comfortable and breathable clothing, so the heat or sweat does not make your journey uncomfortable. Walking shoes are integral since any fancy or delicate heels run the risk of being ruined, getting on and off the ferry and onto the sand.
Ko Pha-Ngan Island is a great tourist spot to visit any time you are looking to get away from your busy and hectic routine. The island has something for everyone that, too, at affordable prices! You will surely enjoy a week-long retreat to this scenic location, whether you are alone or with friends and family.
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