Ko Pha Ngan is a small island of the coast of Thailand, primarily geared towards backpackers and tourists looking for a relaxed and quiet time.
- Long Beach / Sandy Bay – A beautiful bay with some of deepest water on the west cost, which is OK for swimming at high tide. Snorkeling is good throughout the bay. There are many bars, restaurants, places to stay, shops and even an ATM on the beach. Accommodation starts at 250 Baht for a chalet without a view. Better value accommodation can be found in the hills around the bay and to the south, try Sun View a 20 minute walk south.
- Hat Thong Nai Pan Yai – Perhaps the best swimming and snorkelling beach on the island. Hat Thong Nai Pan Yai is tucked away on the north east corner of the island. The access road in unsealed which means fewer people make the long trek out there, but Sawngthaew do drive to the beach, and you can reach it by scooter or jeep if you take care. Many people get to the beach by boat. There are several beach restaurants and accommodation options for all prices ranges. There is an ATM and small supermarket. A 20 minute walk over a headland brings you to the sister beach of Hat Thong Nai Pan Noi.
- Hat Thong Nai Pan Noi – On the other side of the bay to Hat Thong Nai Pan Yai, but the sea here isn’t as calm, and you can sometimes find a little bit of surf. The beach has all the facilities you would expect, and it’s a easy walk to Hat Thong Nai Pan Yai.
Full Moon Parties
When the moon is full Hat Rin, on the southeastern tip, is invaded by thousands of visitors coming to soak up the sunshine and party atmosphere. At this time Accommodation around Hat Rin is rare to find, and overpriced. Stay further afield and catch the local transport to the party.
There are lots of parties even when the moon isnt full. There are twice-monthly half moon parties, and weekly other parties around the island. Just keep your eye open for posters.
Sun View Bungalows
30 or so bungalows set on the edge of a small bay. Most of the bungalows have sea and sunset views. The basic bungalows are good and well built. They have solid walls, a balcony, hammock, fly screens, curtains, wall fan, power and a good bathroom. The floorboards do have small gaps. The more expensive bungalows are of solid construction and have AC. The chilled and well stocked restaurant is staffed by ultra-friendly Thai’s, the food is good. You can walk down to a small beach area which is good for snorkeling, and onto a larger sandy beach. Ferry pickup available. Scooter rental and Internet available just over the road, mini-mart and other restaurants a short walk away. It’s a 20 minute walk to Sandy Bay/Long Beach. Prices from 300Baht.
As a westerner you’re likely to be approached by an accommodation tout on the ferry. Using one can save you effort and money on the islands, as the guest house/hotel should pick you up from the ferry jetty. Good touts have a number of brochers from a range of accommodation and budgets. Make sure the tout puts you on the transport once you get off the ferry. Songserm are a popular and reliable ferry operator with a fleet of buses to other destinations. They have their own jetty with an office at the end at Thong Sala on Ko Pha Ngan.
Pickups regularly run around the islands roads, just hail one down and agree a price (about 50 Baht).
For exploring, scooters can be rented per day for 150Baht for a manual and 200Baht for an automatic, and are available a lots of places around the guest houses. Jeep can also be rented from various places. The roads are generally good, but watch out for loose sand on the road, and the occasionally mud track. The road out towards Hat Thong Nai Pan Yai on the north east coast is unsealed and care should be taken if riding a scooter.