Koh Phagnan is famous for the full moon parties that happen on the island. Thousands of tourists flock to the island once a month to let loose and party from midnight to early the next morning. It is said to be a once in a life time experience and the highlight to many peoples trip to Thailand.
The island gets busy, people spend their days sleeping or hungover on the beach and a few days later they pack up and move on.
photo courtesy of www.kohphangan-tourism.com
Koh Phagnan is SO much more than this, and rightfully deserves to be explored. If I could spend an extended time on any Thai island it would be Koh Phagnan, while avidly trying to avoid the full moon, half moon, black moon, chiva moon, moon set, and any other excuse-relating-to-the-moon moon parties. The island is beautiful, fairly inexpensive in comparison to other Thai islands, has lots of vegan options and full of things to do.
beautiful eastern island views
Hiking to 'Bottle Beach', notice the waterbottle markers.
The edge of Ao Chaloklum beach
We were never on the island for the infamous full moon party, but we did spend some time getting to know all that the island has to offer. I had first considered skipping Koh Phagnan since we do not party all night and were trying to avoid the type of backpackers the island would draw. I’m happy we decided to go because it is absolutely beautiful.
Not so secret 'Secret Lagoon'
The beaches on Koh Phagnan were not busy since it was not during the full moon period. We rented a scooter for our time on the island, which we recommend since it is the second largest island in Thailand.
There are may different beaches from ‘secret lagoons’ to large stretches of white sand beach. Ao Chaloklum which on the map looks like a large stretch of beach was surprisngly under water for us due to high tides. We visited in early February so keep this in mind when planning on where to stay.
The view that makes the hike to Bottle Beach worth it!
Enjoying the secluded patches of beach all over the island
Where we stayed on Koh Phagnan:
When we were deciding on where to stay on Koh Phangan, we wanted something close enough to the pier so we could walk from the ferry and avoid the cost of a taxi. We also wanted a place central enough that there was always something to walk to and places to eat. We found Vegabond Hostel on hostelworld.com and booked in the mixed dorm. It was a good budget backpacking place to stay on Koh Phagnan.
Vegan treats from the walkig street: black sticky rice with coconut in bamboo and fresh coconut juice
location: walking distance from the pier, near to walking street and nightly food market
Rock hard beds: these are the hardest beds I have ever slept on and woke up regularly throughout the night due to pains in my hips and side. Even sleeping on top of two blankets it felt very hard.
other travellers staying out until 4/5am and being fairly loud upon returning
Best of all - this was the cheapest hostel we found in Thailand. A bed in the 14 bed dorm was only 100 baht per night ($3).