Koh Phangan is famous for its yearly, monthly, and even weekly parties that are held on the island. Most people associate Koh Phangan with the famous Full Moon Party which takes place every month. When it’s not the Full Moon Party, it’s the Half Moon Party. Partygoers make the long journey from Bangkok to Koh Phangan ready to gate crash the island ready to chug down cheap buckets of cocktails whilst frantically waving around glow sticks, lighting up the beaches in every luminous colour you can think of. However, outside of the Full Moon Party, Koh Phangan has so much more to offer; even for the introverts that prefer peace and quiet. Here are seven things you can do on Koh Phangan aside from partying.
Hang out at Thong Sala night market and over-indulge on street food & smoothies
If you go to Koh Phangan and don’t end up at Thong Sala Night Market, have you even been to Koh Phangan? Thong Sala Night Market is the perfect retreat at the end of a day of exploring. The market is home to some of the best cooked Thai foods in town. You will find stall upon stall sizzling up pad thai, chicken skewers, fried rice and so much more. The best thing about this market, though, has to be the smoothies. If you’re a lover of all things fruity, then you will feel right at home as smoothies in every flavour are sold everywhere. With over 50 combinations to choose from, you can spend days there making your taste buds pop. Great news is that the market is open all day until 11 pm. However, whilst you can still get your smoothies and a bite to eat, most stalls only open shop around 4 pm. By 6 pm everything is in full swing.
Go against TLC’s advice and go chase them waterfalls
The island of Koh Phangan is rich in waterfalls, so much so, there are even waterfall parties. However, considering this post is of things to do in Koh Phangan without partying, it’s best to visit during the day. No matter which direction you travel in, you will never be too far from a waterfall. If you need to cool down from the summer heat, jump into some of the refreshing pools. Whilst some waterfalls require some hiking to get to, there are also some that are within easy walking access. The most popular waterfalls on Koh Phangan are Phaeng Waterfall and Paradise Waterfall.
Explore Koh Phangan’s nature by scooter
Hiring a scooter and buzzin’ around the island for the day is a popular activity and is the perfect way to get to grips with the layout of the island. The main roads are mostly smooth and easy to ride on, just make sure to always wear a helmet and make sure you have travel insurance that covers you to ride a motorbike. Whilst you cruise around, make sure to check out the many viewpoints that overlook the sea and sand. Rollin’ around on a scooter and taking in the sites of Koh Phangan can take an entire day, so make sure to start early. Scooter rental prices start from 300 Baht ($9.95) per day.
Stay at a hotel with a pool overlooking the sea
Koh Phangan is home to plenty of luxury hotels that overlook the beach and offer a tranquil setting. However, the beauty of Koh Phangan is that it caters to everyone regardless of budget. Opt to stay in a 5-star luxury hotel with a pool or opt for a social hostel that also boasts a pool. There is no shortage of choices. For a budget backpacker option, check out Asia Blue – Beach Hostel Hacienda. Whilst the rooms are basic, the pool is large and has a smaller jacuzzi section for the non-competent swimmers. The best bit is that the beach and sea are just a stone’s throw away from the pool. Perfect for watching the sunset over the beach in the evenings or even waking up early to catch the sunrise.
Chill out in a bar with a view
Speaking of awesome sunsets, make sure to head over to one of the rooftop bars for a view with a beer (or two). Amsterdam Bar, located on the West side of Koh Phangan and Utopia 360 Rooftop Bar, located in the North of Koh Phangan, are both known for having some of the best views on the island. Both bars offer a relaxed vibe with chill out music that is suitable for all kinds of people; couples, families and friends. If you feel like a dip with a view too, then you’re more than welcome to dive into the pool at Amsterdam bar to enjoy the sunset from there.
Spend a day at the beach
Of course, being an island, Koh Phangan is home to some stunning white-sand beaches. Bottle Beach, Secret Beach, Mae Beach and Malibu Beach are just to name a few. With so many spread out across the island free to use for the public, there’s plenty of space to spread out your towel for the day and catch some rays, splash around in the sea or even get stuck into some water activities that you can book along the front. Whether you want to relax or get your adrenaline pumping, just head down to one of the beaches and take that well-deserved beach day.
Take a boat trip for snorkelling and kayaking
Finally, if you have had enough time on land, take a day trip out to sea and view the island from afar. The waters are abundant with marine life and coral, so there is plenty to explore underwater too. To see the hidden underwater treasures, make sure to choose a day trip that provides snorkelling gear. The most popular boat trip on offer is a trip to Angthong Marine Park. Prices for tours range from 1,200 Bhat ($39) to 1,800 Bhat ($58.50) depending on the tour operator you choose.
Altogether, Koh Phangan has a lot to offer aside from chugging buckets of alcohol and partying into the early hours of the morning. From relaxed days on the beaches and rooftop bars to getting your heart pumping with a bit of kayaking or jet-skiing, there is something for everyone. So next time you think of Koh Phangan, remember there is more to this gem of an island than just party paradise. Trade the alcohol buckets for smoothies from the market and dancing for motorbiking and you’ve got yourself one sweet vacation spot.