Following the reopening of Phuket, Thailand expanded its reopening plans on July 15, 2021, to Ko Samui, Ko Tao, and Ko Phangan. Travelers can now safely vacation in Ko Samui and travel to specific areas in Ko Phangan. The three islands are part of the Phuket Sandbox 7 + 7 Extension program, allowing fully vaccinated international travelers to reduce the mandatory stay in Phuket from 14 to 7 days, after which travelers can choose to spend seven nights in Krabi, Phang-Nga, or Surat Thani.
Last month we touched on all of the fascinating hidden gems in Ko Tao, and now we are happy to share with you the highlights of Ko Phangan! From its cascading waterfalls to its entertaining full moon parties, Ko Phangan has something for everyone. Let’s take a look at some of the hidden gems in Ko Phangan!
Haad Rin Beach
Activities are endless on the beautiful beach of Haad Rin on the southern tip of Ko Phangan. Haad Rin comprises two beaches, sunrise beach (Haad Rin Nok) and sunset beach (Haad Rin Nai), separated by a rocky headland. Lining the shores are restaurants, bars, and quaint shops for visitors to enjoy.
Haad Nam Tok
For those that like a quieter getaway, the charming slice of paradise known as Haad Nam Tok is the place to be. Haad Nam Tok means ‘Waterfall Beach,’ and this destination truly lives up to its name! A waterfall stream flows down to the beach and is most impressive during green season when the water is abundant.
Haad Nam Tok is best for a day trip. However, if you’d like to stay on the beach, you may bring your own camping gear to set up camp near the water and listen to the waves crash to shore while you slumber. The beach is very remote, so there won’t be any interruptions during your visit, but remember to bring mosquito repellent!
While you can go diving at almost any beach in Ko Phangan, one of its most extraordinary dive sites is Sail Rock, an area that many divers in Ko Tao visit often. Sail Rock is a rock pinnacle located an hour from Chaloklum Pier in Ko Phangan. Barracudas, batfish, and whale sharks are just a few of the many schools of fish you will come across while diving through the underwater world.
Sitting 15 meters above the surface, the rock has a depth of 40 meters. Coral gardens cover the seafloor. Divers can swim through the ‘Chimney,’ a vertical swim through exiting at 18 meters.
Phaeng Waterfall is the island’s greatest waterfall worth visiting during green season. Adventure-lovers will enjoy the lush jungle hike with a steep path that leads to a worthy viewpoint known as Dom Sila viewpoint. The waterfall is part of Than Sadet National Park, with two waterfalls including Phaeng and Khan Ban Dai. Phaeng Waterfall is near the entrance without too much of a hike to reach, and Khan Ban Dai is about 500 meters up the jungle. It is recommended to wear shoes with good grips for treading, as the rocks can be slippery.
After witnessing the tremendous cascading falls, make your way to Dom Sila viewpoint. If you love to hike, go even further towards the top until you reach 630 meters above sea level to Khao Ra viewpoint.
If you opt for the steeper climb, you’ll be met with panoramic views of Ko Phangan and Ko Tao in the distance on Khao Ra mountain! Three hours of dirt path through the jungle with steep climbs will lead you to the viewpoint. Keep in mind that although the hike is medium-level, the humidity and heat can make it a bit more difficult, so don’t forget water!
Yang Na Yai Tree
Nature lovers, prepare to be swept away by Ko Phangan’s largest Yang Na tree that is said to be over 400 years old. The natural wonder can be found in Ban Nok village and is known by the villagers to be sacred. You will find small shrines near the base of the tree with garlands of ribbons.
Orion Healing Centre
Situated in Sri Thanu Bay is a relaxing oasis offering detox and cleansing, yoga, and more at Orion Healing Centre. With Reiki, yoga, meditation, and breathwork, visitors feel their stress melt away while focusing solely on their mind, body, and spirit.
Accommodations include rustic bamboo bungalows surrounded by coconut trees or private terraces with garden views. There are three yoga shalas, spa rooms, a wellness lounge, and an open-air bay front cafe within the center. If you’re in search of wellness, start your spiritual journey here.
The Best Time to Visit
Ko Phangan is beautiful all year round, with the green season from May to September bringing the vegetation to life and the dry season between January and March with less humidity and fewer bouts of rainfall. Keep in mind that the island is most crowded during December and January when the parties begin and party goers congregate at the beach.
How to Get There
From Ko Samui, the trip takes about 45 minutes by ferry boat. You can also take a 20-minute speedboat from Bophut Pier or Mae Naam pier on Samui for a quicker trip.
From Surat Thani Province, the ferry boat ride takes about 2.5 hours. Racha Ferry operates daily from Don Sak pier. Bus services are also available from BKK, Surat Thani town or Surat Thani railway station to Don Sak.
Start Planning Your Vacation to Thailand!
Now that you’re well-equipped with the hidden gems of Ko Phangan, it’s time to start planning your vacation! Chase waterfalls, take a hike up to one of Thailand’s tallest peaks, or focus on self-care at a yoga retreat. To learn more about travel to Thailand, visit here.