Koh Phangan By Scooter - Travel Guide
So your thinking of visiting Koh Phangan? Well if you aren't, you surely will be by the end of this article.
Koh Phangan is an island in South Thailand that's world famous for its massive full moon party's, but the party is only a small part of what the island has to offer. This smallish tropical island is fringed with palm laden beaches with clear blue cool waters, stunning view points and some brand new smooth roads that are just perfect for the scooters that South East Asia is famous for.
Check back to this map for reference points on the locations the pictures were taken.
ไปเลย! - Here we go!
Renting a scooter on Koh Phangan is kind of essential to seeing most of the islands hidden treasures; sure you can jump in the back of a 'taxi' but you will end up spending much more! As of 2017 scooters prices on the island are 250 Bhat a day which is more than most places in Thailand, but this island is notorious for its reckless backpacker crowd.. If you rent for more than 4 days you can barter and get a much better deal, for instance, I managed to get mine for 150 a day.
After jumping on your new mode of transport and most likely making a stop at the petrol station upon realising the garage gave it to you empty, you will find there is a pretty easy to follow route around the island, but stopping every now and then to check google maps might come in handy. Starting from the pier, one of the first sights (1) is this great lookout above which gives a great view of the coral reefs.
Your ride will then take you along a long stretch of road meters away from the water, which is where you can also spot a few (2) leaning palms that are doing a tremendous job of supporting themselves far out over the sea. If you're here during the low periods (in-between full moon party's) then you will have no trouble getting some awesome photos without too many people getting in your way.
One of the next stops you will see is at the top of a steep hill climb, where you can pull over on the roadside to get a (3) awesome view of the bay that is home to Secret beach and the crazy 'desert island' looking restaurant built right on the edge of the rocks! Definintly one worth checking out.
Upon reaching the north-west of the island you will find (4) a beach that has a small sand pathway leading to a tiny island named Ko Ma. It's a pretty picturesque place and is also home to some great snorkelling sites.
When you hit the north of the island you will come to (5) Chaloklum Bay which is home to a small fishing village which is a lot quieter than the rest of the island. The sand here is clean and white and the water is bright blue. This is a great place to stop for a bite to eat as its cheaper than the more built up areas where the hostels are located.
Coming down through the centre of Koh Phangan you will want to make a stop at (6) Phaeng waterfall, after a good few hours of riding in the sun, the refreshing water pools will be just what you need to cool off in. During the wet seasons (September to January) these falls will be flowing nicely, but during the dry season as pictured above the water is but a trickle.. still, the pools will be deep enough to go for a little swim!
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The next section of the island will probably be best to visit on your second day, although if you are short on time and don't mind quick visits then you can see it all in a day, I wouldn't recommend it though, I came here for a few days and ended up spending 3 weeks! Anyway, you will be heading to the east of the island this time, with your first stop being (7) Than Sadet waterfall, a fast flowing rocky place that doesn't have much room for swimming but great for just dipping your feet in.
A few minutes down the road you will come to (8) another section on the river which has much bigger spaces for swimming, it also has this awesome pile of balanced rocks (a cairn). Disclaimer: I cannot guarantee this will be here when you visit :P
Finally you will reach (9) Haad Than Sadet beach. This is an awesome place for swimming considering most of the beaches on the west side are extremely shallow, this beach drops off quite rapidly. It also comes complete with amazing palm trees, an awesome swing and great views from the surrounding rocks like above!
After a full days adventuring your gonna be feeling hungry... and Koh Phangan has some (10) amazing food markets! This one in particular, located in the central built up area quite close to the pier, has all kinds of foods and is much cheaper than any road side restaurant on the island. Be sure to try the insects if your not vegetarian..
Now for the sunsets..
After finishing your awesome meal at the local market you will want to head straight for a great place to watch the sun set over the sea. Koh Phangan is regularly surrounded by storms out at sea and this can make for some incredible colours lighting up the clouds! The above picture is taken at a little bar called (11) Apichada Lookout which is an incredible place to come at any time of the day giving you a panoramic view of the jungle below, the sea out in front and the opposite island Koh Samui. This little bar is pretty under the radar, is never crowded, they play chill out tunes and serve great fruit shakes. Be sure to say hello to the owner Eigo!
(12) Zen Beach is where this beauty was photographed. Its a quiet beach that is known for having people play live music during the sunset and practice all kinds of activities, and its got a very old skool hippie vibe to it. The sun sets right in front of you, giving one hell of a show if your lucky! Oh and its also a nudist beach ✌
Finally my favourite sunset from my time on Koh Phangan was watched while sitting next to the awesome (13) leaning palm from earlier in the article. The water here is extremely calm which makes the colourful reflections even more beautiful.
And there you go, you're all set to have an incredible adventure on this epic island!
Thanks for reading!
Taran here, one half of NomaderHowFar. I'm fond of psychedelic rock, photography & videography, anything to do with space and I'm also partial to the odd gaming session. Oh and I love to travel :P Get to know us here!
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