Just 15km north of Koh Samui lies Koh Phangan – famous for not only the monthly Full Moon Party that draws up to 30,000 visitors from all over the globe – but also for offering visitors spectacular nature. Picturesque beaches with stunning views of the Gulf of Thailand and neighboring islands, to tropical jungle forests that is home to an array of exotic animal and plant life, are just the tip of the iceberg of what makes Koh Phangan such a jewel.
In recent years along with the monthly party crowd, Koh Phangan has also been drawing a fast growing number of gay travels who are more ecologically minded. Declared as part of an organic island movement, Koh Phangan is steadily becoming a green ecological paradise with “R”espect being the driving motto that feeds the balance on the island.
Thong Sala is the main town with everything from gay owned/friendly restaurants & bars, gay resorts & even a small gay beach, within easy distance. Smaller, respectful, more intimate parties and live music events cater to those who aren’t into the heavy party scene.
Koh Phangan Nightlife and Parties
Famous as the birthplace of Thailand’s original full moon party the island has developed a unique nightlife scene. Many visitors to Koh Phangan will only experience the full moon and miss the island’s other party possibilities. Across any night of the year, Koh Phangan can be hosting a number of parties which cater to all tastes, from deep house and trance festivals such as the Half Moon Jungle parties to small off the radar hippie style gatherings, known only to the locals.
Lesbian owned and operated L’Alcove Wine Bar is locally well known for its beach front Sunday live music events and 4You, a gay cocktail bar that also offers a menu of delicious foods, is sure to be the perfect start or ending point for a fun evening. For the chance to see the local side of Koh Phangan check out SWOK.
Koh Phangan’s Gay Beach
Although you’ll find gay travelers on all the beaches of Koh Phangan, this small beach is a firm favorite among the locals.
Located on the left of Secret Beach (Hadson Beach) on the West side of the island, this secluded little bay attracts a small young gay crowd, especially on weekends. The next little beach alcove is a much loved nudist spot & if you’re thirsty the nearby beach bar on Secret Beach ensures no one runs dry.
Koh Phangan is accessible only by ferry with numerous carrier options available. A fast ferry takes you shore to shore in 30 minutes, with the longer ferry taking 50 minutes. Part of the fun island experience of getting around is hiring a scooter or making use of the open-sided taxi services.
Neighboring island Koh Samui has its own rather cute and beautiful airport. The airport is owned and run by Bangkok Airways. This has resulted in Bangkok Airways and only a few selected airlines flying direct to the airport. Tickets get booked early and can become pricey.
Travelers looking for the cheapest deal can fly to the mainland at Surat Thani followed by bus and boat to reach the island. Flights to Surat Thani can be very cheap with budget airlines such as AirAsia and NokAir however the overall journey time is much longer. The average time from Bangkok’s Don Muang Airport to the island is around 5 hours.
Important note: Bangkok has two airports Don Muang Airport is the 2nd smaller, older airport, most international flights arrive into the new, larger airport Suvarnabhumi Airport. When booking connecting flights always check which airport you are flying from.
If you are looking for the true backing packing experience consider taking the sleeper train from Bangkok to Surat Thani and then bus and boat to the island. Joint tickets are available from any hostel or travel agency in Bangkok, especially on Khao San Road.
Night buses are also available but the train is recommended for a more authentic experience.