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Central Eastern Isan Islands Northern Southern
Ko Samui l Phuket l Ko Adang l Ko Muk & Ko Kradan l Ko Pha-Ngan l Ko Phi Phi
Ko Rawi & Ko Lipe l Ko Tarutao l Ko Yao l Similan Islands l Ko Lanta

Ko Pha Ngan

Situated a mere 15 km from Ko Samui, Pha-Ngan lacks Ko Samui's spectacular beaches but makes up for it with plenty of secluded, jagged bays adorned with corals. Though much smaller than Samui, it is definitely more rustic and rugged. However, be warned of its horrible roads!

Over the years, hordes of backpackers have discovered Pha-Ngan, but the lack of an airport and paved roads have spared it from touristy hotels and excessive development, which in many ways is a good thing. It is prided for its less modern atmosphere, and many things, such as seafood, transportation, accommodation and souvenirs, are cheaper than the ones you'd get in the other overdeveloped islands.

The island that was once considered the 'back-door escape' from Samui has established itself over the years. It has a regular boat service and many places of interest including four year-round waterfalls and the Wat Khao Tham, a cave temple situated near Ban Tai, a small village town.

The weather in Pha-Ngan can be rather temperamental. It only has two seasons, sunshiny weather during the months of February till April and the damp monsoon season from May to January. The worst months are October and November when rainfall averages 396 mm.

Party Haven…

While many spots in Pha-Ngan may seem laid back and serene, thousands of tourists and locals gather once every month on the beaches of Hat Rin to lend their ears to some of the best sets of dance music played by local and international DJ's. Aptly called the Full Moon party, it was started less than 10 years ago when a group of tourists found that Pha-Ngan had the most beautiful moon ever seen. With the help of a local bungalow owner, they organized a party along the crescent-shaped beach of Hat Rin to celebrate the full moon party. These days up to 10,000 people attend the party each month.

The party kicks start at dusk when the moon makes its appearance over the white sandy beaches of Hat Rin. With the moonlight supplying its brightness, small tables, candles and thousands of lamps are lit. As the night progresses, the beach becomes an outdoor club as different DJ's take turns pumping out groovy tunes on the make shift outdoor decks. The crowd is also entertained by jugglers, fire-eaters, and even impromptu fireworks displays!

The party goes on well into the morning, with the last DJ spinning all the way until 11 a.m. Nonetheless, the partygoers will still not show any signs of retreat! Do be warned though that mushroom shakes, giant spliffs, and many other illegal substances are freely passed around during the night. Drugs are illegal in Thailand and beware of who you obtain it from, as there have been cases where right after 'purchasing' the stuff from 'dealers', you would be approached by plain clothes policeman who would 'fine' you up to 50,000 baht.

Ko Pha-Ngan

The main reason why Ko Pha-Ngan ropes in tourism dollars is due to the fact that the island is simply simple. No bustles with remote beaches surrounded by beautiful corals and serene spirits of old temples. The best stress releasing event would be to sit under a coconut tree, sip on a cold drink, and let the sun give you the perfect tan, or burn, whichever you fancy.

Getting there

The best way to get to Ko Pha-Ngan would be from Tha Na Thon on Ko Samui. The journey of 15 km is completed in less than an hour and costs about 80 baht. The boats leave two to three times a day depending on the season. If you are in Surat Thani, a night ferry is available from Tha Ban Don that leaves at 11 p.m. The journey can be rather tiresome as it is a long 6˝ hours, but it only costs 120 baht for the upper deck and half the price for the lower deck.

If you're travelling in from Bangkok, head down to the Hualamphong station and you would be able to purchase train tickets that include a bus ride from Phun Phin (Surat Thani's train station) to Tha Ban Don and a ferry straight over to Pha-Ngan. However, this travelling arrangement would see you paying up to 50 baht extra than purchasing each ticket separately.

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