Located in the Gulf of Thailand and part of a group of 40 islands that make up the Samui Archipelago, Koh Phangan is commonly referred to by visitors and long-term inhabitants as “Magical” or “Paradise Island”. It is not uncommon for travelers who intend to stay a week or two to extend their visit for months and even years at a time. Hell, we’ll need to count ourselves amongst those!
The island is fashioned from granite of age old indigenous formations, and is said to be sitting on an ancient bed of crystals. Many a visitor feels this energy, and says it amplifies their meditation, yoga and healing experiences.
GaiaYogashala is nested on Bovy Beach in Baan Sri Thanu, at the beautiful west side of the island. The village is a Yogi town, with a smattering of yoga schools, veggie and vegan restaurants and a variety of engaging activities and workshops.
If there is one common denominator that runs throughout the island of Koh Phangan it’s that each of its beaches has colorful and atmospheric restaurants. Beachside dining, whether it is local, Italian, Mexican, or even Halal, is undeniably enhanced by cool breezes, sand between the toes and stars twinkling above.
The Thai love of food is contagious and coupled with smiling hospitality dining out in Phangan is a memorable highpoint of many visitors holiday experience. Yet, you should always keep in mind that this is Thailand, not London if you’re fussy about perfect service. Fine dining is most certainly not the order of the day on the island although there are a couple of worthy contenders. Fresh seafood, healthy vegetable dishes and out-and-out fast food are the way most eateries go here, some succeeding and others – well maybe they should stick to Thai cuisine. Speaking of which, Thong Sala’s daily food market is hard to beat for genuine Thai food and a great cultural experience while simple chicken & rice food outlets abound.
Pure Vegan, Sri Thanu
Cotton Beach Restaurant, Ao Hin Kong
Karma Kafe, Sri Thanu
L'Alcove Bistro, Ao Hin Kong
La Dolce Vita, Haad Chao Phao
Orion Cafe, Sri Thanu
PAZ, Sri Thanu
Peppercorn, Haad Salad
The Organic Chocolate House, Hin Kong
The Raw Café, Haad Salad
The Green Gallery, Sri Thanu
Jungle Hut, Chao Pho Beach
The Green Gallery, Sri Thanu
Green Leaf Cafe, Sri Thanu
Mama Pooh, Sri Thanu
From Koh Samui: There are at least 3 ferries a day from Koh Samui’s Big Buddha pier to Thongsala pier: Seatran Discovery and Haad Rin Queen Ferry arrive at Haad Rin. Boats also leave from Nathon pier (Songserm Express) and Mae Nam pier (Lomprayah) to Thongsala 3 times daily.
From Koh Tao: Songserm, Lomprayah or Seatran boats depart frequently from Mae Haad pier and arrive at Thongsala pier. The last boat from Koh Tao to Phangan Island leaves at 15:00.
From Bangkok: The least expensive way to travel is to take one of the overnight buses. The bus leaves Khaosan Road at 18:00 and arrives at Surathani the following morning. From here, you can arrive at Koh Phangan’s shores by boat. The Bus & Boat combo ticket may be arranged by travel agencies on Khaosan Road and costs about 700-900 THB all the way to Koh Phangan.
The nearest airport is Koh Samui (USM). There are frequent flights from Bangkok (BKK) and Phuket and daily flights from Pattaya (U-Tapao), Singapore, to Koh Samui. Transportation to the ferry pier is easy to find at the airport. Ferries depart several times daily with the last one at around 17:30. The next closest airport on the mainland is Surathani (URT) where you may find low-cost operators (AirAsia and Thai Airways). From here, you would need a Bus & Boat ticket to arrive at Koh Phangan. This would take several hours.
Taking an overnight train with a proper bed from Bangkok is yet another conducive way to get Koh Phangan. Trains arrive at Surathani early in the morning. From here, you would need a Bus & Boat ticket to arrive at Koh Phangan. This would take several hours. Train tickets from Surathani back to Bangkok should be reserved in advance, particularly during high season.
When it comes to choosing your mode of transport for getting around the island, you have plenty of choice. In recent years the roads across Koh Phangan have improved greatly and there are now a number of good concrete roads to help you get more or less anywhere. The hilly coastal road is a popular choice for many tourists, winding its way along the western side of the island and offering its travelers breathtaking views along the coastline, as well as an endless selection of bars and resorts to visit.
Although the road network here is very good, many people still think it’s possible to drive around the entire island along the coast. Unfortunately, this is not the case – not at present anyway. Double check the map before setting off on your journey to make sure the route is complete and is going to take you to your destination. The furthest northern point on Koh Phangan you can drive to is Haad Khom, near Chaloklum, and there is only one road which will take you as far east as Thong Nai Pan. Some places, such as Bottle Beach, can only be accessed by foot or boat.