Koh Phangan located in Suratthani Province is amongst the well-known group of the Samui Archipelago of islands such as Koh Tao and Koh Samui itself. Although Koh Phangan has only recently become one of the most popular islands in SE Asia due to its famous Full Moon Parties, the history of the island goes back some 2,000 years!!!
The island has in fact been inhabited by sea gypsies from the Malaysian peninsular and latterly by Chinese merchants who carved out a living from fishing and harvesting the vast natural resources from the island. As merchants came and went, Koh Phangan again became uninhabited until it was rediscovered by a group of monks; who were so overawed by its tranquility and beauty that they built a temple (Wat Phu Khao Noi). There are currently 20 temples on Koh Phangan.
The significance of the island is such that King Rama V had visited Koh Phangan more than 10 times during his lifetime. The king's love of the island is very clear and he left his royal seal engraved on a rock at the Thaan Sadet Waterfall. Even today, Koh Phangan has real significance with the current Royal Thai family and in particular; King Bumivol who has made several visits to Koh Phangan. In fact, Koh Phangan continues to be of real significance to all Thais and they have gracefully allowed tourists over the last 20-years or so to enjoy this beautiful tropical island
Today's Koh Phangan whilst still a beautiful and tropical paradise island is probably more renowned for the party scene and in particular the Full Moon Party that is pretty much a monthly occurrence. However, the parties do not stop at the Full Moon! There are half-moon and black-moon parties to keep the party scene moving and to keep Koh Phangan's reputation of a party paradise.
The Full Moon parties actually started by chance back in 1989 on Haad Rin beach when a local resident decided to throw a birthday party for an Australian friend of his. By chance, this birthday fell on a night of a Full Moon and was attended by about 50-people who spent the night dancing around beach camp fires and partying until the early hours of the morning. It was agreed that the Full Moon had somehow turned this party into much more than just another birthday party! From then on, people began meeting monthly at every Full Moon and throw huge parties which has now led to the world famous Full Moon party that is attended by anywhere between 10,000 to 30,000 people per month on the Haad Rin Beach. It becomes very popular for visitors of Phangan island after the Full moon parties t o take ferry directly to Koh Tao to relax and do a dive course. Coral Grand Divers, Koh Tao, is one of the most famous dive centers.
How to get there
The quickest way to Koh Phangan is by way of Bangkok Airways who fly direct from Bangkok, Krabi, Phuket, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur and a number of other destinations. Upon arrival at Koh Samui, one can arrange transfer to Koh Phangan through the airport information desk. Koh Phangan can only be reached by boat as there is no airport on the island itself. We recommend the 2 hour voyage by either the Lomprayah Catamaran or the Seatran Catamaran which leave twice daily for Koh Phangan. There are other options available via other boats and speedboats, but these are by far the fastest and best ways to reach the island. The last catamaran leaving Koh Phangan for Samui is at 4 pm daily, so any onward flight bookings/reservations should ideally be scheduled for after 6pm to allow for any unforeseen delays. Transfers from the piers to the airport are readily available for minimal sums and in some cases included in the catamaran pricelist. Whatever you prefer, you can book directly through the above links online or you can book all your transfers through Coral Grand Resort.
Getting to Chumphon from Bangkok is very simple either by train or a comfortable VIP bus. Both options can easily be booked in Bangkok or online. Again Lomprayah Catamaran offers two trips to Chumphon daily and the price includes the catamaran transfer to Koh Phangan.
Travelers from Phuket and Krabi typically pass through Suratthani, which is a long and at times uncomfortable journey in a minibus. There is the Raja Ferry that leaves Donsak in Suratthani 6-times daily arriving in Koh Phangan 2 hours later. The first ferry leaves Dongsak at 7am and the last leaves at 6pm, so there are plenty of opportunities on getting to Koh Phangan.
The climate on Koh Tao is generally pleasant all year around, with temperatures varying from 25 to 34 degrees Celsius. From February until October, the temperature averages of 32 to 38 degrees, but from July until September, there can be some heavy showers, which for the most part seem to hit early morning or late afternoon.
There are three seasons…
Warm season from February until May
Rainy season from the end of September until November
Cooler season from October until January
The tropical climate is quite humid all year round, but fortunately Koh Samui, being a tropical paradise also gets a refreshing sea breeze every now and then stretching in from the Gulf of Thailand.