Thailand has thousands of islands, and Koh Phangan is one of the dreamiest of them all. This is one tropical paradise you will not want to miss out on visiting while in the Land of Smiles! Before venturing to Koh Phangan, be sure to check out our complete transportation guide to help you get there with ease and travel around the island with ease.
Where is Koh Phangan?
Koh Phangan is in the Southern Gulf of Thailand. It is one of many islands that make up the Samui Archipelago and is in the province of Surat Thani. The island itself is huge; it is about the fifth largest in the entire country and is about 70 kilometers from the mainland. The main pier on Koh Phangan is Thong Sala, which is found in the southwest region of the island. Mad Monkey Koh Phangan is only a five minute walk from Thong Sala!
Flights to Koh Phangan
If you want to get to Koh Phangan by plane, you will likely fly into the Koh Samui Airport. From there, you will have to get a boat to the island. The last one leaves at 6:30 p.m., so be sure to plan your arrival time to Koh Samui accordingly. Otherwise, you will have to pay for a private speedboat. Bangkok Airways has numerous flights to the Koh Samui Airport daily. You can fly into Koh Samui from international destinations including Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Penang. You can also fly from cities in Thailand to Koh Samui from places including Bangkok, Pattaya, and Krabi.
Flying into Koh Samui can be fairly expensive, and the cheaper alternative is to instead get a flight to the Surat Thani International Airport. Budget airlines including Nok Air and AirAsia fly to this airport every day and offer fly and ferry services so that you do not have to worry about getting a boat to the island after arriving. The journey from the airport and taking a ferry to Koh Phangan takes about five hours.
Buses to Koh Phangan from Bangkok
If you are on a backpacker’s budget, it may be more ideal to instead take a bus to Koh Phangan instead of hopping on a flight. It will take longer, but you can normally get there on an overnight bus as to not waste a day during your trip to Thailand. The bus ride from Bangkok can take anywhere from ten to 12 hours to get to Surat Thani and normally departs in the evening. From Surat Thani, you will need to get a ferry the rest of the way to Koh Phangan. Tour and transportation companies will normally sell a bus and ferry ticket, all in one price, making it fairly easy to get off the bus and straight on a boat to head to the island. Tickets are around ฿650 (about $20).
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Train to Koh Phangan from Bangkok
The journey from Bangkok to Koh Phangan by train is a long one. After taking an overnight train, then a bus, then a ferry, you will have been traveling for 14-16 hours. With that being said, taking the train is another cheap alternative to getting a flight and is more comfortable than getting an overnight bus. The train leaves Bangkok from the Hua Lamphong station and eventually arrives at the Thong Sala Pier on Koh Phangan. After you get off the train, an additional bus ride is needed to get visitors to the pier to take the ferry to the island.
How to Get Around the Island of Koh Phangan
Because the island of Koh Phangan is so large, little can be seen on foot or even by bicycle. Luckily, there are a few ways to get around the island that are relatively affordable and easily accessible.
One of the most convenient ways to get around Koh Phangan is by scooter, though riding one can be dangerous if you do not know what you are doing. A scooter rental for 24 hours will cost anywhere from ฿150-300, and almost every shop will require you to leave your passport as a form of deposit. This is not something we recommend doing, as a shop owner can then keep it as collateral if anything were to happen to the scooter, no matter how big or small the damage is. If you are confident with your driving skills and want to explore the island on your own time and have freedom in doing so, however, renting a scooter may just be your best bet!
Tips for Renting a Scooter on Koh Phangan
Before hopping on the back of that adorable moped or scooter, be sure to check out our helpful tips on doing so, safely. If you have never driven one, we again recommend taking a taxi instead of renting a motorbike or scooter.
- Take photos of the bike and check for any dents and scratches prior to renting. Show these photos to the shop so that you both are aware of them prior to paying and leaving.
- Put all of your valuables in the seat of the bike or on you, such as in a backpack. Never put any valuables in the front basket of a scooter.
- When in doubt, go slow. The roads are covered in potholes and often weave in and around rough and naturistic terrain. Slow and steady wins the race!
- Try not to drive when it is raining, especially during the monsoon season.
- Wear a helmet and do not ride with more than two people on a bike.
Songthaew means ‘two benches.’ A songthaew is literally a truck with two benches in the back, and you will find them all over the island. These are like taxis but there are no meters and you pay the driver directly. These vehicles normally have set prices for certain destinations, but the price will all depend on where it is you are on the island as well as the season (low versus high season). Taxi drivers tend to up the price if you need a ride in the evening, as well. As an example, you can normally get from Thongsala to Haad Rin (where the Full Moon Party is) or Baan Tai for ฿100 (about $3). The price of a songthaew can range anywhere from ฿100-500 a person. You can also get a lower price if there are more people, especially if you want to go a further distance.
By Long-Tail Boat
Though not the fastest way to explore, chartering a long-tail around the island is arguably one of the most picturesque ways to see Koh Phangan. There are even a few places that cannot be reached by taxi or bike, including Haad Yuan and Bottle Beach: the only way to reach these incredible beaches is by boat. Other beaches that can be reached by boat include Haad Thian, Haad Yao, and Haad Yang. You will find these taxi boats on most of the major beaches on the island and at the Chaloklum Pier.
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Popular Routes from Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is surrounded by destinations just as noteworthy as it is. Before leaving Southern Thailand altogether to venture elsewhere, be sure to check out these popular routes to neighboring places and why you should follow them!
Koh Phangan to Koh Samui
Koh Samui is the country’s third largest island. It is known for its beautiful beaches, colorful temples, and the infamous Hin Ta and Hin Yai Rocks, which are shaped like genitalia … you read that right. For partiers, Koh Phangan is definitely preferred over this larger, neighboring island. If you have a few days to spare on your Thailand itinerary, however, Koh Samui is worth a visit. It takes about 1.5 hours to get from Koh Samui to Koh Phangan by boat.
Koh Phangan to Koh Tao
If you love exploring under the sea more than you do on land, then Koh Tao is the place to be. Koh Tao has some of the best diving spots in the entire world, and many tourists make their way here to get their diving certification for cheap. The island also has a thriving nightlife scene and beautiful beaches to boot. It takes about 1.5 hours to get from Koh Phangan to Koh Tao.
Koh Phangan to Krabi
Krabi is world renowned for the limestone cliffs that decorate the coastlines. Railay Beach is the city’s most popular destination and is especially popular amongst rock climbers. It is a great destination for snorkeling. It takes about 5-7 hours by boat to get from Koh Phangan to Krabi.
Koh Phangan to Surat Thani
This coastal city mainly acts as a hopping off point to get to the islands of Koh Phangan, Koh Samui, and Koh Tao. Arguably the province’s most notable feature is Khao Sok National Park, one of the country’s most beautiful natural wonders. It takes about 2.5 hours by boat to get from Koh Phangan to Surat Thani.
More Information About how to get to Koh Phangan
Did you love this article on how to get to Koh Phangan, Thailand? Do you want even more information on the island, how to get around it, and the top things to see and do once you’re here? Then be sure to check out these articles we have rounded up to help you make the most out of your trip to Koh Phangan!
- Getting around Koh Phangan, Transport for Koh Phangan Villas Thailand
- Koh Phangan Information Guide for Koh Phangan Tourism
- Travel Around Koh Phangan for Al Thai Man
- Getting Around Koh Phangan for We Love Koh Phangan