Traveling on a budget on an island as dreamy as Koh Phangan may seem like an impossible endeavor. Those tourists who dread breaking their banks but are set on traveling to the island no longer have to choose between the two, however. Here, a complete guide on how to travel Koh Phangan on a budget.
Take Advantage of all the Free Things
There are plenty of things to see and do on the island of Koh Phangan that are entirely free of charge. Start your day with a stroll on any one of the island’s stunning beaches. Some of the top stretches of sand include Haad Salad, Haad Rin, and Haad Khom. If beaches are not your style, instead check out one of the temples found sprinkled around the island. All are free to enter. Sunsets are incredible on the island, as well. There are plenty of viewpoints that are easy to reach and provide visitors with the perfect vantage to watch the sun go down over the Gulf. Cool off at a waterfall for free or instead lounge at a beachside park. Whatever it is you want to do, you can likely find a free way to do it.
Eat Street Food or go to Budget-Friendly Restaurants
There are many luxurious dining venues lining the coastlines of Koh Phangan. Travelers on a budget may instead opt for food that is more affordable, however. Fret not, as even the most budget-friendly of restaurants have delicious finds. One affordable, foodie find is the street food found at the handful of markets on Koh Phangan. Instead of a sit-down meal, weave your way through a bazaar, like the Phantip Night Market. Find that one (or multiple) ฿15 skewer that speaks to you and stock up. There are also plenty of affordable restaurants on the island, with sit down meals starting at ฿50.
Rent a Motorbike Instead of Taking Taxis
There are no metered taxis on Koh Phangan. Instead, visitors must take taxis with drivers who set their own prices almost everywhere they want to go. The cost of a ride starts at about ฿30. Drivers will drive this fee up depending on how many people (or lack thereof) there are and the distance you wish to travel. There are plenty of motorbike shops found scattered throughout the island, however. These can be rented for ฿200-250 a day. While this is certainly a more affordable way to see the island, it is not necessarily the safest way to explore. Be prepared, as well, that most shops require your passport as a form of down payment. Shop owners will also give you a long handout of what each part of a motorbike costs before letting you take to the streets, in case you damage any part of the scooter. With that being said, driving slowly and carefully is the way to go, and never drive if you have been drinking.
Stay Away from Touristy Spots
While Koh Phangan may seem like an island that caters only to tourists, there are a handful of places that remain off the beaten path. The restaurants that line the sand of Haad Rin, for example, are going to be more expensive than those restaurants on quieter beaches. Be sure to avoid popular, tourist-ridden bars that will charge more, as well. Local entities that cater to people who actually reside there will be cheaper.
Take Advantage of the Happy Hours on the Island
The price of all the alcoholic beverages on the island that you are likely to consume will start to add up. From the liquor-ridden buckets to the beachside cocktails one must sip on, the cost of drinking is one of traveler’s biggest expenses. Fret not, as there are plenty of venues found around the island that have you and your tight budget in mind. Many venues have cocktails that start at ฿100 (about $3.20) and beer that is only ฿60 (about $1.90). Some places on the island that have great drink specials are Coral Bungalows, Moon House on Haad Rin, and Vitamin Sea. Finding a spot equipped with alcohol at an affordable price is easier than you think!
Pre-game Before the Parties
If you find that you cannot even afford the happy hours taking place on the island, instead opt for your local 7/11 convenience store for a pre-drink. The nightlife on Koh Phangan is one of the biggest factors in which sucks the life out of your wallet. Saving a baht or two on pre-gaming (as we Americans like to say) will start to add up and save you money. Remember that convenience stores in Thailand only sell alcohol from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and from 5 p.m. until midnight. There are always a handful of mom and pop shops that may sell you alcohol regardless of the time, however.
Stay at a Hostel Instead of a Hotel
There are plenty of dreamy resorts nestled along the sandy beaches of Koh Phangan. Butravelersllers may feel more inclined to stay at an affordable hostel, instead. Hostels are the perfect places to save a few baht or two on accommodation. Visitors are likely to make a few friends in the process, as well. Beds start out at as little as ฿100 (about $3.20) a night, and many are right on the beach. Others are found closer to the nightlife. Whatever it is you want out of your accommodation option, the cheap hostels here are sure to please.
Make Friends and Split as Much as you can
What better way to save money than by sharing the cost of things amongst the new ones you have made? Whether you are getting a taxi, sharing dishes at dinner, or having booze with one another, it is always cheaper to split your expenses. That being said, the island is quieter when there is no full or half moon party taking place. If you are on the hunt to meet other people, be sure to visit when one of these parties is going down.
More Information About Travelling Koh Phangan on a Budget
Did you love this article about travelling Koh Phangan on a budget? Are you keen to learn more? Then check out these links we have rounded up to make your trip planning a breeze. We only recommend blogs that we read and use ourselves, as well.
- Koh Pha Ngan Travel Guide by Nomadic Matt
- Travel Budget for Koh Pha Ngan by Budget Travel
- Activities to do on Koh Phangan whatever your Budget by Phanganist
- Where To Sleep In Koh Phangan by Goats on the Road
- Backpacking For Under $25/Day: Koh Phangan, Thailand by Agness Walewinder for eTramping