Koh Phangan Haad Tien
Koh Phangan Haad Tien

Koh Phangan is synonymous with the Full Moon Party and is possibly the most favoured island for backpacker’s, hippies and party revelers in Thailand. Every full moon, and I mean every full moon, thousands, upon thousands of young and sometimes not so young, stream onto to this little rock which stick out into the gulf of Thailand.

Starting usually from Bangkok’s Khao San Road (which is another story completely), the backpacking brigade, head down in droves, typically on buses, coaches and on the odd occasion airplane, to reach this mecca of beach parties. Where they drink and drink and dance and dance and do all sorts of other things, to sharp for this article to list.

There are however, many other things to do on Koh Phangan, it’s not always been about sex, drugs and rock n roll either. Koh Phangan has a history all of its own, one it is quite proud of. In fact, one of the oldest settlements in the area is to be found on the island, some of which date back to 100BC.

The name Koh Phangan comes from the southern dialect meaning sand bar, the reason for this name, is that Koh Phangan has two very large sand bars that run around the island, thus protecting it from the heavy monsoon tides of the low season months.

Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan

The oldest structure found on the island is Wat Nai, and can be found at the village of Ban Nua, close to Ban Tai. The temple is thought to be over four hundred years old and was built in the Ayuthaya ruling period, (before Bangkok became the capital).

During the reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama 5, 1868-1910) a royal officer was sent to the island to witness first hand, just who lived there and what was happening (they did not have internet then or mobiles phone for that matter). He reported that there were over 300 hundred families of mixed race, Thai and Chinese, living and working on the island all in harmony together.

The island was a tranquil place for many years, and after that, in fact, it was only up until about 20 years ago that all holy chaos broke loose marking the arrival of the first backpackers. Initially, just a few beach side bungalows were built for the long haired travellers, but as time went on, the word spread of this beautiful and peaceful island so more and more came, until we have what you see today.

The full moon party and getting smashed out of your mind, is not the only thing that you can do here. In fact, people are often surprised at just how many things there are to do here. You can jump on a trip out to Anthong National Marine Park, where the snorkeling and kayaking are second to none. Scuba diving is not only limited to the other islands in the area either. Koh Phangan also offers some quite spectacular dive sites too.

There are all sorts of trekking trips available; with one of the most popular being the elephant treks into the hilly jungle.  Here you will witness some amazing views of the island, and witness the local flora and fauna first hand. I recommend you take a camera for some great shots of the countryside, also be nice to your elephant, they do not forget anything you know.

Full Moon Party Koh Phangan
Full Moon Party Koh Phangan

There is also a cookery classes to take, here you can learn how to rustle up some excellent Thai cuisine, useful, especially when you get back home and have your next diner party, your friends and family will be very impressed.

There are places to learn Yoga and Palates. Fitness centres for shaking away any excess lard, Thai Massage parlours will ease your aches and pains particularly if you have been trekking in the hills. There is even a place to practice your archery skills.

To be fair, to Koh Phangan is really not just all about the Full Moon Party after all, it is a beautiful island and well worth a trip. I can assure you, that you will not be disappointed.

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