Sailing Thailand – Koh Phangan Information
Koh Phangan, the “Full Moon Party Island”
Ko Pha Ngan (or Koh Phangan, Thai: เกาะพะงัน) is an island, south of Koh Tao in the Gulf of Thailand in South East Thailand. It is famous for its monthly full moon party at Haad Rin Beach, which celebrated its 25th anniversary in 2010, and as a backpacker destination. Koh Phangan has two sister islands: Koh Samui in the south and Koh Tao in the north.
Area: About 168 km?
Province: Surat Thani
From Ko Samui; About 15 km
From mainland: About 60 km
Population: 11,846 (2004)
Main town: Thong Sala, many shopping possibilities
The History of Koh Phangan
The Bronze Drum of Dongson Culture (500BC – 100BC) that was found on Ko Samui in 1977 is evidence that there were settlements of people on Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, and their islets from more than two thousand years ago. Some historians and archaeologists believe that the first group who migrated to Ko Pha Ngan were the Muslim Sea Gypsies (Pygmy, Semung, and Proto-Malay) who travelled by boat from the Malay Peninsula. However, nowadays there are few Muslims who live on the island. The name of Koh Phangan comes from the word ‘Ngan’, the southern dialect meaning ‘sand bar’, for there are many sand bars offshore around the island.
Koh Phangan Today
As a natural paradise island in the Southern Gulf of Thailand, Ko Pha Ngan serves as the getaway retreat, where one may go relaxing on quiet deserted beaches, snorkeling and learning to dive at the distinctive island of Ko Ma, trekking in the footsteps of Thai Royalty at Than Sadet National Park steeped in history and culture, or seeking adventure in the nearby Angthong Marine Park and archipelago composed of over 40 islands endowed with pristine beaches, natural caves and the tranquil Tha Laem Nai. Excursions are offered from Koh Phangan to the nearby Angthong Marine Park, to Koh Samui, to Koh Tao and to Koh Nang Yuan.
It’s the simple beach life which continues to attract visitors each year along with the island’s reputation for full moon parties and a hedonistic approach to life. The backpackers, budget tourists and aging hippies are beginning to give way to families and more mainstream tourists but the beaches are still beautiful and undeveloped. The full moon party scene still runs with a cast of thousands in high season – all on the beach. Hedonists everywhere still flock to the world’s biggest beach party every month. The music from the multiple sound systems is mostly ear-split tingly loud trance and house, and a predominantly youthful crowd dance ’til dawn on party nights. This may not be to everyone’s taste, certainly, but it’s definitely a unique cultural experience. Other events such as the Half Moon Party and Black Moon Party also attract large crowds. However, it is still possible to visit the island and avoid the full moon party altogether, with dozens of quiet, secluded resorts and beach huts dotted all over the island for a variety of prices. Many of the more costly resorts offer such facilities as daily yoga, yoga teachers’ training, meditation, a variety of healing, healthy & natural therapies, spa massage & pampering services and herbal steam rooms.
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