Are you wondering where to stay in Koh Phangan? We’ve compiled a list of all the best areas to stay in Koh Phangan, whether you are a backpacker, family traveller or someone who loves a bit of luxury you will find what you are looking for.
When you think about Thailand do you think about long lovely stretches of white sand beach that reach out as far as the eye can see? Do you picture turquoise waves and idyllic crystal-clear waters? If so, you might be thinking about Koh Phangan, one of the jewels of Southeast Asia, and a premier vacation destination in the Gulf of Thailand.
Koh Phangan is known for its world-famous Full Moon Party, but this island destination offers so much more than that! There are stunning beaches, some of the best dining in all of Thailand, and tons of athletic pursuits to be had. You can also do a little island hopping. Koh Phangan is right near Koh Samui and Koh Tao, two gorgeous islands that have a whole culture all of their own.
Where to stay in Koh Phangan: Best areas to stay in Koh Phangan
Whether you are are a backpacker or have a little more money to burn, Koh Phangan is right up your alley. Let’s explore some of the best places to stay in Koh Phangan.
1. Haad Rin
This southern beach is one of the top areas to stay in Koh Phangan because it is the location of the famous Full Moon Party. Guests can certainly get their party on at least once a month, and even when the festivities are not raging, can expect to indulge in everything that this beach paradise has to offer. There are routine fire shows, tons of beach bars, and low-key dining options that perfectly suit a backpacker vibe.
Best of all, it’s easy to get to. It’s only about thirty minutes from the pier. Haad Rin is comprised of two beaches, Sunrise Beach, and Sunset Beach. Sunrise beach is where you can find the party, and is also the location of the Full Moon festivities.
Backpackers will find a variety of options in Haad Rin and be able to secure great lodging with cool people for a fraction of the cost of other beaches. If you want to party and meet other people from around the world, Haad Rin is the spot to do it!
2. Baan Tai
Partiers looking for where to stay in Koh Phangan will want to look no further than Baan Tai. This beach is known for being pristine and gorgeous while the sun is up, and a fun place to hang out when the sun dips below the waves.
There are plenty of beach bars in Baan Tai, and you can’t go more than a few feet without stumbling across some amazing local music. There are also beach clubs in this part of Koh Phangan, so if partying is your thing, this is where you want to be for sure!
There are also plenty of dining options in Baan Tai. You can choose from traditional Thai cuisine to Western favorites. If you want to take a break between stuffing yourself with Pad Thai and hanging out at the club, you can rent a bicycle and get some exercise while exploring the beach.
Backpackers and higher-end guests will find their accommodations in Baan Tai. There are plenty of hostels around, and bungalows for those who don’t mind spending a little extra money to stay in paradise.
3. Thong Sala
Thong Sala is sometimes overlooked as one of the best areas to stay in Koh Phangan, but it has recently been growing in popularity. When you arrive in the island paradise of Koh Phangan, you’ll disembark at Thong Sala. Instead of immediately jetting off to check out another beach, why not have a look around? You might be pleasantly surprised.
Thong Sala is home to some of the best restaurants in Koh Phangan. If you want top-notch seafood, this is where you’ll find it. There’s also a bustling local market and plenty of bars that cater to both Thai and Western guests.
There are accommodation options available for almost every taste too. You’ll find backpackers mingling with higher-end guests, as there are tons of hostels and resorts to choose from. Thong Sala is a fun mixture of just about everything. It also has a great party vibe without being as hardcore as the Full Moon Party!
Srithanu is one of the most unique and best places to stay in Koh Phangan because of its natural formations and laid-back culture. You can find typical beach favorites on Srithanu, like white sand beaches, calm waters and plenty of resorts.
You can also find a freshwater lake called Laemson Lake. Laemson Lake is a great place to go boating, see different sorts of aquatic animals, and spend some time away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the island.
This fishing port also boasts plenty of authentic Thai restaurants and local markets. If you want to get your fill of tropical fruits and vegetables, Srithanu is the best place on the island to do it. There are plenty of places where you can stay in this particular area that offer kitchens, so don’t be afraid of trying to put together your own authentic Thai curry!
Many of the places to stay in Srithanu are on the higher end, making this a less attractive option for backpackers. If you have a little extra to spend and don’t mind skipping the hostel, Srithanu is a good place to lay your head. You’ll find that you can get a more authentic experience in this part of the island, avoid the crowds, and stay away from traditional island parties.
5. Haad Yao
If you love nature, Haad Yao is one of the best areas to stay in Koh Phangan. This gorgeous beach is one of the best in Thailand and features powdery white sand and impossibly blue water. There is plenty of foliage in Haad Yao also, and you can do a little trekking down the beach if you’d like.
Haad Yao is the best spot for snorkeling and diving. Get under the waves and see the majestic coral reef that’s right off the coastline. You could easily spend the day exploring the reef and taking in all of the incredible sea creatures that flock to this part of the island. Don’t worry, there are no large or dangerous animals in Haad Yao, only schools of colorful fish and other benign animals.
Haad Yao is definitely not a party beach. You’ll find some cute bars and restaurants there, but those who are looking for clubs and all-night parties should look elsewhere. This makes is one of the best places to stay in Koh Phangan if you want a relaxing beach vacation.
There are small bungalows and backpacker style rooms for rent here, and you can be sure to meet other beach and nature enthusiasts on your stay!
6. Haad Salad
Haad Salad is a calm alternative to the crowds of the Full Moon Party and one of the best beaches in all of the pristine paradise of Koh Phangan. Additionally, you can head a little bit off the beaten track and check out some of the lush jungle that is situated on either side of this beautiful beach. If you like exploring and checking out different landscapes, Haad Salad is of the best areas to stay in Koh Phangan.
The water here is warm and shallow, with gorgeous coral formations right underneath the waves. There is also a diving school nearby if you decide that you want to have a little bit more adventure in your life.
The diving in Koh Phangan is truly second-to-none and you’ll feel comfortable going under the waves in such an idyllic location. The water here is clear enough so you can always see where you’re going, which is a huge plus for first-time divers.
You won’t find the rambunctious backpacker bars of other beaches on Haad Salad, but there are still accommodations here for just about every budget. Since this is one of the top best places to stay in Koh Phangan for nature lovers, it’s advisable to book in advance if you want to make sure that you can secure your spot.
There are accommodations for just about every budget, and smart backpackers who book ahead will have no problem finding something right in their price range.
7. Mae Haad
Mae Haad is a little swankier than other parts of this island, so if you’re wondering where to stay in Koh Phangan that is a little on the more decadent side, this is it. There are a few resorts for you to choose from and most of them have an incredible view of the beach.
There are a few lower-end hotels and hostels around, but you won’t find the backpacker vibe of other places in Koh Phangan while you’re staying on this beach. It’s much more luxurious and chilled out.
Many people don’t consider Mae Haad to be a destination, meaning that her beaches are more pristine and untouched than other areas. Mae Haad is quiet, gorgeous and a great place to relax and chill out.
There are good places to eat and drink around, plus plenty of tropical fresh fruit to snack on. The beach itself is wide and covered in white sand. You can easily find some good snorkeling right off the coast or simply sunbathe under the dappled shade of jungle foliage.
Mae Haad is light-years away from the traditional Koh Phangan party scene, but that’s precisely what makes it so appealing to many people!
8. Chalok Lam
If you’re wondering where to stay in Koh Phangan to see the best nature, Chalok Lam might be the place that you were looking for. This is exactly what you think of when you envision the islands! Chalok Lam has a shoreline that stretches for a full three kilometers and you can walk the entire thing from end to end. Gorgeous mountains jut up in the distance and make for a stunning place to soak in the scenery.
This lovely little town used to be a fishing village, and you can still see remnants of that culture existing today. You can also soak in some traditional Thai culture, with an active temple called Wat Pra Sanctum, and a humane elephant camp located right inside of the jungle.
Visitors will get to see these gentle giants firsthand, which is an interesting diversion from traditional island activities. There are also plenty of local outdoor dining options available, as well as accommodation that fits all budgets. Backpackers and luxury travelers alike will find a great spot to lay their heads in Chalok Lam.
The only caveat is that this place is definitely not a party town, so those who are looking for a little more action might want to check out other areas of the island. If you want to chill out and soak in some traditional culture, you will be sure to find the tranquil and lovely town of Chalok Lam to be one of the best places to stay in Koh Phangan.
9. Bottle Beach
When it comes to where to stay in Koh Phangan, Bottle Beach might not be the first place that you think of. This place is fairly remote and a little difficult to get to. Those who have successfully made it to picturesque Bottle Beach say that it’s totally worth the journey though!
Located at the northern tip of Koh Phangan, Bottle Beach is accessible by water taxi, motorbike, or trekking. You can get there quickly from the pier, but remember to negotiate your taxi price when you arrive. Those who are not comfortable on scooters should be wary of taking them on steep mountain roads.
Bottle Beach offers a few resorts and smaller budget bungalows. Foodies will love Bottle Beach because you can try all sorts of traditional Thai favorites like curry, seafood, and rice dishes.
If you’re looking for nightlife, Bottle Beach is not up your alley. If you want to have a drink and watch the sunset though, you’ll find what you’re looking for in the resort bars of this beautiful slice of heaven. Kick back with a tropical favorite and watch the sun dip below the waves in Bottle Beach. Relaxation is the last word in this amazing Thai paradise!
10. Thong Nai Pan
Thong Nai Pan is one of the best areas to stay in Koh Phangan if you want to see breathtaking natural beauty and wildlife. There are massive lizards that cover this part of Koh Phangan. Do not worry, they won’t hurt you unless provoked! They are just trying to enjoy the beach as much as you are.
You will also find that you’re close to waterfalls while staying in Thong Nai Pan. Jungle waterfalls are some of the most enchanting things in the world, and the trek to the top is worth the views once you get there. Those who want to take a small break from the beach will love to explore the waterfalls of this idyllic region of Koh Phangan.
You can also enjoy yoga on the beach, and a relaxing massage on this part of the island. It’s far from the thumping club music and parties of other areas, and more suited to exploration and relaxation.
There are plenty of bars and restaurants around, but they are much more likely to be low-key and slightly higher-end. Thong Nai Pan offers the best of all worlds; a good place to enjoy a nice cocktail and dinner, exploration and adventure, and relaxation!
Backpackers might find accommodation here to be a little above what they are used to paying. Thong Nai Pan is full of resorts and bungalows, all of which cost more than the hostels in other areas of the island.
Still, cheaper accommodation can be found here during the off-season and by booking ahead. Nature lovers will be more inclined to pay the extra and stay in the tranquil and enchanting beaches of Thong Nai Pan.
Koh Phangan is one of the most popular islands in the Gulf of Thailand, and it is really easy to understand why. It is teeming with all sorts of different beaches, activities, and amazing things to do, see, experience and eat! You will certainly never be bored while you’re staying in this island paradise. Make sure that you make a visit to Koh Phangan part of your next trip to Thailand.