Looking for something else to do on Koh Phangan than partying & drinking? Then keep reading! In this Ultimate Travel Guide of Koh Phangan I’ll show you what to expect and what you shouldn’t miss to have the most memorable time possible!
This absolutely stunning island offers so much more than just its monthly (and sorry: way too hyped) Full Moon Party in the South of the island. So let me show you the 15 Best Things To Do for your perfect time in this heavenly place on earth.
From adventurous daytours, hikes to picturesque waterfalls, the best places to watch a stunning sunset to simply relaxing options for body, soul & mind – one thing is for sure: You won’t be disappointed to visit one of Thailand’s most diverse, picture-perfect dream islands!
ULTIMATE TRAVEL GUIDE: 15 TOP THINGS TO DO ON KOH PHANGAN
1. Watch epic sunsets
One thing is for sure: The sunsets on Koh Phangan’s westcoast are superb! Whether you experience the golden hour by the beach, at one of the islands’ amazing viewpoint bars or you undertake a more adventurous kajak tour into the sunset – you’ll have plenty of possibilities to experience an incredible sunset from basically any spot at the western coastal stretch.
Kajak tour into the sunset
If you would like to watch the sunset from a different perspective, a kajak tour is always a budgetfriendly but extraordinary experience. Most of Koh Phangan’s beaches offer kajaks to rent for 150-200 Baht per hour. I did it at Salad Beach and was not disappointed.
Travel Tip: Start your trip just before 6 pm, so you have enough time to paddle offshore before the show starts.
Best Viewpoint bars for sunset
There is one thing that I love most about this enchanting island: its breathtaking viewpoint bars.
Not only are the panaramic views of the Gulf of Thailand simply spectacular, but sitting on a hilltop watching the sunset with a cold beer in your hands just feels extra special.
Some of these bars even have a pool for a full day of fun. So what can you not like about them?
Enough talking. Here’s my TOP 3 viewpoint bars:
Best spot to watch a stunning sunset above Koh Ma and Mae Haad Beach in the north of Koh Phangan. Chilled atmosphere, reasonably priced and lots of seating available. Though, it gets full quickly, so come early.
Close to 360 Bar, but smaller and with a more homely feeling. The cocktails are pretty good and they even have a pool & pool table. How cool is that?
Pretty hidden in the south tip of the island, this bar offers plenty of comfy seating, a gigantic view of Baan Khai Beach and even Koh Samui. Plus, some cool electro beats for a chilled vibe.
2. Go to the beach
Obviously. I mean, who wants to travel to a tropical island without visiting its beaches? No one with a sane mind, haha. If you don’t have the time to have a look at all of the 30+ beaches, no worries!
Travel Tip: Check out my comprehensive Beach Guide of Koh Phangan’s TOP 8 beaches.
From a laid-back hippie vibe at Zen Beach to a more remote experience at Bottle Beach and everything inbetween – dive right into the outstanding natural beauty this paradise has to offer.
3. Rent a scooter & explore the island
Whenever you can: Rent your own!
This is the best advise I will ever be able to give you when it comes to enjoying your time on Koh Phangan.
Not only is a full day of renting cheaper than a trip with a Songhthew taxi, but it’s so much more fun to drive your own bike up and down the hilly, winding roads of the island.
It will for sure remain a magical experience and isn’t that we we all want when abroad?
Travel Tip: I’d highly recommend AUM motorbike rentals in Srithanu.
The prices are good, especially their long-term deals and the rental procedure has always been quick & fair. Also, the owner is a mechanic and helps you whenever you encounter a problem with your bike.
4. Get a massage
Getting a Thai massage is part of everybody’s standard holiday repertoire when travelling to Thailand. And justifiably so.
This ancient therapy has been practised for thousands of years and brings great health benefits like relieving muscular tension and headaches, boosting your energy level and an overall improving of your motion abilities.
The classic Thai massage therefore isn’t considered to be the softest type of massage. Prepare for 60 minutes of full-on body work.
Travel Tip: During my stay on Koh Phangan, I’ve tested many different massage studios.
But I always went back to my one and only happy place: REVIVE massage.
Compared to other ones, REVIVE is with 350 Baht for one hour not the cheapest one. Usually the rates on Koh Phangan are 300 baht per hour.
Nevertheless, I always felt like they are more professional & knowledgeable than their competitors. Well, it’s a totally subjective topic. So see for yourself and let me know what you think in the comments below. 🙂
5. Start your day in a café
Koh Phangan has so many cute cafés that you could easily go to a different one every day without being disappointed. But of course, I have my faves that feel just extra special.
The majority of them has all kinds of plant-based milk on offer, so as a vegan like me you can happily drink your way through the menu. Coconut Cappuccino, Soy Hot Chocolate or Almond Milk Iced Latte? It’s coffee heaven!
Best cafés for a relaxed morning
My alltime-favorite! This cute little café in the middle of Srithanu is an oasis of well-being.
Surrounded by plants and cosy Balinese interior, you can enjoy vegan treats like tempeh bowls, tofu scramble on toast as well as delicious raw cakes and of course really good coffee. The staff is very helpful, friendly and always up for a nice chat.
Opening hours: Tuesday – sunday from 8:30 am until 9:30 pm. Mondays closed.
Coffee with a view? That’s the place to go! Located on a hill facing magnificent Long Beach, this stunning café offers all the goodies for a perfect morning: Warm Porridge Bowl, Berry Smoothie Bowl, Pancakes with Fruits, Mushroom Toast…it’s all yours.
The only drawback is, that it can get really busy in the morning. So either come early or save this spot for your afternoon coffee & late lunch when the hungry crowd of breakfast-addicts has disappeared.
Opening hours: Every day from 8 am until 5:30 pm.
This cool & stylish all-day eatery has two different locations on Koh Phangan, at Baan Tai in the South and at Haad Yao in the North.
Their locally roasted Thai speciality coffee and also the vegan & vegetarian brunch options are really good. I’ve tried the vegan Beetroot Hummus on toast and it’s to die for!
Opening hours: Every day from 7 am until 6 pm.
6. Go beyond your comfort zone
If you had enough amazing food & quality time at the beach and keen to try out new things, why not giving Ice baths, Ecstatic dance, Reiki sessions or Crystal bowl journeys a go?
While Koh Phangans reputation tends to be more of a party island, it is in fact home to a large conscious community. There are numerous mind-expanding experiences to be discovered, community events to be attended and all kinds of spiritual retreats to be checked out.
Thankfully, I’ve had many life-changing experiences on this island that are still affecting my present in a more positive way. I’m not saying those things are always easy, because sometimes unpleasant emotions will come up.
But that’s always part of going “beyond your comfort zone”. Koh Phangan has such a healing side to it, giving you the space to work on yourself, your past, suppressed feelings, traumata and so much more.
How can I improve my mental health?
So, there are lots of options to nurture your soul at different Healing Centres.
I really loved Orion Healing Centre, where I also completed my Yoga Teacher Training. And I will forever be grateful for this place!
To only name a few events, they offer daily drop-in yoga classes, different kinds of therapeutic Crystal bowl journeys in the evening as well as Reiki healing and Counselling sessions. Check out their weekly schedule for more information or in case you’re already on the island, the reception ladies will gladly answer your questions to their programs.
See further below in section “Immerse into Yoga” for a more expanded list of Healing Centres on Koh Phangan.
Ecstatic dance, baby!
Another way of letting go of unwanted tension is the so-called Ecstatic dance. Every sunday morning, many people traditionally gather at Pyramid Retreat for a trance-like dance from 10am to 2pm.
During this guided session, they are moving their bodies freely to the rhythm of music without the consumption of alcohol. If you are interested to give it a try, this is the Facebook Event Page. I personally went there a couple of times and found it very liberating.
There is another Ecstatic dance taking place at AUM Sound Healing Centre every friday night. This one slightly differs from the one at Pyramid, since you are dancing around the bonfire and have the possibility to enjoy some time in the sauna or ice bath, which are right next to the dancefloor.
“Dancing and sauna combined?”, you might ask. Welcome to crazy Koh Phangan, haha!
7. Feel some adrenaline
As I said before, there are many ways to find your inner peace and relax on Koh Phangan. But if you’re looking for a new way to explore the island’s adventurous side: Look no further!
An exciting off-road ATV tour is super fun and guides you through an amazing scenery of lush jungle, dirt tracks and raw nature.
Travel Tip: We did our 1,5 h tour with Jungle Flight and loved it. It’s located on the way to Thong Nai Pan Beach on the east coast, close to the wilderness of Nationalpark Than Sadet. The owner and guide Mr. Chan was very friendly & fun.
8. Drink the best smoothie
I know, there are hundreds of excellent juice & smoothie places on the island.
But there is ONLY ONE, that stands above all: TEE’s Fresh Juice Shop in Srithanu. They have a plethora of fresh fruit shake and detox smoothie options that just never disappoint. You can also add almond or coconut milk if you like.
The shop is family-run, inexpensive and full of expats, that know the owners very well. If you’re a regular, they even remember your preferences. Mine is almond milk, banana, cinnamon and peanut butter OR watermelon, lime and mint. YUM! But seriously everyone leaves happy. 🙂
Have a seat in their comfortable lounge and enjoy!
9. Immerse into Yoga
Once you enter the North of Koh Phangan, you’ll encounter many posters advertising different yoga centres that focus on wellness, detox and healing. It can be quite overwhelming at first.
What options do I have?
It’s the ideal place for both beginners and advanced yogis. If you’ve never tried it before, drop-in classes are perfect as you can slowly find out what yoga style suits you.
Cosy Yin in the evening, energizing Vinyasa in the morning or maybe modern Aerial Yoga? This is the place to try it all out.
For experienced yoga-lovers there are also various options for a more indepth immersion into your practise. Many retreats offer detox programs, in which daily yoga classes are included. Some of those packages even provide accomodation, Reiki healing sessions, spa treatments or healthy vegan breakfast and/or lunch options.
Dive into this whole experience and customize it the way you want it. Oh, and look out for early bird specials as it can really make a price difference!
If you have the time – and the willpower! – you could also train to be a Yoga Teacher. Depending on the desired intensity and length of the course, either 50h, 200h, 300h or 500h Yoga Teacher Trainings are possible. But not every Yoga centre provides all levels.
Where to do a Yoga Teacher Training?
I’m pretty biased because I did my YTTC at Orion Healing Centre and had the best time of my life! I felt professionally guided by my mentors without being judged as I learned about Yoga history, sequencing, alignments, anatomy, ethics and so much more.
But of course there are numerous alternatives that are worth mentioning. Either way, it will deepen your practise to a totally different level while challenging you physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Best Yoga & Healing Centres on Koh Phangan
As I mentioned before, Orion offers various Yoga classes throughout the day. From traditional Hatha, Vinyasa or Jivamukti Yoga to more creative and modern ones. Just recently, I’ve seen Laughter Yoga, Face Yoga and Family Yoga on the schedule.
Besides, their portfolio consists of Kirtan, a heart-opening choir singing, meditation classes, writing nights, primal play dance, sound bowl journeys, Aerial Yoga for beginners…The list is endless and changing on a weekly basis.
Plus, it has an Ice Bath waiting for you as well as an award-winning vegan beachfront restaurant with just the best sunsets to indulge in after your practise.
Check out their weekly schedule.
Price: Drop-In class: 400 Baht. Pass for 5 classes: 1750 Baht.
This unique Boutique-style yoga studio is set in a very intimate atmosphere surrounded by nature. From monday to friday, they offer 4 different yoga classes per day, ranging from Yin to Ashtanga.
Moreover, you can attend advanced Yoga Teacher Trainings as well as different workshops, gatherings and special events. There is also a café on site with vegan & vegetarian speciality meals like Mezze Plates, Smoothie Bowls, Salads & Lunch Combos. It’s always crowded although the food is rather expensive. That says a lot, right? They also have a pool for guests.
Price: Drop-In class: 300 Baht. Pass for 10 classes: 2500 Baht.
Not far away from Orion Healing Centre, One Yoga is situated on a hilltop overlooking a remote and quiet bay.
As far as I’m concerned, they do not provide any Drop-In classes but specialize in 200h & 300h Hatha Yoga Teacher Trainings and 1-week Yoga Sadhana Retreats. Accommodation in cosy huts is on site and healthy meals are included.
Check out their calendar for more.
Located in the green heart of Koh Phangan, Pyramid Yoga is a Healing Retreat with a number of holistic courses and events ranging from Teacher Trainings to Chakra Yoga system workshops, Psychological workshops, Ecstatic dance as well as daily Drop-In classes.
Price: Drop-In class: 300 Baht. 5 Class Pass: 1250 Baht. 10 Class Pass: 2200 Baht.
You might have guessed it by its name, at this venue it’s all about sound healing. They host various events such as music nights, fire shows, Somatic Bodywork workshops, Crystal Cosmic Sound bath, didgereedoo meditations, Gong Puja and not to forget their amazing Ecstatic dance on friday night.
It’s a beautifully calming and inviting setting and definetely worth checking out at least once.
If you’d like to learn more about this healing centre, check out their Facebook.
10. Check out some street food markets
Going to a street market is the coolest version of eating out anywhere in Asia if you ask me. Walking around, smelling freshly prepared food and discovering new flavours is simply THE BEST.
There are a few street markets on Koh Phangan that shouldn’t be missed. Let me give you a quick overview of what to expect.
Best Street Food Markets on Koh Phangan
This traditional, bustling Thai market opens its doors every saturday evening at 5 pm. It stretches along the old Thong Sala high street and quickly becomes a busy showplace for the local Thai community as well as visiting tourists in search for some delicacies.
Although it obviously gets real packed, you can simply grab some food and enjoy it at the beach next to it to escape the crowd. If you’re lucky even with a sunset. Pretty awesome experience!
Location: In Thong Sala close to the pier. – SEE MAP.
Opening hours: Every saturday from 5-10 pm.
I’ve only just recently found out about this street market and instantly fell in love.
Located at the beachfront of fisherman’s village Chaloklum in the North of the island, this lively market is not overly big but has just such a good vibe to it! Many stall sellers offer their goods from food to drinks, clothes and souvenirs.
Once you’ve found something tasty you can have a seat right on the pier. Compared to regular street food markets, there is a number of seating areas and even live music to accompany your food experience.
Some people are dancing, families are gathering and kids are playing. Simply a chilled night out!
Location: At Chaloklum beach, right at the pier. – SEE MAP.
Opening hours: Every sunday from 5 pm.
Not every traveller will be lucky enough to see it since this unique market is taking place only once a month.
This is why I’ve only managed to go there twice, neverthess I would go back any day. Environment-friendly Art Market is not like a regular traditional Thai market, but seems to have more of an alternative touch to it.
Lots of handmade jewellery, paintings by local artists, fairtrade clothing, healthy food options and live music make this market a very special event.
Check out their Facebook page for more.
Location: At Siam Healing centre in Thong Sala. – SEE MAP.
Opening hours: Every last sunday of the month.
This unusual street market is divided into two parts: an indoor and an outdoor area. While the more traditional outdoor area consists of all kinds of cheap, authentic Thai food stalls, smoothies, roti and other snacks, the indoor area is more expensive but offers more variety.
Maybe you fancy some greek pita with tzaziki or hummus and shakshuka? No problem on the Phantip market.
Location: Close to the pier in Thong Sala. – VIEW MAP.
Opening hours: Every day, opening around midday or after 5 pm depending on the food stall.
11. Go vegan!
Koh Phangan is an undisputed paradise for vegans with plenty of delicious, plant-based food options to choose from.
Many restaurants are at least vegan-friendly with some Tofu based Thai dishes on their menu. But to my delight, the number of 100% vegan places is still rising.
During my 4 months stay on this dream island in 2022, I’ve tried the majority of them at least once and have now a collection of my absolute favorite dishes & places… Burmese Salad with creamy avocado, Indian Vegan Thali Set or stir-fried veggies with fake “pork belly”…there’s too many tasty meals to mention.
But one thing is for sure: Koh Phangan makes it very easy to transition into a vegan lifestyle!
Good to know: Check out my comprehensive Vegan Food Guide including my favorite vegan restaurants on Koh Phangan.
12. Do some hiking
Koh Phangan does not only have incredibe beaches, but also impresses its visitors with lush sceneries, stunning views and picturesque National Parks.
Obviously, these epic landscapes have to be checked out while on the island. And what’s more beautiful than hiking through nature, leaving all the hectic behind? Not much if you ask me.
Although there is a wide range of hiking trails on the island that are worth mentioning, there’s one absolute MUST-DO: Hiking to Bottle Beach Viewpoint. Trust me, this view is more than breathtaking!
Do you like to go? Find here my Ultimate Travel Guide to Bottle Beach Viewpoint.
13. Admire some waterfalls
Especially during the monsoon season between July and Sepember, visiting a waterfall on Koh Phangan is a great activity for outdoor-enthusiasts. At this time, there should be enough water running down to make it a worthwhile experience.
Although there are numerous waterfalls to have a look at, I visited two of them, that I can both recommend.
Wang Sai Waterfall
This waterfall is pretty much hidden in the jungle, so you need to do a 10-15 minutes hike to reach it. You can park your scooter at the parking lot across the street from Roots Corner. From there walk straight and turn left eventually. You’ll see wooden signs guiding the way.
Location: Just before Mae Haad Beach in the North-West. – VIEW MAP.
This waterfall has several tiers, each constisting of a pool to swim in. The bottom one is the biggest with a rental service for swimming tubes close by, which makes it a perfect spot for families on a hot day.
Besides, there’s a walkway through the jungle to a viewpoint. But even after one hour of walking I couldn’t reach the top of it. Let me know what it’s like up there once you’ve reached it, haha.
Location: Close to Chaloklum Beach at the northern coast. – VIEW MAP.
Good to know: I paid 100 Baht entrance fee, but also got a cold water bottle.
14. Experience an open-air gym
I think we all agree that driving around on a scooter is one of the most amazing activities on the island. But you’ll simultaneously minimize the steps you’ll gonna do per day. Which means: I really needed to move my body more!
There are a few gym options on Koh Phangan, but EVOLVE Health Club in Srithanu is both central and with 150 Baht per day or 500 Baht per week quite inexpensive.
This big open-air area is equipped with literally every sport device you need plus a smoothie & protein shake bar.
You could also get a private Muay Thai Boxing lesson or attend their daily group classes at 9 am or 4 pm for 350 Baht per person.
The trainer Kru Phet is a cool dude, who’s passion for Muay Thai is omnipresent. He will introduce you to the most important techniques and makes sure that you’ll feel this full-body workout even the next days. It was super fun and I highly recommend it!
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 7 am – 9 pm.
15. Visit a Buddhist temple
Like basically everywhere on your travels in Southeast Asia, Koh Phangan is home to multiple temples and shrines scattered all over the island.
Although it’s not leading the top list in Thailand, there are still some interesting ones that are worth checking out.
Here I will show you the most famous temple as well as one, let’s say, rather eccentric one.
Kuan Yin temple (Chinese temple)
Jungle-covered Kuan Yin temple is located in Koh Phangan’s lush mountainside overlooking Chaloklum Bay. This colourful Chinese temple is also called “Shrine of our lady Guanyin”, dedicated to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.
Once you’ve walked up the stairs, you can take a glance at Koh Phangan’s peaceful green valley and Chaloklum Beach in the distance. It costs 20 Baht entrance fee for maintenance purpose. And of course you should dress appropriately, i.e. cover shoulders and legs to your knees.
Location: On Koh Phangan’s inland, close to Chaloklum Beach. – SEE MAP.
Wat Samai Kongka
This very unique temple feels almost unreal with its displayed scary-looking sculptures. It has a large area to walk around and offers enough space for its authentic 4 days Thai walking meditation (Vipassana) with monk Phra Olarn.
I bet you’ve never experience a temple like this, so it’s for sure worthwhile a visit. It’s for free and you can park your scooter on the property.
But be aware of the stray dogs coming towards you in flocks when entering.
Location: Close to Hin Kong Beach. – VIEW MAP.
I hope you enjoyed reading it. Feel free to contact me on Instagram (@eat.travel.flow) if you have any travel related questions or simply leave a comment below. 🙂
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