Koh Phangan is Thailand’s fifth biggest island, located 70 km from the mainland and only 12 km from the island of Koh Samui. Its lush jungle interior is bordered by many long, awe-inspiring white sand beaches and over 20 diving sites.
This haven for raving will show you a good time with its exhilarating nightlife and various Moon parties. While you’re at it you can shop at a trove of stores and stuff yourself silly at world-class restaurants.
The island’s untamed geography is intimidating to traverse, so you’ll want to lodge at the right spot to ensure your trip’s efficiency.
The city can be chaotic and cumbersome if you aren’t careful, so we will look at where to stay in Koh Phangan by area and accommodations.
Best Places To Stay in Koh Phangan
Just need a quick answer to the best accommodations in Koh Phangan? Don’t worry, we got you covered with our quick picks below.
- Best Overall — Thai Terrace Bungalow
- Best Luxury Resort — Anantara Rasananda Resort and Spa
- Best Budget Hotel — Baan Manali Resort
- Best Boutique Hotel — Beyond the Blue Horizon
- Best Hotel For Families — Rin Beach Resort
- Best Hostel for Solo Travellers — Shiralea Backpackers Resort
- Best Hotel for Couples — Salad Hut
The 5 Best Areas to Stay in Koh Phangan
1. Thong Sala
The tourist hub of Koh Phangan is packed with shopping, food, and nightlife.
Thong Sala is the island’s administrative and financial center, which hosts the main port on Koh Phangan, welcoming ferries from Koh Samui and Koh Tao. The tourist hotspot of this shopping destination is Thong Sala Walking Street market, where you can get street food like papaya salad, sweet dough, and meat skewers.
You might buy jewelry at Workshop Silver or make your own. They offer hands-on jewelry-making classes where you can heat and shape silver and set stones to create traditional trinkets to take home. Moontribe Progressive Fashion is a hip clothing store stocking Western brands and imports from Bali and elsewhere.
This party-adjacent retailer’s selection ranges from trance-wear to casual chic. Located near Walking Street and the main pier is Kali, a remarkable boutique wellness cafe selling natural remedies, decor, souvenirs, and even clothes. Its healthy vegan and vegetarian menu includes meatless meatballs, sweet potato fries, caffeine-free lattes, and cocktails.
Thong Sala is replete with activities for families and solo travelers alike. Enter Playground Cafe for a small fee, where adults can enjoy a restaurant, a bar, and Wi-Fi while the kids go nuts on the playground with its trampoline, slides, and toys.
At Muai’s Thai Traditional Cooking Academy, you’ll be taught authentic processes for delicacies like coconut milk and you can take home what you make.
Get fit with a group on the beach at Peace Out Pilates where you will be challenged to practice your breathing technique, activate your abdominals, and control your movements.
Moonlight Cinema is a recovery establishment for relaxation where you can sip tea, try vegan food, and hang out at the smoothie bar. The unique theatre seating arrangement showcases both modern movies and cult classics, an environment perfect for dates and birthdays.
Looking for a party? Ku Club on Baan Tai Beach is the island’s only open-air discotheque. It hosts world-class DJs who mix it up with different music styles.
Or, The Loi Lay Floating Bar is located at the pier in Baan Tai, a party boat with local and international DJs. The dance floor is ripe for partying, and every Sunday night Loi Lay hosts its famous Tech House Party from 9 pm into the morning.
Thong Sala Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for First-Time Tourists to the Area
- Best Hotels – Varivana Resort Koh Phangan • Lime & Soda Beachfront Resort • The Cosy Koh Phangan
- Apartment – Secret Garden
- Where to Eat – Kali, Playground Cafe, Moonlight Cinema
- Where to Drink – Ku Club on Baan Tai Beach, The Loi Lay Floating Bar
- Top Attractions – Thong Sala Walking Street Market, Thong Sala Pier
A quieter market town where you can spend time sunbathing and relaxing.
Srithanu is a quiet market center of western Koh Phangan consisting of a coastline and peninsula. A highlight is its beautiful beaches for leisure and play.
At the busy Zen Beach, people like to meditate, gather around bonfires, and socialize at the cocktail bar. Drummers, dancers, and poi performers keep things lively, and the breathtaking sunset is a magical way to wind down the day.
Haad Chao Phao Beach is conveniently located near cheap bungalows and has a volleyball net to get your blood pumping. You’ll find places to eat along the beach, while hammocks in the tree line provide cool relaxation. The beach’s Pirate’s Bar throws a free Moonset Party where you can dance to loudspeakers with a decent crowd.
Treat yourself well at Sunny Yoga on the southern end of Haad Chao Phao near Seetanu Bungalows. About 100 meters out you can snorkel through the coral reef, even grabbing a unique fluorescent snorkeling tour.
Hit Srithanu’s Belgian Beer Bar for European alcohol on tap. Their kitchen is versed in Belgian and Thai food, including Belgian fries and mussels with garlic cream. L’Alcove Bistro is a French beach bistro where you can down cocktails and wines while enjoying tuna tartar, salmon gravlax, and green mango salad.
On the beach, the Bamboo Bistrot will dazzle you with jazz and rock music and fire show performances. Three Monkeys Bar is an old-school beach barbecue eatery where you can listen to special drummers from Malaysia and witness more fire show performances.
The bamboo-thatched Mama Pooh’s Kitchen cooks delicious staples like pad thai and curry soup. It’s also got fried crab and pancakes that you can wash down with beer or smoothies.
At Karma Cafe, you’ll find Bali-style vegan dishes and distinctive treats like raw pie and pumpkin soup. Baan Srithanu village is the main port for squid fishing on the west coast, where you’ll find cafes and bars on the main street.
Check out nearby Srithanu Temple to appreciate Thai culture, and take classes to enhance yourself at Agama Yoga. Laemson Lake is the largest freshwater body on the island and features “The challenge Phangan” where there is an aquatic obstacle course for the whole family.
Srithanu Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for Relaxing
- Best Hotels – Phangan Akuna • Seetanu Bungalows • Phangan Cove Beach Resort
- Apartment – Benjamin’s Hut
- Where to Eat – Mama Pooh’s Kitchen, L’Alcove Bistro, Karma Cafe
- Where to Drink – Three Monkey’s Bar, Belgian Beer Bar, Bamboo Bistrot
- Top Attractions – Zen Beach, The Challenge Phangan, Haad Chao Phao Beach
3. Haad Rin
The best area to catch a party and dance the night away.
Haad Rin is the place for partygoers, most notably due to the various Moon Parties. The upbeat nightlife makes this the best place in Koh Phangan for an extended time in the town.
Infinity Beach Club on the Baan Tai beachfront has three bars, two restaurants, a rooftop terrace, and a swimming pool to meet your revelry needs. Visit during happy hour for great discounts on sundowners and listen to rocking DJs from night into the morning.
Haad Rin’s bustling sunrise and sunset beaches, separated only by a rocky headland, are famed for their party scene. It is a wide, stunning landscape of fine white sand, with a stretch of sea fit for swimming. The long expanse is suited to a walk for exercise, which you might do to check out the pristine sunset.
North of here is the quiet Haad Yuan Beach, which you can reach by boat or a 4×4 pick-up taxi. Exploring the interesting rock ledges and wooden walkways will give you some good views of the swimmable bay and its green palms.
Check out well-priced bars along the beach, and stop by the Bamboo Hut restaurant to get a splendid view from its terrace. The Eden Bar is a chill spot with tasty food and a friendly atmosphere. You’ll want to stick around to experience the bar’s thumping EDM parties.
To get active you can rent a kayak and row to the neighboring beach of Haad Tien. Haad Rin is good for shopping with its many stores and roadside stalls throughout town. You may be able to barter and haggle prices down, though higher-end shops have fixed prices. You’ll tend to find lots of party paraphernalia, and fluorescent beachwear for raving when the sun goes down.
The free-spirited Fusion clothing store specializes in funky Indian and boho designs, with accessories gathered from all over the world to make you stylish. The Nature Art Gallery is a classy handmade jewelry store for precious stones, broaches, wallets, textiles, bags, and more.
Eat at Lucky Crab for fresh Thai seafood in the form of local dishes like fried rice, spicy seafood salad, and steamed squid with chili lemon sauce.
Haad Rin Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay to Catch a Party
The best area for fishing and watersports.
Chaloklum is northern Koh Phangan’s main fishing port that boasts many diving and snorkeling sites.
This scenic region is quite rugged and mountainous, so there are plenty of photo-worthy trails to climb and waterfalls to visit. Haad Khom, also known as Coral Bay, is a little beach on the east side of Chaloklum Bay.
A cluster of rocks emerges from the water and makes a good sunbathing spot, while swings on the overhanging trees will satisfy the kids. The clear azure water houses an extensive coral reef ready for snorkeling. By kayak, you can explore rocky coves, or try scuba diving after arranging things in Ao Chaloklum.
At the Lost Dog Saloon, you can munch on Tex-Mex cuisine and a variety of appetizers and entrees. Choose from an extensive cocktail list so you can sip while you watch sports and try out the free pool table. Chill on the beach-side covered patio while listening to music and watching the boats come and go.
The unusual Crow Bar is built on a wooden platform, a sort of local pub in the middle of a coconut plantation. It is brimming with atmosphere and is surrounded by lush greenery, potted plants, and a pond. You’ll be endeared to Crow Bar’s relaxed vibe, cheap beer, mixed drinks, and weekly sushi night.
Chaloklum’s Malibu Beach is on a sand spit at the southern end of Chaloklum Bay with a mountain backdrop, in front of the luxurious Malibu Beach Bungalows. Its soft white sand and shallow waters suit families, and there are plenty of shady trees for you to hang out and relax under.
When the monsoon comes to Koh Phangan, the Malibu Beach kiteboarding scene attracts spectators on the beach no matter the wind and rain. The Malibu Beach Bar and Restaurant is a reasonably-priced bamboo and thatch eatery where you can dine with your toes in the sand under the shade of trees.
The variety of dishes ranges from pad thai to fried fish to spaghetti to seasonal fruits. Chaloklum Bay conveniently has taxi boats that cruise the water delivering people to and from Bottle Beach, as well as nearby pop-up cafes for lunch. The fishing trade dominates the mid-section of the beach, resulting in a view of fishermen in action.
The bay is excellent for water sports, with snorkeling, kite surfing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, and jet skiing available on a seasonal basis. Rent boats for day trips and see some picturesque sights while dropping off at Koh Phangan’s nearby beaches.
The bay is a departure point for diving sites like Chumpon Pinnacle and Sail Rock in the Gulf of Thailand, so the Chaloklum fishing village hosts many diving schools suited to divers of all abilities.
Chaloklum Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for those traveling on a budget or as a family
5. Mae Haad
Massive beaches and a rich culinary scene.
The swanky Mae Haad is a chilled-out region away from the party scene where you can bask amidst some of the best vistas on the island. Mae Haad Beach is on the North West Point of Koh Phangan, an 800-meter-long beauty with hammocks, massage booths, sunbeds, beach swings, and a beach bar.
Mae Haad’s expanse draws a crowd and is suited to sunbathing but also gets enough shade from its trees. Coral formations dot the length of the bay like a breadcrumb trail. You can walk over the sandbank to the minuscule green Koh Ma Island during low tide.
Hiking to the top of this hidden gem will grant you panoramic views of the area, or you can kayak around the tiny island for unforgettable scenes. Rent snorkeling gear for an up-close look at the beautiful reefs and tropical creatures like anemones and parrotfish.
The ample space contains a volleyball net for your exercise needs, or you might hone your spiritual well-being in a group at meditation and yoga classes. This luxuriant area is chockful of places to eat.
The stunning waterside Wang Sai Restaurant is a big teakwood building connected to the beach by a small bridge. You remove your shoes when you pass through either of its entrances for a fancy Thai experience with what they call tropical comfort food. Tom Yam soup, grilled fish, and European breakfast options should hit the spot.
The Island View Cabana Restaurant has comfy open-air seating facing Koh Ma Island where you’ll see a cosmopolitan mix of dishes on top of Australian wines. Western fare includes pizza, different kinds of pasta, sandwiches, and burgers. The Thai selection includes traditional soups, spring rolls, beef scallops, fish steak, and spicy curries.
In the afternoon Island View Cabana does barbecue and offers fresh seafood like barracuda, mackerel, and tiger prawn. They also have t-bone steak with baked potato and steamed vegetable salad.
If you are chasing authenticity, Mae Haad Cove is a beachside restaurant specializing in homemade Thai food. Ginger, lemongrass, chili, and curry are highlights of their cooking, and you can kick back with a beer and soft drinks at the bar.
Three Sixty Bar is perched atop a hill with tech house music from international DJs. You’ll get a 360-degree view of the beach and island while soaking up beer and creative cocktails.
Cafe Wan is on the village’s main street serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner with an Italian and Thai mix. There is spaghetti, fried rice, green curry, massaman, and barbecue seafood, paired with fruit shakes, iced tea, and Thai beer.
Mae Haad isn’t a party-focused area the way a lot of Koh Phangan is, so instead, you can appreciate calm vibes. Unwind at the Roots Corner to reggae and live sports while trying cocktails, spirits, and a mix of Western and Thai cuisine.
The peaceful Mae Haad is one of the best places on the west coast of Koh Phangan to watch the sunset, which locals and tourists regularly show up to do.
As the intense colors paint the sky, don’t hesitate to stroll the sands and observe the sheer majesty of the setting. There is a solid range of bungalow operations here, so you should be able to find something that matches your budget.
Mae Haad Mini Guide
Best Area to Stay for Unwinding on the Beach
FAQs About Where to Stay in Koh Phangan
What are the best places to stay in Koh Phangan for first-time visitors?
Home to Koh Phangan's world-famous full moon parties, Haad Rin is the best area for first-time visitors seeking a vibrant nightlife and party scene. However, first-time visitors not looking to enjoy the vibrant nightlife will find their stay best accommodated by the quiet beach bars and watersports in Baan Tai or Baan Kai.
What hotels in Koh Phangan are best for families?
Tucked along the northeastern coast of Koh Phangan, Thong Nai Pan is the best area to stay in for families and offers a quieter setting for exploring the destination's natural landscapes. The best hotels for families in Koh Phangan include the Rin Beach Resort in Haad Rin, the Anantara Rasananda in Thong Nai Pan, and the Santhiya Koh Phangan Resort and Spa.
What are the best beaches in Koh Phangan?
Boasting miles of picturesque white sands lined by sprawling rows of palms, Koh Phangan is surrounded by some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, each offering unique experiences. Haad Rin is the best beach for those seeking vibrant night parties, while Haad Salad offers one of the most relaxing coastal destinations.
What are the best luxury hotels in Koh Phangan?
What is the best area to stay in Koh Phangan for Backpackers?
Home to several budget-friendly hostels, hippy markets, and a vibrant nightlife, Serathani is the best area for backpackers to stay in Koh Phangan. Another great option for budget travelers is Tong Sala, which is home to some of the island's most affordable nightly stays and services.
What is the best area to stay in Koh Phangan for nightlife?
Famous for its monthly Full Moon Party, Haad Rin is the best area for visitors looking for Koh Phangan's active nightlife. However, even if you aren't visiting during the monthly celebration, Haad Rin still boasts colorful bars and parties throughout the year.
What are the best places to stay in Koh Phangan for couples?
Located along Koh Phangan's northern shores, Chalok Lam is far removed from the island's party scene and offers a laid-back romantic setting for enjoying a tropical retreat with your partner and is the best area to stay in for couples.
So, Where Should You Stay in Koh Phangan?
- Thong Sala — This is the best area for first-time tourists due to its central location and easy access to the ferries. It also contains an abundance of sites, restaurants, and boutique shops.
- Srithanu — A laid-back area (though you can still find some party culture here), where you can take in the culture and history of Koh Phangan.
- Haad Rin — If you are looking for parties and late-night dance clubs, Haad Rin is the ideal area to make your home base. Just drink responsibly and be mindful of the heat!
- Chaloklum — For thrill-seekers, this area is best to partake in watersports or fishing. There are many guided tours in this area and Caloklum is one of the best areas to soak in everyday life in Pho Phangan.
- Mae Haad — You can come to this area and essentially just stay on the massive Mae Haad beach. The beach is also surrounded by unique restaurants and bars. Sunbath, swim, grab some great food, repeat!
Regardless of where you choose to stay in Koh Phangan, you are certain to find a little bliss on an expansive beach or at a party where you can dance the night away.