Halfway between its sister islands of Koh Tao and Koh Samui in Thailand’s Central Gulf Coast, sits Koh Pha Ngan; the island of coconut trees, white sand beaches, and the world famous Full Moon Party.
Over 30 000 people descend on the island for the monthly Full Moon Party, which has earned a reputation for being one of the wildest parties in the world. On the night of the full moon, Haad Rin’s crescent-shaped beach explodes into frenzy with DJs, bars, fireworks and dancing until dawn. But for the rest of the month, Koh Pha Ngan is a sleepy, serene island where visitors will find stunning secluded bays and miles of untouched tropical forest.
It was monks that first set foot on the island 600 years ago, and built the temple of Wat Phu Khao Noi, which translates to the ‘temple of the small mountain’. The stunning temple is a place of extraordinary tranquillity, where visitors will be able to see monks going about their morning rituals and enjoy the breath-taking vistas of the island and Chumphon Archipelago beyond. The small now island boasts over 20 beautiful temples and stupas, where visitors can enjoy the easy serenity of the island.
When the island was developing into a tourist destination, the integrity of the environment was an important factor. As a result, you’ll find a more natural setting in Koh Pha Ngan than in many of Thailand’s popular islands. Villas and bungalows lie tucked away in the dense forest; offering visitors a quiet and private stay, while beautiful spas spring up seamlessly above striking valleys and visitors can be treated to pampering Thai massages on private bamboo decks enjoying the views.
Over 40% of the island is a protected area; and the Than Sadet - Koh Phangan National Park alone makes a visit to the island worthwhile. With its setting high on the mountain, the park is home to several magnificent waterfalls; but few in all of Thailand are as awe-inspiring as the Phaeng and Than Sadet waterfalls. The Phaeng waterfall is one of the largest on the island, and a short easy walk rewards you with a close look at the massive, two-tier falls that cascade down shining oblique rock faces, surrounded on both sides by thick forest. Than Sadet waterfall is the island’s largest, and was given its name, meaning ‘Royal River’ because King Rama V was so taken by its beauty that he visited the site more than ten times, and carved his name into the rock. Monarchs have continued to visit the falls, being inspired by its beauty and adding their names alongside King Rama’s inscription. The falls have created several pools, where visitors can swim and relax. The island also boasts stunning dive sites. The west coast is home to a rich coral reef, just 100 metres from the beach, where you’ll be spoiled with a variety of fish, corals, nudibranchs and some larger, charismatic species including sting rays and even whale sharks.
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