I really didn’t have an itinerary on Koh Phangan. I knew the island was small and I could just ride around on my scooter and explore various towns, mountains and of course beaches. My exploration of Koh Phangan got off to a good start as I took a road to the northeast which lead me to the Chinese mountain temple on my way to one of the northern beaches. The road seemed brand new and I was able to zip across the island.
Once I got to the north end of the island to the small fishing village there were a few small dirt roads which I decided not to take on my Honda scooter. To this day I’m not sure whether the roads lead somewhere or just to someone’s house. According to the maps there are non-paved roads that lead to the northern beaches but I figured there was a lot more to explore so I left and headed back south.
Once I drove back South I came to a familiar intersection. Rather than going back to Thong Sala I decided to head northeast as I was pretty much just randomly driving. The northeast road suddenly changed from paved highway to one of the worst dirt roads I’ve ever driven on. The road was flat on probably 10% of it as it had grooves in it from a likely mixture of motorcycle traffic and rain water
The Chinese Temple
This Chinese style temple is found in the northwestern part of Koh Phangan island and it has a short but interesting history. A women named Khun Malawan visited the island in the early nineties and in her dream she experienced a revelation. The dream was the influence for a fund that in 1992 resulted in the temple.
Wat Phu Khao Noi
Wat Phu Khao Noi is the oldest temple on Koh Phangan and the name means “The temple of the small mountain” which is a pretty good description about how and where the temple is located. You will find this small mountain on the South-West of Koh Phangan, not so far from Thongsala (the main town of the island). If you want to meet a temple monk, we would recommend you to visit the temple before noon.
One of the largest waterfall on Koh Phangan is Phaeng and you can get here by walking on a steep mountain path. The waterfall is by obvious reasons more visually attractive after rainy weather.
Thaan Sadet Waterfall
This waterfall is found on the east side of Koh Phangan, but it can be a little difficult to reach, because of the terrain. Several Thai kings has visited the waterfall and engraved their signatures in the nearby cliff.
The cool water of Thaan Sadet is very suitable for a swim during the hot months in Thailand. Please notice that the dirt road that leads here are rather rough so it can be wise to hire a experienced driver, rather than to go there by yourself on a motorbike.
Laem Son Sea
This beautiful sea is found in the northwestern part of Koh Phangan. The water is cool enough to attract many tourists looking for a refreshing bath. A few wooden swings and ropes is hanging from trees, but we suggest you to be careful when swinging and playing here. If you should get injured, it might take a long time before you get any professional help.
Khao Ra is the tallest mountain on the island and it reaches 630 meters above the sea level. Several small paths makes it possible to reach the top by foot. We recommend you to also visit the Phaeng Waterfall on your way up. Please bear in mind that parts of the path is rather rough, due to the terrain conditions.
Koh Phangan’s almost unexploited inland is ideal for daily trekking tours. Small mountain roads brings you up to the island’s highlands. To reach the highest top, we recommend you the hiking trail starting at Baan Madeuawaan.
The final destination is called Khao Raa, 627 meters above the sea. Hikes with a local guide can be arranged.
To Rent a Motorbike
It is convenient to go around the island by bike, but also a little risky. The traffic is not that intense, but the roads on the steep hillsides are often not that good. Beware of gravel and sand on the road, especially in the curves.
Anyhow, many choose to rent a bike due to the feeling of freedom and because of the affordable price. The price for renting a 100-125″ motorbike starts from about 150-200 baht per day.
Do always use a crash helmet and do never drive drunk! You probably do not want to spend your holiday in a hospital, or even worse!