Information & Facts
The enticing warm waters off the white sand beaches that
surround Koh Pha Ngan are the main source of activity for visitors,
who enjoy boat rides, snorkelling on coral reefs or just bathing in
between spells of soaking up the sun. The interior of the island,
with its rutted roads through coconut plantations, past crystal
waterfalls, viewpoints and little villages, cries out to be
explored on hired motorbikes. The Pang Waterfall National Park
offers beautiful walking trails. Those looking for a more spiritual
holiday experience can visit the renowned temple and meditation
complex of Wat Kow Tahm, between Thongsala and Had Rin, offering
courses and retreats.
Thai is the official language, although English is widely
spoken in tourist areas.
The unit of currency is the Baht (THB), which is divided
into 100 satang. Currency can be exchanged at the airport, banks,
hotels and bureaux de change. Banks are open Monday to Friday. ATMs
are available in most cities and tourist resorts. Most large hotels
and shops accept travellers cheques, but a better rate will be
given at banks. Most major credit cards are accepted at hotels and
During the dry and rainy seasons mosquitoes can be a nuisance so
be sure to pack plenty of mosquito repellent.
While on holiday, most nights in Koh Pha Ngan's remote bungalow
resorts are fairly peaceful, with a few beach bars playing music to
serenade the incredible sunsets. At full moon, however, Haad Rin is
the place to be, when a dozen or more sound systems blast the beach
that becomes packed with thousands of hedonistic party animals.
Along with visiting top class DJs, the entertainment is enhanced by
jugglers, fire-eaters and frenzied dancers of all descriptions,
while beach traders keep everyone fed and lubricated. The notorious
Pha Ngan Full Moon parties are the ultimate experience.
There are plenty of storefront restaurants along the streets of
Koh Pha Ngan's main town, Thongsala, and along the beachfront at
Haad Rin, ideal for a quick and tasty meal. Most serve a mix of
Thai and western dishes. Street vendors are the cheapest option for
local snacks. One of the most popular gathering places on the
island is the Outback Bar on Thongsala's main street, which has a
vast menu, pool tables, and a large screen TV showing satellite
news and sports events. Another popular eatery is the Same Same
restaurant at Ban Tai, offering basic favourites like burgers,
pizza, pasta and steaks as well as Thai dishes.
On Koh Pha Ngan, most shops and kiosks are in Thongsala and Haad
Rin, stocking a range of cheap clothing and novelties, mostly aimed
at holiday backpackers. Local handicrafts are plentiful,
particularly batik. There are some photo shops and small
supermarkets, including a 7-Eleven.