Koh Pha Ngan is a big island in the southern Gulf of Thailand. Its just north of Koh Samui and south of Koh Tao. It’s a popular place for backpackers, divers, families and has a pretty solid reputation for being a party destination. More on that later.
The north end of the island seems to be mostly populated by divers and families, while south is populated by backpackers that wants to go crazy with parties, alcohol and drugs.
After spending one week at Koh Pha Ngan with some friends from Europe, I ended up having very mixed feeling about this island.
I kind of love it and hate it at the same time.
The island is very beautiful. It has amazing beaches, big undeveloped areas with deep jungle, hills and mountains and a lot of stuff to explore. Renting a motorbike at this island is awesome.
At the same time, the island is filled up with teens, young adults, backpackers and other idiots that drinks like maniacs, pukes, shits, pees and pass out everywhere. That is what I hate about this island. I like to party, but that type of party is not my style.
The locals at the island is less friendly than other parts of Thailand. Something tells me that they are pretty fed up with the non-stop rotation of tourists that comes here all year just to trash their island. I guess they deal with it because its good money for the local people.
Anyways..! Lets start the review!
Available girls (3/5)
Lets start with the most important!
If farang pussy is your style, this island will be a paradise for you. Koh Pha Ngan has an never ending rotation of young tourists that comes in for Half Moon Party and Full Moon Party. They come, get drunk as fuck, then leave.
Hitting up with some farang chick at this island should not be too hard. I fucked a Swedish girl in her bungalow after I drove her back to her hostel to pick up money for a tattoo (I was taking tattoo too). She was pretty hot, but drunk and smelly. I was drunk myself so I did not give a shit.
Between the festivals the island is pretty dead, especially in the low season. To find farang pussy you should stay at Thong Sala or Haad Rin. This is were all the parties are. Cheap hostels are hotspots if you want tourist pussy.
The further south you go in Thailand, the uglier the women gets. It’s sad to say it but it’s true. Women in south tends to be more chubby and dark skinned. If that is your style everything should be fine, but I like the girls up in north much more.
Thai people at this island is not as nice and friendly as the rest of Thailand. I suspect that they have developed some kind of shield towards tourists. I totally understand that after attending Full Moon Party.
I found it hard to chat up the local women here. I’m not saying it is impossible, just saying it was harder. Even speaking Thai did not make them smile like they do elsewhere.
I did see a lot of farang men with hot Thai chicks on the back of the motorbike. Where they found them I’m not sure about…
If you did not have any luck with ThaiCupid, Tinder, chatting up a local girl at the island or a smelly drunk Swedish girl. There is always backup!
You can find beerbars with available girls on the main road between Thong Sala and Haad Rin. There is a cluster of about 20 beer bars. They are hard to miss because it will be standing half naked Thai hookers out in the street yelling at you from about 19.00 until 02.00. Prime time seems to be around 22.00.
The girls here are not that hot really, and there was ALOT of ladyboys for some reason. Something tells me that all the hot girls get their ass to Pattaya or Bangkok, where they can make some real money. Most of the hookers at Koh Pha Ngan were pretty chubby. I did see two hookers that I could put my dick in if it was a complete emergency.
Barfine: 400 baht
Short-time: 1000 baht
Long-time: 1000 baht (desperate for money in low season I guess)
In Haad Rin some of the massage studios offer extra service. I got a pretty good blowjob here. Just look for the massage studio that yell the loudest.
Party situation (4/5)
There are three big events on Koh Pha Ngan every month. Half Moon Festival is deep inside the jungle between Thong Sala and Haad Rin two times a month. Full Moon is at the Haad Rin beach once a month.
Full Moon Party
I have to be honest, I did not like this party at all because it was a total trash party. People behave like complete maniacs. People shit, puke, pee, and pass out everywhere. The beach was completely crowded and it was impossible to get anywhere. You can hear different music from several speakers at the same time. The whole concept is just a mess.
I do recommend trying it one time, just to have experienced it, but one time was more then enough for me. If I ever get back to this island when there is a full moon party, I will seek refuge at the other side of the island while it’s ongoing.
Half Moon Festival
This party was actually good. It costs 1000 baht for the ticket. And it’s easy to see where the money are going. The sound system at the main scene was amazing. All the decoration they did around in the threes and surroundings was awesome too. Half Moon Party is not a total trash party like the Full Moon Party.
People were much more in party mode at this festival. I did not see anyone puking and passing out in the festival area like at the Full Moon. There are security that goes around watching people. You even get free water and snacks at the medic tent if you feel tired. Pretty awesome.
Hookers at Half Moon Festival
If you didn’t have any luck with that smelly Swedish girl at the main scene. There will be standing hookers at the road up to the main scene. They are easy to spot, because their skirts leave nothing to the fantasy and they will just stare out in the nothingness waiting for farang dick.
I asked some of the girls what they wanted for a full night. Some said 1500 baht, others said 2500 baht. She will party with you as long as you wish, then join you to your bungalow.
Cost of Living (4/5)
Accommodation: When I was here I stayed at a hostel for 400 baht per night. If you want to stay here long time I’m sure you could make a deal with one of the hostels for a good monthly rate.
Food: I only ate food at the local Thai food restaurants. I spent around 100-150 baht per meal to get full. 3-4 meals per day. Not that bad really.
Motorbikes: I paid 150 baht per day for my motorbike at my hostel. I’m sure you can get a better deal if you want to rent a bike long time.
I rented a dirt bike some of the days too. Daily rent was 250 baht.
A lot of crazy stuff happens on this island because of all the drinking and young adults fucking around. You should be a little street smart here. Here are my observations:
Roads, taxis and motorbikes
Rent a motorbike instead of taking taxis everywhere. There is some insane hill roads here that are super steep and dangerous, especially the mountain road from Thong Sala to Haad Rin. You will also save a ton of money.
Renting a motorbike costs between 150-250 baht per day. Taking a taxi from Thong Sala to Haad Rin is minimum 400 baht if you travel alone.
A lot of the taxi drivers drive like maniacs on these roads. If the breaks malfunction in one of the steep hills you are pretty much history.
When it is full moon party in Haad Rin, taxi drivers drive as fast as they can from Haad Rin to Thong Sala. The more poeple they can drive, the more money they make.
If you participate at the Full Moon party, make sure to book a hotel / hostel in Haad Rin, and not in Thong Sala. That way you don’t have to take a taxi back home at night in the hills.
I talked with a nurse at a hospital, and she said that every time there is a Full Moon party at Haad Rin, people die and get badly hurt in that hill road. The taxi drivers put as many people as possible in these taxis, 100 baht per person. Some months ago a taxi went outside a hill, and 12 people died. This is no joke.
When you drive motorbike you should take it easy. The roads here have varying quality. You can be driving on a perfect road, then suddenly you hit a hole in the road and crash. There is a lot of dust and gravel on the roads, so take it easy in the curves.
The hospitals are filled up with people with big cuts and broken bones because they fucked up when driving motorbike. Not only that, the motorbikes here are not insured. If you wreck a motorbike, you have to pay for new one. The motorbike I was driving cost 60.000 baht new.
Thailand have a lot of street dogs, but this island is infested with street dogs. They are everywhere. Most of the time they are no problem, but at night a lot of dogs turn aggressive because they want to defend their territory. The dogs are outside malls, 7/11’s, hotels, hostels, bars, in the middle of the street. If you drive a motorbike at night, some dogs will chase you.
I got attacked one time outside my hostel by 7 dogs at night when I came back from drinking. They barked and tried to bite my pants. I had to jump up on a pool table, take a pool cue, and hit one of the dogs on the back, then they backed off…
If you get aggressive attention from a pack of dogs. Don’t run, don’t look afraid, and don’t look them in the eyes. Just walk away slowly and try to get up somewhere they can’t reach you.
There is one exception, and that is pit-bulls and rottweilers, if they attack you. RUN. They will not only bite, but lock their jaws and twist their necks until your muscles get ripped out of your leg.
Local people are mostly friendly, but at night you will see young Thai men in groups just doing nothing. Some of these men are looking for drunk farangs that they can steal from.
A lot of the locals at this island is fed up with the tourists, and the threshold for some of these guys to attack you are pretty low. Some time ago a tourist was stabbed to death by a group of aggressive Thai men when he tried to break up a fight.
If you see these groups, don’t look at them, don’t to anything disrespectful and don’t walk alone. If you are very drunk they might target you. If possible, take another route home to avoid them. I lot of people on this island have had a bad experience with tourists, and have, in their head, a good reason to hate all tourists.
Try to avoid them. Why? When there is a half moon / full moon the locals goes around on the beach picking up used buckets, then put them right back into rotation. I did take a look into some of the buckets that were about to be sold. They were full of sand and other shit. The local people will not bother to clean the buckets. A lot of people get diarrhea and other weird infection symptoms after drinking the buckets.
Order a cup instead, they are always sold new (clean).
I was here with three of my friends. All of them were sick for two days after the Full Moon Party with stomach pain and diarrhea. All of us drank the same amount of alcohol and ate the same food. They drank the buckets, I did not.
When we were going back to Bangkok, one of my friends got really sick one more time. This time with severe stomach pain and fever. I had to cancel my flight back to Bangkok to stay with him. While he was in hospital for three days, I was roaming the streets of Surat Thani city. You can read my location review here.
Make sure to have travel insurance when you are visiting Koh Pha Ngan. If you pass out at Full Moon and someone have to bring you to a hospital, most of the hospitals here are private. A night at First Western Hospital in Thong Sala will set you back 25.000 – 50.000 baht, depending on what treatment you’ll need.
A lot of people get drugged at Full Moon Party, just to wake up the next day in a hospital bed with a 40.000 baht bill. Not fun if you don’t have travel insurance.
I just learned some really serious stuff. My brother was at Full Moon party recently. He told me that the hospitals at Koh Pha Ngan have started to reject people that comes in at night IF they don’t have any ID or proof of travel insurance.
My brother said that unconscious pasients came to the hospital, but the hospital rejected them and told the dependents to bring the unconscious person to the Red Cross tent instead. I’ve seen that Red Cross tent and the medical care is very limited there.
Always remember your ID and travel insurance card when attending Full Moon Party.
If you just want to live the hakuna matata lifestyle this island is as good as it gets. You got the beaches, the big undeveloped areas and a lot of fun hill roads to drive motorbikes. You can rent scooters, dirt bikes, sport bikes, harleys. Whatever suits you best. Occasionally you have some pretty big events where you can let loose and party like there is no tomorrow!
Most Thai people here are very laidback, if relaxing is your goal, go to Koh Pha Ngan!
Yeah, the full moon sucks, and at this day you should be a little street smart, but that party is just once a month, so it’s not that big of a deal. Just hide at the other side of the island if it gets to crowded.
If you feel that you have to go somewhere else. You have Koh Samui and Koh Tao just next door. With speedboat it takes about one hour to both islands. At Koh Samui you even have an airport with flights to Bangkok, Phuket, Krabi, Hong Kong and Singapore.
If you find a local hot women at this island you can really live the dream life. Chill on the beach every day, eat cheap and delicious Thai food three times a day, have sex every night and party like a maniac 2-3 times a month. What more can you really ask for?
Renting a motorbike is a must. My best memories from this island will be when I was just cruising around with no plan at all.
Available girls: 3/5
Party situation: 4/5
Cost of living: 4/5
Goodbye Boring Life Score:
14 / 20
If you want to try some really tasty Thai food. There is an awesome Thai restaurant here. I had like 6 different dishes here and I ate until it was painful. I went here with some local Thai people, it is absolutely a hidden jewel.