It was late afternoon when we arrived in Koh Phangan, from what was a pretty busy ferry costing 600baht each from Koh Tao (£13) – presumably full of people in the same situation as us, booked for the full moon which was now cancelled. But we were ready to travel and see this beautiful island.

After negotiating a taxi to our abode for the next few days, which was on the other side of the island, it cost around 150baht each (£3.50) which is pretty standard on the islands – make sure that they actually drop you outside of your hotel as they have a tendency to drop you off ‘nearby’ or ‘round the corner’ but 15 minutes later with our rucksacks we finally arrived. Little did we know what was in store for us upon checking in.

The Calm Before The Storm

We booked on prior to coming, a little place on Haad Rin (the beach where the Full Moon Party was taking place) called Lighthouse Bungalows. Walking along the beach to get to the place looked promising and the friendly English receptionist on check in was welcoming and actually upgraded us to a beautiful room. We showered and relaxed on our hammock overlooking the sunset before headed back out to grab some dinner. Sounds great right?

Well actually, when we were heading out, the receptionist grabbed us and apologised for the fact that we actually can’t have the upgrade until 2 days into our stay and that we had to go back into the standard room we originally booked for the first 2 nights.

We hesitantly went upstairs to re-pack our stuff, despite already being exhausted and hangry, to move into the standard room.

Though, this room was something we’d never seen before, one that Luke refused to sleep in! Without getting into too much detail, there was just bugs everywhere. Nests in the walls, in the bathroom and the floor didn’t even connect to the walls so anything and everything could crawl their way through in the middle of the night. So, from here we demanded our money back and started to look for a new place to spend our 4 nights. Luckily, our friend helped us out by suggesting a few places near to where she was staying – which turned out for the better looking back.

We got a taxi back over to the other side of the island (300baht £6.80) to check in to a place called Lime N Soda bungalows – which stills turns out to be Luke’s favourite place he has stayed in so far. Win win! Checking out the place, it was clean with no bugs! Had a swimming pool, pool bar and was right on top of the beach. We walked into town which was about 10 minutes to grab some food before ending the long night by chilling at the beach with a couple of friends.

Waking up refreshed after the night before’s antics, we headed down to grab our (free) breakfast – great start! A full English for Luke and an omelette for me. Afterwards, we headed towards the rear to see what the hotel was actually like.. and to no surprise at all, it was beautiful. White sands, crystal clear waters, chairs to relax in with curtains draped blowing in the gentle sea breeze, a swimming pool, pool bar & a swing and hammock overlooking the whole, peaceful backdrop – until Luke broke the hammock of course.

Beaches and Night Markets

From here we quickly left the neglected hammock and headed back to the room to grab some bits before heading out on our first adventure in Koh Pha-Ngan. Our first stop was Had Mae Had beach on the north of the island (by far the best one we’ve both seen so far)! Ko Ma is an island connected to Had Mae Had by what can only be described as a beach walkway with ocean on either side – home to beautiful coral, turtles and reef sharks (completely harmless) it’s just a shame we never saw any!

From a quick dip, we headed towards the lookout point. The viewpoint wasn’t easy to find and turns out it’s not an official one, but after climbing up a vertical steep hill, we called it a day and took some pictures before starting our descent back down.

Next on the itinerary was another 2 beaches (you will see a theme here) called Haad Salad and Secret Beach. This was located on the North-West of the island. They both were stunning beaches but nothing compared to the one we went to prior! Secret beach, weren’t really a secret though, I don’t know where it got it’s name, but they have a nice little area with a wooden swing also!

After this, we headed to a night market near to us called Thong Sala. Although not big in size, it certainly had massive choice full of desserts, Thai food, western choices, little snacks and the list goes on.. my idea of heaven – hence why we ate here every night!

Full Moon Party

We got back to our hotel and had a couple of drinks at the bar before heading back out to Jane’s place where we’d rounded up about 12 travellers, including us, to start pre-drinking and getting ready for the ‘cancelled’ full moon party. Loads of drinks, body paint and pictures later, we shared a taxi to get down to Haad Rin beach. For somewhere that was meant to be cancelled, it was still pretty good! With the glow in the dark colours, fire jumping and buckets galore we made the most of it and returned home about 4am.

The reason why the full moon party was cancelled was due to the mourning of the king and therefore, places were on shutdown in respect. We both agreed that we will definitely be back at some point to experience the real full moon party – watch this space!

The next day was a write off due to both of us being severely hungover! Apart from again, the Thong Sala night market for dinner.

Beaches and Sunset

Waking up the next day feeling human again. We went down for some breakfast before running back to our hotel due to it monsoon-ing! Once it finally stopped it was early afternoon meaning that we only had a few hours left of sunlight to squeeze in the rest of Koh Phangan as we were leaving the next day.

We headed to Haad Rin beach to see in it the daylight and not the crowded, drinking mess it was a couple nights ago. It was beautiful, just like the others. One of the most popular beaches so was a little crowded. After about 30 minutes of sunbathing and Luke getting agitated due to boredom (as always!) we headed to the next beach that we wanted to fit in called Thong Nai Pan Yai beach. This one was lovely and quieter than the others, with bars lining the side of the beach and playful dogs running into the sea and falling over themselves on the beach – me and Luke were in paradise as we love dogs. There was a really cute puppy that was the size of my palm as well!!

After the excitement of that and many cuddles, we headed to Amsterdam Bar, a must do to see the beautiful sunset. The bar was so crowded with many people having the same idea of us. After the sun set, we headed off to our hotel for a couple of drinks before going back to bed for our ferry to Koh Samui tomorrow morning.


  • Go to Thong Sala night market, even if you’re at the other side of the island.
  • If you stay at lighthouse bungalows – get the upgrade!
  • Arrive at Amsterdam bar early
  • Don’t have anything planned the day after a full moon party – you won’t make it, trust me

About The Author

Wanderlust Lab is a collaboration between Abbie and Luke for the sharing of travelling knowledge to help backpackers and travellers all across the globe. Live Wanderlust.

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