Ko Phangan is located in northeast Thailand that is known for its wild monthly Full Moon Party. This boisterous, full moon party, which is loosely tied to the new moon calendar, attracts revelers from all across Thailand and neighboring regions to its southerly peninsula, Haad Rin. The party is normally held every month, on the night of the full moon, from late January to early February. Many festivities center around the pristine white-sand beaches of Hat Thanai and Na Muang beaches, whose beaches are packed with tourists during the week. To the south lie quieter, palm-fringed beaches like Ban Saket and Haad Kuad, which also attract local fishermen and tourists.
Ko Pha Ngan, the name of the island itself, is pronounced Ko Pha Ngan and refers to the “coconuts island.” Unlike other nearby islands, Ko Pha Ngan experiences less commercial development and tends to preserve its native culture. While you can find everything from roadside stalls to souvenir shops on the island, there are no coffee or McDonald’s restaurants and very few Western-style motels.
Itineraries for the Full Moon Parties vary from island to island. On Phan Ngan, the full moon ceremonies happen at 11 pm, followed by a celebration with music, dancing, and merriment. The revelers then spend the night on the beach, roasting coconuts and sharing drinks with their friends. This is followed by another party at sundown, when revelers again share drinks, eat snacks, and play games on the beach. The Full Moon parties of both Haad Rin and Ko Pha Ngan are intensely popular, with about 150 revelers turning out for each.
The Full Moon party of Ko Pha Ngan isn’t the only cultural event that you will see on this island. Every month throughout the month of April, Thais hold an event called Lavan Kaing. This is a gathering of all ages that is characterized by a parade and other events. In addition to watching the parade, you can engage in activities such as rowing a canoe or playing volleyball on the beach. Children and adults alike have a great time taking part in this traditional cultural event.
For the most part, Ko Pha Ngan stays relatively empty during the summer months. Tourists tend to focus their attention elsewhere during this period. If you want to get away from the crowds and see this island in its true splendor, you may need to extend your trip a little bit. Phuket and Ko Pha Ngan are only a couple of hours away by car, so you can take a day trip to explore the island in your own timeframe.
If you are planning on spending some time on Ko Pha Ngan, you should make it a point to visit Lavan Kaing, which serves as the cultural hub of the island. Thais are very proud of their heritage and the heritage of their ancestors. This is why there are so much history and culture to be found at Lavan Kaing, so it is well worth making an effort to go during your stay on the island.