Koh Phangan is one of the most gorgeous islands located only 12 km north of Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand. It is a popular tourist destination in Thailand. Koh Phangan does not have an airport, so it relies on boats and ferries as a means of connection to the mainland and to Koh Samui.
The island is famous for its lush green jungles, white sandy beaches, full moon parties, and multiple diving sites. Koh Phangan is a relatively small island, however, if you want to make the best of your holidays, make sure you know all the options of transportation.
Getting around in Koh Phangan is pretty easy. Most hotels and beach resorts are located close to the beach. You can explore the island, restaurants, and nightlife areas on your own. If your hotel is far from the main beaches, they can also arrange a taxi or longtail boat for you to explore the island. There are plenty of modes of transportation in Koh Phangan to fully explore it and enjoy the stay. From renting a motorbike to a car, songthaews taxi to bicycle, minibus to long tail boats. You can choose any mode of transportation that suits you the most.
Get a scooter or motorbike
If you want to explore the island at your own pace, a scooter or motorbike is the go-to choice. Riding a scooter up and down the hills along the spectacular coastline can give you an incredible feeling of freedom and joy.
There are plenty of places to hire motorbikes at a reasonable price. You will need to deposit your passport or deposit some cash. Make sure to take some photos of the bike when you rent it, so you are prepared in case there is any damage to the bike when you return it. Note that most scooter rental comes without any insurance.
If you are going to rent a motorbike, just be aware of the dangers. The roads are steep and bumpy. Make sure you wear a helmet and proper shoes instead of flip-flops and don’t over-speed. In addition, it is good to bring your driving license and to have health insurance, and both should be valid abroad.
Rent a car
Another good way to see Koh Phangan and its beautiful surroundings is to rent a car. Traveling by car allows you to go around the island in comfort. This option is most suitable if you are traveling with small children. In addition, if you are visiting during the rainy season between October and November, you are safe from sudden rainfall.
Typical rental cars are small Jeeps or compact cars. With a small car, you can be sure to get around the narrow roads and always find parking without blocking traffic.
There are also some challenges to driving on the streets of Koh Phangan. Until a few years ago, there were almost no cars on Koh Phangan, since everybody used only scooters. Nowadays you must be prepared to deal with a lot of inexperienced car drivers, who speed and stop randomly or do not give clear direction signals.
Take a Taxi
The Songthaew Taxis are a popular and convenient mode of transportation frequently used by visitors. They easily carry 8 to 10 people and stop along roughly pre-defined routes, but you can also specify exactly where you want to go.
A songthaew taxi is a combination of a taxi and a bus, mainly used to carry people, but sometimes also for transporting goods. The taxi waits to fill up with passengers and drop them off at their desired places. If you are impatient and want to ride by immediately you may have to negotiate with the driver.
Songthaew taxis stand near the ferry pier in Thongsala Port and in Haad Rin, and run around the island to collect and drop off passengers. The most popular route is between Haad Rin and Thong Sala. Here, you will easily find taxis offering to transfer you to your destination. The fare depends on the distance and time of the day. Usually, their charges are cheap and you can conveniently reach your destination on time.
Ride a bicycle
Another option is to get a bicycle. If you are physically fit and strong why not give it a go? Cycling is a very healthy way of getting around Koh Phangan, you can stop anywhere and enjoy the scenic views and appreciate the scenery around Koh Phangan.
Sports and fun-loving people can rent a bicycle easily from a nearby shop for half a day or a full day. Bicycles are available in Ban Tai, Sri Thanu, and Thong Sala as well as at some hotels, which provide bicycles to their guests. The offer varies between mountain bikes and city bikes.
Most of the roads on Koh Phangan are asphalt and well suitable for cycling. Make sure you bring a water bottle to protect yourself from dehydration. Wear comfy shoes or joggers, sunglasses for sun protection, and a helmet for your safety.
Moreover, plan out your route carefully. If you are traveling between Thong Sala, Hing Kong, and Sri Thanu, the roads are flat and you can ride easily. However, if you want to go in and out of Haad Rin, you better be in good shape and have a bike with multiple gears.
Travel by Boat
One of the best ways to see the picturesque island is to ride in a boat. Long tail boats are available at Haad Rin Pier, Thongsala, Baan Tai, and most of the beaches. Some beaches, like Bottle Beach, Haad Yuan, and Haad Thian are only accessible by long-tail boats. The boats can take you to some of the hidden diving, fishing, and snorkeling spots.
The taxi boats operate on Phangan’s north and east coasts, however, you can hire a long-tail boat for a full-day or half-day trip to other beaches on the island. From the boat, you can view the amazing cliffs, lagoons, peaceful surroundings, and pristine beaches. Don´t miss out on seeing the beautiful island of Koh Phangan from this completely different angle.
Walking or Hiking
Finally, you can always get around the island by walking or hiking. If you love nature and adventure, you should go for a stroll or go hiking, explore the island on foot, and witness the untouched tropical beaches and viewpoints. There are many hiking trails in Koh Phangan however, The Khao Ra hike is the toughest and highest peak on the island.
Enjoy the lush jungle, a stream, a water reservoir, and breathtaking views of the northern part of the island and Chaloklum Beach. It´s 4 hours long hike, so make sure to bring enough water and some food with you. In addition, do not forget your sunglasses and protect yourself from the sun. The best time for hiking is in the early morning when it’s not too hot.
These are the most convenient modes of transportation to get around Koh Phangan. How about you try them all so you can have the best of experiences?