This island famous for its Full Moon parties fills the horizon north of Samui. It now rivals Samui for the number of bungalow resorts on its beaches, but the style is still more rustic with rough dirt tracks and some paved roads linking some of the beaches. There is only one small town on the southwest corner of the island, thong Sala. this has a large jetty and numerous ferry services linking it to Samui and Surat thani on the mainland. There is a large, interesting fishing town in a northern bay, Chalok Lam.
Budget-conscious travellers have switched allegiance to Koh Phangan, and beach scenes are reminiscent of the laid-back Samui of the mid-80s. Bungalow accommodation is cheap, attracting the young party set from all corners of the globe, who make their way to the island via Surat Thani and Na Thon by ferry.
The east coast of the island offers ideal sailing conditions and flat clear deep water with constant offshore winds in the southwest season. There are seven beaches offering many anchoring possibilities.
The island has two mountain ranges, several waterfalls and long beaches, numerous coves and one deep water port. like its southern neighbour, Koh Samui, the island is carpeted with legions of coconut trees.
14 miles from ao Nathon, Samui
This day anchorage lies in 5-10 metres on the south coast of Koh Phangan. The beach is fringed with coral, and the wind, channelled as it is between the islands, often creates a ground swell. The action in the bars ashore is a big draw for some, but this is really a marginal stopover for a cruising yacht.
5 miles from haad Rin Nai
The best anchorage is on the northern end of the beach in about 6 metres on a sandy bottom.
There are many restaurants and bungalows ashore. This beach, heir to the Goa and Bali of the late ‘60s and early ’70s, has been made famous by ‘full moon parties’ and ‘half moon parties’ attracting thousands of uninhibited revellers every month.
9 miles from haad Rin Nai
Anchor in 8 metres on a sandy bottom, well offshore in the middle of the bay. This bay is named after tharn Sadet waterfall, which has a spectacular view of the bay and can be reached by following the creek from the sea.
Along the way are engravings commemorating the visits of Kings Rama V, Rama VI and the present king, Rama IX — and pools big enough to bathe in. A two-inch pipe carries water to the beach, where you can fill your jerry cans for a nominal fee. There are many small restaurants on the beach.
11 miles from haad Rin Nai
This large double bay boasts two of the best beaches on the island with fine white sand backed by lush green mountains. The southern bay is the most protected while the northern one can be subject to swell. Anchor on a sandy bottom in 6-8 metres in front of the big tree on the beach.
The Panviman Resort has a great infinity edge pool and superb views over the bays from the rocky headland that separates them. A short trek will take you to the thaanprawet waterfall.
13 miles from haad Rin Nai
10 miles from haad Rin Nai
Just around the headland to the north is had Khuat (bottle in thai), an appealing little bay with resorts ashore. Avoid the charted rock on the eastern side of the bay on approach. anchor in 6-7 metres nearer to the western side to get the best shelter from westerly swells. Good restaurants ashore.
Further west is Ban Chalok lam, the island’s second town. often used by fishing vessels, it has a fermented fish sauce factory – interesting for a short trip if you can handle the stench.
A sealed road goes to the main town, Ban thong Sala. on the hill above is the Kuan-im shrine, a temple where visitors burn incense sticks; the entrance offers one of the island’s finest views.
Ao Mae Haad has several bungalows and restaurants and is a good swimming and diving location. Anchor in 8-12 metres on sandy bottom.
Just to the south of the western point of Koh Phangan, in a cleared channel through the fringing reef, is a fishing port. Beware the unmarked drying rock bank 400 metres off the eastern fringe reef.
3 miles from Haad Rin Nai
Anchor in 10 metres east off the small offshore island. This is the island’s principal port and town, as well as being the business and administrative centre.
The bigger passenger vessels arrive here, linking the island to Koh Samui and the mainland. the town has retained its character with wooden shophouses and many small restaurants.
While every effort has been made to ensure that the information contained in this book is accurate, the charts of anchorages are based on personal experience and satellite imagery and are intended as a guide only. They should not be used for navigation. Please refer to Official Hydrographic Charts of the respective countries.
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