Koh Pha Ngan is known for many things, the most prominent being the Full Moon Party. This festival draws partiers to Haad Rin, its southeastern peninsula, which is littered with bungalows and hostels. Everyone visits then leaves right after Full Moon, ignoring some of the most beautiful beaches and waterfalls in Thailand. I see what the allure is. There is nothing like running around a beach dressed up as a tropical Santa Clause for Christmas.
Once you are outside of Haad Rin, life calms down. Rent a motorbike and head up the West coast, you’ll hit resort after resort which are barren in comparison. The beaches are absolutely beautiful. Make sure you dress up your motorbike! The picture doesn’t show it, but we mounted mini Christmas trees to the motorbikes 🙂
If you continue north, you’ll eventually encounter Ko Ma, one of the most romantic spot I have ever visited (pictures do not do it justice). Ko Ma is a peninsula that sits north west of Koh Pha Ngan. To get to this island, you have to wade through waist deep water.
The further you drive, the more isolated you get. The roads turn into dirt and gravel and lessen. The once flat sheets of concrete and asphalt become a hilly terrain with ruts as deep the height of the motorbike tires. Bottoming out the motorbike is inevitable. The road will take you into huge ditches, through rivers that flow where your feet rest and through jungle forests so thick and entangled they shade the way forward. It is only here that you will see what the island truly has to offer.
Koh Pha Ngan is by far the most fun, and dangerous, island to explore. In fact, I had more fun on this island than any other stop in Thailand.