For a small island only connected by sea, Koh Phangan offers a vast choice of activities. From watersports, martial arts, paintball, yoga and diving, for a change from the holiday staples of sunbathing and partying, there really is something to please everyone.
Snorkeling. The west coast of the island has a beautiful underwater reef, and is perfect for snorkeling. snorkeling can be arranged as part of a round-the island boat trip, or you can charter a fishing boat in order to spend longer at a specific site. Great reef locations include Haad Salaad, Haad Yao, Koh Ma and Haad Khom.
Hiking. There are some fantastic hikes along natural trails, especially those connecting the beaches along the east coast, and mountain biking through jungle trails is also popular, with bikes readily available for around 100 baht per day.
Shopping. There are some cute boutiques in Haad rin, just walk up from the main pier and browse. Great finds include funky fashion from Bangkok and Europe, some stunning silver/gemstone jewelry, and the usual assortment of 'designer' shades, cds and fishermans pants.
Thai Cooking Classes. Same Same Thai Cooking School is one of the only schools accredited by The Ministry of Education and highly recommended. They run classes every day and students get to choose and prepare 4 dishes.
Cuttlebone kiteboarding (081 940 1902) Ao Ban Tai offers instruction and equipment.
Wake Up! (087 283 6755) is a well run wakeboarding outfit on Chaloklum
Dreamland Divers (077 238 735) Tong Nai Pan Noi & Yai for courses, fun dives and trips for experienced divers.
The Jungle Gym (077 375 115) offers a full range of weights and cardio equipment. Classes available include beginner to advanced fighters in Muay Thai, Gracie Brothers trained Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu, power yoga and belly dancing workshops. Jungle Gym has a fully equipped fitness centre located in Haad Rin and a secondary centre in Haad Thian (east).
Agama Yoga (089 233 0217) is a tantric yoga school based in the of the island. They offer drop in classes and month-long retreats.
Cookies Sailing (083 181 7125) Ao Plaay Laem organise sailing trips and also offers windsurfing.
First Bow and Arrow Club (081 274 0173) is an archery range located in Chaloklum
Paintball Warfare (077 377 300) Gung-ho games for the big kid within, near Thongsala
Snoop Dogg Boat Trips (089 529 3828): you have to really, just for the name
Muay Thai gyms such as "Jungle Gym" in Haad Rin and Thongsala offer boxing training and work out facilities. Horizon Camp located in Haad Tien is an intensive training camp for long-termers. There are also frequent matches in the stadiums in Thongsala and Haad Rin for spectators.
Koh Pha Ngan What to see
The island of Koh Phangan, just 12km away from Koh Samui in the Gulf of Thailand has some great tourist sights in the interior. Koh Phangan has a long heritage as a spiritual centre, and a visiting place for Thai Royalty, and there are over 20 temples and numerous spots of outstsnding natural beauty. While the incredible coastline is the main attraction for most visitors, it is well worth checking out some of these recommended spots to get a real feel for the island as a whole.
Phaeng Waterfall and national park: The main waterfall on Koh Phangan is a steep 250m walk up a jungle trail, and a further 200m up the path will bring you to a fantastic mountaintop viewpoint, where you can also find the trail onward to Kao Ra. There is a temple and national park office near this important site.
Kao Ra is the highest mountain peak on Koh Pha-Ngan and is an incredible hillside viewpoint. It is quite a hike, but well worth it for the spectacular scenery, both on the trail and at the top. The footpath up the mountain starts at the village of Ban Madua Wan in the central region of the island. The trail can be tricky in places, so it is advisable to take advantage of guide services offered in the area.
Laem Son Lake: A popular bathing spot with shady areas on the banks perfect for picnicking, the lake is between Haad Yao and Srithanu in the nort-west.
Wat Phu Khao Noi: This is the oldest temple on the island, and has some striking chedi and amazing views, as it is located high on a hilltop outside of Tongsala.
Jade Buddha: Located near the entrance to Phaeng Waterfall, the jade Budha is inside the temple grounds.
Than Sadet: Waterfalls on the East of the island, this waterfall was first visited by King Rama V in 1888, and he has left his royal inscription on a rock there. It is not the largest of the falls, but after heavy rain is quite impressive and has nice clear pools for bathing and is situated in a lovely forested glade.
Angthong Marine Park: Is an island chain hosting some spectacular dive and snorkel sites. It is also great for kayaking, with limestone caves to explore, and crystal waters to enjoy. The trip fron Koh Phangan takes around an hour, and there are plenty of travel agents that can arrange day tours or overnight stays.