Ko Pha Ngan is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Ko Pha Ngan as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Ko Pha Ngan’s different areas.
Haad Rin is the most popular spot on Ko Pha Ngan, largely for its thriving nightlife, with a long strip of clubs along Sunrise Beach that pump out the techno jams for drunken tourists to dance until dawn every night. This is also the home of the infamous Full Moon Party held once a month on or around the full moon. Tranquillity-seekers are advised to stay in town or on Sunset Beach, or better still, on a different beach altogether.
Haad Rin remains one of the best-known beaches in Thailand — with a long, wide swath of squeaky white sand and sea deep enough for good swimming even during lower tides, there's many reasons to come here apart from the party.
In season, Haad Rin Nok (Sunrise Beach) is packed much of time by jet skis and hundreds of sunbathers, volleyballers and various other fun-seekers and sun-worshippers. Haad Rin Nai (Sunset Beach) is more peaceful and the resorts more reasonably priced, but the beach is not anywhere near as pretty. The much longer and narrower strip of sand is generally rougher, and the water is much shallower — really too shallow to swim in the lower tidal seasons (May to July).
Don't expect an authentic Thai experience here, but rather hordes of young western backpackers crowding the streets, watching movies and sitcoms in the restaurants by day and partying till they drop come the evening.
Travellers can find anything they might need in Haad Rin. ATMs and money exchange are plentiful, and every other shop is a travel agent or internet provider, or both. Most guesthouses and resorts here offer laundry service, and a plethora of mini marts, including 7-Elevens, pharmacies and nursing clinics are easy to find.
By Romi Grossberg.