Photo: Welcome to Haad Thian.

Introduction

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Although best known for the monthly full moon parties, which attract thousands of travellers from all over the globe, there is a lot more to stunning Ko Pha Ngan than getting trashed and passing out in the powder-soft white sand.


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The mid-sized and quite mountainous island (it stretches over 168 sq km and 70% of its topography is mountainous jungle with the remainder beaches and coconut groves) is situated roughly a third of the way from Ko Samui to Ko Tao. The island’s original inhabitants are believed to have been either sea gypsies, or have come from Pattani or Nakhon Si Thammarat and once they settled the island, the main established industries became fishing and coconut cultivation.

Haad Rin on a good day. Photo taken in or around Ko Pha Ngan, Thailand by David Luekens.

Haad Rin on a good day. Photo: David Luekens

Today, the coconut and fishing industries are still going, but they’ve been surpassed in monetary value by tourism and while the original inhabitants may have been predominantly Muslim, the present day population is mostly Buddhist. This is in part due to the massive influx of labour from elsewhere in Thailand, seeking work in the thriving tourist industry. More recently, Ko Pha Ngan has seen a considerable influx of labour from neighbouring Burma — to the point where the staffer taking your dinner order is far more likely to be from Mawlamyine or Hpa-an in Burma than the island’s capital, ... Travelfish members only (Around 2,200 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.


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What next?

 Browse our independent reviews of places to stay in and around Ko Pha Ngan.
 Check prices, availability & reviews on Agoda or Booking
 Read up on where to eat on Ko Pha Ngan.
 Check out our listings of things to do in and around Ko Pha Ngan.
 Read up on how to get to Ko Pha Ngan, or book your transport online with 12Go Asia.
 Do you have travel insurance yet? If not, find out why you need it.
 Planning on riding a scooter in Ko Pha Ngan? Please read this.
 Buy a SIM card for Thailand—pick it up at the airport when you arrive.
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