Explore the bays and beaches.
As Ko Pha Ngan has (so-far) dodged the airport bullet, the only way to get to and from the island is by boat, and while regular ferries ply the standard commuter legs, there are a few options for other boat trips that tend to be far more fun than a night boat to Surat Thani.
While most travellers tend to visit Ang Thong Marine Park by tour from Ko Samui, you can also do the trip from Ko Pha Ngan with Orion Boat Trips who get excellent reviews for their comfy boat and relaxed attitudes. If you're travelling with kids they'll love the slide at the back of the boat. Trips start at 09:00 from Ban Tai and you're back on Ko Pha Ngan around 18:00-18:30 in the evening. The trip costs 1,700 baht per person, or 1,900 baht if you’d like to do kayaking as well. The price includes transfer to and from wherever you're staying on Ko Pha Ngan, kids 4 to 10 are half price and under 4 are free. The price does not include the National Park entry fee of 300 baht.
Longtail snorkelling and beach tours that hop around to various beaches on the island and are sold all over Ko Pha Ngan. Munchies remains a popular option, but you can just as easily roll together your own trip and approach a longtail driver on Haad Rin. A typical trip from Haad Rin would visit Haad Yao (east), Haad Sadet (for the waterfall), Thong Nai Pan Noi, Bottle Beach and perhaps Haad Khom, but you can go further – it is down to how much you are willing to pay (and how long you're happy to spend on a longtail rather than in the water or on the beach). Expect to pay around 1,000 baht per person for a day trip that includes snorkelling gear – the more people you can rustle up the cheaper it gets.
Don't be surprised if the longtail driver offers a bag of weed along the way – just keep in mind Thailand's laws in regard to this kinda thing.
Longer around-Ko Pha Ngan boat trips are also on offer, but these are not such a good deal, primarily because you spend so much time in the boat chugging along the coast. If that's what you want to do, then perfect, but if you're really set on snorkelling and laying on the beach, shorter trips by longtail are a better bet.
If you’re into fishing, Ko Pha Ngan’s waters offer a good chance to snare your own catch of the day and Phangan Funny Tour offers both daytime and night fishing trips with the day trip costing 1,200 baht and the night trip 1,500 baht. Rates include fishing equipment, lunch, snacks and soft drinks.
Orion Tours T: (081) 894 5076 http://www.phanganboattrips.com/
Phangan Funny Tour T: (077) 445 905;(086) 952 4543 https://www.facebook.com/Phangan-Funny-Tour-1016685568350969/
Stuart McDonald co-founded Travelfish.org with Samantha Brown in 2004. He has lived in Thailand, Cambodia and Indonesia, where he worked as an under-paid, under-skilled language teacher, an embassy staffer, a newspaper web-site developer, freelancing and various other stuff. His favourite read is The Art of Travel by Alain de Botton.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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