How to Travel to Koh Phangan from Bangkok
Thailand is a beautiful country offering amazing modern cities, tranquil small towns, beautiful beaches and incredible islands. Every destination is different but some are more amazing than others, including the world famous island of Koh Phangan.
The city of Bangkok and the party island of Koh Phangan are two essential places to add to your Thailand itinerary. As the capital of the country, Bangkok is the perfect melting pot of culture, tradition, and modern Thai lifestyle with its list of temples, shopping areas, and markets to visit.
Koh Phangan, on the other hand, is a picturesque island that’s perfect for those who want to experience nature, and then party hard once night falls. It is common for visitors traveling to the country to spend a few days in Bangkok first, and then jump off from there to experience the islands.
Most international flights arrive into Bangkok, and from here there are so many transport options for how to get to Koh Phangan. Check out our recommendations including the cheapest and also best ways to get to the incredible island of Koh Phangan.
Where is Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan is Thailand’s fifth-biggest island and one of the most popular destinations for tourists. Koh Phangan is located off Thailand’s Gulf coast, south of Bangkok. This island is has an area the size of 125km² and a population of around 12,000.
Why Visit Koh Phangan
Here are some reasons you need to visit this gem of an island:
- Warm weather all year round
- Beautiful pristine white sandy beaches
- Affordable accommodation
- International vibe
- The Full Moon Party
- Tasty local food and night markets
- Lots of activities and things to do
- Amazing island hopping trips
Bangkok to Koh Phangan - Go by Bus, Train or Flight?
There are four options ways you can travel from Bangkok to Koh Phangan - by train, by bus, and by plane. All of these options will lead you to Koh Phangan.
To get to Koh Phangan you can book:
- Bus + Ferry: The cheapest way to go.
- Plane + Ferry: Generally the quickest and most comfortable way to travel.
- Train + Ferry:
- Organised Tour: More expensive than going independently, but this can be a lot more fun.
Still not sure how to decide which transport to book? Check out our recommendations below.
Most Affordable Ways to Travel
There is the option to book travel in advance, or on arrival in Thailand. Local vendors/travel agents can be found throughout popular tourist areas of Bangkok and this is usually the most affordable way to go.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan By Bus
The cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Koh Phangan is to book a bus and then a connecting ferry via Hua Lamphong station. This journey takes around 13-14 hours which might seem a lot, but most buses travel overnight and are very comfortable. Buses can be booked online, or on arrival in Bangkok via a travel agent. This is the best way to travel if you are on a small backpacker budget.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan By Train
If you interested in the idea of travelling by train in Thailand you can book to depart from Bangkok's Surat Thani station to the south of the country. On arrival, you can transfer to ferries that take you to Koh Phangan. The journey takes around 9 to 12 hours depending on the time of departure. You can book sleeper trains and travel overnight which is recommended.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan By Plane
Flying is generally the quickest way to get to Koh Phangan, you can fly from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi airport using airlines like Air Asia, Bangkok Air, and Thai airways.
The flight takes around hour and a half at most and as Koh Phangan doesn't have an airport, the closest airport is Samui International Airport. From Koh Sanui you can get a ferry to Koh Phangan. The total journey time is around 5-6 hours which is around half the time of taking the bus or train.
Bangkok to Koh Phangan Tours
Lots of local and international companies offer group tours of Thailand which include both Bangkok and Koh Phangan in the itinerary. You will get to travel in a group with other travellers and get an experienced guide.
This is the most expensive way to travel, but it can be of the most fun. You will meet people from all over the world, not have to worry about booking accommodation or transport, and also get taken to some of the best places.
Tour prices vary depending on the duration, itinerary and operator.
Essential Things to Do in Bangkok & Koh Phangan
Bangkok and Koh Phangan are the exact opposite of the other, making them the perfect destinations for the type of traveler who wants a taste of everything.
In both destinations though you can go on a cultural journey one day, visiting temples and palaces, and then go out partying till dawn breaks on another. If you are considering to visit these destinations, here’s some of the best things to do where you can experience the highlights.
Bangkok, also known as ‘The Big Mango’, is the center of life in Thailand. Here you can jump from visiting religious locations to experiencing the country’s urban life by weaving through its colorful streets. The capital of the country has such diverse offerings that it’s almost impossible to experience them all even if stay there for a week.
Here are the top tourist spots you should include on your Bangkok itinerary:
The Grand Palace
The former residence of the Kings of Siam is one of Thailand’s most iconic landmarks. The palace complex, which is composed of buildings set meticulously on manicured gardens, may not house royalty now, but it is still being used by The Royal Family for their official functions. The palace houses the Temple of the Emerald Buddha which is considered as one of the most important symbols in Buddhism.
This destination is the home of the world-famous 50m long golden reclining Buddha. The statue symbolizes Buddha’s state before he achieved Nirvana and is surrounded by bowls where you can put coins for the sake of making merit.
Khao San Road
Also dubbed as the heart of the backpacking universe, this short strip of road offers a thriving social scene with its infamous night parties. The spot is also filled with cheap accommodations, making it the perfect area to stay if you’re traveling on a budget.
One cannot visit Bangkok and not make a stop at Jay Fai, the namesake restaurant of Supinya Jay Fai Junsuta, hailed by many as the Queen of Thai Street Food. This unassuming food spot is most known for its crab omelets and drunken noodles.
Best Things to Do in Koh Phangan
Didn’t get enough partying in Bangkok? Koh Phangan is the best destination if you want to up the ‘wildness’ factor of your Thai adventure! Here’s a quick itinerary that you can use as a reference for your visit.
Full Moon Party
Koh Phangan doesn’t have a shortage of beautiful landscapes, but it is most known for its monthly Full Moon parties which attract an average of 30,000 visitors from all over the world. The beach-side, open-air celebration starts early in the evening and lasts until the break of dawn. Check Full Moon Party dates before departing.
Ang Thong National Marine Park
Glorious party aside, Koh Phangan is also the perfect place to visit if you want to try snorkeling or kayaking. Ang Thong National Marine Park offers amazing seascape views and colorful underwater scenes that make it the perfect spot to drop by if you want to do some water adventures. If you are keen to do something rewarding like going to volunteer in Thailand, there are options in the Ang Thong National Marine Park.
Thong Sala Night Market
Another gem of the island, this night market is popular among tourists for its wide variety of offerings that all come at very affordable prices. Even the pickiest of eaters will find something to love here, with street vendors peddling Western fare like pizza to more traditional cuisines like Pad Thai. Want to bring your love for food to the next level? You can also attend a cooking class at The Phangan Cooking Class in the area and learn how to prepare dishes like Tom Kha Kai.
Than Sadet Waterfall
It’s not only the beach that this island is known for. Koh Phangan also has amazing waterfalls like the Than Sadet which you can hike if you’re wanting to take a break from all the water activities. Another option to consider is the Than Praphet Waterfall which leads directly to the sea. A note of advice though, do mind the season and weather before planning your trek. It is best to drop by during the high season when the weather is generally better.
Bangkok and Koh Phangan both have distinct charms that have elevated them into tourist favorites. Bangkok is perfect for a cultural experience that is a mix of modern and traditional while Koh Phangan is THE destination if you want a perfect combination of partying and adventure. So many have the misconception that you have to choose one and the other. To this, Thailand says: why not have both?
Have you been to Koh Phangan? Got any advice to share? Let us know in the comments section below.