Koh Phangan, Thailand

Just 15 kilometres north of easy-to-access Koh Samui, this postcard-perfect island is no longer hidden off the beaten track – and it's not just the Full Moon revellers who are beating a path to its sun-drenched shores... Luxury lovers are lining up for a glam getaway, skipping between day spas, beach bars and scuba sessions, and partygoers from the past are returning en masse, but this time around with a family in tow.

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When to go

Koh Phangan has two high seasons – from May to November and from January to March. It’s still pleasantly sunny during the off-peak periods, but be prepared for rain. By far the busiest times are during the full moon, when hotels book up for days leading up to and after the infamous monthly parties.

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Getting there

  • Planes

    Fly into Koh Samui Airport (www.samuiairportonline.com), 15 kilometres from Koh Phangan. Operated by the hip, Hawaiian-shirt-wearing people at Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com), it receives the airline’s regional jets from Bangkok, Phuket, Singapore and Hong Kong, among others. Thai Airways (www.thaiairways.com) also flies from Bangkok. From there, you'll have to take a boat transfer to Koh Phangan.
  • Boats

    If you have time to spare, you might want to take a Seatran Ferry (www.seatranferry.com) from the mainland to one of three ports on Koh Samui, but be prepared for confusing timetables and a rather long trip (it takes between one and three hours in dry season, depending on the boat). Once on Samui it’s easy to get ferries and longtail boats to Koh Phangan.
  • Automobiles

    Narrow, steep roads make driving here tricky for the uninitiated. You can hire cars on the island, but we recommend tootling around town on a bicycle instead.