About Living in Koh Phangan
We spent four months living in Koh Phangan due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we’d love to tell you what it’s like. Let’s start with a few facts about Koh Phangan.
There are about 10,000 people that are living on the island and it is well known for their full moon parties that happen here once a month. If you’ve been to Southeast Asia, you would know that many people go to the island just for that party. The island doubles in size once a month when that time comes around. There is no airport in there so you would have to fly in to a neighbouring island and take a 30-minute boat ride to get to Koh Phangan. Pretty easy to get there. It is pretty small, you can get from one end to another in literally 20 minutes.
Where to Live in Koh Phangan
I’ve come to realise that different places and sectors give you different kinds of vibes. The Southern area is busier than the rest as that is where the boats come in. It is also the island’s city centre or town centre. It’s where the big grocery stores, hostels, shops and restaurants are.
There is also a western part of the island which includes many yoga centres, meditation centre and retreats. There are also a lot of vegan restaurants and spiritual places. You get that kind of vibe in the Western part of the Island. There are also great beaches to watch the sunset there.
Deciding Where to Live in Koh Phangan
The northern part of the island, where we stay at, is pretty chill and is relatively quiet. There are many diving shops there, because that is where a lot of the diving boats leave from. We wanted to stay there because we made this plan when the coronavirus pandemic was hitting the world. This is when we decided that we should not be so close to people. We honestly enjoyed our time here, especially when we have been here for about 2 and a half months when the island is opening up.
I suggest you stay in one of the busy areas if you are coming here for a relatively short period, like a week. However, if you are looking to permanently live here and set up shop here for a long time, the northern region would be a great choice as it is very quiet and peaceful. In the end, the island is so small that the northern part is so close to the rest of the parts, everything is basically a scooter ride away.
Koh Phangan Geography and Climate
This is a tropical island in the Gulf of Thailand. Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches, coastlines and waters in the world and Southeast Asia is the most popular place for scuba diving. So, if you want to learn how to scuba dive, this would be your place of choice. We just got our certification and we are excited to go scuba diving. Water activities like kite surfing, scuba diving, fishing and surfing are all very inexpensive and are activities that are easy to learn.
There is a huge yoga committee here in Koh Phangan which is not exactly the vibe of Thailand. It is very similar to Bali though. Muay Thai is the national sport of Thailand and it is everywhere. Sadly, we couldn’t experience it because of the pandemic safety measures. Muay Thai is great, whether you want to learn or whether you want to see people beat the crap out of each other. It is truly a fun sport to watch and try.
There is also a lot of greenery and rainforests there so you would still enjoy the place if you are interested in other activities like hiking. Half of the entire island is literally covered with rainforests and jungles so you should spend a few days checking it out. Pretty much the only thing you cannot do here is skiing, the sun is brutal so you wouldn’t want to do it.
A lot of showers would be needed as the sun is scorching hot, this also means you have to use multiple clothes a day unless you are willing to be sticky and dirty.
Despite the full moon parties, Koh Phangan isn’t a humungous party compared to places like Bali and Phuket. Even its sister island is more of a tourist centre. Koh Phangan is more for people who are looking to stay long-term or to spend a decent amount of time there.
It is quite popular to do ‘island hopping’. This is where you jump from one island to another, explore and check out each other’s culture. Most of the islands are very similar to each other, you might get a different vibe though. If you do go to the full moon parties, be safe as we heard that some weird things happen there. With COVID, who knows if/when there will be a full moon party.
Living in Koh Phangan- The Food
In Koh Phangan, there is a lot of cheap Thai food. When I am talking about cheap, I’m mainly meaning the $1 to $2 range. For that amount of money, you can get some amazing fruit smoothies and cut fruit. A lot of Thai restaurants have a decent amount of international food – you can still get sushi and Italian food that taste nice. There is a lot of Italian people here so the Italian food you are getting is top-notch. With the influx of foreign tourists, you get vegan cafes and a huge diversity of food.
However, there are nearly no fast-food chains here, this means you need to learn how to live without your Starbucks or your McDonalds. There are also some street food markets so you can find grilled food and food on sticks meals. Some fancy places have cool infinity pools that look over great scenery. The best part? Even though the food is cheap, it’s still delicious!
Cost of Living in Koh Phangan
Thailand is one of the cheapest places in the world. You can find good food and places to sit at a cheap cost. For example, you can get a modern, newly built 1 bedroom home on Airbnb for $500 a month. There are also bungalows and studios that you can get for about $300 a month. Cheap living does not you mean you have to live in a dilapidated shack.