In order to not overstay our visa while taking the Advanced Dive course we had to make a visa run. This involves getting on a boat to Koh Samui (a much bigger, more developed island), paying for a visa extension and then getting on a boat back. There are tons of little travel agencies all over Koh Tao where you can do this.
On the way back from Koh Samui to Koh Tao we decided to stop by Koh Phangan, home of the infamous Full Moon party where hordes of young (and young at heart) tourists flood Haad Rin Nok aka “the party beach” to take giant cheap buckets of jungle juice to the face, trip face on mushroom shakes, pop pills, and engage in whatever form of debauchery their hearts desire. Depending on who you are. This is either the Best Thing Evar or the Worst Thing Evar.
Here’s what that beach looks like when it’s NOT that time of the month.
Sand as soft as a baby’s butt. Warm clear water. Waves just large enough to be have some fun splashing around in but completely mellow. Sparsely populated. A few speedoed Euro men, some topless ladies. The one here appears to be in her birthday suit but I assure you that’s not the case. There are plenty of places to grab snacks and drinks while looking at the water.
Renting a scooter and going beach hopping is relatively easy.
Thong Nai Pan beach on the northeast side of the island was recommended by Nomadic Matt as one of his favorite beaches on the island and it didn’t disappoint. The scooter ride there from Haad Rin was quite pleasant on smooth, traffic free roads. You can rent kayaks, jet skis and ride one of these dealys. There might have been even less people on this beach.
Koh Phangan Travel Tips
- Scooter Beach Hopping Tour
Unless you have a scooter with off roads tires and are fairly skilled, experienced do not attempt to circle the island by taking the rut filled, uneven, hilly dirt road from Thong Nai Pan beach to the north side of the island.
There’s a chance your tires might lose traction, causing you to drop your bike and scrape your right knee and your right elbow and your right hip and both of your feet. Also you might scratch your scooter and have to pay $100…which could have easily been $300.
There’s also a chance that due to your open wounds, you won’t be able to continue diving in Koh Tao and you’ll have to change your plans and head to Cambodia earlier than expected.
So yeah…just go all the way back around the island. It won’t take you that long.
2. If you miss the Full Moon Party, there’s also a Half Moon Party.
Our arrival on the island happened to coincide with the Half Moon party! A combination of factors (getting up super early the past few mornings to dive, catch the ferry to Samui + dramamine) resulted in a planned 1 hour disco nap turning into 18 hours of sleep.
3. If you wake up super early for sunrise at Haad Rin beach it’s totes worth it.
kthat’sit. See you in Cambodia!