Koh Samui and Koh Phangan islands are super beautiful islands off the coast of Thailand. We highly recommend a visit to the islands (which are 20min ferry apart between themselves), for honeymoon, family vacation or mad – parties with friends at Haad Rin beach at Phangan.
So we came from Hong Kong directly. We had two options to get to Koh Phangan once we landed in Bangkok.
- First was a direct flight from Bangkok (Bangkok Airlines). Plain and simple, direct and smooth. But – costlier.
- The other was Nok Air, which is much more indirect but more thrilling, flight, bus, ferry… all together. We took Nok Air option! … why, coz it was way cheaper. But to point out here, we were more like quite jaunt taking young couples with no kids then, for a smoother and journey with kids, just take the direct Bangkok Air flight. IMHO, not worth the pain with kids.
So the Nok Air flight from Bangkok’s domestic airport (Don Muang) takes us to Nakhon Si Thammarat airport from where we took the connecting bus to Surat Thani. The seats in ferry are not pre-reserved and the same ferry that went to Samui later went on to Phangan. We stayed at Koh Phangan.
Surat Thani ferry to Koh Samui and Phangan
… and that helped, as our luggage was piled on one on top of other and when Samui first came, we didn’t worry that our luggage was deep inside the pile (and we had no fragile items!). Phangan was another 20min after an hour of ferry to Samui. Was smooth journey overall. No mobile connection/Wi fi en-route though.
The luggage pile in front of the ferry
About the place
Samui and Phangan were really beautiful spots though. The south tip of the island has the renowned Haad Rin beach, where all the full moon parties take place. This place is usually quite booked, and we could not get the booking here as we were bit late in planning this trip. Well, blessing in disguise though.
A typical Koh Phangan beach around sunset
So we checked in Loyfa Bungalows on Day 1 by evening. The resort has a rustic feeling to it which is exactly what we were looking for.
Yep, that’s our resort… the view of and from the resort was quite amazing !
The view of the Loyfa Bungalow resort, from across the lake
A little review of Loyfa Bungalow
We stayed there for 6 days which includes the New Year’s Day. The rule in Samui/Phangan is that if you are there for special days such as New Year, you would have to stay for a minimum days time and also pay mandatorily extra for the gala dinner buffet they prepare for the New Year’s night.
Generally, the resort was decent, had rooms with wooden finish and attached bathrooms. The bed was comfortable and bathroom was decent. Cleanliness was well maintained. The swimming pool next to the restaurant was a delight for those who want to chill out all day, drinks are served at the pool.
The service was quite good and the staff was helpful. That said, they are off after 9pm and the restaurant also closes around 10pm so it is very difficult to get any room service or any service for that matter after that time. So need to prepare the night well in advance, especially if you have small kids with you, though Phangan is not a popular place with people having small kids.
Food was quite decent and servings were ample. The prices were also quite reasonable compared to any Phangan restaurant outside the resort.
Our suite, for two families, which was like two different bedrooms, with attached bathrooms and not connected internally but through this lobby. For the Phangan party we wanted to see – we hired the tuk tuk at 10pm in night which us to the south of the Phangan island, which is home to the parties!
We were there on Christmas night, and the madness in the party was much more than we thought, as if full moon parties are not mad enough. Bucket-full of alcohol… literally. Parties aside (which were not bad for a one time visit for us), the island is all about relaxing at the many resorts there, driving around in rented cars (incl. 4×4 SUVs) and on other side, underpowered bikes and scootys… haha!
We did lot of driving on this bike, all through the island. There is no gas station in the island as such but lots of shops selling fuel at slight premium, but that is not much. Thailand is still one of the cheaper places serving black gold!
Half day tour to the waterfalls and short trek up to one of the island peaks is also a must do, for the more adventurous. We did that, and boy, it was fun.. after 2 days of relaxing at the resort!
Hiring the car and roaming around Koh Phangan
It is quite easy to hire vehicles at Koh Phangan and typically, we give the passport as security while hiring the vehicles. We noticed the hiring guys didn’t even check to see if we had driving licenses. That said, play safe and always carry one.
The trucks like the one above is quite common there, but are mostly manual transmission, so those from US will have a bit of an initial challenge, not only moving to right hand driving but also to manual transmission.
We should add, almost all the beaches are quite a fun and of course the massages there will add to the soothing effect after activities at the beaches. For those interested in diving, there are schools around the island as well as packages for 1-7 days from trainer to advanced levels. We did not do it because of my tattoo which needed at least 15 days away from sea, but our friends who did it mentioned it is very professionally run and those guys know their job. We note that a lot of these courses are run by Americans or Europeans with a local partner.
Mentioning about tattoos, I got mine done from this shop near the hotel where the duo (Mork and Jim) were quite professional and did it very nicely. They used all protective stuff like new dyes, new needles, antiseptics, and what not, to make me feel I am at the right place. Also, my tattoo, not only by first, but also a huge one, but was done well. Won’t say it was not painful, it was bloody painful, being on the back, but still, I feel it was well done.
Getting the tattoo made at the centre; Lotus Tattoo near the Loyfa Bungalow Resort at Koh Phangan