Koh Phangan Gay Travel
Koh Phangan gay travel advice for where to stay, attending the Full Moon party, bars & things to do.
The Gay Travel Experience: Koh Phangan, Thailand
Making a journey to Koh Phangan for the Half Moon Festival with my and Italian local Thai gay friends, I discovered how beautiful and enormous the island is.
Gay Koh Phangan: Hotels & Where to Stay
Koh Phangan is comprised of many small beach communities. The center of the island is less inhabited given its rough terrain. There is no “main district” on the island, so you’ll have tons of neighborhood options to choose from.
My local Thai friend recommends the northern and northeastern coasts most. But I’ll give you a run-down of the best spots for both the north and the south.
South Koh Phangan: Where to Stay
My first night I stayed at The Sand Terrace Resort while waiting for my friends to arrive. The resort is a small group of bungalows not too far from Thongsala Pier.
I loved this place because the owner, a man named Simon from Switzerland, is super friendly and has the same amount of love for hammocks as I do!
He has hammocks in front of every bungalow, in his restaurant and on the seashore. I must admit I had a good amount of Chang beer and fell asleep listening to the wind blow through the palm trees.
I highly recommend The Sand Terrace Resort, especially for budget travelers. It was clean, cheap and right on the beach.
North Koh Phangan: Where to Stay
I shared a rental called Seaview Villa with three friends for the next three days of my trip. Seaview Villa is in the Thong Nai Pan neighborhood on the northeast coast of the island.
The house was spotless, newly renovated and included three large bedrooms, each with an on-suite bathroom. It was perfect to share with my two friends from Italy and local Thai friend from Chiang Mai. Plus, the local area is fantastic!
I spent a few nights at Secret Garden Resort toward the end of my trip, choosing to stay close to the Thongsala port in the Coco Garden neighborhood. It was a very bare-bones, yet beautifully landscaped collection of guest houses.
They have a beautifully clean pool and each villa has a cozy front porch, so I recommend staying there, especially if you are on a tighter budget.
Overall, I recommend choosing accommodations along the northern shore of the island for the best beaches. Besides this, the only other consideration for an easy trip to paradise is really the quality of your accommodation.
You won’t find much variation in terms of the different towns in Koh Phangan. If you are headed to one of the moon festivals, you may also want to book something not too far from the venue.
Arriving in Koh Phangan
Thongsala Pier is the main landing point for visitors. However, you may arrive at neighboring Songserm Pier. Upon disembarking your ship, be prepared to be greeted a bunch of taxi services.
The truth is that these are your only option for transport around the island. There are no ride-sharing apps here!
Koh Phangan Gay Travel Experiences
Near the Coco garden neighborhood, there is a huge food hall with cheap lunch and coffee options. You can find it by googling Ma-Tae-Khon Pad Thai or Jengor Fresh Market. I got three meals and a smoothie for under $7 USD.
The drink shop inside this food hall make the most delicious blended sweet coconut milk iced cappuccinos. I left wondering why we don’t have this back in the United States!
Thong Nai Pan Yai Beach was wonderful. Clear water and many restaurants along the shore made for a relaxing time. There are no crowds or rowdy locals here. Life moves slowly and peacefully.
For dinner, we ate at Bamboo Bungalow and Bar in Thong Nai Pan. Everything was delicious, including the cocktails. Chances are you may not end up in the exact same area that I stayed in. So, I’ll just tell you that many of the restaurants along the sides of the roads are perfectly fine and delicious. I’ve never been sick from street food in Thailand.
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Koh Phangan Gay Travel: Nightlife
The nightlife of Koh Phangan is really about the moon festivals! Bars along the beaches are pretty quiet and close relatively early.
Remember that the Full Moon Party and the Half Moon Festival are two completely different parties, promoted by different companies and held in different locations. Don’t get them confused!
Koh Phangan Moon Parties!
The Full Moon Party is held on a beach, and is by far more well-known worldwide. Droves of international tourists flock to the island for the event. The party is also completely free.
The Half Moon Festival, in contrast is held in an outdoor tropical-feeling concert venue with multiple stages.
It is located further inland and you must purchase tickets at least a day in advance. I highly recommend the Half Moon Festival! The fire dancers were fantastic and they had an edgy style that I love. I think gay travelers will be pleasantly surprised that the music is quite close to “circuit party” music.
Koh Phangan Gay Travel Tips
Koh Phangan is not the most developed island in Thailand. It is very possible that you may need to climb small hills or steep paths to reach your accommodations.
Be careful using the Thai ATM machines, because they often don’t give your card back until after you take the money and then select one final exit option on the screen. It’s easy to leave without your card. As I mentioned before, the Full Moon Party is free.
Try to buy tickets for the event at least a week in advance for the Half Moon Festival. Also, VIP tickets are not necessary in my opinion. The only thing they offer is an additional bar area, but it did not seem all that appealing since I would rather be dancing near the stages
Taxis in Koh Phangan
The most expensive thing about Koh Phangan is the taxis. Especially for a solo traveler, the costs can rival that of New York City! I’m not kidding…the taxi ride I took my last day on the island to the pier cost me 1000 Baht, or about $32 USD
One way to save money when you arrive in Koh Phangan and see the many taxi services is to find someone who will take you by motorbike.
Solo travelers especially will benefit by getting a non-shared ride directly by motorbike. I paid 200 Baht to go about 25 minutes
Koh Phangan has quite a hilly terrain, and so prepare yourself for winding taxi rides if you traverse the island through the center. Most likely, this will happen once or twice during your trip.
Gay Rights in Thailand
Thailand attracts many LGBT travelers given its reputation as a very tolerant nation. Same-sex relations were legalized back in 1956.
In 2015, Thailand passed the Gender Equality Act, banning discrimination based on gender or sexual orientation, a huge leap for Thailand! This was the first law mentioning homosexual persons for the nation.