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Koh Phangan Gay Travel

What does Koh Phangan gay travel have in store? The famous Full Moon Party, of course! Find out more about the moon parties, and where to stay in Koh Phangan.

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The Gay Travel Experience: Koh Phangan, Thailand

I visited Koh Phangan for a few days with some gay Italian friends as well as a local Thai friend. We made our journey to Koh Phangan for the Half Moon Festival and tried to explore as much of the island as possible! It’s a big place!

Koh Phangan gay travelers
Life here in Koh Phangan is very relaxed, and to my surprise, there are tons of European ex-pats peppered in the many small towns! Many of them own small businesses. I saw more ex-pats in Koh Phangan than any other Thai island.
Koh Phangan gay travelers
Koh Phangan gay beach travel
Koh Phangan gay beach travel
Koh Phangan is most easily visited with a group of friends, and I say this for more reasons than the fact that I happened to go with other guys. I’ll give you a quick rundown of this wonderful gay-friendly island.

Gay Koh Phangan: Where to Stay

You will likely arrive in Koh Phangan at Thongsala Pier; however, you may arrive at neighboring Songserm Pier. Upon disembarking your ship, you will be greeted by many taxi services. The truth is that these are your only option for transport around the island. There are no ride-sharing apps here!

Thailand places to stay
This can be quite frustrating, especially so for budget travelers who don’t want to spend more than they need to. Check out the Koh Phangan travel tips section to learn how to navigate this!
Thailand places to stay
Koh Phangan beaches gay travel
Koh Phangan beaches gay travel
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 this island. You have many options to choose from in terms of neighborhoods, however my Thai friend recommends the northern and northeastern coasts.
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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!
Koh Phangan sunsets beaches
Koh Phangan sunsets beaches
Thailand sunsets
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 stayed in Seaview Villa in Koh Phangan for the next three days of my trip. Seaview villa is in the Thong Nai Pan neighborhood on the northeast coast of the island. I shared a three-bedroom house with some friends from Italy and a Thai local who was born in Chiang Mai. 

The home was absolutely beautiful, so if you have enough people to fill one, It would be well worth it. Plus, the local area is fantastic!

north Koh Phangan airbnb
north Koh Phangan airbnb
Koh Phangan beaches

Toward the end of my trip, I chose to stay close to the Thongsala port in the Coco Garden neighborhood. I spent a few nights at Secret Garden Resort. 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.

Koh Phangan beaches
Overall, I recommend staying along the shore on the northern half 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.
Thailand sunsets
There is not much variation in terms of the different towns in my opinion. If you are headed to one of the moon festivals, you may also want to book something not too far from the venue.

Koh Phangan Experiences for the Gay Traveler

If you are 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.

Koh Phangan boats
They also make the most delicious blended sweet coconut milk iced cappuccinos. I left wondering why we don’t have this back in the United States!
Koh Phangan boats
restaurants in Koh Phangan

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.

Koh Phangan gay travel
Most beaches around the island do not have any large waves. The water is especially calm on the south shore (during dry season at least) and is the best area for water-sport activities.
Koh Phangan gay travel
neon painting Koh Phangan

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.

restaurants in Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan experiences nowhere near the same amount of tourism as bustling Phuket or Koh Phi Phi, and so you are much more likely to find delicious, authentic local food.

Explore gay travel to other Thai islands like Koh LipeKoh Samui & Koh Phi Phi.

Bars in Koh Phangan

The nightlife of Koh Phangan is really about the moon festivals! Bars along the beaches are pretty quiet and close relatively early. 

neon painting Koh Phangan

You should know 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.
half moon festival gay party
half moon festival gay party
full moon party Koh Phangan

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.

full moon party Koh Phangan
The live DJ custom-remixed pop songs to amazing beats. I didn’t know what to expect for the music before arriving, but I ended up having a blast dancing all night! We ran into several other gay travelers at the party. The crowd spans all ages and cultures!

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.

Koh Phangan gay travel party
For anyone with any knee/ankle issues, or that travels with immense amounts of luggage, try to find a place to stay you know will be easy to get to. For instance, at the Seaview Villa, taxis will not enter the dirt road, and so we needed to carry luggage up the hill.
Koh Phangan hotels
Koh Phangan gay travel party
Koh Phangan restaurant food
Also, be careful with the Thai ATM machines, because they 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.
local markets in Thailand
local markets in Thailand
Koh Phangan hotels
If you are headed to the Half Moon Festival, try to buy tickets for the event at least a week in advance. 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

Koh Phangan hotels and resorts

When you arrive in Koh Phangan and see the many taxi services, a way to save money is to find someone that will take you by motorbike. Yes, it will be hot, and you will be itching to get to your accommodation, but you can save a ton this way.

rice at restaurant in Thailand
Solo travelers especially will benefit by getting a non-shared ride directly by motorbike. I paid 200 Baht to go about 25 minutes
rice at restaurant in Thailand
Koh Phangan hotels and resorts

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.

Koh Phangan hotels
For more comfort, request a regular vehicle instead of the open-air buggies. Again, there are no ride-sharing apps, so you will need to walk to the nearest taxi service agency.

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.

Locals in Koh Lipe gay travelers
Locals in Koh Lipe gay travelers
best areas of Chiang Mai
Marriage of same sex couples is not legal in Thailand; however, the progressive country is making great strides toward legalization of gay marriage. As exemplified in Bangkok, there are vibrant gay communities throughout the country.
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Traveling to nearby Koh Samui? Find helpful tips in the wolfyy Koh Samui Gay Travel Guide.

Be sure to also read wolfyy’s Bangkok Gay Travel Guide.

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