Looking at a map of Koh Phangan it is a rather small island, yet still bigger than paces like Koh Phi Phi for example. Driving the length of the island by scooter from south to north, stopping by quiet beaches and hidden coves along the way to take in the views and enjoy lunch at resorts and restaurants you will encounter could take you a better part of the day. Less than 2 hours by sea is Koh Samui and Koh Tao beach bungalows where you can stay over for a night or two.
Widely regarded as a party island this is a perception that is not entirely true. Parties, including the famous, or rather infamous Fullmoon Party, halfmoon party, black moon party and a party for every other name they could think of is limited to Haadrin Nok Beach. Haadrin Nok is located just around the southern tip of the island to the east and ends against rocky outcrops on both sides. The fact is, Koh Phangan will allow you to experience island lifestyle in its most authentic form. It is an island which retains its natural charms and has the most amazing beaches. In fact, with the exception of Haadrin Nok, all the island's beaches are relaxed and utterly tranquil.
Haadrin Village is a place where you do want to spend a few evenings though. It is quaint, has a wonderful atmosphere and feature intriguing restaurants, curio shops, clothing stalls and bars lining the narrow streets. Round the western side of the island's southern tip is Haadrin Nai which runs all the way up north, changing name as it go along to Ban Tai, fabulous Had Yao Beach and pure white Haad Salad (Haad Salad beach meaning Pirate beach). Some beaches are separated by rocky outcrops while other flow into another. This is the sunset side of the island allowing wonderful ocean sunset views and from some of these beaches you can even walk to the nightlife and entertainment hub of Haadrin Village. Luxury resorts like Kupu Kupu, Salad Buri and The Coast Resort are located along this stretch of coastline.
Haadrin Nai and the beaches following it toward the north are wonderful locations to stay since it offers relaxed beach-side living while being close to Haadrin Village and the cement road above them makes access easy. Half way up this western shoreline is the village of Thong Sala where you can enjoy day-time and evening shopping at the markets, some good good and a number of restaurants during the day. Tong Sala is also the main entry point for boats to Koh Phangan from places like Surat Thani on the mainland. Right at the northern end is Chaloklum Bay which feature some mid range accommodation in a secluded setting.
Going up the east coast next to Haadrin Nok is Yuan Beach which can reach from Haadrin by a 10 minute traditional long tail boat ride. Haad Yuan is a small cove featuring approximately 3 resorts of which one is the popular Pariya Resort. Located on a hillside at one end of the beach is a fabulous restaurant built into a natural cave. Steps are built up a massive rock to access the restaurant allowing amazing views to unfold.
Further up north on the east coast is one of the best beaches namely Tong Nai Pain. It is pristine, relaxed, the is ocean placid and the water clear as clear glass. Tong Nai pan feature hotels and beach resorts which are mostly the deluxe type including luxury private pool villa resorts. Top hotels in Koh Phangan including names like Anantara Rasananda, Santhiya and Panviman are located here. If you want an unrivaled island lifestyle experience in an unsurpassed location, head for one of these resorts in Tong Nai Pan.