Beginners guide to Koh Phangan for digital nomads and expats
Koh Phangan is a beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand, situated between Koh Samui and Koh Tao. It is both tranquil and energetic as it is home to a variety of areas to live in, stunning beaches, and a balanced lifestyle of parties, work, health and activities, Koh Phangan is indeed a perfect place for digital nomads and expats.
Whether you are thinking of short-term or long-term visits, this guide will help you get tuned to what the island has to offer.
Fly + ferry – there is no airport on Koh Phangan. You will need to fly to either Koh Samui or Surat Thani and then take a ferry. Flights to Samui are generally more expensive but it is the fastest way to get to Koh Phangan. From Surat Thani, you would need to take a bus or van to Tapee Pier and then a ferry.
Bus or van + ferry – if you are coming from Bangkok, there are buses or vans that leave from the city
Car + ferry – did you know that you can take your caron Koh Phangan? If you are planning to stay long term on the island and have a car or motorcycle, then consider driving down to Surat Thani and taking the ferry with your vehicle. For this you will need to go to Donsak Raja Ferry pier.
You can use BusTicketOnline.co.th to book your tickets or simply show up at the pier and buy your ticket directly.
Where to stay(areas) in Koh Phangan
Depending on what you are looking for during your stay, there are plenty of options in Koh Phangan. From hidden gems and underrated spots frequented by locals to party central areas that reel in tourists, there is something for everyone.
Here are some of the main neighborhoods to consider.
The first area you will encounter when arriving at Koh Phangan by the main pier is Thong Sala. It is the commercial center of the island but is often overlooked by travelers as they head straight to the beaches.
Here you will find many shops, supermarkets, and service centers. It is where most of the locals live and work with plenty of restaurants, cafes, bars and nightlife. There are also lots of gyms and Muay Thai centers in Thong Sala. So, if you want to be part of that bustling lifestyle, this is the perfect area for you.
Adjacent to Thong Sala is the Baan Tai district, which covers most of the eastern part of the island. It has a long stretch of a beach, which is nice but not the best on Koh Phangan. Because of its location, you can catch both amazing sunrise and sunsets.
If you are looking for a place that has beaches, a party life, convenience and close to the hub (Thong Sala), then look no further than Baan Tai. A great option for those who like to work and play.
Srithanu, Baan Hi Kong & Haad salad
These districts and neighborhoods are a lot quieter. Located in the north west of the island, they are well known among digital nomads and expats who are looking for a calm way of life, close to the beach.
Srithanu in particular would be your best bet because of its’ unique location, natural beauty, and gorgeous beaches. There is even a lake close to the beach here. There are also higher end accommodations in Srithanu and the surrounding areas if you are looking to live in style while you work.
Located at the southeastern tip of Koh Phangan, Haad Rin is where the full moon parties happen and it is one of the most popular area amongst tourists. However, for expats and digital nomads it is not such a great place to live long-term.
If you do want to live in close proximity to the big parties in Haad Rin, then Baan Tai would be a better option to stay in.
Looking for accommodation
When it comes to looking for accommodation in Koh Phangan or anywhere in Thailand, there are some excellent websites such as DDProperty and Koh Phangan Rentals. It is easy to find long-term rentals for as low as 6000-7000 Baht a month, but if you are looking for properties by the beach, the prices would certainly be higher.
Another great resource is the Facebook community. A simple search for “Koh Phangan Houses for Rent” in the groups section will result in a handful of different accommodation rental groups. Some groups have 2000 members while others have over 29000. We advise that you join a group somewhere in the middle. Large member groups tend to have a lot of spam and unnecessary chatter.
You might also want to consider these long-term hotel room rentals that also have coworking spaces, such as:
· Sabaii Bay Resort: Located in Baan Tai
· RetroMountain located on the mountains of Koh Phangan, between the south and the north east.
Coworking spaces and cafes
Speaking of coworking spaces. Cafes are excellent places to work, especially in Koh Phangan. Here are a few that Remote and Digital have launched across the island:
· La Casa in Baan thai
· Signature in Thongsala
· Sunset hill in SriThanu
Other cafes by areas are:
Thong Sala: Dots Coffee
Beaches for work and relax
There are almost a dozen beaches on Koh Phangan, each with a unique vibe and scenic beauty. The most popular ones are Haad Rin, Haad Salad, Bottle Beach, Malibu Beach, Mae Had (very interesting one), and Haad Yuan.
You can find the entire list of Koh Phangan beaches here.
If you are in search for beaches with the best sunsets, we recommend Baan Thai, Zen Beach and Had Rin. There are also many view points and cafés/bars in the mountain where you can enjoy amazing sunsets. Make sure you check out Money Moon Cafe& Bar, Retro Mountain or Ritual Bar in Secret Mountain.
Have you enjoyed our mini guide on Koh Phangan? Need help attaining a sponsored visa for your stay on the island or anywhere in Thailand? Book an appointment with us today.