Ko Pha-ngan Ko Pha-ngan is one of the most famous islands in the world. It is well known for the Full Moon Party held every full moon at the beach of Hat Rin. A large number of tourists from all over the world visit the island, especially in the summer. Apart from beautiful beaches and amazing blue water, you can explore the natural beauty of numerous natural attractions such as waterfalls and mountains and discover the local lifestyle of coconut farmers and fishermen in the village of Ban Chalok Lam. As the island offers visitors all types of tourist attractions, it is a must-visit destination for both Thai and foreign tourists. Ko Pha-ngan is located approximately 100 kilometres from Surat Thani City. It has a total area of 168 square kilometres. The island, together with the island of Ko Tao, is part of Ko Pha-ngan District, which is the smallest district of Surat Thani Province. The island is dominated by mountainous terrain and has beaches, sand dunes and coral reefs. In the middle of the island are mountains running north-south. Plains cover only one-fourth of the total area and are mostly found on the west side of the island. On the east side of the island lie coastal mountains. Besides, the island has several bays where boats can dock in some seasons. Furthermore, the monsoon season of the island begins in October and lasts till January. Tourists are not recommended to pay a visit to the island during this time. Ko Pha-ngan has been inhabited by human for a long time. It is assumed that the first settlers on the island are the Malays from Nakhon Si Thammarat or from Pattani who immigrated to the island and were mostly fishermen. The evidence of this assumption is the names of some places on the island. For example, according to a former Ko Samii District Chief Officer, Ko Pha-ngan was formerly known as “Ko Raham”, literally meaning the shadowy island. In addition, the names of some other nearby islands such as Ko Wua Ta Lap and Ko Lao Yu are originally from the Malay language. Furthermore, there is another story of the origin of Ko Pha-ngan’s name. It is believed that the name is derived from “Lang Ngan”, a local word used to refer to sand dunes that emerge from the sea when the tide is low. Moreover, the first syllable of the word Pha-ngan in Thai was originally spelt without Sara-Ah, the short Ah vowel. However, after when Ko Pha-ngan was made a minor district or King Amphoe in 1970 and later a district in 1977, the Thai government decided to officially include Sara-Ah within the name. As a consequence, the island’s Thai name has two variations, i.e. one with Sara-Ah and one without Sara-Ah. Furthermore, the island was visited by four kings of the Chakri Dynasty, namely King Chulalongkorn, King Vajiravudh, King Prajadhipok and King Bhumibol. All inscribed their name on a rock near Than Sadet Waterfall, to which, interestingly, King Chulalongkorn paid a visit 14 times. Aside from the famous Full Moon Party, the island has a good reputation for snorkelling and diving. Visitors can go snorkelling to explore the natural beauty of coral reefs around the island. As an alternative, you can get on a boat which will take you to amazing dive sites near the island. The most popular sites are “Hin Bai” and “Samran”, where different kinds of colourful corals lie, waiting for divers to discover its beauty. Also, these sites are home to a variety of fascinating sea animals, e.g. clownfish, harlequin shrimps and parrotfish. Besides, a one day trip to Ko Tao, which also possesses several perfect dive sites, is available. Ko Pha-ngan’s major attractions: 1.Thong Sala 2.Hat Rin 3.Ao Thong Nai Pan 4.Hat Mae Hat 5.Than Sadet Waterfall National Park How to get to the island: From Surat Thani City, drive or take public transport to a ferry pier in Don Sak. A ferry ride from the mainland to the island takes three hours and a half. In addition, during peak season (December-April), those who wish to visit the island are recommended to book a flight at least one to two days before travelling. Tips for tourists: 1.You are not recommended to rent a motorbike if you are not familiar with roads on the island. Some roads are steep and some are unpaved with holes. Riders should ride carefully; otherwise it is better to rent other types of vehicles. 2.At the Full Moon Party, beware of pickpockets and snatchers. There will be lots of people at the party so take care of your belongings, especially, cameras, phones and purses or wallets. Besides, don’t drink too much, particularly if you have to ride a motorbike or drive back to your hotel. 3.For those who would like to visit Khao Ra Peak, be ready for the adventure and don’t forget to prepare your own medicines, food, bottles of water, sleeping bag and proper clothes. Also, to go to Khao Ra, all visitors must be accompanied by staff.