Tripping Down South: Ko Phangan & Ko Tao

Ko Phangan, island, Thailand, beach
The beach at night on Ko Phangan.

In March 2013, my boyfriend and I had begun our holiday in the south of Thailand, starting off in Bangkok, where we fled Khao San Road, stalked the malls, became Skytrain experts, and had the ceiling of our hotel room collapse. We then explored a bit more of Bangkok by motorcycle taxi, and landed up at The Museum of Death. After leaving The City of Angels, we had a quick break in Ko Samui, and then headed off to camp on a deserted island. So far, our trip had been overwhelming, fascinating, frustrating, fantastic, and breathtaking, and it was far from over.

After camping on the island of Koh Wua Talap for three days, and exploring the beauty of the Mu Ko Ang Thong National Marine Park, we made our way by ferry to the island of Ko Phangan, which is a notorious "party island". Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I were exhausted, and just excited to eat some restaurant food and pass out on a soft bed. And that's exactly what we did.

Ko Phangan, in our opinion, was much nicer than Ko Samui. Of course, we could explore more of it quicker, as it is smaller and less populated. We could not, however, explore further inland, as most of the natural forest and mountainous area is pretty much inaccessible by vehicle, and I doubt many tourists leave the bustling coastline to wander around the wild parts of the island.

We ended up staying there for two nights, and spent most of our time wandering around slurping fruit shakes, eating delicious Mexican, Western and Thai food, and relaxing at our guesthouse. Our bodies needed a break from the sun and constant travelling, and this is why we didn't really do much on the island of Ko Phangan.

Dog Ko Phangan
I liked this shot of the sleeping dog and statue.
Stoic island dog.
Ko Phangan beach water
Perfect Ko Phangan waters.
Sunset Ko Phangan
Yet another shot of clouds, sky and sun in Ko Phangan.
Pool party Ko Phangan
We enjoyed a few drinks at this place, but had to leave before the party started out of sheer exhaustion.
Ko Phangan sunset beach
Ko Phangan sunset number one.
Ko Phangan sunset beach
Our second sunset on Ko Phangan.
Ko Phangan sunset clouds sky
Golden Labrador Ko Phangan
Myself and a silly golden labby who hung around our guesthouse.
Ko Phangan island
Leaving the island.

From Ko Phangan we got on yet another ferry, and arrived at our final holiday destination: Ko Tao. As soon as we had arrived on the tiny pier, cramped with tourists and Thai hawkers, selling everything from sunglasses to diving courses, we knew this would be a special place. Our friend in Ko Tao had already hooked us up with Phoenix Divers, who picked us up from the ferry in a truck and took us straight to where we needed to be. While my boyfriend booked himself a diving course, I checked out the free accommodation, which was a cozy fan bungalow at AC Resort. My boyfriend then spent the duration of his course getting free breakfast at AC Restaurant and learning how to dive in various beaches around the island, while I rode around the place on a hired scooter, stopping for food and shopping now and then. On the fourth day, when he had finished his finished his course, we realised we weren't going to leave Ko Tao just yet - we had fallen in love with the place and wanted to explore it together - so we moved a few blocks away to a quieter area. Our authentic and affordable bungalow at In Touch Resort was perfect for us, and right next to their relaxed cocktail bar and restaurant on the beach. This is where the last bits of our holiday were spent, lazing around with pineapple shakes, perfect weather, and each other. Paradise.

A view from Phoenix Diving School during the sunset.
Nitrous oxide
Oxygen, anyone?
Ko Tao island
A shot my boyfriend got while on a boat to a diving spot.
Diving Ko Tao
Practising his diving in the pool at AC Resort.
Big centipede Thailand
This is a huge centipede who joined us in AC Bar. Unfortunately, he had to die for his dangerous, partying ways.
DJ party Ko Tao
A DJ booth overlooking the beach.
Fire-dancing Ko Tao
A fire-dancer outside the bar.
Fire dancer Ko Tao
Another bar, where people sat around on the beach in a fire-dancing trance.
Ko Tao beach
My early morning reading spot at a restaurant.
Ko Tao secret beach
A beach I snuck off to for yoga and meetings with dogs.
Ko Tao beach
Another view of the beach.
Ko Tao sea
A bay from the beach that led to the ocean.
Ko Tao dog
A very cute spotty-nosed dog.
Ko Tao dog
A character casually chilling in the road.
In Touch resort Ko Tao
The entrance to our rustic bungalow at In Touch Resort.
Ko Tao bungalow
Our bedroom.
Ko Tao bungalow
A very cool, blue bathroom.
A friend.
Tokay gecko Thailand
Another friend - the Tokay gecko.
Ko Tao sunset
My last sunset shot on our trip, waiting for the ferry to go back home.


  1. Thanks for the info! What is the deal with Kho Tao?? I heard there are lots of dive schools? Is "Phoenix" the best or...?? Any advice for a potential Thai diver??

  2. Ko Tao seems a good spot to visit: beaches, dogs and the bungalow looks good. The beach for yoga and dog meetings would be a definite.

  3. Ko Tao is a lovely place! Yes there are tons of dive schools in the area. Phoenix was recommended to us by a friend and was really good, but many people will tell you their favourite dive schools. Just have a Google search and see what people are saying =) Good luck!

  4. Great pics and I love the way you just chilled out on Koh Phangan, it's such a beautiful island, with so much more to it than just the full moon party!! And the sunsets! Always take your breath away x Your top pic is awesome - showing the green glow of the squid boats on the horizon!

  5. Oh yes, the parties are not really our sort of thing anyway, and we had already had so much excitement on our trip! I was fascinated by the boats on the green horizon - never seen anything like that before. Koh Phangan is definitely a special place =)

  6. Beautiful photos!!! I want to go :D

  7. Great pics, especially love the sunset shots! I visited Koh Phangan a couple of times previously and was lucky enough to have stayed on Haad Yao and Haad Salad from where I got to see some amazing sunsets too!

  8. You know I saw one of these sunset pics on reddit, well done! They are beautiful