In February I went to the home of the Full Moon Party, and in April I returned and had a very different experience. Deciding where to stay in Koh Phangan depends completely on what you want to get out of your trip there.
On my first visit I stayed where the action is, so to speak. Really what I mean is where most of the people looking for a party stay.
If, you want a slightly quieter escape on this phenomenal Thai island, or somewhere a little more family-friendly, but still with the option of jumping in a cab and getting wild then I have the perfect place for you.
Where to stay in Koh Phangan: Buri Rasa Village*
This quaint hotel is hidden amidst swaying palm trees on a secluded white sandy beach with clear turquoise water.
Buri Rasa Village is tucked away in the north of the island (the pier, majority of hostels and party vibes are in the south). It is a 30-40 minute journey through the mountainous middle to get there, a beautiful introduction to this beautiful island.
A private taxi will cost you at least 1,500 baht (£36), or you can rent a motorbike (250 baht per day, £6), or you can arrange a hotel pickup with their shuttle, which will be at the pier at approximately 9.30am and 3.30pm daily, costing 300 baht per person (£7.20).
Nash and I went on a moped with two backpacks and a suitcase piled on top of us! (It was the end of our trip, so we’d bought a big suitcase in Vietnam to fill with shopping). It was scary at times going down steep hills, but it was beautiful nonetheless and probably much safer than it felt.
I stayed in the Deluxe Pool View, which was a mid sized, modest hotel room with a balcony overlooking the pool. Draped over the bed was a large mosquito net, with a small sofa area beside the bed and a desk along the wall.
The fanciest room in the place is the Rasa Ocean Front. This ocean front room offers indoor and outdoor living space, sleeps up to four guests and gives amazing views of the ocean and direct beach access. An upgraded class of amenities and services sets this room apart from the rest of the resort.
The rooms all have large TVs, and you can even rent DVDs from reception if you fancy a night (or day!) in bed.
In the evenings you will return to homemade fruit sweets left on the bed waiting for you, perfect for a midnight treat.
The pool is large and attracts families with young children. Thankfully for those travelling adult only, the hotel sits on the beachfront where sun loungers and umbrellas are spread across the sand so you can always have your own slice of quiet paradise if you want it.
In-between the pool and the beach is the Nam Thai Herbal Spa, which (as the name suggests) is focused on using the abundant and natural herbal remedies of Thailand in a relaxing and therapeutic environment.
The spa is very reasonably priced with massages starting at around 400/500 baht (around £10), not dissimilar to what you’ll find elsewhere if you’re on a budget. They even have early morning discounts but you’ll need to book ahead as these slots get snapped up.
Meandering toward the beach of Thong Nai Pan Noi, you will find Buri Rasa Village Square at the entrance of the hotel. Along the shaded cobbled street enjoy a glass of fine wine, a fresh fruit shake or find the perfect souvenir in one of the traditional Thai shops.
There is a buffet breakfast every morning and happy hours every evening, so Buri Rasa will keep you well fed and watered throughout your stay. The French toast and American pancakes were particular favourites of mine (thankfully Buri Rasa also has a gym).
As one of the longest established beach restaurants on Koh Phangan, their experience in combining local ingredients with modern techniques guarantees a dynamic Thai flavour. They have happy hours most days as well so you can have a guilt-free tipple as often as you like.
Kayaks and stand up paddles boards are available to use for free. Around the bend of the coast you will find a small bay, backed by nothing but palm tress and easily reachable with kayak or SUP.
In the evening they often offer entertainment, from music and dancing to incredible fire shows.
There are free activities throughout the week as well, to help keep you entertained. You can have a Thai lesson, learn how to carve fruit and other such things.
*I was given two nights accommodation at Buri Rasa Village Koh Phangan in exchange for this review. Everything I have written is honest and true.