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Introducing Ko Pha-Ngan

In the family of southern Gulf islands, Ko Pha-Ngan sits in the crystal sea between Ko Samui, its business-savvy older brother, and little Ko Tao, the spunky younger brother full of dive-centric energy. Ko Pha-Ngan is a chilled out middle child who is a beach bum with tattered dreadlocks, a tattoo of a Chinese serenity symbol, and a penchant for white nights and bikini-clad pool parties.

The scenic cape of Hat Rin has long been the darling destination of this laid-back paradise. Sunrise Beach started hosting the world-famous Full Moon Parties long before Alex Garland’s The Beach inspired many to strap on a rucksack. Today, thousands of visitors still flock to the island’s sands for an epic trance-a-thon fuelled by adrenaline and a couple of other substances…

But like any textbook teenager, this angst-ridden island can’t decide what it wants to be when it grows up. Should the party personality persist or will the stunning and secluded northern beaches finally come out from under Hat Rin’s shadow?

While Pha-Ngan’s slacker vibe and reputation will no doubt dominate for years to come, the island is secretly starting to creep upmarket. Every year, tired old shacks are being replaced by crisp modern abodes. In Hat Rin, you will be hard-pressed to find a room on Sunrise Beach for less than 1000B. Soon, the phrase ‘private infinity pool’ and ‘personal butler’ will find a permanent place in the island’s lexicon, replacing ‘pass the dutch’ and ‘another whiskey bucket please’. But don’t fret just yet – the vast inland jungle continues to feel undiscovered, and there are still plenty of secluded bays in which you can string up a hammock and watch the tide roll in.