Koh Phangan is not Koh Samui or Phuket. Everything, including the hotels, is a little more rustic and simple – and less expensive. Don’t come here expecting 5-star luxuries and a well-polished staff. Even the best hotels have a few rough spots.
I think this explains the mixed reviews you’ll read online about different hotels on Koh Phangan. People coming here expecting a simple and relaxing break from the busyness of Thailand (or life back home) are happy. They expect things won’t be perfect and enjoy what is great about the island.
But tourists that arrive expecting top of the line luxury will leave disappointed. If you want the best then stay at the Four Seasons on Koh Samui. If you want to retreat back to what Samui was like 20 years ago then Koh Phangan is your place.
Some travel tips for Koh Phangan:
- After you book with your hotel contact them and ask about speed boat connections from Koh Samui. The hotels located along the north and northeast coast take some time to get to. So if you’re taking a boat from Samui to Haad Rin or Thong Sala and then hopping in a truck to get you to your hotel it will be a couple hours of traveling. If you can hop in a speed boat that takes you directly from Samui to your hotel you’ll be saving yourself some time and hassle.
- If you’re looking for cheap accommodations you’re best to book your first couple of nights in advance and then look for something less expensive once you arrive. The cheapest places generally don’t take reservations and even when they do, if they don’t accept credit cards (which most don’t) you have no way of truly securing it. If someone shows up and is willing to plop down money on your reserved room they’re unlikely to say no.
- At the more expensive hotels food costs 3 or 4 times as much as what you’ll pay at a local restaurant a few steps down the road. Save money by not eating at your hotel restaurant. Same goes for laundry and massage.
- If you’re arriving anytime within 3 days before or after the full moon party be sure to have reservations. Same goes for the mid-December to mid-January.
Koh Phangan with Kids – Recommended Hotels
Along with the Panviman, this is the best hotel on Koh Phangan. Beautiful location on the beach. Large suites and villas. Small village just behind the hotel offers lots of character and many places to eat cheap Thai meals. Most rooms have private pools plus there are 2 large resort pools.
Great location on a nice stretch of private beach (and an even nicer one a short walk away). Restaurant serves amazing food and a huge breakfast spread. A few great beach restaurants are on the next beach over and are much cheaper. Some rooms have their own infinity pool. A large pool area is also by the beach.
Superb setting along a hillside overlooking the beach. The Panviman has the best views of any hotel on the island. A beautiful pool, great food, and a very nice spa. Family rooms with a sea view are perfect for a large family.
Great mid-range hotel. Beautiful pool and hotel is right on the beach. Large family bungalows available. Friendly staff and owner. Rooms have safety deposit box (which many mid-range hotels don’t.)
Amazing swimming pool (with a kids pool) and great location right on the beach. Haad Salad beach is shallow, calm, and perfect for kids. Good sized suites and 2 bedroom villas available.
If you need a place to book for your first night or two then Salad Buri will suffice. Nice location near a beautiful beach and nice swimming pools. But it’s hit and miss on the rooms (some large, some located up a steep hill) and the staff can be indifferent. So I wouldn’t commit to an extended stay. If your first nights are good you can always extend.
If you’re going to stay near Haad Rin this is the place. 2 beautiful pools, friendly staff, free wi-fi, and good sized rooms. One caveat: the beach is not great here, but you stay near Haad Rin more for the shops and restaurants. If you want nice beaches then head north.
This is a cheaper option to the Best Western above (though not as nice, so you get what you pay for). Haad Rin is where the full moon party takes place so it’s not my top choice for where families should stay. But if you did want to be close to the action (and shops and restaurants) this hotel has a nice pool and large deluxe rooms. Even still, don’t stay here (with kids) during the Full Moon Party.
More Hotels for Families
These hotels also have large rooms suitable for a family or large group.
- Baan Manali Resort
Large family rooms. Close to Thong Sala ferry.
- Mai Pen Rai Bungalows
Budget but nice. Large family bungalows.
- Cookie Salad Resort Koh Phangan
Seaview cottages are a good size (though only for family of 4).
- Nice Sea Resort
Simple, clean, budget hotel (with aircon). Family bungalows with seaview available.
- Milky Bay Resort Koh Phangan,
Good-sized family villas.