Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui – mopeds, beaches, ping pong shows and full moon parties

The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
77 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
Length of time
3-4 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 450
Time of year visited
Primary Tags
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How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
55th/372 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 20% SUMMARY RATING: World Class


God I’ve been to Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui for full moon parties and general partying a few times and to be honest its always been a bit of a blur!  So this is a very short entry!


My overriding memory though is that the whole experience, whilst getting now very commercialised, is great fun and, if you’re travelling through this part of the world, it is a must.  The islands are surrounded by beautiful beaches, food is great, you have endless variety of accommodation options and its is the easiest country to travel in in SE Asia.  Main tips:


  • Full moon party and half moon parties – the famous Ko Pha Ngan full moon party obvious happens roughly every month, but you do also have the half moon party which can give you an option if your timings don’t work
  • Ko Pha Ngan or Ko Samui – I’ve stayed on both Ko Pha Ngan and Ko Samui for the full moon parties.  Whilst Ko Pha Ngan is obviously more convenient, there are heaps of regular boats back to Ko Samui throughout the night and the morning
  • Mopeds / taxis – getting around both islands is very easy with the taxis and ubers available, but its also par for the course to drive around on one of the mopeds.  Its great fun, just be careful – many of us have the scars from falls from mopeds on these islands!
  • The bars and clubs on both islands have the full range from all-above-board to about as sleazy as it gets, so you’re kind of going to have to roll the dice to see what you get . . . and you can usually tell within he first 2 seconds of walking in.  The most famous on is Suzie Wong’s (there are now 3 of them right next to each other), which gets a bit of a bad reputation, but I’d say give it a go because, whilst it is a strip joint, you’ll find its quite a tame one and you’ll see many couples in there checking it out for pure curiosity (and staying for several drinks).  A good fun place and you can always leave if you don’t like it

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone