Poor Koh Phangan – all you ever really hear about are its full moon parties. This is largely the work of the island itself, which is constantly trumpeting full moon and half-moon and black moon events, and ignoring all the other great things to do there. True, the full moon party is a huge draw for the island, but it's just one tiny aspect of Phangan.
In fact, Phangan is as idyllic a destination as any other Thai island. It shares the same topography as neighboring Samui – the same powdery sand, clear turquoise water, rainforest jungles, waterfalls, mountain lookouts, coral reefs, and secluded bays and coves. On the cultural side, there are Buddhist temples, meditation and yoga retreats, art enclaves, Muay Thai camps and an international array of restaurants. It diverges from the better-known islands in that it leans more towards the bohemian, and is overall more relaxed and affordable than, say, Phuket or Samui.