I had very mixed feelings about Koh Phangan the whole time I was there. The vegan food was great, and it was chill AF. I took some of the best yoga classes of my life in the most gorgeous studios overlooking the jungle….
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However, I also met a lot of very new age people to an extreme I never met before. Koh Phangan is a tantra hotspot, which is no problem in and of itself. I never realized how homophobic tantra can be however until I ended up in lots of conversations with people super passionate about the variety of tantra offered on the island. All that talk how how feminine energy should work and how masculine energy should work leaves no space for anyone in between who doesn’t fit traditional gender roles.
Not to mention the yoga studio Agama on the island, which later exploded with report after report of women being sexually assaulted and raped by the main guru behind the yoga school, who apparently also had to flee India for similar reasons. The Boycott Agama group is also trying to keep tabs on news about this place.
Luckily a few friends who had been to Koh Phangan before me warned me of this school before this news article even came out. They had simply been to classes there and gotten a really weird feeling from them, and had heard them say some homophobic things.
I found it hard to meet people like me on the island (gay, a fan of science, etc.), but still, now that I’ve had some time to process my 3+ weeks on the island I look back fondly and I do plan to go back.
Koh Phangan is a great place to be alone. Plus, who knows, so much of making friends depends on who is on the island at the same time as you, so maybe I have better luck next time. I did meet a couple people to hang out with and that was great. I also made a billion animal friends via my accommodation and got to hang with the owners a lot.
I find myself craving the island a bit. The vegan food was indeed amazing and I loved zipping around the small streets on my scooter. I say definitely check it out, just avoid Agama and it’s followers and take some people with a grain of salt.
Vegan Koh Phangan Index
- Areas of Koh Phangan
- How to Get to Koh Phangan
- Getting Around
- Where to Stay
- Vegan Koh Phangan Food Guide
Areas of Koh Phangan
I stayed in Sri Thanu, which is the hippy, chill yoga part of the island. It’s 20 minutes from Thong Sala on a scooter, which is the sort of downtown area.
Haad Rin is the Full Moon Party area of the island, which I wanted nothing to do with (also it’s not as vegan-friendly).
How to Get to Koh Phangan
You can either get to Surat Thani (plane, train and bus station there) and take a 2 hour ferry or fly to Koh Samui with Bangkok Airways and take a 30 minute ferry.
I was lazy and willing to drop the 150€ to fly to Koh Samui and have everything go a bit quicker with transit. Since it’s only Bangkok Airways that flies there, i.e. a “real” airline, luggage is also included. Also Koh Samui is perhaps the cutest little airport you’ll ever encounter.
Pretty much all these flights are via Bangkok (or Phuket).
Getting Around Koh Phangan
I’d say you definitely want to rent a scooter to get around Koh Phangan. Yes, if you are right in the little download area of Sri Thanu you can get around on food, but at night there are street dogs that get a bit territorial. Also, you’d miss so much that isn’t right in that small area. There is no Grab or Uber on the island, so your other option is getting a driver everytime or one of the expensive songthaews.
They don’t actually check licenses on Koh Phangan from what I can see (unlike Bangkok and Chiang Mai, etc.). I definitely saw some 10 year old kids riding scooters lol. If you do get caught, the “fine” is like 400 baht, so not bad. Just get someone to give you a quick lesson before you go, and wear a full helmut (not just the ones that cover the top of your head).
Vegan Koh Phangan – Where to Stay
Lucky Luck Hut – This is where I stay most of the three weeks I was on the island. They have three talking birds, two cats, a dog and lots of ducks. I very much enjoyed playing with the animals! It’s run by a French/Thai family and their kid, Fino, is super happy to play endless games of Jenga with you and also get any bugs out of your room. These are very basic bungalows, no AC, but you get your own bathroom and mosquito net and it’s right on the water and next to Orion Healing Cafe, which is all vegan and offers yoga. I loved my time here but if you want nature a bit further away from you this is probably not for you. Here are their three bungalows on AirBnB: One, Two, Three. You can also write them directly on Facebook for a bit cheaper if you don’t need the security of AirBnB backing up the booking. Use my AirBnB link for 25€ off your booking!
Lofya Natural Resort – I also stayed here several nights with a friend who came to visit who didn’t want to be as close to nature as me. It was a really nice place: Two pools overlooking the beach, massage options onsite, AC, nice porch out front and laundry services. Coconut milk for coffee and breakfast, which meant it was possible to have a vegan fruit and muesli breakfast as well. It’s right behind Lucky Luck Hut and up the hill. We had really great massages here too.
Phangan Cove Beach Resort – This is the most vegan-friendly accommodation I found. They have a whole veg section of the menu and we ate here one night. If you want to be able to roll out of bed to good vegan options, try this place.
The Wisdom Eye – I drove passed this place all the time and it looked super cool, so I googled it and it still seems super cool. That’s about my experience though.
It’s important to note there are TONS of bungalow places that aren’t advertised online. If you plan to stay on Koh Phangan for awhile I’d recommend just booking something for the first few nights and then going around in person to check places out. That’s how you’ll get the best deal.
Community on Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan Conscious Community is the main Facebook group for the island.
Koh Phangan Vegan Community – main group for vegan tips on the island.
Vegan Koh Phangan Food Guide
Cheap Vegan Food Options on Koh Phangan
Koh Phangan was about double the price of Chiang Mai. However, after awhile I managed to suss out the more affordable places.
Mama Pooh’s Kitchen – I went here countless times. They have a separate vegetarian menu and you mark your order on a piece of paper with desired spiciness level. Love this place. Each dish is about 80 baht. A vegan Koh Phangan must for Thai food!
Anutta Restaurant – This was not on any of the vegan guides, but one of my yoga teacher’s who was vegan recommended it to me, said it’s where a lot of the expats go. I went and they have a separate vegetarian menu, everything homemade. Wish I had discovered it before the very end of my time on the island! Each dish was around 50 baht.
Lin Thai’s Vegetarian Kitchen – I discovered this while scootering around the island. Saw the words vegetarian and was like ??? cause it wasn’t on happy cow. It’s not only vegetarian, but they have a separate vegetarian menu. They also have a little bookshop next door selling English books for 50 baht each.
Noenkhao Restaurant – Cheapest coconut yogurt bowl I found on the island at 60 baht. Joy of Life is still my favorite coconut yogurt bowl, but this is great in a pinch! They have a few other vegan things, but nothing mind-blowing.
Best Cafes to Work in on Koh Phangan
Over the Moon Cafe – This place has everything you need in a good working space: air-conditioning, quiet, outlets and vegan cakes! They also have vegan ice cream and non-dairy milks for coffee. Only downside is they serve your drink in a plastic cup with with plastic straw even when you order it to stay.
Dots Coffee – This one is down in Thong Sala. Also has lots of outlets, vegan milk for coffee (and they do vegan coffee frappes!) and they have a vegan granola bar and usually one vegan hummus wrap.
Vegan Koh Phangan Restaurants
Karma Kafe – I really loved the vegan quesadilla here. Otherwise a really good place for healthy, whole foods and raw desserts.
Eat.co Sri Thanu – I went here a LOT. My favorite thing on the menu was the fries with cheesy mushrooms and garlic sauce on top, OMG. The island is filled with healthy food so this was my one semi junk food indulgence. It is SO good. Besides that they have a lot of great breakfasts, lunches and desserts, smoothies, etc. I didn’t like the coffee at either of the eat.co locations though. Def a vegan Koh Phangan must!
Eat.co Thong Sala – They have more breakfast food than the Sri Thanu eat.co and they do an amazing cheesy melty mushroom sandwich you can get as wrap. The waffles are gorgeous and gluten-free (made with chickpea flour).
Joy of Life Cafe – My favorite coconut yogurt bowl, yum! Not much else vegan but they do have coconut milk for coffee. Vegan Koh Phangan must for breakfast!
Orion Healing Cafe – This is a really nice space on the water, also does yoga. All vegan cafe attached. Nice to chill out there.
Mrs. Pong’s Organic Vegetarian Food – I LOVED this place. The woman who owns it is super friendly and awesome. It’s on the middle road sort of in the middle of nowhere. She makes the food in her house with herbs from her garden out back and has some tables in the front yard in the little restaurant area. Super fresh and amazing tasting. Almost all vegan, but tell her you’re vegan and she can adjust the non-vegan stuff too. Most interesting and tasty salad of my life there with banana in it and dressing from sweet potato and herbs. Sounds weird but it was mind-blowing. Def go here, a vegan Koh Phangan must!
Taboon Restaurant & Cafe – A bit expensive but probably the best hummus I had on the island. Lots of middle eastern food options and vegan desserts and ice cream. Not only vegan so good if you’re traveling with non-vegans.
Green Gallery – Israeli-owned so also great hummus. She makes her own vegan cheese so here’s where to go for when you want something cheesy. I found the entire menu super exciting, they also do brunch. I need to go back just to try more from them, also super chill, big space. Another vegan Koh Phangan must!
Pura Vida Cafe & Restaurant – Another vegan find that wasn’t on HappyCow when I arrived. They have a few good vegan options like this tofu scramble and toast including coffee! It’s a bit north on the main road from Sri Thanu. Good wifi but no outlets really.
Big Mountain Restaurant – This was my favorite place for breakfast! Also a nice view and a great place to work until your battery runs out as there are no outlets. Breakfast comes with toast, baked beans, vegan bacon, vegan sausage, tofu scramble, veggies and coffee. They also have Thai food and vegan burgers. They had pretty bad reviews on Google when I originally checked, but I quite liked this place and they had quite good prices so I guess some very picky people went there. They also have non-vegan food in case you’re traveling with non-vegans to Koh Phangan.
Luna Pizza – There are two locations of this place, one in Thong Sala and one food truck up in Sri Thanu on the main drag. You’ll see it, it says “VEGAN PIZZA” on a sign real big. They do a cashew cheese and an actually good crust. Good option if you start getting sick of Thai food and need a change.
Vegan Hummus – Or Vigen hummus if you go by their spelling, lol. This is in the food market right behind Dots Coffee. There’s also Soul Organic Restaurant there which is all-vegan I believe, but I never ended up going there. Good falafel sandwich and hummus if you’re down there!
Soul Organics – Right near the vegan hummus place in the same food parket. I think the location got mixed up on google. This place is all vegetarian.
Yogi Cafe & Diner – This also wasn’t on HappyCow when I arrived (I added it), but they have lots of vegan things. I got some som tam (papaya salad) and a veggie burger. They have multiple types of veggie burgers and non-dairy milk for coffee, plus Thai food.
Aree’s Ayurveda Cafe – I quite liked this place. They do a fill-your-own plate for 150 baht or unlimited from the buffet for 200 baht. They also have a tasty vegan chai and for breakfast they have porridge I heard was quite good.
Lek Organic – This place has vegan breakfast with homemade coconut yogurt, vegan ice cream, sweets and they also sell lots of vegan soaps and other beauty products.
Mama! Restaurant – They advertise “BEST MANGO STICKY RICE ON KOH PHANGAN” out front. Not sure if it’s the best, but it was tasty! This place is also pretty affordable and has a separate vegetarian menu.
Art Cafe Koh Phangan – This place is gorgeous, lots of nooks and crannies to hang out and do work, cosy up with a book on the floor pillows etc. However, unfortunately I find them super overpriced for what they offer, so I didn’t go there much.
Vegan Koh Phangan – Places I didn’t get to
Art in Chai – Was closed the times I tried. Seems good for vegan chai and dessert, small place. Same chain as Pai I think?
Taste of Heaven – This opened since I left on the main drag. Same as the one in Chiang Mai I believe!
Moksha Koh Phangan – This was also closed both times I tried, but seems like they have nice healthy vegan options and breakfast. On the way to Thong Sala.
Vegan Chocolate on Koh Phangan
Ganesha Naturals – Chocolate is relatively hard to come by in Thailand, much less vegan chocolate. Sometimes I really had a craving. Luckily someone pointed out this place to me. Their chocolate was super expensive, but really great! They also sell other stuff too, like candles, oils and incense. I’m not sure all chocolate bars were vegan, but most were.
Vegan Koh Phangan – Groceries
I pretty much ate out for almost every meal on Koh Phangan, except a couple times when I had coconut yogurt and fruit at home, or a vegan samosa I brought back from a stand. My accommodation had a kitchen and fridge, but it was so damn hot I did not want to cook. So, I didn’t shop much, but I found a few places for you below if you’re looking.
Limpipong Kitchenware & Health Food Center – This is where to go for your imported vegan stuff.
The Organic Shop – There are two locations of this, one on the main drag in Sri Thanu and one in Thong Sala. They sell coconut yogurt, sauerkraut and pickles, kombucha and some raw chocolate and dessert and stuff, plus other things.
There’s also some fruit and vegetable stands and a bigger half-outdoor market that sells fruit and veg, noodles, rice, some frozen stuff, spices, etc. on the main drag on the left when going north, past the right turn that leads to Green Gallery and Aree’s, etc.
Yoga on Koh Phangan
The yoga studios I checked out on the island. I can guarantee that none of these are secretly a cult, hah.
The Yoga Retreat – Really loved both the Hatha and led Ashtanga yoga class here. They were some of my favorite yoga classes and the onsite restaurant has lots of vegan food too!
Sunny Yoga – The only studio on the island that actually has a Thai yoga teacher, which is kind of worrying when you think of it! I liked my class here and would definitely recommend them!
Yoga with Mannu – I did two weeks of mysore style Ashtanga yoga here almost every day. The first day I cried, haha, but by the end it was crazy how much stronger I got in two weeks. Ashtanga is a pretty challenging form of yoga so maybe do a little research into it first. You need to book with Manu in advance. He’s not always on the island so have a check on his website first.
Massage on Koh Phangan
Kanda Massage – This place was excellent down in Thong Sala and also eco-friendly. I didn’t try out so many massage places on Koh Phangan, but I’d go back here in a heart beat.
Coworking Spaces on Koh Phangan
BEACHUB – I’ll be honest, I wasn’t a fan of this place. It’s a beautiful space right on the water, but seemed really disorganized on the day I went to check it out. First, I never got a tour, so wasn’t really sure where things where and what I could use. Second, they forgot to take my money. I had to remind them, lol. Then I ordered food delivery through them and tried for 2 hours to pay but all employees had disappeared. I ended up having to leave without paying, which I felt bad about, but what else was I supposed to do? The electric also went out for 2-3 hours on my one day there, so I had to tether to my phone. Seems silly when the whole point of a co-working space is good internet. Maybe you’ll have better luck than me?
Have you been to Koh Phangan? Found a place I missed or have a tip? Let me know in the comments!