The Challenge Phangan is probably the best option for families on Koh Phangan, kids love it! (since they're generally much better at it than the adults - they have a much higher success rate over the red balls!). On an island more known its parties than anything else, The Challenge has been saving parents for over 4 years. It's just as much fun in the rain as it is when there's no rain - we managed to stay open during the 2016/17 floods, turning our downstairs bar into a kayaking obstacle course!
Welcome to Koh Phangan's newest state of the art SWIM UP BAR!!! You CANNOT get any closure to the action than this!! Come down and enjoy this crazy weather with us! WE ARE OPEN!!(our upstairs restaurant is fully functional and dry) #floodparty #flood #openforbuisness #cantstopwontstop #rainorshine #totalwipeout #watersports #drinks #swimupbar #kayak #servicewithasmile
If you're not a confident swimmer, we've got life jackets for anyone who wants them, and our lifeguards Seth, Jamie, George, Mojo and Myat are always keeping a watchful eye on all of our guests.
Group members not taking part in the water can chill on the upper deck with a relaxing drink and snack, and have just as much of a laugh being the official family photographer.
Hiking on Khao Ra
Khao Ra stands proudly at 627 meters high, and is the highest peak on Koh Phangan. The hike itself will take you roughly three hours, with two hours climbing and one hour descending, it's a great way to spend half a day away from the beaches. Bring a picnic for a quiet lunch at the top while enjoying the view. Make sure you bring lots of water, as there isn't anywhere to resupply until you get back down!
Finding the route to start the trail up Khao Ra can be difficult - but you should see signs for Phaeng Waterfalls whether you arrive from the north or the south. It starts about halfway between Thong Sala and Chaloklum.
Once you're on the path, there will be (sporadically) some signs pointing you in the correct direction. The hike includes some scrambling, and although we don't recommend doing it in flip-flops, it's perfectly doable. You don't have to be an experienced hiker to do this hike, but your fitness level needs to be fairly decent. If you can do The Challenge, you can definitely do the hike!
Expect to see butterflies, tropical birds, and if you're lucky the occasional wild monkey.
If you're already doing the Khao Ra hike, you can visit Pheng Waterfall on the way. Pheng Waterfalls consist of Phaeng Noi (small) and Phaeng Yai (big). You'll see Phaeng Noi almost as soon as you start the trek up Khao Ra, whilst to see Phaeng Yai you'll need to trek up to 250 meters above sea level through the jungle. Once there, you're only a 200-meter incline from the top of the mountain!
The best time to see the waterfalls is during the monsoon season, or after heavy rain (like the weather so far this January 2017.), as during the dryer periods the waterfalls are less impressive.
Koh Phangan is home to over 30 beaches, so there's easily something here for everyone. We've written about some of them before, great spots for chilling out in the West of Koh Phangan.
The island's west coast is also the home to a gorgeous coral reef that stretches along almost all of the coast line and offers great snorkeling opportunities for any experience level.
Opening times: Every day, 9am to 5pm.
Phangan Bicycle Tours offer a four-hour (13km) family oriented tour which includes bike hire, lunch, and soft drinks. There are other longer tours available if your children are a little bit older. Check them out for a great way to explore the island!
Opening times: Every day, check the schedule for the viewings.
Thong Sala is home to the awesome Moonlight Cinema, a place where you can properly relax in the evenings with a classic movie and comfy lie-down seats. The cinema offers themed movie nights alongside a wholesome menu with loads of Vegan options, and a sensational smoothie/juice bar (there's also popcorn and beer of course!)
Opening times: Every day, 10am to 7pm.
Enjoy some down time with your family at the only Mini Golf place on the island. The price of one round is 120baht per person, and you can enjoy 12 challenging holes of varying difficulty, chilled drinks, and nice surroundings.
Perfect place to relax your body and mind on a slow vacation day.
Mini Sheep Farm
Opening times: Every day, 10am to 5pm.
This experience is as delightful as it sounds. With 11 adorable little sheep a visit to this place will definitely be your children's highlight of the day. For as little as 100 baht (per person) you get to 1) look at the sheep and pet them, 2) feed them grass and milk from the little milk bottles, and 3) run around the farm when the owner lets them out of the barn. The price also includes a drink and some light snacks.
Bow and Arrow Club
Opening times: Every day, 10am to 5.30pm.
If archery is among your interests, the Bow and Arrow Club is a must visit while on Koh Phangan. The place is known for providing quality training and instructions to archers of any level and ability. The lessons are reasonably priced and well worth it. Suitable even if you never held a bow before.
Opening times: All day every day.
Jorkyball is a modified form of 2 on 2 Association soccer taking influence from squash and soccer. Perfect place to come to for those who miss practicing football or just want to have fun on holidays. You can come and play practically at any time.
The Jorkyball cage is located at the "Blue Dream Hostel" in Baan Tai. Bring your family and friends along and you can have a small competition. There's plenty of players on the island, and all the staff at the Blue Dream Hostel play on a daily basis.
Eat While the Kids Play
Opening times: Monday to Sunday, 3pm to 9pm.
The Playground Cafe offers respite for families with kids between 2 and 6. The entrance fee is just ฿100, and your kids can let loose on slides, trampoline, ball pool, kids gym and other toys. In the evenings there are also the occasional cinema and BBQ.
Thong Sala (Night) Market
Image by elevenpalms.com.
Opening times: All day every day.
Thong Sala market is a great place to visit after a relaxing day on the beach or an exciting day in The Challenge. The market is open all day but comes alive in the evening when all of the stalls are open. If you have a family where everyone wants something different, it's the perfect place to make sure everyone's happy! The market has everything from fresh delicious sushi, awesome and cheap Pad Thais, as well as great Indian food, tasty pizzas and everything in between Western and Thai food.
That concludes our list of family friendly events you can do on the island. There are of course more, so if you have any tips for anyone who might read this blog, please add them in the comments below!