Whilst the Full Moon Party may be the top attraction on Ko Phangan for the nocturnal among us, it also has its fair share of cool bars to check out too. From beach side bars to party pubs, here’s the best of the bunch on the island.
Loi Lay Floating Bar & Lounge
Bar, Nightclub, Thai, $$$
Loi Lay might only be open one day per week, but on that day it’s one of the best bars around. On Sunday nights the bar — which is floating on the sea — welcomes a troop of hardy party goers wanting to take advantage of the cheap booze, beautiful surroundings and awesome ambiance. Often with international DJs coming to play, there’s a mix of techno, house and electronic music played through the night, whilst those in attendance can take advantage of the cold beers and tasty cocktails. A word of warning though — after climbing into one of their hammocks, you might not want to leave (or you might not be able to…).
Bar, Thai, none
Much like travelers, pirates left their homes to voyage around the world in search of treasures, and that’s what you’ll find at Pirates Bar. In a glorious location by the beach with a gorgeous rocky backdrop, Pirates Bar is your archetypal beach bar; ramshackle and rustic by design but sure to provide a night to remember. Cocktails are stunningly cheap, making a great companion for the stunning sunsets, and it attracts a large backpacker crowd as the night goes on, attracted to the music and the vibes like a moth is to a flame. Speaking of which — it’s also a top spot to catch a fire show.
Bakery, Thai, none
To stand out in the party zone that is Haad Rin, you need to be a seriously decent bar — and Fubar is all that and more. With an impressive 7,000 watt sound system, Fubar’s mix of both international and local DJs know how to get the party going, and the friendly staff make sure you’re having the time of your life. Its location by the beach and close to the Full Moon Party makes this a top spot for most travelers who come this way, and if you follow in their footsteps you’re sure to have a top time. There are also dorm rooms available, for those of you who don’t want the party to end.
Bar, Thai, $$$
Southern Thailand is full of rasta bars, and Rasta Baby on the island of Koh Phangan is amongst the best of them. As well as serving tasty Thai food, Rasta Baby is known for its laid-back, chilled-out vibe that goes hand in hand with island life here. Typical of these types of bars, it has a very welcoming atmosphere and is a place where the staff, locals and travelers bond and swap stories over a beer or cocktail or two. Comfy, cosy and in a quiet spot near to a beach, it ticks all the boxes and is well worth a visit.
Bar, Thai, $$$
Situated on the island’s western coast is The Jam, a bar whose stage has long been the destination for both budding and established musicians from the area. With live sets providing a great atmosphere to enjoy a few drinks in, it’s a little more relaxed than some of the more party-orientated bars but just as unforgettable. Know a few chords or can hold a note? You’re more than welcome here, as guests are encouraged to share their talents with the rest of the jovial crowd, and there’s a range of beers, spirits and cocktails to get you through if you’re suffering from stage fright.
The Mason's Arms
Bar, Gastropub, Pub, Restaurant, British, European, Thai, $$$
Arriving at The Mason’s Arms is a disorientating experience for most people. For starters, it looks extremely out of place; a quintessentially British pub in the middle of paradise? Then there’s the food, where guests can dine on scotch eggs rather than som tam. But despite this, it works. British pubs are places where people come together, which fits in perfectly with island life on Koh Phangan, where people from all walks of life come together to discuss and plan adventures — and here they can do it in unashamedly British surroundings. It’s quirky and it’s unusual, but it’s a great pub with a wide range of food and drink options, and so it’s well worth checking out.
Bar, Restaurant, Thai, none
A beach restaurant and bar by day but a nightclub once the sun goes down, Cactus Bar is a must-visit for anyone who comes to Haad Rin with partying in mind. By the beach, it’s relatively calm and peaceful through the day, but becomes a hot spot of activity later on. It has an eclectic mix of music, from hip hop to chart to electronic, and so you’re bound to come across a song that you can dance to, and the cheap alcohol deals will make sure you don’t care who’s watching. With a number of games and fire shows that call for audience participation, it makes for a lively night, and it’s bound to be busy regardless of whether there’s a full moon or not.