There is accommodation available on Koh Phangan to suit every budget, from 200 baht per night huts to 30,000 baht luxury beachfront villas.
The majority of the accommodation is Thai-owned and family-run, with a selection of fan rooms for 300-600 baht and air conditioned rooms 600 baht and up. You’ll be charged a premium for anything right on the beach.
The cheaper resorts expect guests to eat at their restaurant which allows them to keep accommodation prices down. Eating out can either work out extremely cheap (30 baht for noodle soup from a roadside stand) or more expensive if you eat in the Western tourist-orientated restaurants that serve steak, sushi or other international cuisine.
Most people on a budget hire motorbikes to get around, although there are increasing numbers of fatal accidents due to carefree visitors neglecting to wear crash-helmets. There are also cases or tourists being ripped-off by ‘damage’ which is wrongly attributed to them, so make sure you check the vehicle carefully before riding off. Rates should generally be around 150 baht per day.
The alternative is to use songthaews (converted pick-up truck shared taxis) which wait at popular beaches and transport hubs like the jetty, and follow set routes around the island. These are around 100 baht per person for a short journey (Thong Sala to Haad Rin 150 baht). Note: bargain hard if the initial quote seems inordinately steep.
Most visitors to Koh Phangan tend to find a nice beach with a good vibe and base their holidays and can generally get by on 1,000 baht a day. Package holidays to the island are now available with companies specialising in sending groups to let their hair down at the the Full Moon Party.
Tours to nearby islands, including trekking, snorkelling and kayaking trips, are very cheap on Koh Phangan to cater for the backpacker crowd. There are full-day combination excursions from around 1,200 baht, which normally include lunch, refreshments and hotel pick-up/drop-off. However, by searching around Haad Rin travel agencies, or enquiring with local boatmen, this can be reduced.
Taster scuba diving sessions start at around 2,000 baht, with PADI Open Water certification from around 9,000 baht and professional Dive Master courses from 25,000 baht. However, there are great packages which offer free accommodation with your tuition that can greatly reduce the overall cost.
Internet cafés are everywhere on Koh Phangan and typically offer decent connection speeds for around 60 baht/hour. A rising proliferation of restaurants offering free WiFi for customers means that having an iPhone, or indeed taking a notebook, is a good idea which can save you a great deal in costs on Koh Phangan.