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After you read the 1997 bestselling novel The Beach (or saw the movie in 2000), you probably wanted to hastily throw some things into a backpack and jet off to Koh Phangan like the jaded and dispassionate main character Richard a.k.a. author Alex Garland a.k.a. film adaptation star Leo DiCaprio. But just as The Beach revealed a dark side to this seemingly unspoiled, utopic getaway, the actual Koh Phangan is profoundly affected by tourism and the superficialities of the "real world."
The island is notorious for its monthly paint-your-whole-body, drink-from-a-vodka-bucket (is there Molly in this?), light-everything-on-fire Full Moon Parties in the resort town of Haad Rin. But if you're not into waking up naked and inexpressibly hungover in a tidal pool, the great news is that Koh Phangan has a completely different side few stick around to experience.
There are white sand beaches - like Bottle Beach in the north - that can only be accessed via jungle pass Ã la Leo's Beach (which was shot on Koh Phi Phi anyway). Just south are the spectacular waterfalls and hiking trails of Than Sadet National Park. The western part of the island is home to the vibrant expat art community and is full of yoga studios, isolated resorts and retreat centers, and holistic health institutes. After hitting up all the other magnificent beaches around the rest of the island, you can give your psychological and emotional wellbeing some real therapy at 10-day silent meditation retreat at Wat Kow Tahm in the south.
When you aren't scuba diving or blissed out by creative and free energy of the place, you'll find a supportive community at Koh Space, the island's main coworking and reliable Wi-Fi hub.
While there may not be a ton of nomads currently residing in Koh Phangan, it's an excellent place to get your hustle on for a while with or without other nomad friends at an excellent cost and quality of living. And you don't have to cross a marijuana plantation guarded by armed Thai farmers to get there.
Find the best coworker community for you by clicking on our interactive map and exploring Koh Phangan's coworking spaces.
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