I’ve spent 10 days in Koh Phangan as a digital nomad and I have to say, I’m in love. If I hadn’t already planned a trip to Cambodia with my friend, I could stay here for 1-2 months easily. It’s got everything you need to live a happy, healthy lifestyle.
Koh Phangan Digital Nomad TLDR; Summary
I’d give Koh Phangan 5/5 stars would highly recommend as a digital nomad destination. Here are my top recs. Sadly, I was only here for 10 days so I didn’t ask about monthly prices for things, which are definitely cheaper than what I got. Plus it’s rainy+non-Full Moon party timing so the island was pretty dead.
- Where to live: Anywhere in Ban Tai, specifically Plumeria or this AirBnb (~$20 USD per night for a weekly booking in a nice place) Full overview of the best places to live in Koh Phangan (complete with wifi speed tests) here ›
- Where to Work: Cafes…Dots, Nira’s, Doppio, and The Port are all near thong Sala pier. Then there’s Southway, Bubba’s, and Luna’s a bit further south. (Coffee is 60-80tbh aka $2-3 USD and meals are 80tbh for Thai food or up to 210tbh for boujee/western food). Full overview of the best places to work in Koh Phangan (with wifi speed test) here ›
- Best Gym: Koh Phangan Muay Thai and Fitness Gym (600 tbh per week)
- Best Grocery Store: Makro…it’s like a Thai Costco
- Transportation: You’re gonna want a scooter. (250tbh per day aka $7.50 USD, or 1400tbh per week aka $42 USD)
- Best Restaurants: Fisherman’s Restaurant in Ban Tai for dates. Casa Tropicana for casual cool. The Rock Bar & Restaurant in Haad Rin for cool view.
- Best Beach Bars: Sunset View Beach Bar, Secret Beach Bar, Infinity Beach Club, Tribe Beach Bar
- Best Beach: Haad Rin, but I really didn’t go to many beaches and the island was pretty much empty so it wasn’t crowded.
- Thing To Do: Moonlight Cinema
Accommodations / Where To Live
Upon arriving, I performed my usual accommodation search ritual where I rent a cheap hostel for a night and spend the entire day trying to find where I actually want to live. My requirements were <$20 a night with good internet, decor, and location.
On Koh Phangan, I booked my first night at a party hostel Phangan Arena. It’s rainy season and there’s no Full Moon party, so it was only $10 a night. The room was a windowless cell, but the pool and social atmosphere were nice albeit there was really only like 10 people staying there at the time. Would I recommend it? Sure, if you’re looking for cheap and social.
Then, I got on AirBnb and various other booking websites to find cool places to live. After making a shortlist, I hopped on my scooter and drove around to see them in person, run wifi speed tests (full list of Phangan wifi speed tests here), and negotiate in person.
After riding around the entire island, here’s my analysis of neighborhoods. If you want a pretty beach and people, go to Haad Rin. If you want yoga, vegan-faire, and seclusion, head up north or to the east cost of the island. If you want it all, live in Ban Tai.
I decided to go with an AirBnb property called Plumeria due to it’s beauty, kitchen, fast internet connection, and it is within walking distance to the beach, grocery store (Makro), gym (Koh Phangan Muay Thai & Fitness), and a ton of cafes. If you want a studio apartment with an amazing view, I recommend Viewpoint Apartments. If you want a beautiful beach and an on-site restaurant, I’d recommend Phangan Resort and/or this AirBnb. NOTE: It’s off-season here so prices were severely discounted for me aka don’t hate me if those suggestions are really expensive when you look.
Once I settled into Plumeria, I went to find my gym. Podium Gym is the super nice, air conditioned option with new equipment that’ll cost you 1000tbh per week aka ~$30 USD.
Then there’s the gym I fell in love with…Koh Phangan Muay Thai & Fitness Gym. It’s got a wider variety of old equipment, no A/C, and ran 600tbh per week aka $18 USD (or 200thb per day). Everyone there was fit AF (pretty sure they all train Muay Thai), perfect for unlocking the insecurities that drive me to lift more. Don’t worry though, they’re all super friendly and I ended up meeting quite a few people at the gym.
Koh Phangan has great internet generally with ~20Mbs download, and ~20Mbs download as well at most places. Wondering which places are best? Lucky for you, I have a post with the wifi internet speed tests from everywhere I went in Koh Phangan, just click here ›
Cafes and Coworking Spaces
Before coming here, I was excited to check out Beachub and the other coworking spaces…until I saw their prices (350tbh per day OMGWTF?!?!?!?! Their weekly/monthly prices are much more reasonable though don’t worry). Literally you could work at beautiful cafes with fast internet all day and eat and drink to your heart’s desire for the same amount…and that’s exactly what I did.
The cafe scene in Koh Phangan is bananas. There’s a ton of them, all with baller internet and great atmospheres. Most days I’d just drive up near Thong Sala and bounce between the cafes there – Dots Cafe, Nira’s Bakery, Doppio Cafe, and The Port. Nira’s had the best food, I’d recommend the granola bowl or banana pancakes – both for <100tbh. Dots Cafe was my second favorite as it had the best ambience. Then a bit south of those is Southway Cafe, Bubba’s Cafe, and Luna Cafe. Bubbas’s food is the bomb too, but you’ll spend at least 150 tbh minimum, and the internet was actually the worst out of the all the cafes on my speed tests.
Tbh, I’m not a huge fan of scooters. I’ve had too many near-crash experiences, but in Koh Phangan you’re going to want a scooter. If you live in a good location, you can definitely walk to some places and may not need it every day, but if you want to explore at all, you’ll need one. They go for 250tbh per day or 1400tbh per week (aka 200tbh per day). The roads weren’t that scary to drive on.
Restaurants & Nightlife
If you’re on a date or just want a good meal, go to Fisherman’s Restaurant. It’s candlelit and has a great menu of fish.
If you want something nice enough and on the beach, go to Casa Tropicana. They’ve got a few cabanas you can lay down in, which is super tight.
If you want a view on Haad Rin beach, go to The Rock Bar & Restaurant. It’s got a large affordable menu and the chairs are comfortable.
If you want a beverage and a beachview, go to Sunset View Beach Bar, Secret Beach Bar, Infinity Beach Club, or Tribe Beach Bar.