Hiking in Thailand – Jungle Trek on Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is an island in the gulf of Thailand well known in the party circuit for its monthly Full Moon celebration as well as the smaller Half Moon Festival. After spending a week on the island at the beautiful Buri Beach Resort for a Travel Bloggers Retreat we discovered there is a lot more things to do and enjoy besides the parties. Here we discuss hiking in Thailand through the jungles of Koh Phangan.

Check out 8 reasons to go to Koh Phangan

Meeting our guide Charlie

We had the chance to go hiking in Thailand on a jungle trek with a group of fellow travelers led by a great local guy by the name of Charlie. Besides leading groups of people through the jungles of the island he also plays competitive beach volleyball for hours each day and owns Koh Space (a co-working space).
We first met up with Charlie as he was sitting on some steps of a nearby half finished building. After a quick hello and a run down of our itinerary we took off on our adventure through the hills to a beach with only local boat access called The Sanctuary.


The Jungle Trek Begins on Koh Phangan

Once we left the small town of Baan Haad Rin, we began our ascent past abandoned buildings and large tree hanging vines. The temperature was hot and the air was humid and very sticky. Exactly what you would imagine trekking through a jungle would be like. If you had a bottle of ice, it would have already been melted and warm by this point. With a few quick stops to catch our breathe and some switchbacks through the dense trees we found ourselves at Stone Wall. This was huge pile of boulders towards at the top of the mountain overlooking the town Baan Haad Rin, beaches and the expanse of ocean in the distance.

Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
The first look back Hiking in Thailand
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Vines on the trail
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
So much green. Reminds me of the Northwest
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
View from Stone Wall on Koh Phangan overlooking Haad Rin.

Stone Wall on Koh Phangan

We stopped here for quite some time taking in the spectacular view and getting more than enough photos and videos to remember the experience. After a slug of water and a wipe of sweat from the brow we were off again. Again we began trekking into the jungle through vines, over fallen trees and around boulders. It was hard to know which direction we were headed and whether we were actually descending or ascending due to the thick dense jungle, various ups and downs and lack of a real trail. Thankfully we had Charlie who had taken this trip many times before, but even he had to stop at time to remember the route. It is always a good idea to get a local guide when trekking in unfamiliar territory.

Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Visual affirmation we are on the right track.
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Be careful of trees and vines. They can be mean!

Second View Point on the Jungle Trek on Koh Phanan

After another hour or so, we found ourselves at a second amazing viewpoint. This spot was a natural rock formation carved into the cliff face looking out onto Haad Yuan beach and Haad Tian beach. We had to watch our step carefully here as is was a long tumble down if you slipped and fell. As we snapped our photos and chatted among ourselves about the beauty before us, we heard a noise nearby in the trees. Yep, it was a monkey swinging from the branches and calling out to us “I see you! Do you see me?” Rather funny watching him watching us, but glad that he was quite a few meters away, especially since we were inches away from at least a hundred meter drop.

Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Admiring the view overlooking the Sanctuary in the distance and Haad Yuan beach below.
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Deep in thought obviously.

With the monkeying around done (pun intended) we began our descent to the beach below. The terrain down to the beach was tricky at times and you had to take care with your step and balance. As we reach Haad Yuan beach we were out of water, sweating like dogs and in desperate need of refreshment. We grabbed a cold beverage from a local selling beer and water and snapped some shots of the beach and its remarkable wooden bridges. The scene was like a jigsaw puzzle created from wooden poles and boulders.

Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Local beer and snack hut and Travel Dave!
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
View of the Haad Yuan beach and quick rest.
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Local Fishing Boats on Haad Yuan Beach
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Amazing bridge making skills on display. Little scary to walk on!

The Sanctuary on Koh Phangan

We continued along the wooden bridges and around the bend of the coastline to our final destination, The Sanctuary (Haad Tian beach). This beach has no roads and barely even a trail to get you there. Besides the jungle trek we just accomplished, the only form of transportation to this beach is by boat. The beach is lined with a few bars , restaurants and accommodations for those wishing to live the seclusion for more than a day. We took a much needed swim in the ocean. Then we sat down for a bite and drink and enjoyed the sunset while looking back on our recent adventure. After sunset the beach lights up , the music begins and the atmosphere has a bohemian feel to it. Eventually it was time to depart and we set off on a local fisherman’s boat and headed back to Buri Beach Resort for a night cap and good night sleep.

Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Getting closer to the Sanctuary on Koh Phangan
Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan
Finally made it to The Sanctuary for rest and a drink.

The jungle trek was just one of many great experiences on the island but it was especially memorable because it was a good combo of nature, sightseeing and of course exercise. Remember, whether you are traveling to Koh Phangan or anywhere else in the world, seek out an adventure or unique activity you can do besides the typical tourist hot spot. You will have a more memorable trip with a unique story to tell others when you return home and you will get in a great workout. Koh Pangan is a very spiritual place and it is a perfect place to take a wellness retreat or enroll in a yoga teacher training class.

For more information on what else we did on Koh Phangan and what else you can do visit Live Dream Discover’s Post on Koh Phangan.

Hiking in Thailand on Koh Phangan Map
Map of the jungle trek on Koh Phangan

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Interested in more hiking. Here are some other hiking related articles. 7 Best Hikes Near Seattle and the Best Hiking in Ireland and Other Unique Adventures.

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10 thoughts on “Hiking in Thailand – Jungle Trek on Koh Phangan”

  1. Thanks for reading about my experience. Yeah I was a sweaty mess, but it was worth it. I love when I can get away from trails for a bit and really get out into the wild. Hope your journey is going well!

  2. Hey Max, Thanks for reading the post! It was a blast of a hike. Some great viewpoints and some unique spots to explore on this one. I went with a group lead by a guy on the island named Charlie. Everyone on the island pretty much knows him. He can probably be contacted through Koh Space I think he is an owner of it. If you email them, they should be able to help you out or put you in contact with someone on the island that knows the route though the jungle. Just show them my post or let them know it was a trail to Stone Wall and then to the Sanctuary. It is really not a marked trail, but I know Charlie knows the way. I am not sure how much it would cost. We had a big group and it was part of a 1 week retreat. Let me know if you need any other help figuring it out.

  3. Hi Nathan, Wow great pics!
    Where did you book this hike? Do they maybe have a webpage?
    And how much did. it cost?
    Will be there in March 16 and this hike looks like a lot of fun!

  4. Thanks April! There are quite a few bugs in the jungle. Especially compared to my home area the Pacific Northwest. Luckily mosquitos don’t seem to like me or my blood. They land on me, then fly off. Ants on the other hand love me. haha

  5. Excellent article. Loved the jigsaw puzzle imagery. Well written!

    One question. How did you manage the bugs in the jungle? Were you eaten alive by mosquitos?

  6. Yeah, Not sure how the vines got the better of me. It was a great hike all around though. The heat, sweat and jungle reminded me of hiking in Mexico or Guatemala. And of course all the green reminded me of home, the Pacific Northwest!

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