Ko Pha Ngan

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Ko Pha Ngan
เกาะพะงัน
Ko Pha Ngan from the air
Ko Pha Ngan from the air
Ko Pha Ngan is located in Thailand
Ko Pha Ngan
Ko Pha Ngan
Coordinates: 9°43′0″N 100°0′0″E / 9.71667°N 100.00000°E / 9.71667; 100.00000
Country Thailand
Province Surat Thani
Area
 • Total 125 km2 (48 sq mi)
Population (2012)
 • Total 13,700
Time zone Thailand Standard Time (UTC+7)
Exploring the island on mopeds
Sunrise at Thong Nai Pan

Ko Pha Ngan (or Koh Phangan, Thai: เกาะพะงัน, RTGS: Ko Pha-ngan, Thai pronunciation: [kɔ̀ʔ pʰa.ŋan]) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand in South East Thailand, and located in Surat Thani Province. It is part of the Samui Archipelago. It is famous for its full moon party at Haad Rin Beach and as a backpackers destination. Ko Pha Ngan has two sister islands: the larger Ko Samui to the south and the smaller Ko Tao to the north.

  • Estimated perimeter: 40 km (estimate—10 hrs average walking time)
  • From mainland: about 55 km
  • From Ko Samui: about 15 km
  • From Ko Tao: about 35 km
  • Main town: Thong Sala
  • Highest Point: Khao Ra, 630 m asl

History[edit]

The name of Ko Pha Ngan comes from the word 'Ngan', meaning 'sand bar' in the southern dialect, for there are many sand bars offshore around the island. Ko Pha Ngan has been a longtime favorite of past kings of Thailand. Specifically Rama V, or Chulalongkorn visited Ko Pha Ngan 14 times during his reign. The Bronze Drum of Dongson Culture (500–100BC) that was found on Ko Samui in 1977 is evidence that there were settlements of people on Ko Samui, Ko Pha Ngan, and their islets from more than two thousand years ago. Some historians and archaeologists believe that the first group who migrated to Ko Pha Ngan were the Muslim sea Gypsies (Pygmy, Semung, and Proto-Malay) who travelled by boat from the Malay Peninsula. However, nowadays there are few Muslims who live on the island.

Over the last century the Island's population has steadily expanded; first living off the sea and the land, farming coconuts; then tin mining also became part of the economy. In the 1970s the mining industry faltered and finally petered over the next decade as tourism took hold. Now the island is primarily a tourist destination; however fishing and coconut farming are still big parts of the local economy.

Due to its topography the population remains based around the coastline whilst the mountainous interior is generally inaccessible. More than half the island designated as National Park and Ko Phangan has more than 80 km2 of pristine rain forest with diverse flora and fauna. It is also considered a spiritual place with numerous Buddhist temples around the Island and a thriving spa, retreat and meditation industry.

Facilities[edit]

Koh Phangan currently has only 1 international primary school called 'Si Panya School'[1][2] located in Baan Tai. Si Panya School is a private primary school which follows the British National curriculum for girls and boys aged 5 to 12 years old.

Si Panya School was established in March 2012. The opening of the first international school on the island was welcomed by many families as a necessary educational amenity although some saw this as the first step towards the overdevelopment of the island.[3][4]

Administration[edit]

Ko Pha Ngan together with Ko Tao forms the district (amphoe) Ko Pha Ngan (148 km2, 15500 population 2012). The district is subdivided into three subdistricts (tambon):

Nr. Name Thai name
1. Ko Pha-ngan เกาะพะงัน
2. Ban Tai บ้านใต้
3. Ko Tao เกาะเต่า

Originally the island was administrated from Ko Samui district. The minor district (King Amphoe) Ko Pha Ngan was established on October 1, 1970, then consisting of the two tambon Ko Pha Ngan and Ban Tai.[5] It was upgraded to a full district on April 12, 1977.[6]

Parts of the tambon Ko Pha Ngan and Ban Tai form the township (thesaban tambon) Ko Pha Ngan. There are further three Tambon administrative organizations (TAO).

Popular culture[edit]

Ko Pha Ngan featured prominently in Alex Garland's 1996 novel The Beach and is also mentioned in the 2006 song Magick by the new rave band Klaxons' (but probably[original research?] more as a reference to the 1996 novel The Beach than the island itself).

The world renowned Full Moon Party is a monthly dance music festival set on Haad Rin Nok Beach scheduled every month at full moon. The event primarily features electronic music and attracts anywhere from 40,000 party-goers on a normal month and up to 1,000,000 in high season (December to March).[citation needed] Recently steps have been taken to make Ko Pha Ngan into a more family-friendly tourist destination, promoting the Island's wealth of natural attractions and also stepping up the police presence; road blocks with stop and search procedures are commonplace and undercover police also patrol parties.

The song "Vision in Blue" on the album The Golden Ratio by Ace of Base mentions Ko Pha Ngan.

Dj & Producer Ashley Wallbridge titled his 2012 song "Kopanang", an anglicized version of Ko Pha Ngan.

The British psychedelic rock band Ozric Tentacles featured a song called Ko Pha Ngan on their 1989 album "The Bits Between The Bits".

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Si Panya School". Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  2. ^ "Koh Phangan Thailand: Business and services". Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "Our Family Adventure- Si Panya School". Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  4. ^ "Koh Phangan International School". Retrieved 30 September 2012. 
  5. ^ "ประกาศกระทรวงมหาดไทย เรื่อง แบ่งท้องที่ตั้งเป็นกิ่งอำเภอ" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai) 87 (90 ง): 2790. September 24, 1970. 
  6. ^ "พระราชกฤษฎีกาตั้งอำเภอปลายพระยา อำเภอห้วยเม็ก อำเภอละแม อำเภอแม่จริม อำเภอหนองกี่ อำเภอโคกปีบ อำเภอเกาะพะงัน อำเภอสนม อำเภอโซ่พิสัย อำเภอโนนสะอาด และอำเภอนาจะหลวย พ.ศ. ๒๕๒๐" (PDF). Royal Gazette (in Thai) 94 (31 ก): 326–330. April 12, 1977. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 9°45′N 100°02′E / 9.750°N 100.033°E / 9.750; 100.033