I’ve lived in Thailand for over three years now, and my family has come to visit me several times. Every time, they have gone home anxious to return again. Thailand is addictive in that it’s a cheap destination that’s easy to access from Europe, making it easy to return again. Lucky for me, my family comes back often (although not so often that I don’t welcome their company).
Although Koh Phangan has a reputation as a party island, it’s my favorite place in Thailand to travel with my parents. My mother and father, who are in their 60s and are teetotalers, both love the island and like spending time on the beach here. The fact that it’s got a reputation for parties doesn’t put them off, and it shouldn’t put you off either.
Recently, my dad got veneers in Bangkok and stayed for the weekend. He then spent the next week relaxing on Koh Phangan before returning to Bangkok to visit the hospital to get everything checked, then returning home to the UK. The whole experience was chilled out and fun – not what you might expect if your view of Koh Phangan is based on the Full Moon Party.
The only place I’ve enjoyed more than Koh Phangan, and the only place I think is better for family trips, is Railay Beach in Krabi. It’s quiet and peaceful, with the most beautiful beach I’ve ever seen in my life – even better than Bottle Beach here. Railay also has the added advantage of being really easy to get to compared to Koh Phangan, since there’s a direct flight there from Bangkok and a simple long tail boat ride from Ao Nang.
I’ve taken my parents to Railay once and to Koh Phangan several times. On all of their trips here, they’ve enjoyed the beautiful nature and commented about how peaceful the island is. When we stopped on Koh Samui on the way back from a snorkeling trip last time, both of them commented on how much they preferred Koh Phangan for its quieter atmosphere. I knew I made the right decision by living here, and it’s good to see that my family loves visiting too.