How to Rent a House in Koh Phangan, Thailand
Who doesn’t dream of living on a tropical paradise island? For many people its just a dream but luckily, there are many places where it is actually possible and affordable to live this dream. I’ve been lucky enough to call Goa, India home, many people also spend a few months living in Bali, Indonesia, and now I’ve come to Koh Phangan, a gorgeous tropical island in Thailand to live and work for a few months and I want to share with you and easy guide about how to rent a house in Koh Phangan, Thailand.
Why live in Koh Phangan?
Koh Phangan is mainly famous for the Full Moon Party but this beautiful island in the Gulf of Thailand has so much more to offer. The island is picture postcard beautiful with soft white sand beaches, clear turquoise oceans and a lush green jungly mountainous interior complete with many waterfalls to explore and some great hikes to stunning viewpoints.
Koh Phangan is a great place not just for party people (there is a lot of great nightlife on Koh Phangan and so many more parties to enjoy even if its not full moon time) Koh Phangan is also a spiritual island with loads of amazing, world class yoga and meditation retreats and its also a great place for digital nomads with a exciting digital nomad community and co working spaces – some like Beach Hub are even located right on the beach.
Unlike Goa, where its hard to get decent internet, most houses to rent in Koh Phangan come with decent wifi so what better place to work!?
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How to find a house for rent in Koh Phangan
There are a few ways to find a house for rent in Koh Phangan. If you prefer to get everything sorted before you arrive then there are loads of amazing houses to rent on AirBnB. (Click this link to get $25 off on AirBnB)
You can also find a house to rent in Facebook groups like – House for Rent on Koh Phangan You could also look online and go through a local rental company but I don’t know how trustworthy most of these organisations are and I don’t know anyone who did it this way so I can’t advise on any specific company to use. Most of the houses advertised online are marketed exclusively to foreigners so you won’t find the best deals online.
If you’re on a budget then Air BnB and some of the sublets on the Facebook groups may not be the cheapest option and it often works out cheaper to come to Koh Phangan first, book into a backpacker hostel to make new friends or perhaps a hotel or a cute beach bungalow for a couple of days and then rent a scooter and drive around to look for a house to rent in Koh Phangan.
A scooter is essential for most people living on Koh Phangan and prices start at 250 Baht per day but prices are cheaper if you rent it by the month (around 3,500 Baht per month)
You’ll need to get a Thai sim card too (cheap and easily available at the airport or in shops in Thong Sala, just make sure your phone is unlocked) so that you can call the numbers on the signs to arrange to view the houses.
Where to look
There are SO many house to rent signs all over, just drive around the areas that you like the look of and call the numbers on the sign to ask to look inside the house. Another advantage of looking for a house to rent in Koh Phangan in person is that you can check out the different areas and see which one you like best and you can also check everything in the house before handing over any money.
Generally speaking the North and East parts of the island are most quiet, and relaxing and the houses are not too close together, you may even be able to find a really private house in the jungle.
Thong Sala is the main town on the island and is well connected to most other places on the island. Haad Rin is where the Full Moon Party is located and is mostly for backpackers and short staying tourists. I really didn’t enjoy the party – see here for why. Baan Tai is where most of the parties are and there are also a lot of shops, resturants, bars and things to do there as well.
Sri Thanu is where most of the yoga schools are located and is my favourite area. Further North from Sri Thanu and around Chaloklum is also really nice but felt a bit too far out for me. There are co working spaces located in Baan Thai, Sri Thanu and also further North towards Chaloklum .
This post has more details on the different areas and my recommendations for the best hotels in each which could be useful while your looking for a house.
Cost of renting a house in Koh Phangan
The cost of a house to rent in Koh Phangan depends on how luxurious you want to live and can range from 6,000 Baht per month to 20,000 Baht or more for a really amazing luxury villa with a swimming pool.
Many houses to rent in Koh Phangan are available daily, weekly and monthly but the longer you stay the better deal you will get. If you come in low season or you are staying for a long time then you should be able to negotiate on the price.
Prices for a one room house with a balcony, fan, basic kitchen and bathroom start at around 6,000 – 8,000 Baht per month but might not always have A/C, wifi and hot water. The average for a larger, more modern 1 bedroom house to rent in Koh Phangan is around 10,000 – 12,000 Baht per month.
Many houses to rent in Koh Phangan often don’t have a living room, just a big bedroom and living space in one, so if you want a separate sleeping and living/ working area your search may be a little harder but not impossible.
Our house is a 1 bedroom modern house with AC, fast wifi, kitchen, bathroom with hot water, living room and balcony and cost 12,000 Baht per month. See here for more on my costs of living in Koh Phangan.
Most rentals then charge extra for electricity and sometimes water but wifi is often included but if you’re a digital nomad and need good wifi to work its best to run a speed test to check how good the connection is.
You’ll also want to check all the electrics, water etc are working properly before you agree to anything. Most houses to rent, especially the cheaper ones, have quite basic furniture but there is a furniture store in Thong Sala where you can buy anything else for the houses that you might not need if it doesn’t already come with it but its something that you’ll want to check out before moving in. Most rentals are quite a casual affair with small or no deposits to pay.
How to get to Koh Phangan
You have a couple of options to get to Koh Phangan:
The quickest and most expensive way of getting to Koh Phangan is taking a flight from Bangkok to the neighbouring island of Ko Samui and then a ferry over (approx. 300 Baht) but the prices are usually around $100 one way for the flight to Ko Samui.
The next quickest way of getting to Koh Phangan is to take a flight from Bangkok to Surat Thani or Nakon Si Thammrat on the Thai mainland and then getting a bus for a few hours to the ferry port and then the ferry over to Koh Phangan. Nok Air and Air Asia offer combined flight, bus, ferry tickets which take the hassle out of arranging it all yourself. Prices are between 1,500 and 2,500 Baht
The next best way to get to the island is by taking the overnight sleeper train from Bangkok to Surat Thani (12 hours but the train is comfortable and you can sleep) and then getting the bus to the port and the ferry. The price depends on whether you go A/C or fan only and again you can get a combined ticket from a travel agent. Prices start at about 1,600 Baht.
The cheapest and most uncomfortable way to reach Koh Phangan is by taking the bus all the way from Bangkok and then the ferry. It’s about 900 Baht by bus.
I used 12GoAsia to book the tickets.
Visas for living in Thailand
Most visitors to Thailand get a free 30 day visa on arrival, if you want to extend your visa while on Koh Phangan then you’ll need to catch the ferry over to the next island of Koh Samui and head to the immigration office where you can pay 1,900 Baht and extend your visa by another 30 days.
You can only extend your visa once. After that you’ll have to do a visa run to a neighbouring country like Malaysia and then come back to get another 30 days Thai visa when you reenter Thailand. You can read more here for more about Thai visas and border runs. However, you should keep up to date with the regulations are they can change and sometimes the Thai authrorties crack down on people doing too many visa runs.