Any places similar to Koh Phangan?
January 18, 2010 9:29 PM   Subscribe

What other places in the world are like this place: Koh Phangan in Thailand?

My wife and I finally ventured out of the Western hemisphere, and went to Koh Phangan in the Gulf of Thailand. We really, really loved it.

So what other places in the world are like this? And I'm not talking about the Full Moon Parties. By "this", I mean somewhat exotic, isolated, and comparatively undiscovered, yet really hip, relaxing, and adventurous all at once. And liberalized with respect to the rule of law, etc. If you've been there, you know what I mean.

Big plus for tropical islands, but it doesn't have to be one.

So Mephites, where should we go next? Is there any other place like this, or should we just go back to Koh Phangan?
posted by mikeand1 to Travel & Transportation around Ko Pha-Ngan, Thailand (10 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Ko Chang
posted by pompomtom at 9:51 PM on January 18, 2010

I'd say the safest bet would be to to continue exploring the islands there- Koh Phi Phi is quite beautiful. I wouldn't have described them as comparatively undiscoverd though.

I spent some time on the Gulf of Aquaba in Egypt, and if you go past the bigger resort towns then it's very quiet (except for Israeli tourists), with lovely beaches and coral reefs and deserts. It seems to hit a few of your 'exotic, isolated, undiscovered, hip, relaxing, and adventurous' criteria.
posted by twirlypen at 9:59 PM on January 18, 2010 [1 favorite]

Ha ha, British Columbia?
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:05 PM on January 18, 2010

I should emphasize that I'm not talking about the availability of drugs per se (we have plenty of that in the SF Bay Area). I'm more talking about the laid back and non-uptight atmosphere that sometimes goes with it.
posted by mikeand1 at 10:14 PM on January 18, 2010

I was kind of joking just because Canada's so non-tropical, but actually, I repeat, BC. There's gorgeous scenery, mountains, skiing, snowboarding, rock-climbing, surfing, forests, ocean, and the atmosphere is preeeetty laid-back. Probably a little similar to Seattle in the big cities like Vancouver, but in the smaller, more naturey places, I'd wager it's about as relaxed and chill as you'd get in North America.
posted by pseudostrabismus at 10:26 PM on January 18, 2010

I just came back from the Gili Islands and I think it might well be a place that fits your criteria.
posted by tellurian at 10:39 PM on January 18, 2010

If I'm getting the right vibe of your question, you're looking for the places where you'll find expats who end up staying indefinitely and aren't hassled by local authorities. The islands in Thailand are pretty much the go-to place for this.

Off the top of my head, the other areas would include Goa in India, Dali in China, less developed areas around Boracay in the Philippines. All these places would have the amenities of the West, the laid back nature of the local areas, and the company of other people looking for the same things as you.
posted by FuManchu at 2:52 AM on January 19, 2010

It's a western, English-speaking country, but try New Zealand. I'm not sure how it compares to Koh Phangan, as I've only been to Bangkok and a few other parts of Thailand, but parts of it should meet your criteria. There are plenty of really beautiful beaches, with few people. Perhaps try places like Waiheke Island and the Coromandel peninsula (there's a place there called "hot water beach" which is really awesome). Both in the North Island and not far from Auckland. If you start in Auckland and rent a car you can drive to all kinds of interesting places there.
posted by Eastgate at 5:08 AM on January 19, 2010

Sihanoukville, in Cambodia.

Probably the closest you could get to being like Koh Phangan. But Sihanoukville is not as crowded or as expensive.
posted by Iax at 12:38 PM on January 19, 2010

Placencia, Belize?
posted by lannanh at 3:54 PM on November 8, 2010

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