Koh Phangan is often skipped as a retreat spot, simply because it’s synonymous to the world-famous full moon parties. True enough, over 30,000 world revellers travel in and out of this Thai island each month for a week of partying, loud blasting EDM, alcohol-on-the-bucket, and alternate states of mind.
But once the rest of the ravers leave, Koh Phangan rests as a half-empty island with so much more to offer other than buckets of alcohol cheaper than bottled water in the Western hemisphere. Particularly, in the northern tip of the island where the much less commercial beach resorts cater to those who just want a bit of a relaxing break. Panviman Resort and Spa pretty much does the trick.
We visited around third week of May, and we were lucky enough to miss out on the full moon party shenanigans. I love a good boogie here and there but I’ve graduated from the school of 24-hour-party-people a long time ago. The weather was pleasant enough during this time: warm and sunny with a bit of cloud during the day, cool during the night. It would rain on some occasions, but it would only be a passing cloud.
From Bangkok, we took a 45-minute domestic flight to Koh Samui via Thai Airways. We were then taken to Petcharat Pier to catch a speedboat to Koh Phangan. Panviman has their own transfer services, and it only takes around 35 minutes from the pier to the resort.
We were taken to the reception hall, where we were greeted with garlands of sampaguita, pomengranate juice, cooling towels which smelt of jasmine, and warm smiles. After signing some papers, we were taken to our room.
The Pool Villa
The resort itself is quite big, with 87 different rooms, suites and villas. What you’ll notice though is that the whole property has been built in several stages so some rooms may look older whilst the newer ones look a bit more modern.
The room itself has a provincial feel, with wooden flooring and furniture, and a big, comfy kingsize at the centre which comes with a canopy/mosquito net. There’s a mini bar with some liquor and snacks, and an entertainment system which, though not as modern, functions well. The room smelled of citronella, plumeria, and jasmine and was super clean, although you can tell it was one of the first rooms built in the resort.
The toilet has a provincial feel as well with exposed stone walls and an open plan. Should you wish to luxuriate in bubble baths, the tub is massive with views to the pool outside.
I can’t tell you enough how much I enjoyed having the private pool. Outside the veranda, you have lounge chairs to soak up the sun, and a wooden table set where you can eat, drink, or do whatever. The pool is kept clean daily, and if you’re bringing little ones, there’s a mini pool for kiddos connected to the adult pool, too!
Around the resort
You get to use this pretty decent bag to lug around the resort making it easier for you to leave your valuables behind in your room!
When you get to the resort, you’ll be able to see the stretch of the beach. There are only a handful of resorts in this area, which makes the waters cleaner and your holiday relatively more chilled out. The beautiful Anantara Rasananda is also on the opposite end.
Should you wish to borrow DVDs, books, and access internet, the reception area has these amenities for you.
The beach itself if quite decent. You get sun loungers close to the waters and the beach itself is shallow and clear. We just about missed the rainy season so clouds are still at bay, but it was super warm and breezy which is quite nice if you just wanna relax.
From random swings to little terraces, the resort has seemingly built spots where you can chill out and relax. And the good thing about it is that wherever you look, there’s always something interesting to see. There’s a feeling of seclusion but also a feeling of not missing out on spectacular views.
The public pool is set near the the deluxe rooms and cottages. There are lounge chairs and a bar nearby, but the main selling point of this area is that it overlooks the vast sea.
Dining in Panviman Koh Phangan
There are three restaurants to choose from. Pan Sea Restaurant serves Thai and international brekkie. Stone Beach is by the sea and offers a beach barbecue. Meanwhile, near the public pool is the Pool Deck Bar which offers light lunches and cocktails.
Unfortunately, it rained during the nights so beach barbecues and fire dances didn’t go ahead. However, mornings were much nicer so brekky at Pan Sea was quite a decent experience.
Who goes to Thailand without getting some sort of spa treatment? I personally dislike massages but it had to be done, particularly as Panviman’s outdoor spa overlooks the sea and you can have the sound of natural waves calming you down. This, my friends, is heaven on earth.
Panviman’s spa treatments are rather well known within the island as they really try to create a relaxing, organic space for wellbeing.
I opted for the Anti-Ageing Therapy package which was AMAZING. For only 2,200 Baht (£50), I got a Tamarind Body Scrub, a white clay body mask, and a “slimming massage” which was meant to help keep cellulite at bay. It was an absolute pleasure having this, and wasn’t as traumatic as when I went to Le Bains de Marrakech!
Panviman also offers other experiences. You can explore the island through a guided trekking route; rent motorbikes or even a private car; go on a boat trip to visit other islands; go on a snorkelling trip; or go on a day trip to visit the waterfalls in the island.
Whatever you want, the staff is very accommodating (within reason).
Verdict of Panviman Koh Phangan
Panviman Koh Phangan may have a number of World Luxury Hotel awards under its belt, and I see why. The service is fantastic, bringing out all the goodness of Thai hospitality, and each staff I’ve encountered was absolutely helpful and knowledgeable of everything about the resort. If you do go, don’t miss out on the spa treatments!
Where the resort needs improvement, perhaps, is to upgrade some of the facilities. Whilst some parts of the resort look ultra modern, some parts look like they’ve seen the test of time. I’m not saying it’s grotty, because everything’s clean, but I suppose a little updo won’t hurt. (To be fair, they were refurbishing a few spots whilst we were there). The food was good, but not mind-blowing. Although again, to be fair, we didn’t get to try the beach barbecue as it rained.
I really enjoyed my stay. I think Panviman Resort in Koh Phangan is a good place to head off to if you want to stay away from the party zone of Koh Samui and still have a bit of a nice time. The pool villa is a great choice if you want a little bit of privacy with great views of the ocean.
Panviman Resort & Spa Koh Phangan
I was a guest of Panviman Koh Phangan, but as always, all opinions are my own. Rooms start from £140 a night. Pool villas ar £440 a night.