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Koh Phangan History

Koh Phangan Information

Koh Phangan History, Koh Phangan InformationHistory of Koh Phangan marked by the important historical facts including visits of Thai Kings, the arrival of the first settlers to the island, the discovery of the bronze age finds and of course the first Full Moon Party due to Koh Phangan today is known around the world.

In the late 1980s, word started spreading among the hippie backpacking community of a beautiful unspoilt hideaway in the Gulf of Thailand. This was the start of tourism to Koh Phangan. Back then, the only accommodation was in the form of a few wooden beach shacks with no electricity, and little more than a hammock to swing in for entertainment.
 
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Koh Phangan is the Royal Retreat

Koh Phangan AttractionsKoh Phangan has a long history with the royal family in Thailand, including the reigning monarch, H.M. King Bhumibol (Rama IX) visited Than Sadet Waterfall in Koh Phangan in 1962 and King Rama VII visited Koh Phangan in 1926 and 1930. The beauty of this island conquered Thai rulers. King Rama V Chulalongkorn The Great stayed in Koh Phangan on the way to a trip to Europe and the Malay Peninsula. He fell in love with a small beach and waterfall on the east coast that was renamed Than Sadet meaning Royal Stream. The Royal Family is swimming, relaxing and exploring the stream up to the top of the hill.
Koh Phangan soon became a favoured destination of Thai Royalty, and the King returned to the island 14 times (between 1888 and 1910) during his reign and also left his royal seal engraved on a rock near Thaan Sadet waterfall. Each year water is fetched from one of the falls in Than Sadet national park and used in a ceremony at the royal court. At that time, reports from the royal court state that about 300 families had settled on Koh Phangan and occupied themslves by fishing, farming and producing coconut oil for sale in markets in Bangkok and around the region.
 
 

What's in a name ...

Ao Hin Kong Beach Facilities The name of Koh phangan comes from the word "Ngan", the southern dialect meaning "sand bar" from the numerous sand bars, which are present around offshore of the island. These sandy spits are found in many places on Koh Phangan especially clearly visible during low tide. Interupted by beautiful coral reefs, the 'sand bars' protect the island from the strong monsoon.
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Koh Phangan's Early Settlers

Ao Hin Kong Beach Facilities In general, there are few definitive sources available when it comes to the history of early settlement in Koh Phangan and the surrounding islands. However, a bronze drum dated into the Dongson culture (500BC - 100BC) was found on Neighbour's Koh Samui island, proves that a civilization did exist on the island. The drum has been identified as a artifact of the Dong Song culture which is believed to date from Bronze Age Vietnam. This style of bronze casting was later adopted by the Chinese.

Several archaeologists and historians believe that the first settlers who came to Koh Phangan were a migrating Sea Gypsies of Moken, Muslim Proto-Malays who are travelling by boat from the Malay Peninsula and Semung origin. Other information, that these early people were related to the present day sea gypsies found in Ang Thong National Park and other out of the way islands in the Gulf of Thailand. But today, the descendants of those settlers are few amongst the mostly buddhist population.

Also you'll find an information that approx 600 years ago a group of monks has moored to the island. The clergymen settled in Wat Phu Khao Noi not far from Thongsala. Today, this is apparently the oldest structure on Koh Phangan island and a vivid example of Srivijaya Empire architecture prevalent from the 8th to the 13th centuries. There is also an old stupa from the same period at Baan Nua Village.

Other information sources state, that Hainan Chinese were among the first permanent settlers in the area approximately 200 years ago. They lived by fishing and the cultivation of coconuts. Another portion of the Hainan settlers harvested birds’ nests from the neighboring island of Ang Thong for food and the rest worked at the tin mines of Thong Nai Pan and Sri Thanu. Lam Son Lake is one of the old mines that continued mining until 40 years ago. Life on the island was peaceful and people were happy.

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Administration in Koh Phangan

In Ayuthaya Period (1350-1767), Koh phangan was under the administration of Chaiya (now a district in Surathani Province and assumed to be the center of Srivichaiya Kingdom from the 8th to the 13th century. Even though Koh Phangan was under the sovereignty of the Thai kingdom, the kings never interfered too much with the islanders. There are still many older folks on the island who remember a time when they very contentedly lived on what was a forgotten outpost of the kingdom. Nevertheless the islanders fended for themselves as an autonomous group and enjoyed the freedom. Koh Phangan continued as a rustic fishing island with just basic necessities in place till about 1940. In 1970, Koh Phangan stopped being considered a sub-district of Koh Samui and has received the status of district of Surat Thani province and the island’s administration came directly under the Thai kingdom.
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Modern History of Koh Phangan

Ao Hin Kong Beach Facilities Phangan's tropical paradise was not a destination frequented by foreign tourists and was undeveloped till nearby Koh Samui started on promoting its tourism. Tourism was an alien concept since reaching the island even on a boat was difficult. Cars and motorized transportation was unheard of and most people travelled by foot or on boats from one beach to another. After a decade of mining the industry slowly stagnated, Koh Phangan was discovered by the first tourists in the early 1980s. The first bungalow was built with the islanders turned their faces to the tourism business and a life in the heart of the Gulf of Siam has changed сonsiderably.

The first tourists on Koh Phangan were mainly hippies and backpackers. Once the paradisiacal charms of Koh Phangan became popular, it started developing rapidly. In the end of the eighties the first version of Full Moon Party was organized on Haad Rin beach by Paradise Bungalows. A tiny birthday beach party with a campfire and some guitars, decades later has turned into the incredible, world renowned, outdoor dance festival under Full Moon's light which it's today. The population of the island has grown substantially over the last few decades and now stands at over 14,000 people which promptly increases up to 30,000 during FMP time. The moon party and other music festivals are a powerful spur in the modern history of Koh Phangan and it made the island into one of the “must see” tourists destination in Thailand.

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