Past the Parties: Go Wild in Koh Phangan, Thailand
This Gulf of Thailand island's long been famous with the backpacker set for its raucous full-moon party, but this year, its first airport opens, direct flights from Bangkok begin, and a number of new eco-minded lodges open up. Koh Phangan is poised to draw a more active, less hedonistic crowd.
Just like its more famous sister island, Koh Samui, Phangan has countless palm-fringed white-sand beaches, some of them reachable only by boat, but unlike Samui, Phangan also boasts a mountainous jungle at its core, most of which is protected as national parkland by Thailand. Visitors can trek across rolling green hills to seek out secluded waterfalls and snorkel in the pure waters offshore.