Haad Rin is a love-it-or-hate-it sort of town. For dedicated partygoers it’s probably the best place going but for those seeking the ‘real’ Thailand it can be a bit of a letdown. With two beaches and a warren of alleys in between, Haad Rin can get somewhat claustrophobic in the heat of the day but at night the place truly lights up, with bars, pubs and clubs pumping out music while, if you’ve never seen The Beach with Leonardo diCaprio, simply go dine in any given Haad Rin restaurant every night and you’ll have the movie’s script memorized within a week.
The main demographic of visitors to Haad Rin is people in their early twenties so sophisticated it most certainly is not. But bawdy fun, all-night dancing and beach parties are what it excels in. Shopping-wise, you’ll be surprised to learn that Koh Phangan is cheaper than neighbouring Samui and features much the same purchasable items such as beachwear, sarongs and jewelry as well as many tattoo parlours.