Kow Tham Center and the Kow Tham Monastery (Wat Kow Tham) are in the forested hills above Baan Tai town, on Koh Pha Ngan (Pha Ngan Island), north of Koh Samui (Samui Island), in the Gulf of Thailand.
Kow Tham Center and Monastery, and Baan Tai area
Click map image ↑ for larger image
Click link → for Kow Tham/Baan Tai interactive map at OpenStreetMap.
How to get here
Koh Pha Ngan itself is only accessible by ferry (or boat) — it is an island.
To get there, you can fly to the town of Surathani or to the neighboring island of Koh Samui; you can take a bus to Surathani, or directly to Donsak Ferry Port; or you can take a train to Surathani. Then from any of those places you can get a bus or taxi to the ferry port, and get a ferry to Thongsala Pier on Koh Pha Ngan. The ferries run all day.
From the Thongsala pier you can take a what we call a “taxi” (a pick-up truck, also known as a songthaew), or if not too much luggage even take a motorbike taxi to your bungalow or resort (or directly to Baan Tai and Kow Tham). The taxis will be all ready and waiting in the taxi lot near the main ferry port building (walk down the covered sidewalk from the ferry). The drivers know the names of every lodging on the island, as well as Kow Tham.
To the Kow Tham road in Baan Tai, at the bottom of the hill, it’s usually about 100 baht, and they will usually want 150 baht to take you all the way to the top.
If you feel like it (and depending on your luggage!) you can walk up the hill to Kow Tham Center. It’s only about 1.5 km — a good way to settle your mind into the peace of your coming retreat, and less disruption to the neighboring homes and to Kow Tham as well!
If you are renting your own motorbike or scooter, you can drive it up to Kow Tham Center, and we have a big parking area where you can keep it during the retreat.
To Koh Pha-Ngan from Bangkok
Below is some general information about getting to Koh Pha Ngan from Bangkok as of September 2017. It’s probably best to find the most up-to-date information on the Web at travel sites and forums, and from other travelers.
From Bangkok by bus:
Bangkok′s new and modern Southern Bus Terminal, Sai Tai Taling Chan, is a far piece to get to, but not difficult. You can take a taxi for around 200 baht, and it takes only a bit less time than the city bus no. 511, which will take you directly there for 21 baht. This bus runs along Sukhumvit and past Democracy monument, Sai Tai is the end of the line. The Sai Tai bus terminal is easily identified by the SC Plaza sign, it is the same building — and a great place to do some clothes or gadget shopping and have a meal while waiting for your bus to leave in the evening.
Different types (24-, 32-, 40-, 50-seaters) of air-conditioned buses depart here for southern Thailand. The most convenient is the Government VIP bus which runs overnight to Donsak Ferry Port, where it drives right onto the ferry with your luggage, which you pick up off the bus after arriving at the pier at Thongsala, Koh Pha Ngan.
- Go to Sai Tai several hours in advance to book (around 3 or 4pm; even earlier during busy seasons such as full moon party time, and Thai holiday periods).
- If you book from a travel shop, you will probably end up on a lesser tourist bus and may not get the high standard of the national buses.
- Be especially careful with private buses departing from the Khao San Road area, as theft and other problems have been reported repeatedly on these buses.
From Bangkok by air:
Surat Thani and Koh Samui both have airports, and you can even transfer to one of those flights directly from your flight into Suvarnabhumi Airport Bangkok. Check on the Web for the most current info about flying.
From Bangkok by train:
You can take a sleeper train from Bangkok to Surat Thani, and from there a bus or taxi to the Ferry Port. Check on the Web for the most current info about train, taxi, and ferry alternatives.
Where to stay
Koh Pha Ngan has just about every guesthouse, bungalow, resort imaginable, from the cheapest to the fanciest, and they just about all have a presence on Agoda.com and Booking.com with reviews on those sites, on Travelocity, and on other sites as well which you can find on a Web search.
It can be good to allow a few days in some nice place on Koh Pha Ngan to wind down before your retreat, and to ease your re-entry into the daily world after.
You could also stay on Koh Samui — we would recommend the comfortable accommodation at the Sirin Samui Boutique Hostel on Koh Samui.
- book online: Agoda.com
- phone: +66 8375 76668, +66 81827 1498
- at front desk mention you are a meditator at Kow Tham, and get a discount.
page revised: 28 May 2018