As Koh Samui developed into an international hot spot, travelers looking for a more laid-back scene headed for Koh Phangan. Decades ago, the few wanderers who arrived here stayed in fishermen's houses or slung hammocks on the beach. Investors bought up beach property with plans for sprawling resorts, but before commercial development marred too much the island, the allure of Koh Tao's crystalline waters starting drawing
away a lot of the attention.
While Haad Rin boomed as a result of its world-famous Full Moon Party, most of Koh Phangan's smaller beaches continued to develop, but at a much slower pace. For now, most of Koh Phangan remains a destination for backpackers looking for beautiful beaches with budget accommodation and hippies (old-school and nouveau) searching for chilled-out beaches and alternative retreats.