Koh Phangan (or Ko Pha Ngan, Ko Phangan) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand in South East Thailand. It is famous for its Full Moon Party at Had Rin Beach and as a backpackers destination. Koh Phangan has two sister islands: the larger Koh Samui to the south and the smaller Koh Tao to the north.
The Bronze Drum of Dongson Culture (500BC - 100BC) that was found on Koh Samui in 1977 is evidence that there were settlements of people on Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and their islets from more than two thousand years ago. Some historians and archaeologists believe that the first group who migrated to Koh Phangan were the Muslim sea Gypsies (Pygmy, Semung, and Proto-Malay) who travelled by boat from the Malay Peninsula. However, nowadays there are few Muslims who live on the island. The name of Koh Phangan comes from the word 'Ngan', the southern dialect meaning 'sand bar', for there are many sand bars offshore around the island.
Koh Phangan together with Koh Tao forms the district (amphoe) Koh Phangan. The district is subdivided into three subdistricts (tambon).
Originally the island was administrated from Koh Samui district. The minor district (King Amphoe) Koh Phangan was established on October 1 1970, then consisting of the two tambon Koh Phangan and Ban Tai. It was upgraded to a full district on April 12 1977.
Parts of the tambon Koh Phangan and Ban Tai form the township (thesaban tambon) Koh Phangan. There are further three Tambon administrative organizations (TAO).
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