Koh Phangan, one of the biggest islands of Thailand (125 km2), is situated in the Southern part of the gulf of Thailand, close to the more famous and larger Koh Samui. Although a tourist destination, Phangan still preserves a large part of forest, both secondary and rainforest. A good network of paved roads and few dirty allow visitors to arrive almost everywhere, sometimes with a bit of adventure.
Last but not least, it is the place where I live and it is where I started to photograph butterflies and I’m lucky enough to have available a great biodiversity. In fact I have recorded about 300 species of butterflies, some of them quite uncommon.
Definitely the butterfly ‘symbol’ of koh Phangan is the ubiquitous and fairly common Neocheritra amrita, the Grand Imperial, flying almost all year long on the forest edge everywhere on the island.
Of course I can organize butterfly tours in the island, well connected by plane thru Suratthani or Koh Samui airports. Usually 3/4 days are enough to visit Phangan and its forests, considering at least 6 hours to arrive, shared between flight, transfer to the pier and ferry/boat to the island.
Usually 3 main locations are the most productive, with 3 different environments: primary rainforest, mixed forest and low altitude secondary forest. A good number of interesting common and uncommon butterflies can be found in Koh Phangan, depending of course on the season. The roadside and the trails are easy, only the ascension to Khao Ra, the highest hill of the island (627 mt), is a bit harder and suitable only for people who are more fit. It takes about 2.30’/3 hours to climb.
FEW REMARKABLE SPECIES FROM KOH PHANGAN
Flos diardi capeta
Purlisa gigantea gigantea
Neptis omeroda omeroda
Arhopala bazaloides bazaloides
Rachana jalindra borbona
Euploea phanareta castelnaui
Papilio iswara iswara
Arhopala alitaeus mirabella
Catapaecilma major emas
Mycalesis fusca fusca
Taxila haquinus haquinus
Horaga albimacula ssp.
Iraota rochana masashimaru.
Euthalia adonia beata
Stiboges nymphidia nymphidia
The best months for butterfly photography are May, June, July, August, September and December. Then the weather is usually good or variable. The wet season is from the end of October to December.
Hey….! If you come you are welcome to my Italian restaurant Fellini
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