The west coast of Koh Phangan has plenty of fun things to do. It is partly for this reason that its beaches are among some of the most popular on Koh Phangan. You can go diving and snorkelling, try kite boarding, get a Thai massage, learn yoga, undertake detox programmes and party the night through. The great thing about the West Coast is that it is mostly flat and has an extensive system of good roads. It is very easy to get around and try out new things and visit different beaches when you base yourself in the west.
Running since 2008, The Jam is Koh Phangan’s most popular live music event. It happens every Friday, and some Wednesdays, throughout the year. The Jam is located on Hin Kong beach front about 10 minutes by car or motorbike from the main port town of Thong Sala. It kicks off at about 9pm with different bands and acts each week. The Jam started out as a group of friends getting together and playing music on the beach, hence the name. Keeping true to its origins, there is an open mike element to the night so if you are a musician bring your instrument. Ask at the bar if you want to join in the music making fun.
Moon Set Party
This is a long running event. Pirate bar has a front shaped like a boat. The bar is in a small cove at the southern end of Haad Chao Phao. You get to the cove via a wooden walk-way. It only takes 10 minutes to drive to Haad Chao Phao from Thongsala.
For party nights they set up a sound system and fluorescent decorations outside, and then they crank up the volume all night. The music is mostly trance and techno in a similar vein to the Half Moon Party. It is usually a well attended event. It is also the closest thing to a big all-night party on this side of the island.
Health and Fitness
Diamond Muay Thai
Diamond Muay Thai started in 2011 and is thus a relative newcomer to the Koh Phangan Muay Thai scene. The upside of this is that the equipment and facilities are in a good condition. This Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) camp is about 5 minutes West of Thong Sala, right next door to the Mason’s Arms, which is the Koh Phangan’s only authentic English pub.
Diamond Muay Thai is run by Head Instructor Mon, who spent most of his youth and adult life training and fighting in Bangkok. Diamond Muay Thai has very quickly established itself as one of the top Muay Thai gyms on the island. Active fighters from all over Thailand and abroad have trained here. There is a boxing ring, free weights, covered training area, heavy kick bags, gloves, shin guards, boxing gloves and wraps for use by students.
They take their Yoga seriously here, and it’s the top yoga centre on the island. It is affiliated to the wider Agama Group based in India and Mexico as well as Thailand. The teaching takes place in a purpose built training hall. They teach a ‘First level Intensive Course’ for beginners over a 4 week period. The first lesson is free. The aim of the course is to teach beginners 20+ asanas in detail. Check the website (www.agamayoga.com) for start dates for the courses. They run throughout the year. For those who have completed the beginner’s course there are more intensive courses available. They can be contacted on +66 (0) 892 330 217. Some people have suggested this place has a ‘cult’ like feel to it. We don’t endorse that view.
Ananda Wellness Resort
This is a ‘partner’ business to Agama Yoga. It has rooms to stay, a 150 m2 yoga hall, herbal sauna, salt water pool, and massage house/spa. The most popular activity here is the detox programme. Fasting needs to be supervised and this is the point of detox programmes. For when the fasting finishes they have a restaurant called ‘Love Kitchen’ which serves fresh vegetarian and vegan food. Many people who come here choose to combine a stay at Ananda Wellness Resort with yoga at the nearby Agama Yoga for a complete ‘body and mind’ wellness experience.
Haad Yao Lounge & Fitness Centre
Haad Yao Lounge & Fitness Centre is the only gym in Haad Yao, and it’s above a bar. What more do we need to say to sell the benefits of Haad Yao Lounge and Bar. We could tell you it has 17 different exercise machines, including rowing machines, elliptical trainers, ab machines, bench press, free weights and exercise bike. We could tell you about the great sea views from the gym. We could tell you about the excellent and friendly service. However, we don’t see the need to bother. This is the only gym in the area and if you want a workout it’s your only choice.
SL2K Adventure has three activities on offer: paddle board, wind surfing and beach kayaking. You can rent equipment or take a course. It’s the same price for paddle board as for windsurfing. Renting a kayak costs 200 THB for two hours. They are based at Baan Manali Resort and you will find them on the beach front.
SL2K offers extreme sport in Koh Phangan and will appeal to those who like a bit of an adrenaline with their activities. It is part of a growing community of people in Koh Phangan looking to do new and exciting sports.
For anyone who hasn’t seen this on the TV: the concept is an obstacle course on water. It’s a fun activity for the young, or young at heart, and a great fitness workout. The course has 6 obstacles: Rope Swing, Monkey Bars, Rolling Barrels, Stepping Stone, Iceberg (large inflatable climbing wall), and Dumb bell. There is a small element of risk particularly in falling from the Iceberg; however, they provide life jackets and supervision. The idea is to get around the course as quickly as possible and there is a ‘leader board’ which may appeal to the competitive amongst you. We should mention the pleasant lake view restaurant and bar where you can watch people flounder around the course.
C&M Study Centre
There are all kinds of courses on offer here: Thai language, Thai cooking, Thai massage, Thai culture and traditions, and Thai handicrafts. Taking a course at C&M Study Centre is a good way to get to know Thailand better. Language courses cost 350 THB an hour. Learning how to do Thai massage over 3 days costs 2,500 THB. They will teach you how to cook a very wide range of Thai dishes. If you have a particular favourite dish they will teach you how to make it and you can impress your friends when you get home. Visit or ring +66 (0) 894 876 207 for course times and prices.
Haad Yao Divers
Haad Yao Divers was the first dive centre on the west coast of Koh Phangan. It opened in 1997. Since then it has gained a reputation for professional service. It is a PADI 5 Star Instructor Development Dive Resort. Don’t let the title put you off: they welcome beginners as well as those looking to gain further scuba qualifications. They can give instruction in English, Dutch, German, French and Spanish.
The dive centre has a purpose built dive boat that can manage up to 30 divers at a time. It is the biggest dive boat operating in Koh Phangan. Haad Yao Divers is a comparatively big and professionally run set-up ideal for those wanting to take scuba qualifications with a view to teaching. To find out more call +66 (0)86 2793085
Pirate Divers is a small and friendly diving school located on the beautiful beach of Haad Salad. No actual pirates, but lots of fun. They run diving trips most days in high season either by converted fishing boat or by longtail boat to local diving sites.
They speak French, German, Spanish, Swedish, Danish, Finnish, Norwegian and of course, English. If you book with Pirate Divers you can often get a small discount for accommodation at Smile Beach Resort in Haad Salad.
France Plongee is a French diving school aimed at French speakers. This is a very professional operation with branches all over Thailand. The school offers both starter Open Water Courses as well as more advanced courses leading to teaching qualifications.
We say ‘Oui!’ to diving with France Plongee.
Pure Relax is a well managed small spa in an air-conditioned building. They offer a range of massages and beauty treatments. The ‘Coconut Nourishing Package’ at 2,800 THB is very popular. Koh Phangan used to be famous for its coconut production, and coconut oil is famous for its beauty benefits such as preventing the formation of free radicals that cause aging skin.
Massages and treatments at Pure Relax come with spa like extras like robes, sandals, steam showers and complimentary teas. For bookings telephone +66 (0) 816 211 170.
This is a small but well regarded massage house offering traditional massages. It’s near Agama Yoga. To book call +66 (0) 778 7483. Papaya Massage is a fairly new massage house. As yet it is has very few online reviews. No doubt it is only a matter of time before it rises to greater prominence on such sites as Trip Advisor.
One of the house specialties is the ‘4 hand massage’. 4 hands are more relaxing than two!
Chantima Massage & Holistic Massage Training Centre
This massage house is a cut above the rest in terms of both services and facilities. It’s very nicely decorated in traditional Thai style and comfortably furnished. Chantima Massage & Holistic Massage Training Centre offer a wide range of treatments from Thai Massage, waxing, wraps and reflexology to more exotic treatments such as the Dead Sea Mud Mask (1,200 THB) and Himalayan Crystal Rock Scrub (800 THB). They also teach Thai massage here; a 5 day basic course is 8,000 THB a person. Courses are taught by the experienced Chantima Gongnawk. For bookings telephone +66 (0) 851 175 270.
This is the best beach on the West Coast and it’s the only one which is really good for swimming. Haad Yao means ‘long beach’ in Thai and it stretches for 1km. Many people describe this as the ‘perfect’ beach on account of its powder white sand and palm trees running the length of the beach. If you are staying in Bantai or Thong Sala, Haad Yao makes a great day trip. You can swim, and snorkel (there is reef about 400 metres out), and you can eat and drink. Haad Yao has a wealth of good bars and restaurants right on the beach front. We recommend Chok Dee, Haad Yao Villa, Happy Elephant and Seaboard Bungalows. If you venture a bit back from the beach Absolute Island, Crave Restaurant & Lounge and Haad Yao Lounge are excellent places to eat and drink.