Activities for West Koh Phangan

PARTIES

The Jam

The Jam

Location: Hin Kong
Opening Times: Saturdays 9 pm until late
Cost: Free

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 9 pm 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.

HEALTH & FITNESS

Diamond Muay Thai

Location: Nai Wok (near Thong Sala)
Opening Times: 8 am & 4 pm Mon – Sat
Cost: 400 THB per session. 2,000 THB per week. 6,000 THB per week.

Diamond Muay Thai is a relative newcomer to the Island starting in 2011. 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 the Mason’s Arms, which is the Koh Phangan’s only authentic English pub. Its 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 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.

UPDATE: Their website is currently offering ‘huge covid 2021 discounts’.

Agama Yoga

agama yoga

Location: Sri Thanu
Opening Times: 8am to 9pm Mon – Sat
Cost: Price on Application

They take their yoga seriously here, and its the top yoga centre on Koh Phangan affiliated to the wider Agama Group based in India and Mexico as well as Thailand. The teaching takes place in a purpose built in 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 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.

UPDATE: In 2018 the swami at Agama Yoga fled Koh Phangan in disgrace as allegations appeared in international newspapers about rape and sexual abuse. The Shambala Hall was burnt down shortly afterwards. The agamajustice.com website publishes all the details. No doubt yoga will return, but the Agama brand is seriously tarnished.

Ananda Wellness Resort

Location: Hin Kong
Opening Times: 9 am to 6 pm
Cost: Detox 3.5 day – 7,500 THB

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 the 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.

UPDATE: They are taking advantage in the hiatus in customers to refurb parts of the resort.

Haad Yao Lounge & Fitness Centre

Haad Yao Lounge & Fitness Centre

Location: Haad Yao
Opening Times: 9 am – 6 pm
Cost: 275 THB per session

It’s the only gym in the village 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 its your only choice.

UPDATE: Google has marked this place as permanently closed.

ADVENTURE SPORTS

SL2K Adventure

SL2K Adventure

Location: Baan Manali Resort at Nai Wok
Opening Times: Ring +66 (0) 77 377 917
Cost: Equipment rental 500 THB per hour. Course 1,500 THB for 2 hours.

There are three activities on offer here: paddle board, wind surfing and beach kayaking. You can rent equipment or take a course. Its 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.

Phangan Wipeout/The Challenge

Location: Laem Son lake near Haad Yao
Opening Times: 10am – 6pm every day
Cost: 500 THB per person.

For anyone who hasn’t seen this on the TV: the concept is an obstacle course on water. Its 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 Dumbell. 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 watch people flounder around the course. They have rebranded: it is now ‘The Challenge’.

CLASSES

C&M Study Centre

C&M Study Centre

Location: Sri Thanu
Opening Times: Classes run from 8am to 2pm
Cost: Single sessions from 350 THB. 3 day massage course 2,500 THB

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 is a good way 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.

DIVING

Pirate Divers

Pirate Divers

Location: Haad Salad
Opening Times: 10 am to 7 pm
Cost: Discover Scuba 3,500 THB. Open Water 12,500 THB.

Pirate Divers is a small and friendly diving school. 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.

France Plongee

France Plongee

Location: Haad Salad
Opening Times: Ring +66 (0) 77 349 323
Cost: Discover Scuba 4,000 THB. Open Water 12,500 THB.

French diving school aimed at French speakers. This is a very professional operation with branches all over Thailand. We say ‘Oui!’ to diving with France Plongee.

SPA/MASSAGE

Pure Relax

Pure Relax

Location: Nai Wok
Opening Times: 10 am to 10 pm
Cost: 60 minute Thai Massage 300 THB. Bikini Line Wax 600 THB.

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. The massages and treatments come with spa like extras like robes, sandals, steam showers and complimentary teas. For bookings telephone +66 (0) 816 211 170.

Papaya Massage

Papaya Massage

Location: Sri Thanu (near Agama Yoga)
Opening Times: 9 am to 7 pm
Cost: 60 minute Thai Massage 300 THB

This is a small but well regarded massage house offering traditional massage. Its near Agama Yoga. To book call +66 (0) 778 7483.

Chantima Massage & Holistic Massage Training Centre

Chantima Massage & Holistic Massage Training Centre

Location: Hin Kong
Opening Times: 9 am to 7 pm
Cost: 60 minute Thai Massage 300 THB. 60 Aromatherapy Oil Massage 600 THB

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. They offer a wide range of treatment from Thai massage, waxing, wraps, 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.

BEACH TRIPS

Haad Yao

Haad Yao

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 1 km. 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 about 400 metres out), and you 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.

Activities for North Koh Phangan

LOCAL CULTURE

Chaloklum Village

Chaloklum

Location: Central point on the North Coast
Opening times: Year round all hours
Costs: Free

Chaloklum is a working fishing village with pier and a small laid back shopping area. The big draw for tourists are the dedicated fish restaurants serving the fresh catch from the boats that are based in the town. The 4 dedicated fish restaurants (Nong Nok, Aunjai Seafood, Seaside Restaurant, and Hai Thong Seafood) have wooden piers built on stilts over the beach. This is Koh Phangan’s own mini version of Hua Hin. The fishing industry dominates this village with squid drying on the beach and locals selling prawns and other seafood from buckets on the pier. The village also has some more modern attractions like the stylish Mandalai Hotel and stylish modern bars such as the Omega Bar and the Zhoba Jazz Bar. This is also a centre for diving with 5 diving schools located in the area. The local temple of Wat Pha Sanctum is also worth a visit if you come to the area.

Kuan Yin Chinese Temple

Chinese Temple

Location: On the main road 3 km before Chaloklum
Opening Times: 8am to 5pm
Costs: Free

This small Chinese style Buddhist temple features a Chinese style Chapel, two further buildings in Chinese style with a large smiling Buddha statue. The temple has a fantastic hill top location overlooking the north coast and is worth visiting for the view alone. The temple itself has an interesting history. Built in 1992, it was paid for by the fund raising efforts of Bangkok resident Mrs Malawan who visited Koh Phangan in 1990 for a religious festival. During her visit Mrs Malawan had a dream about building a lantern to guide the fisherman of Chaloklum on dark nights. Rather than a lighthouse, Mrs Malawan built a temple dedicated to the Chinese God of Mercy (Kuan Yin) which is lit up every night by lanterns. The temple is visited by Thai and Chinese Buddhists every year for important religious festivals in January, May and August.

TOURS

Koh Phangan Elephant Trekking

elephant trekking

Location: 2 km outside of Chaloklum near Baan Thapong Village
Opening times: Treks available 10am to 3pm open every day
Costs: 500 THB per person

Koh Phangan Elephant Trekking has 8 fully grown elephants and a trekking area of 10 square miles of forests, waterfalls and a small lake where the elephants bathe. The treks last about a hour and visitors sit in a paladin (seat) on top of the elephants back with a mahout (elephant trainer) sat on the neck of the elephant guiding it along. To avoid disappointment during busy times around the Full Moon Party we suggest you book in advance online at www.kohphanganelephanttrekking.com where you will receive a 10% discount per person.

HEALTH & FITNESS

The Press Gym

The Press Gym

Location: 1 km before Chaloklum
Opening times: 10 am to 6 pm (later in high season)
Costs: 200 THB per day, 600 THB per week, 1,500 THB per week

This new and modern gym is the only one in the North of Koh Phangan. It’s one of Koh Phangan’s better gyms, both in terms of equipment and the way it’s run. For cardio workouts it has an elliptical cross trainer, bikes and a rowing machine. For strength work outs it has weights machines, barbell, bench, dumbells, dips bar and a pull bar. Pretty much everything you need for a serious workout. Other facilities include big screen TVs, music speakers, lockers and showers. The mountain views from the work out room are great.

ADVENTURE SPORTS

Wake Up! Wakeboarding

wakeboarding

Location: Chaloklum
Opening Times: Book on +66 (0) 872 836 6755
Costs: Wake Board time 15 minutes is 1,000 to 1,400 THB & 60 minutes 3,500 to 4,300 THB

Wakeboarding is best described as a combination of water skiing, snowboarding and surfing. You are towed behind a motorboat at speeds of 30 to 40 kph on a single wide ski. Wake Up! Wakeboarding has two speed boats: one with a Yamaha outboard 200 bhp and a Mastercraft X Star Boat with MC Power MCX 350 Horsepower. For those of you not familiar with speedboats, these are fast and modern and will ensure that you have a thrilling ride. Prices include instruction and equipment rental.

Bow and Arrow Club

bow and arrow club

Location: 300 m before Chaloklum
Opening times: 9 am to 6 pm, 7 days a week
Price: 15 minutes is 150 THB, 30 minutes is 300 THB and 60 minutes is 500 THB

Bow and Arrow club is Koh Phangan’s only archery centre. This well organised and run club was first opened in 2005. It has a family oriented atmosphere with patient and friendly instructors. The price includes instruction, equipment, bow and 5 arrows. There is a restaurant onsite serving food and drinks. For more information visit www.firstbow.info

DIVING

Dive Inn

dive inn

Location: Office in Chaloklum and at Island View Cabana at Mae Haad
Opening times: Telephone +66 (0) 77 374 262
Costs: Discover Scuba 3,500 THB & PADI Open Water 12,500 THB

This small dive school offers a range of diving trips by longtail boat or by converted fishing boat to dive sites such as Sail Rock, Angthong Marine Park, Chumporn Pinnacles and South West Pinnacles.

Chaloklum Diving

Chaloklum Diving

Location: Office in centre of Chaloklum
Opening hours: Telephone +66 (0) 77 374 025
Costs: Discover Scuba 2,000 THB & PADI Open Water 12,500 THB

One of Koh Phangan’s longest running dive schools established in 1995 by experienced dive instructors Nick and Micheal. This is one of the few dive schools on the Koh Phangan with their own dive boat, which is a large converted fishing boat with plenty of room to set up and relax between dives.

Sail Rock Divers

Sail Rock Divers

Location: Chaloklum
Opening hours: 6.30 am to 10 pm everyday
Costs: Discover Scuba 3,700 & PADI Open Water from 8,600 THB

This 5* PADI Dive Centre offers a full range of dive courses from absolute beginner to becoming a PADI Certified Diving Instructor. The large team of instructors includes the Island’s only resident PADI Course Director and a PADI Master Instructor. They also have two boats: a speed boat and a luxury cruiser. The dive school has it own resort with bungalows and pool.

Lotus Diving

Lotus Diving

Location: Chaloklum
Opening Hours: 7 am to 6 pm everyday
Costs: Discover Scuba 2,300 THB & PADI Open Water 10,800 THB

This 5* PADI Dive Centre has been in operation since 1999. Dive trips are made by a converted fishing boat and pre-dive instruction takes place in purpose built A/C class rooms and on-site swimming pool. The dive school has a number of bungalows on-site.

Core Sea

Core Sea

Location: Centre of Chaloklum
Opening Hours: Not specified
Costs: PADI Open Water 12,500 THB

This isn’t a dive school as such, it’s an accredited centre for oceanic research and education affiliated to American and European universities. They offer a range of volunteering opportunities on land and at sea. To take part in the sea activities you need to have a PADI Open Water Certificate, which you can take with Core Sea’s own PADI Master Instructor: the legendary ‘Diver Dan’ (Dan Slater) always guaranteed to put the ‘fun’ into fun dive. For Bachelors and Masters students in Marine Sciences or a related field Conservation Internships are available.

UPDATE: I suspect Diver Dan might have moved on.

BEACH TRIPS

Mae Haad Beach

Mae Haad

Location: North West corner of the Island

A day trip to Mae Haad beach is one of the must-do activities during a visit to Koh Phangan. This is a beautiful beach with stunning scenery including a small island (Koh Ma) just off the beach. However, the main attraction is the snorkelling. The area around Mae Haad is a protected marine park and it is teeming with sea life. There is a small coral reef about 25 metres out to sea. The sea bed is shallow and rocky but there is a cleared path out to the reef. Just follow the signs. You can rent snorkels and flippers for 80 THB an hour from the restaurant of the Island View Cabana. If you want to stay for the night your options are a beach front bungalow at Island View Cabana or a luxury room at Mae Haad Beach Resort.

Bottle Beach

Bottle Beach

Location: North East corner of the Island

Bottle beach, or Haad Khuat as it is called in Thai, is one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan. It’s quiet and unspoilt because it’s not easy to get to. The road to Haad Khuat starts near Thong Nai Pan on the East side of the Island. It’s a dirt road which is difficult to drive in sections. You need to go by 4×4 car. The journey is possible by motorbike but we don’t advise it unless you are an experienced motorcyclist. The easier way to get there is by longtail boat. You can normally arrange a trip from either Chaloklum or Thong Nai Pan. Once you get there the trip will seem well worth it. This is a trip back in time to Koh Phangan’s past as a hippy enclave. The beach is perfect, undeveloped, perfect for swimming and is surrounded by forest covered mountains. There are several restaurants which are part of Haad Khuat Resort and Bottle Beach 1 Resort which are both great places to stay for a few days.

NATURE

Trek Up Khao Ra

Khao Ra

Location: Start near Khao Ra Bungalows

95% of Koh Phangan is a forested National Park. The mountain of Khao Ra, which is 630 metres above sea level, sits in the middle of the national park. You get great views of Koh Phangan from the top. It takes about 2 hours to walk up and then about 1.5 to get down. Its fairly hard work because of the heat and you need to take at least 4 litres of water per person and some snacks. Be advised that it is fairly easy to get lost and under no circumstances should you go alone. The best option is to hire a Guide at Phaeng Waterfall. If you do decide to go up without a guide the start of the trail is near Khao Ra Bungalows on the way from Thong Sala to Chaloklum via the main road. Take the turning towards Khao Ra Bungalows. The trail starts near a small dam. there are few small signs to mark the way. It is a good idea to ask for directions when you get there.

Trek from Haad Khom to Bottle Beach

Trek Haad Khom to Haad Khuat

Location: Start from Haad Khom beach near Chaloklum

The walk is about 2.5 km from Haad Khom to Bottle Beach. It takes about an hour to get over the headland. On the way there are some impressive views of both the north coast and the east coast. The trail is very steep in places and involves climbing up and down large flat rocks which become very slippery in the wet. Don’t attempt this walk in the rain as you are very likely to have a nasty fall. The last part of the walk coming down to Bottle Beach is the steepest part. To start this trek take the road from Chaloklum to Haad Khom. Follow the new concrete road past the entrance to Ocean View Resort to where it comes to an abrupt end. From the end of the road the trail starts on the right hand side going uphill.

Visit Wang Sai Waterfall

Wang Sai Waterfall

Location: Mae Haad

Wang Sai waterfall is an easy 15 minute walk from Mae Haad beach. Follow the road out going toward Island View Cabana. Turn left about 150 metres before Island View Cabana through a wide grassy area. From there it’s simple to find with signs pointing the way. The waterfall is at its best November through to around May each year when there is the most water. Like the other waterfalls on the island, Wang Sai waterfall is series of falls stretching up the mountain. Wang Sai waterfall has some fairly big drops over large granite boulders and a large natural pool where you can swim. It’s not the best waterfall on the island, but it is well worth a visit if you go to Mae Haad beach. Snorkelling and waterfall – we can’t think of a better day out on Koh Phangan!

Visit Paradise Waterfall

Paradise Waterfall

Location: 3 km from Chaloklum

The turning up to the waterfall, marked by the sign in the photo, is on the main road from Thong Sala to Chaloklum through the centre of the island. The road is an easy drive on a scooter but please take it slowly, there are sharp bends and plenty of accidents. The turning to the waterfall is just past Phangan Safari on the right, if you get to Jungle Hut you have gone too far. You can drive up to the bottom of the waterfall. There is a small restaurant there where you can leave your car or bike. This isn’t the most impressive waterfall on the island, but it’s the easiest one to get to and its has pleasant surroundings and a pool where you can swim.