Activities for East Koh Phangan

Local Culture

Thong Nai Pan Wat

Thong Nai Pan Wat

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai

This small, but attractive, temple is home to a small number of monks who make up the local Buddhist clergy who attend to religious ceremonies for locals throughout the East Coast. The Wat (Temple) is very small. There is a large Buddha statute and shrine inside. Nearby there are larger temple buildings where the monks live and a hall where religious ceremonies take place. If you get up early enough you will see the monks collecting alms on both Thong Nai Pan Noi and Yai every morning. Many of the restaurants provide cooked food to the monks. If you would like to visit the Temple, it is located at the North End of Thong Nai Pan Yai beach between the main road and the beach. Follow the signs for Indian Bar and continue on the dirt road until you reach the temple grounds. The Wat is free to enter as are the temple grounds. This said it would be appreciated if you left a small donation. Donations go towards the upkeep of the temple and assisting poorer members of the local community in times of need.

TOURS

Sorn Trips

Sorn Trips

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi

Sorn Trips is a small travel agency run by the friendly and reliable Mr Sorn. He provides 4×4 car tours around the Island for around 2,400 THB a day depending on where you want to go. He can also arrange shorter taxi journeys to other places on the Island such as the ferry port or Haad Rin. In addition to taxi services Mr Sorn can also arrange longtail trips for you. Mr Sorn is based in the middle of Thong Nai Pan Noi village Sandwiches. Ask in the small restaurant next door which Mr Sorn runs with his girlfriend. Alternatively call him on +66 (0) 828 148 227.

UPDATE: It is uncertain whether Sorn Trips will open up again for business post-covid. Much won’t be known until the dust clears after the pandemic.

Longtail Boat Trips

Longtail Boat

Location: Tong Nai Pan, Than Sadet, Haad Yuan, Haad Tien

Longtail boats are wooden boats with the long prow for which Southern Thailand is famous. They are powered by lorry engines mounted on the back of the boat connected to a propeller by a long metal shaft. Longtail boats are often brightly painted with distinctive religious designs. Longtail boatmen In Koh Phangan are all independent operators and if you want to take a boat trip you will need to seek them out or approach a travel agent to arrange a trip. In most of the East Coast villages you find them on the beach waiting for business. Longtail trips aren’t that cheap anymore, but they are lots of fun and a more comfortable way to travel to some of the more remote beaches on the East Coast. You can expect to pay around 1,500 to 2,000 THB to hire the whole boat for a half day trip. Popular trips are from Thong Nai Pan to Bottle Beach and Koh Ma for snorkelling. You can also have a fun day out out going south along the coast to Haad Yuan and Haad Tien stopping at small deserted beaches along the way.

PARTIES

Guy’s Bar

Location: Haad Tien
Opening Times: Every Friday from 10 pm till late
Cost: Free

The long running Guy’s Bar on Haad Tien is the only regular party on the East Coast. It normally draws a crowd of 100 to 200 people, many of whom are on the island long term for diving or yoga. The bar has an outdoor area where you can dance the night away and live DJs through the night. Friday night at Guy’s Bar is something of a Koh Phangan institution and has an intimate relaxed feel. Haad Tien is difficult to get to. There isn’t a good road connecting the beach to the rest of the Island. You can walk there in about an hour from Haad Rin but only in the daytime as the trail takes you through the jungle. The better option is to take a longtail boat there. It takes about 10 minutes from Sunrise beach in Haad Rin and costs around 200 THB per person.

HEALTH & FITNESS

Horizon Muay Thai

Horizon Muay Thai

Location: Haad Tien
Opening Times: Training at 8am and 4.30pm Mon to Sat
Cost: 300 THB per session. 700 THB per day. 4,000 THB per week.

Horizon Muay Thai Camp is the only Muay Thai (Thai Boxing) gym on the East Coast of the Island. This is a professionally run Muay Thai camp with 4 instructors, boxing ring and weights gym. You can use the weights gym separately to the Thai Boxing training facilities. There are structured classes twice a day every day except Sunday. Occasionally, they run fight nights with a 500 THB entrance fee for spectators. They also have accommodation for rent on-site. To get there take a longtail boat from Haad Rin or one of the east coast beaches.

The Living Room Gym

The Living Room

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am to 6pm
Cost: Daily, weekly and monthly rates available

The Living Room Gym is the only gym non-hotel residents are free to access. Buri Rasa, Rasananda and Santhiya on Thong Nai Pan Noi all have gyms but only for guests. This gym room is air-conditioned and features free weights, a multi-gym, running machines and an exercise bike. To use the gym ask downstairs at the Living Room restaurant and bar. They serve drinks and English breakfast in the morning and Italian/Thai food in the evenings. Most Sundays in high season they serve a good English style Sunday roast for around 200 THB a person depending on the meat.

UPDATE: This business appears  to have survived the lean times. However, they now focus on Italian food, and it is uncertain whether the gym still exists.

The Yoga Studio

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am Monday to Saturday
Cost: 300 THB per class. 1,500 THB per week.

This small Yoga Studio is tucked away near Wang Tong waterfall. On the way into Thong Nai Yai beach there is a turning on the right to Wang Tong waterfall. You need to follow this dirt road about 300 metres to get to the Yoga Studio. Classes are held in a covered studio with three sides opening onto a tropical garden. The Instructor, Mel, has studied with Yogi Vijay Amar in Dharamsala, India and teaches Hatha style yoga. There is also a vegan cafe on site and small art gallery with works from local artist Top.

UPDATE: Mel left the beach. However, yoga has never been more popular: you are sure to find yoga classes all over the island.

The Sanctuary Island Resort

Sanctuary Island Resort

Location: Haad Tien

Opening Times: Classes at 8am, 9am, and 4pm every day except Saturday
Cost: 300 THB per class. 1,600 THB for 7 classes

This is the island’s largest wellness centre offering a range of programmes including pilates, yoga and alternative therapies such as detox courses. They also have a tree house spa offering massage and beauty treatments. A traditional Thai massage costs 600 THB an hour. They offer good quality accommodation for those want to stay and have a vegetarian/raw/seafood restaurant for healthy eating. Haad Tien is a beautiful beach and a good place to visit and stay even if yoga and alternative therapies aren’t your thing.

ADVENTURE SPORTS

Phangan Jetski

Location: Beach on Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: Daylight hours on calm days
Cost: 1,000 for 20 minutes. 1,400 THB for 30 minutes. 2,600 for 60 minutes

This is a French managed water sports business with jetskis and a small speedboat. They offer jetski rental and jetski tours. A guided jetski tour around the Island costs 16,000 per person with a guide. They also run day trips by speed boat to Ang Thong Marine Park for 17,000 for the whole boat, or 2,000 THB per person for groups. You will find them on the beach where they set a stall every day when conditions are suitable at sea.

UPDATE: Thomas might have survived the slow year; whether he can survive the very mixed reviews on Tripadvisor is another matter. You might choose not to pollute and save yourself the worry of getting into a protracted argument about damage to the jetski.

DIVING

H20 Scuba

H2O Scuba

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am to 6 pm on the beach and 6 pm to 9 pm in the Village
Cost: 3,800 THB for Discover Scuba, and 12,500 THB for PADI Open Water Course

H20 Scuba is the east coast’s most popular dive school. They run professionally managed dive trips by luxury boat most days. Children and beginners welcomed, as are more experienced divers who can take advanced courses and do more adventurous dives. You can contact them (Lee or Alice) on +66 (0) 811 86 16 16 or through most of the resorts in Thong Nai Pan. They  have a shops in Thong Nai Pan Village.

UPDATE: Al is still posting regularly on FB, so they must still be plying their trade.

Tropical Dive Club

Tropical Dive Club

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach
Opening Times: 10am to 7pm
Cost: 3,500 THB for Discover Scuba, and 11,500 for PADI Open Water Course

Their booking office is located at the north end of Thong Nai Pan Noi beach at Thong Tapan Resort. They run a full range of SSI and PADI courses in both English and German. Dive trips are made by converted wooden fishing boats. They can be contacted on +66 (0) 77 44 5081.

Dreamland Divers

Dreamland Divers

Location: Thong Nai Pan Yai
Opening Times: 10am to 7pm
Cost: 3,500 THB for Discover Scuba, and 11,500 for PADI Open Water Course

Located at the Dreamland Resort they offer a full range of PADI and SSI courses in several languages. Dive trips are made on Dreamland Resort’s very own converted fishing boat. They also offer snorkelling trips for non-divers. They can be contacted on +66 (0) 77 44 5181

SPA/MASSAGE

Tanaporn Massage House

Tanaporn

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi
Opening Times: 10am to 8pm during the tourist season
Cost: 60 minute Thai massage – 350 THB. Body care treatment – 1,200 THB

Open since 2007, Tanaporn Massage House is the most popular independent massage business on the east coast. Ably run by husband and wife team, Greg and Porn, Tanaporn Massage House owes its popularity to providing spa quality service at a fraction of the cost. The massage house itself is a traditional Thai house construction out of coconut and other sustainable local materials. The lady of the house, Porn, is a highly experienced masseuse having worked at major spas in Bangkok and elsewhere. Tanaporn Massage House offers a variety of massages and beauty treatments. Bear in mind that they are busy and you are likely to need to book one or two days in advance. Either visit the reception to make an appointment or telephone +66 (0) 810 787 814.

UPDATE: I’m not sure if Greg is still around.

BEACH TRIPS

Thong Nai Pan Noi Beach

Location: North coast of Koh Phangan

Thong Nai Pan Noi has been popular with tourists for over 20 years now. It used to be considered a must-visit destination on the independent travellers’ circuit. More recently the independent travellers have now all but disappeared and Thong Nai Pan Noi is now a luxury destination with three 5* Hotels and one very good 4* Hotel. What has been attracting generations of travellers is the stunning natural geography. Thong Nai Pan is one of two bays separated a head land. Both bays have powder white sand beach, and calm seas making it perfect for swimming. Going back from the beach is an amphitheatre of steep forested hills, virtually untouched by development. What has kept Thong Nai Pan Noi relatively pristine has been its remoteness. It has been pretty much cut off from the rest of the Island with the only access being by boat or by difficult drive along a 20km dirt road through the jungle. However, this has all changed now. The road is now concreted. The easier access now makes Thong Nai Pan Noi perfect for a day trip.

Than Sadet Beach

Than Sadet

Location: East Coast south of Thong Nai Pan

Than Sadet Beach is much less developed, and smaller, than Thong Nai Pan. There are two places where you can stay or eat: The excellent Mai Pen Rai Bungalows and the less expensive J S Hut Resort. It is a really laid back place. It’s like it was ten or more years ago. You need to make your own entertainment here. There is no mobile telephone signal, no internet, no TV and the electricity is from generators which are turned off every afternoon. The beach is a great distraction. Its excellent for swimming and you can rent kayaks from J S Hut to do the 20 minute paddle to the near by tiny Island of Koh Kong. There is plenty to see and do around Than Sadet in the adjacent national park with its waterfalls and trekking opportunities. To get to Than Sadet you need to either take a boat or 4×4 car.

Haad Nam Tok Beach

Haad Nam Tok

Location: East Coast south of Than Sadet

Haad Nam Tok is a pretty much deserted beach. Its difficult to get to. Its also one of the island’s most beautiful places. To reach Haad Nam Tok, take the road from Ban Tai towards Thong Nai Pan. About 400 metres after Jungle Flight there is a turning on the left signed posted towards ‘Than Prapad’. If you follow this steep dirt track though the jungle you first come to the site where they were building the Island’s first airport. Carry on past the short stretch of concrete road downhill. When the road starts to get very steep and broken leave you car or bike. Be warned, if you carry on beyond this point you will really struggle to drive back up. From there continue on foot. Keep to the right turn when you get to junctions. Its about a 1 km walk down to the beach. The last stretch is very steep and there is a rope in place. The beach has no permanent development. There is a bar with no electric opened for party nights, a small toilet block and a few tents pitched on the beach for rent. No shop, no water, no food. You need to bring your own.

NATURE

Than Sadet National Park

Than Sadet National Park

Location: 65km2 on the East Coast

The best known part of the national park is its waterfall. It stretches 2 km down to the beach in a series of waterfalls. The most spectacular part of the waterfall is at the bottom near Than Sadet beach. The waterfall is at its best November to March when it rains more. By August its pretty much dry. Three of Thailand’s kings visited the waterfall, including the last King. They all left inscriptions on rocks around the area. One of the rocks has the signature of all three Kings. Beyond the waterfall, the National Park is pristine tropical rain forest. The National Park authority lists the following animals as living in the national park: cervus monkey, spectacled langur, slow loris, javan mongoose, brahminy kite, white bellied sea eagles, snakes including pythons, cobras and green tree snakes, blyth’s mountain frog, and land tortoises. In addition to these we have spotted beavers, deer and civets. If you do go trekking into the jungle please remember it’s very easy to get lost. Bring water, food and a local guide.

Than Prawet Waterfall

Than Prawet Waterfall

Location: Thong Nai Pan Noi

Very few people ever visit this waterfall which is a shame as its one of the best on Koh Phangan. The waterfall is located on the way into Thong Nai Pan Noi village. As you turn from the main road down to the village there is a valley on your left. The waterfall is in that valley. To walk up the entire length of the waterfall start at the small bridge on the opposite side of the road to the large general store at the edge of the village. The track is a bit over grown. Just follow the stream uphill. As the hill steepens the waterfalls start. They get better the further up the hill you go. The easiest way to walk up is on the larger boulders in the stream. There are pools where you can swim from November to around April. The going gets more difficult the further up the hill you go and you will need to climb up some short cliffs to make it all the way up this stretch of waterfalls.