Category: Discover

Animals to look out for on Koh Phangan

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 99 0

Being a tropical island, Koh Phangan may have some creatures you may have never seen before. Lets take a look at the ones you could spot here.

Stepping into unknown territory of the Kingdom of Thailand, what will you find?

Being a tropical island, Koh Phangan may have some creatures you may have never seen before. Lets take a look at the ones you could spot here.

Common House Gecko

Scientific name: Hemidactylus platyurus

Thai name: Ching-chok Hang Ban

Description: 

Around 14 cm long, they vary in colour and markings, but is most common are light grey with dark grey or brown markings. Their tails are very broad and flat, with an usually yellowish underbelly.

Habitat:

These cute little animals are naturally found in forests, but is extremely common in human habitations. You will probably see them in your hotel.

Usually active at night, but will often be seen hunting during the day when indoors. At night they can most easily be found near artificial lighting, where they hunt the insects attracted to the lights.

Diet:

Helps control insect and spider populations. Provides food for snakes and Tokay Geckos.

Harmful?

Poses no danger to humans at all.

Fun Fact:

These geckos have lamellae – incredibly tiny hairs – providing the surface area that allows geckos to cling to vertical surfaces, even ones as smooth as painted walls or glass.

Tokay gecko

Description:

Tokay’s are the second largest lizard in the gecko family, fully grown Tokay’s can reach 11 to 15 inches in length, in appearance they look like the smaller geckos which are very common around just about every house or dwelling in Thailand, except they are much bigger in size. As well as the Tokay’s distinctive sound, it also has a distinctive appearance, usually the body is olive green with brightly colored spots of yellow, red or orange.

Harmful?

They are normally sky creatures, however if a Tokay bites you, best just to let it calm down or submerse it in water, another little tip is to dab vinegar on its nose.

Animal Sounds:

If you stay any length of time in Thailand, you will no doubt hear the Tokay gecko making his distinctive call. First time visitors to Thailand often mistake the Tokay’s call for that of a bird. The sound a Tokay makes when it is calling sounds very much like “tok kay” or “toh kay”, some people liken it to the sound of a cuckoo.

Diet:

Tokay’s mainly eat insects, but they will tackle scorpions, mice and smaller lizards.

Elephants

Phangan Explorers favorite animal! So big and beautiful and surprisingly gentle animals.

Description:

Asian elephants are gray, a coloration that acts as a natural defense by allowing them to blend into the shade of their natural habitats.

Male elephants in Thailand can grow up to 21 feet long, stand 10 feet high, and weigh more than 5 tons, about 11,000 lbs.! Female elephants grow to about 8 ½ feet high and weight less than males.

Elephants are known for their trunks, tusks, and also their charmingly large, flappy ears. Their ears actually help them cool off.

Elephants in the wild have a life expectancy of 30-50 years, and some live up to 60.

Lifestyle:

Elephants are sensitive to the extreme sun and hot temperatures of tropical climates. They often need to hide in the shade or in water like rivers during the hottest times of the day. They also use their trunks to squirt water over their backs or into their mouths, or blow dust and dirt on their backs to cool themselves.

Animal Sounds:

Elephants communicate with a language of rumbles, bellows, moans, growls, and other low-frequency sounds. The noises they use to communicate can travel up to a mile or more, reaching other packs of elephants.

Habitat:

Asian elephants typically live in tropical climates in grassy areas and lowland forests, all the way up to cooler mountain terrain up to 10,000 feet high. They usually live right by large bodies of fresh water.

Diet:

While living in the wild, elephants use their agile trunks to gather fruit, bark, grasses, leaves, and herbs, and then chew and process it with large molars, eating up to 300 lbs. of food a day. While living in zoos or in captivity, each elephant typically eats about 125 lbs. of hay, ten pounds of herbivore pellets, ten pounds of vegetables and fruits, and a few leafy branches as dessert.

Endangered Species:

Sadly the African species numbers are estimated at approximately 500,000 whilst the Asian variety has fallen to an disturbingly low estimated figure of below 30,000.

Fun Fact:

Where does the saying “An elephant never forgets,” come from? Elephants have the largest brains of any land mammal on earth. They also have the largest volume of cerebral cortex of any land mammal, used for cognitive processing.

Dogs

Koh Phangan is home of the dogs! You will see these scruffy/cute/chilled animals just lounging around on the side of the roads or sleeping in the shade.

Do they have homes?

Yes. Not all dogs are strays, they will have collars on and even if not, they usually have someone who feeds them. However many tourists initially set up camp on Koh Phangan and buy a dog, with it only to end up they leave shortly after this … and the dog behind! However a lot of these dogs are taken care of as much as possible by Phangan Animal Care for Strays and also volunteer individuals who keep an eye on them. Check the place out!

Harmful?

These docile dogs are generally very friendly. A lot of the strays have had jabs and been neutered, however you can never be too careful.

Monocled Cobras

Harmful?

Extremely! The monocled cobra is one of Thailand’s most deadly snakes – with highly toxic (neurotoxic + cytotoxic) venom. One bite on your toe from one that jumps out from under your outdoor refrigerator can kill you.

Description:

Monocled cobras are easily identified by looking at the back of the hood – there is a monocle – or eye type shape there. They are light brown to dark grey to solid black. Most are very close to black.

Length:

Typical maximum length about 1.5 meters. They can get up to 2.2 meters – about 7.5 feet long.

Thais name:

Ngoo how hom, Ngoo how mo (long o sound)

Range:

All over Thailand and most of Southeast Asia.

Scary Fact:

Neuro toxic venom affecting nerves, brain, and causing death very quickly without treatment. They are very fast strikers. The baby monocled cobras are every bit as deadly. Please be CAREFUL!

Monkeys


The most common and found on Koh Phangan are the Long tailed Macaques. The species are all over South East Asia and are the most common primate.

Habitat:

These monkeys live in a wide range of habitats including the forests and jungles, mangroves, plantations and on the outskirts of towns and villages. However they can be seen straying away to the beaches and by the side of roads.

Where to find them?

The ones most commonly seen on Koh Phangan will be on the Haad Rin hills. Despite the large signs, tourists still feed they cheeky monkeys. However please remember that by doing this you are going against their nature where they will then become dependent on the unhealthy foods being given to them. Best to watch them from afar.

The monkeys here can sometimes go down to the beach and can be seen swinging around and again these are great for photos but it is better to leave them happily swinging in their tree or on the power lines above.

Harmful?

Sometimes. They can be pesky little thieves, and has been noted to snatch anything in your hand or belongings left outside on your bungalow. They are very quick!

Thailand has a whole wild range of diverse ecosystem. However do your research on what dangerous creatures are out there.

Top 10 Tropical Fruits to Try When in Thailand

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 113 0

One of Thailands highlights and attractions, is its abundance of juicy, fresh, tropical fruits! Have you tried them all?

One of Thailands highlights and attractions, is its abundance of juicy, fresh fruits! Due to their hot weather and perfect growing conditions, fruits can bloom and flourish in these tropical, naturals scenes.

They are just what you are looking for on a hot day, with many shake stalls and fresh fruit vendors on every corner.

When you are in Thailand, be sure to try these TOP 10 Tropical Fruits of Thailand:

1. Coconut

The king of the fruits has got to be… coconuts. Grown and harvested, here in the kindom, you can’t get fresher than that!

One of the most nutritious fruits in Thailand, coconuts are available all year round and are known well for their refreshing water.

Used in a lot of Thai dishes such as; Massaman curries and Tom Yam Soup, it is easily accessible to find either fresh, or the milk cartoons, in the shops and the supermarkets.

The meat can be mixed with coconut water or eaten separately. Coconut milk is made when the meat is grated and mixed with water. Coconut oil is also popular for frying food, for cosmetics, medicine, and even bio-fuel.

As well as tasting great, there are many health benefits to eating coconuts; such as; supporting the immune system health: it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-parasite.

2. Mangosteen

Mangosteen has round, hard purple ball shaped shells, with a green top. However the inside is where all the tender goodness is!

You can easily open the shell with your fingers (however then can get a bit sticky) revealing a white, almost transparent flesh of sweetness, which sometimes has a soft seed, inside the 5-8 segments, which you can also eat.

In Thai they are called – Mang Kut – and considered to be the Queen of Fruits.

For sure, this is one of Phangan Explorers favorites.

3. Rambutan

Rambutan -- The Luxury Signature

Rambuttan, also another strange looking fruits, a small golf ball size, has velcro type hairs and when cracked open by squeezing it between your palms, reveals a seed covered with a white and translucent texture.

This one can get stuck in your teeth a little, when chewing off the flesh around the stone.

You eat the fruit by chewing off the white texture off the seed, giving you a sweet and cool flavor with a mildly acidic taste.

4. Pomelo

Pomelo -- The Luxury Signature

Looking like and tasting like a grapefruit, it is a little sweeter, but has that same refreshing taste.

Pomelo is called – Som-o -in Thai. The rind is thick and leathery and once opened, reveals several segments that are grouped together.

It can grow quite large and can be seen to be as large as a basketball!

Health benefits include: improving the digestive health (due to large amounts of fiber 6g), helps fight infections (1 pomelo provides 371% of Vitamin C!)

5. Durian

Durian -- The Luxury Signature

Definitely an ACQUIRED TASTE! You either love it or hate it.

Due to its unpleasant (putting it mildly) smell, it is actually banned in public places and hotels. You could be fined for eating this or taking it somewhere you shouldn’t!

However, for the obsessed, it is a delicacy and devoured once broken into its hard green spiky exterior.

However, Thais love the fruit’s smell and taste, which has a custard, creamy, smooth texture. Durian or known as “Turian” in Thailand, is a popular aphrodisiac as it has an uncanny ability to increase the body’s temperature.

6. Rose Apple

Rose Apple -- The Luxury Signature

Known as Chom-Poo in Thailand, Rose Apple resembles a small red apple but bell-shaped. It is similar in texture to apple but sweeter and most commonly eaten raw with salt or mixed in a spicy salad.

7. Lychee

Lychee -- The Luxury Signature

The Thais call this fruit “Lihjee” and it’s bright red and has the size of a golf ball, but instead of dimples on the latter, features pimples on the rind. It looks like a rambutan without the hairs or a plump and dry strawberry.
Once opened, it reveals a white texture that covers a single seed. Lychee is only available for a few months each year but are easily canned and made into a popular fruit shake flavor.

8. Banana

Banana -- The Luxury Signature

The most popular varieties of bananas in Thailand are the Gluay Hom and the Gluay Khai. They are available all year-round and are best eaten ripe. Fried banana and dried banana chips are popular afternoon snacks, and banana leaves are popular to use when wrapping fish or chicken for grilling.

9. Dragon Fruit

Dragon fruit -- The Luxury Signature

Scary looking, but delicious inside. It has a purple/red exterior with green spiky leaves at the top, making it seem like an unusual dragon.

This interesting- looking fruit known as “Gao Mung Gorn” in Thailand is called The inside reveals a white or pink interior with black seeds. The flesh is soft and sweet.

10. Mango

Mango -- The Luxury Signature

Mango, especially in Thailand is so sweet and juicy, you’ll be wanting it daily! It is a staple in many Southeast Asian countries and 1kg is usually around 60-80thb.

Try the mango salad, where they use unripened mangos, which have a sour flavor that’s best eaten with salt or spices.

How many have you tried?!

Jackfruit -- The Luxury Signature

All about Koh Phangan’s History

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 779 0

Learn all about Koh Phangan’s history with these fun facts, figures and the story of how Koh Phangan is the way it is today.

Do you know the meaning of “Koh Phangan”?

Let’s start with the basics, one cannot learn the history of an Island without knowing why it is named this way…

KOH = island

PHA = meet or find

NGAN = beach visible at low tide

Koh Phangan is Thailand’s firth biggest island

Koh Phangan is an island paradise in the gulf of Thailand, located 70km from the mainland and just 12km from Koh Samui, Phangan does not have an airport (yet) and relies heavily on ferries from the mainland and Koh Samui.

AREA: 125 km²

POPULATION: 11,846 (2004)

PROVINCE: Surat Thani Province

What is Koh Phangan known for?

Parties – It is world-famous for its monthly Full Moon Party. This boisterous night-long celebration, which is tied to the lunar calendar, draws revelers to its southeastern peninsula, Haad Rin.

Beaches – We have some of the best in the world! And we are not being biased. To see a description of all 35 beaches – click here. 

Culture – More than 95% of the population are Buddhist, but there are a few mosques and churches that can be found around the island. One Buddhist holidays you can see many locals go to the temples and celebrate. To visit the temples – click here.

Lifestyle – Apart from tourism, another prominent industry for the island is fishing. You can find many lovely restaurants selling the freshest fish – what is the catch of the day?

 

 

Each month Koh Phangan and Koh Samui produce and export 1 million coconuts to Bangkok!

History of Koh Phangan

A hundred years ago, Koh Phangan was not just some unknown island. On the contrary, every Siamese at the time knew that Koh Phangan was a favoured destination of Thai Royalty, most notably King Rama the Fifth, also known as Chulalongkorn, who lived from 1868 until 1910.

Chulalongkorn is reported to have visited the island at least 14 times between the years of 1888 to 1909 after he purchased a steamship which allowed him to cruise the Gulf of Thailand. His imprint can be found carved into in the rocks of the waterfall at Than Sadet.

Prior to this, was the Bronze Drum of the Dongson Culture (100-500BC), that was found on neighboring Koh Samui in 1977, identified that there were settlements of people on Koh Samui and Koh Phangan more than 2000 years ago.

Other reports state that some archeologists and historians believe the first group of people who migrated to the island were Muslim Sea Gypies (Pigmy, semung and Proto-Malay) who traveled by boat from the Malaysian Peninsula.

Then after the Hainan Chinese migrants were among the first permanent settlers in the area approximately 200 years ago.

Koh Phangan has always been a melting pot of various cultures, with: Malay, Thai and Chinese influences, all living peacefully together.

Modern Koh Phangan

The big change on Ko Phangan started after the first bungalows were built for foreign tourists to come and visit around 20 years ago. From there the island has rapidly developed with roads, infrastructure and internet access everywhere on the island.

The islanders changed their ways of life to grow with the expanding tourist industry.

 

However Ko Phangan is much less touristic than its neighboring island Koh Samui and still has it deserted beaches, and hidden spots. To find these out – check out Phangan Explorer’s view points and hidden gems.

Detoxes, Fasting and Colonics – What are they?

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 613 0

Detoxes, Fasting and Colonics – What are they?

 

 

What is the difference between a fast, a cleanse and a detox?

Good question!

A detox is any process that helps you remove toxins from your system.

A cleanse is any process that makes one clean.

A fast is a period of time without ingesting any food.

All 3 terms are used to describe detox programs!

 

 

“The best gift you can give your body, mind and spirit!”

 

 

Why do it?

Over time our bodies become overloaded with toxins. These toxins can accumulate through what we eat and drink, the air we breathe, what we put on our skin or even by the way we think!

Although the human body is designed to eliminate toxins, it can quickly become clogged up and store harmful waste in the cells and joints. However through flushing your systems with detox programs Phangan Explorer describes below, you can gain all the health benefits from within a short time.

 

Bathe in its Benefits:

  • Weight loss
  • Improvement of digestion
  • Reducing risk of diseases
  • Improved concentration
  • Increase body performance
  • Deeper sleep
  • Clearer skin
  • Balanced emotions
  • and many more …

 

 

Detox Programs

They may include:

Consultation and Guidance

Fasting – This can vary with types and duration.

Colonics

Detox Herbs

Hydrotherapy Sessions

Thai Detox Massage

Morning Meditation

Gentle Yoga Class

Herbal Steam Sauna

Saltwater Pool

Support and Supervision

 

 

 

“Detoxification and cleansing fast programs are a time-proven system to rid the body of toxins and other unwanted waste.”

 

 

Fasting

 

Depending on the type of detox, it is a restricted diet usually eliminating highly processed food and replacing them with food and supplements with super food and supplements.

This can be from raw foods – fruit, veggies, nuts.

Also they may give you some unheard of foods like, Psyllium powder, lymph juice
Don’t forget the super foods; spirulina, wheat grass shots.

Usually you will be given plenty of liquids and unlimited herbal teas to flush through you, and trick you mind into thinking its full.

 

Duration?

Detoxes vary in length – we recommend 3-7 days, to feel the real effects on your body. However you do what you feel is right for you.

 

 

Cleansing

 

Clean out your colon!

The colon is essential in our detox pipeline, which is the tunnel connecting the liver (the main detoxifying organ of the body) to then pass the toxins out of the body. But if the colon is plugged, it’s like flushing a toilet clogged with toilet paper; everything backs up – resulting in sickness and disease. Eww!

 

What is the difference between a Colema, Colonic Irrigation and an Enema?

 

Colonic Irrigation – a type of enema that injects large amounts of water under controlled pressure through the rectum high into the colon for cleansing purposes. They are performed in clinics and require supervision from a trained therapist. Some treatments add things to the water such as peroxide or even herbs.

 

Enema – are useful for a quick fix. Particularly when temporarily backed up. However they only flush loose fecal matter in the lower part of the colon.

 

Colema – circulates more water than an enema and reaches all portions of the colon. The water is circulated by gravity, not a machine, and is therefore generally more effective, comfortable and safe.

 

 

Gross Fact – A sluggish bowel can retain pounds of old toxic and poisonous fecal matter (10-20 pounds is not unusual, and up to 65 pounds has actually been reported)

 

 

Detoxes in Koh Phangan

 

 

Koh Phangan has many centers that hosts detox programs.

After completing a detox program, you will leave feeling, rejuvenated, vibrant, knowledgeable, self-empowered and dedicated to live a healthy life. You will not regret it!

6 intense adrenaline sports to do in Koh Phangan

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 235 0

 6 intense adrenaline sports in Koh Phangan  

Make the most of your tripStart Living! 

 

Want to start living life to the max?

Do something filled with adrenaline to push you out of your comfort zone!

 

Surrounded by glistening flat seas, luscious mountains and valleys, and will the sun dazzling down; Koh Phangan entices adventure and exploration for all ages, interests and experience!

 

 

Adrenaline – Feel the Rush!

When you feel fear, your heart starts pounding. Adrenal glands dump the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline into the bloodstream – adrenaline rush! Your body is now activating at a heightened state of physical and mental alertness. All of it reminds you that you are alive!

However it is that same element of fear that stands between a thrill and just plain fun. Phangan Explorer wants you to live life to its fullest potential!

 

Here are some examples to give you that burst of human jet fuel to rejuvenate your spirits!

Sports and adrenaline activities in Koh Phangan:

 

 

 

1. Jet Ski (The Rush)

Take an adrenaline-filled jet-ski ride over the crystalline blue Koh Phangan waters, while going full throttle to discover secret, deserted beaches all to yourself!

Tip – You don’t need a license to go on one of our jet-ski tours, just to sign a consent form. Be careful for jet ski scams if you break them, you don’t get racked up with a big bill. However feel like James Bond cruisning or speeding on the flat waters in the sun for your exciting adventure!

 

 

  1. Kiteboarding (The Heart Racer)

Harnessing wind power to ‘fly’ gives you a superhuman feeling. You don’t have to be particularly muscular to hold down the kite; it’s harnessed around your waist, so your body weight counters the kite’s power, not your arms.

Lessons – First, you’ll start learning to skim across the water — a skill that takes just a day or two to grasp. Once you’ve got the basics, you can graduate to jumps.

 

 

3. Bouldering (The Dangerous)

Find your own route and jumping and climbing from rock to rock, along the sides of cascading waterfalls surrounded by the thick tropical jungle.

After building up a sweat, discover secret pools and spots along the way for you to take a well-deserved dip.

Tip – Full focus is needed, as some rocks can move beneath your feet! Also you may be having to use your whole body when climbing along a rock with the rush of the waterfall stream beneath you.

 

 

4. Diving (The Time-Flier)

Explore the undiscovered, unknown world of the deep sea. Watch in awe of the beauty of other life forms while going out in the water for an hour feels like only 10 minutes. You will hack into the ‘zone’.

Tip – Day trips for the inexperienced, or courses can be taken for you to have a unique experience that you will remember for the rest of your life!What will you find down there?

5. Parasailing (The Tongue Swallower)

Muster the courage to get lifted higher than the eagles. You will have a beautiful bird-eye view of the whole island and its amazing landscape. Truly mesmerizing!

Tip – To stop your shaking knees, reassure yourself by knowing the equipment, the company and the staff.

 

 

6. Cliff jumping (The Pure Insane)

Standing atop a cliff, stretching arms like wings, staring into the abyss, and jumping off from hundreds of feet into the water below is an experience reserved for daredevils and thrill-seekers. However we don’t want you crazy kids to go flinging yourself of ridiculously high dangerous, rocky waters. Be smart!

Tip – Only should be attempted with people of experience. Know your surroundings, your limits and should be done with friends to minimize risks.

 

 

 

Challenge your physical and mental strength on Koh Phangan by releasing some of that adrenaline into your bloodstream to make you feel alive!

Nevertheless, incorporating extreme sports in to your trip doesn’t fit for everyone. So you choose the activity!

Koh Phangan survival guide

Koh Phangan Survival Guide

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 237 0

 Koh Phangan Survival Guide

Phangan Explorer has seen the damage to the people who didn’t respect and listen to this advice … they didn’t end up so well.

In this Koh Phangan Guide, here are a few pointers on how to make sure your memories are terrific, not traumatic.

 

Motorbike Injuries

Drinking and driving, lack of experience and crappy roads are poison for many injuries on Koh Phangan. Just checkout the walking wounded you can find every time you look around and you see what I mean! BE CAREFUL! Motorbikes are the number one cause of injury to tourists. The roads to and from Haad Rin and Thong Nai Pan are very dangerous. If the roads are going to be attempted we strongly recommend wearing a helmet.

 

Going “overboard on the buckets”

Drinking can be the source of some great times, and insanely fun when spent with friends. However Thai whisky is strong and unforgiving. Drink too much and you will dancing and acting like a rag-doll with no bodily awareness, making you a target for criminal elements prowling the party. Take care of yourself!

 

Drugs are No fun at the Full Moon parties

Come on guys, Full Moon Party is now the most famous for illegal substance and drug abuse and this might seem like a great reason to get in on the action. Wrong! Thai law hands out harsh penalties for those caught participating in the cycle. The incumbent government also believes that foreigners are providing market and creating a bad example for Thai youth across the country. There are dozens of plain clothes cops at the party and they get a bonus catching drug users.

 

Fighting and disrespecting the locals

This is a sure way to get yourself beaten up or have a bottle smashed over your head no matter how tasty you are. Be cool, smile and walk away from any potential conflict. You will enjoy your holiday so much more.

Also NEVER speak ill or any of the kings/royal family. It is an extremely serious offenses, and results with imprisonment, where they will lock you up and throw away the key.

 

Motorbike prices

Prices will vary, however they are generally around 300THB per day for a motorbike. The bigger ones/ 125cc are a little pricier at 400THB plus per day.

You will need your passport when renting, and to sign a waiver form in the case of accidents. Check what you are going into as you don’t want to be paying a lump sum for repairs due to a knocked over bike.

 

Taxi Prices

Prices can differ depending on where, and what time you are travelling. Regular price from Thong Sala (main pier) to Haad Rin Beach (Full Moon Party Beach) is 100THB, even on Full Moon night! However if you are going solo to the top of the island, prepare for a costly visit.

You can try to bargain however most drivers now have fixed rate sheets. Recommended to get a group of you together for big trips.

 

 

Taking care of your valuables

Don’t take your valuables to any parties, or beaches. Then you won’t even have to worry about risking losing them. Simple. It only takes a split second, when you concentration is on the music or alcohol, for some sleaze to take your possessions away into the crowd. Save yourself to agro!

 

Help us clean the beach

All of us on Koh Phangan are very concerned about keeping our environment and the beaches clean. Be a part of the solution not the cause! Put your trash in the bin and look for free fag containers for your cigarette butts.

7/11 minimarts will force an excess of plastic on you from bag to straws to spoons. But do you really need all that for one bottle of water?