Category: Mind Body and Soul

Top 10 Tropical Fruits to Try When in Thailand

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 107 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

What is intermittent fasting, and why should you do it?

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 166 0

Learn about new and different techniques of intermittent fasting in order to maintain good health, to do here on Koh Phangan.

Intermittent fastin concept – empty plate on blue background, copy space

Here on Koh Phangan, there are many health and wellness centers where you can come and learn about new and different techniques in order to maintain good health.

One of them being fasting…

But what exactly is it? Read on to find out more.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting.

It does not say anything about which foods to eat, but rather when you should eat them.

There are a few different intermittent fasting techniques, all of which split the day or week into eating periods and fasting periods.

No food is allowed during the fasting period, but you can drink water, coffee, tea and other non-caloric beverages.

Some forms of intermittent fasting allow small amounts of low-calorie foods during the fasting period.

What are the Benefits of Fasting?

  1. Helps with weight loss (despite eating the same amount of calories):

Intermittent fasting simply allows the body to use its stored energy. For example, by burning off excess body fat.

This process, known as autophagy, or “self” (auto) “eat (phagy), is the body’s natural ability to clean out detox and recycle cells that are no longer functioning properly.

When we do not eat (intermittent fasting), insulin levels fall, signaling the body to start burning stored energy as no more is coming through food. Blood glucose falls, so the body must now pull glucose out of storage to burn for energy.

2. Lowers risk for disease:

Intermittent fasting can boost brain health and lower your risk for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. For one, it reduces obesity and can help protect against diabetes — both increase your risk for developing Alzheimer’s.

3. Protects neurons:

Intermittent fasting also helps the brain by protecting nerve cells from degeneration. A 2003 study found that intermittent fasting helped guard neurons in the brain from excitotoxic stress (neuronal death).

4. Improves memory:

Intermittent fasting improves learning and memory, another protective measure against erious neurodegenerative diseases. A 2009 study of 50 elderly adults found that three months of caloric restriction boosted memory (measured by their ability to recall words).

5. Promotes Longevity :

Another way it increases your lifespan and slows aging is by manipulating mitochondrial networks. Mitochondria are the power generators in your cells — they produce most of the energy that’s needed for a cell to survive. A 2017 study from Harvard University found that fasting kept mitochondrial networks fused together. That’s what keeps the mitochondria strong and able to do their job of processing energy — crucial for longevity and vibrant aging.

6. Use it as a detox, giving us more energy:

Due to your body using up its excess supply. It provides an opportunity for your body to remove itself for any unwanted, harmful toxins.

No matter how hard we try to practice clean living, modern life overloads us with toxins we can’t avoid. I am talking about pesticides, EMFs, cigarette smoke (second hand or first hand), chemical ridden skin care, sugar laden diets …

Fasting is the perfect way to ‘unclog the pipes’ and start again fresh.

And the list goes on …

Heaps of research can be found on intermittent fasting and all its health benefits. Which one appeals to you?

Case Study of Fasting

As an example, one study split mice into two groups; the researchers put one on an intermittent fasting regime, and they allowed the second to eat whenever it liked.

Both groups consumed the same amount of fat and calories; however, despite having the same energy intake, mice in the fasting group did not develop obesity or metabolic disorders as the other mice did.


The Different Fasting Techniques

The 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours each day, for example by only eating between noon and 8pm. You can do this by skipping breakfast, eating your first meal at noon and your last meal at 8 pm.

The 5:2 Diet: During 2 days of the week, eat only about 500–600 calories.

Eat-Stop-Eat: Once or twice a week, don’t eat anything from dinner one day, until dinner the next day (a 24 hour fast).


Will I be hungry?

Despite what you may think, intermittent fasting is actually fairly easy to do. Many people report feeling better and having more energy during a fast.

Hunger is usually not that big of an issue, although it can be a problem in the beginning, while your body is getting used to not eating for extended periods of time.

Proceed with Caution

While intermittent fasting has many proven benefits, it’s still controversial. A potential danger regards medications, especially for diabetes, where doses often need to be adapted.

Discuss any changes in medication and relevant lifestyle changes with your doctor.

More information regarding intermittent fasting visit –

Keto and Intermittent Fasting: A Beginner’s Guide
https://hvmn.com/blog/keto-diet/keto-and-intermittent-fasting-a-beginners-guide

Everything you need to know about a Thai Massage

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 246 0

What are you letting yourself in for with a Thai Massage? Read on to find out …


You’re in Thailand; the perfect place to experience this cultural massage. (Some people get them every week).

But what are you letting yourself in for?

Continue reading to find out.

The History

Thai massage or “Thai yoga massage” is a traditional healing system combining acupressure, Indian Ayurvedic principles, and assisted yoga postures.

Originated in India, around 2,500 years ago, the physician to the Buddha, Shivago Komarpaj, is said to have created the Thai massage.

Most of the recorded history of Thai massage was lost in 1767 during the Burmese attack in Ayutthia. However, there were records that survived and were inscribed in the Sala Moh Nuat, a massage pavilion in Bangkok.

Since the origin, there are a combination of influences for Thai medicine from Chinese, Indian and Southeast Asian culture, making the Thai Massage what it is today.

The Technique

First, you will be given a shirt and pants, then led to a changing room or bathroom. These are loose fitting, clean, and comfortable. So for a thai massage, you are fully clothes, unlike oil massage.

In a Thai massage the therapist uses a variety of different sequences of techniques on clients, who are either lying face up, lying face down, seated, or on their side.

There is constant body contact between the therapist and the client, but rather than rubbing on muscles, the body is compressed, pulled, stretched, and rocked.

The masseuses will use every part of their body in order to do this, including their thumbs, elbows, and knees. Some masseuses might even walk on you.

Thai massages certainly are not gentle. It is important to note that oftentimes, Thai massages can feel like unpleasant, if not painful experiences.

Usually, the masseuse will make it more or less intense depending on a person’s size and age.

Top Tip – “Jep” means “hurt” in Thai. So if the masseuses are making the massage too uncomfortable, this becomes and important word.

Health Benefits

Thai massage is a therapeutic procedure that provides relaxation and restores healthy blood circulation. It also treats energy blockages, weak, dysfunctional organs, aches and pains, flexibility, paralysis, nerve problems and postural alignments, and many more. See below for more detail …

1. Lowers stress

Stress can negatively affect mental and physical health. Chronic, or long-lasting, stress can lead to serious illnesses, including depression and cardiovascular disease.

Thai massage uses gentle pressure and stretching techniques to relax the body, to relieve physical and emotional tension.

2. Boosts energy

Research has shown that Thai massage can increase people’s physical energy levels.

The Thai massage technique is based on the notion of energy lines, or Zen. Most practitioners believe that there are various Zen, or channels of energy, within the body. Over time you body can build up blockages.

These blockages reduce the flow of life energy, which results in stiffness, pain, and illness. Thai massage uses different techniques that either open or constrict different Zen to correct the flow of life energy.

3. Stimulates circulation

Thai massage can promote the circulation of both blood and lymph through the use of gentle stretches. These yoga-like stretches increase blood circulation, which fills the body’s tissues with oxygen. This helps promote cell growth and heart health.

They believe that this is because it improved blood circulation, which, in turn, stimulates the somatosensory system. This is a system that plays a major role in balance.

4. Improves range of motion

Thai massage incorporates yoga-like stretches to reduce stress and improve circulation. The gradual, gentle stretching will enhance the person’s flexibility over time, allowing a greater range of motion.

Thai massage may also improve the circulation of the fluid in the joints, or synovial fluid, which reduces friction between the joints. This can improve joint mobility and range of motion.

5. Thai massages are great for athletes

It works similarly as a sport massage, due to it being in the same style of this deep tissue massage/stretches. Thai massage also improves circulation, which brings more oxygen to muscles and other tissues. This may prevent injuries and improve the athlete’s ability to recover after intense training.

Pricing?

Thai massage prices will depend on you go.

Generally you will see them offered for around Thai massage for 300-400 thb ($9-12).

However resorts or high-end salons will charge 500 thb ($15) plus.

If your masseuse does a great job, it would be a lovely gesture to tip them, for their efforts. The massages are incredibly cheap, and these people’s jobs are simply exhausting.

Timings?

Usually an hour, but if you body is really ache-y, you can differ to the 90 minutes.

Happy endings?

This is a common miss-conception and only very few places offer this service.

To avoid any embarrassing encounters, do your research on the recommended ones.

As of 2018, of the 8,000 to 10,000 spa and massage shops in Thailand, only 4,228 are certified by the Health Ministry’s Department of Health Service Support (HSS).

Thai massages are a must in the Kingdom of the best! Dare to try?

Muay thai koh phangan explorer

Why you need to try Muay Thai while in Thailand 

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 451 0

Why you need to try Muay Thai while in Thailand

 Reason 1 – Want to Kick Butt?

Classified as one of the world’s deadliest martial arts, Muay Thai is a great alternate activity to learn in Thailand – the land of the sport. No-one will mess with you after learning this skill.

 

What is Muay Thai or Thai Boxing?

Muay Thai or Thai Boxing is the national sport and cultural martial art of Thailand. It was developed several hundreds of years ago as a form of close-combat that utilizes the entire body as a weapon.

Often referred to as the “Art of Eight Limbs”, Muay Thai utilizes a beautiful symphony of kicks, punches, knees, and elbows with fluidity and grace. You will know if you get hit!

 

 

Did you know?
Muay Thai fighters train many hours a day and may accumulate as many as 120-150 fights (3 times as many as an active boxer) before they reach their mid-twenties! That’s a lot of punches!

 

 

 

 

Muay Thai in Koh Phangan

Muay Thai training will continues to grow in popularity. Especially as Koh Phangan has an abundance of muay thai classes and gyms around the island, equipped with the best trainers and coaches. It is easy-peasy to find gyms in your area, for your intensive aerobic workout!

 

 

Fun Fact – What is Wai Kru?
 At the beginning of every bout you see the fighters perform a ritual dance – The Wai Kru – which has deep meaning to muay Thai practitioners. 
The wai kru is performed by fighters in order to pay homage to their teachers and family and to bless themselves with victory in the ring.
Taking up to 5 minutes, to performing the detailed choreographed patterns of movement, the fighters are adorned with a headpiece called a mongkol and armbands called prajioud. 

 

 

 

Is Muay Thai for me? Here’s some inspiration …

 

Today, Muay Thai is becoming very popular on a global scale. It was recently accepted as an Olympic sport, finally gaining its deserved recognition. But why try Muay Thai?

  • It is simple and easy to learn –

Known for its raw simplicity. That’s why Muay Thai is for everyone: men, women and children alike.

  • Great fitness

Being a very physically demanding sport, it is a great way of getting keeping in shape. This full body workout will definitely leave your muscles sore, but then you know you have really pushed yourself and released the stagnant energy in your body. Proven to burn over 1,000 calories an hour.

  • Let off some steam

Angry about something? Well Muay Thai is the perfect cure! What feels better than releasing all your negative emotions on a punch bag with some gloves?

 

  • Learn a new skill

Hey it’s not every day that you get to try this sport where it originated from. The authentic and correct methods of teaching will be passed to you. Which you can then take away to your home country and show off and impress your friends.

 

  • Effective self- defense

Hopefully you will never have to use these skills. However it might give you the confidence and ability to get out of some sticky situations.

 

 

 

 

  • Toughens and strengthens not just your body, but also your mind and spirit – 

As the late great Muay Thai Grandmaster Kru Yodtong Senanan once said, “Muay Thai is good for your confidence and inner strength.” As well as cultivating your physical conditioning, Muay Thai enhances confidence and promotes discipline of the mind through the control of emotions and feelings.

phangan explorer

8 Yoga Practice techniques to try on Koh Phangan. What’s your style?

Posted By : Katie Monsell/ 845 3

Yoga Guide – What is your style? 8 Yoga Practice techniques to try on Koh Phangan

 

Koh phangan’s yoga scene has exploded over the last few year and is a world known location for Yoga Centres. Hatha, kundalini, Vinyasa… Enough choice to get you confused!

Want to try but don’t know where to start?

Well, Phangan Explorer is here to help you decipher this yogic language and so you know what you are getting yourself in for. Check our mind, body and soul page for classes and programs.

 

 

What is Yoga?

Defined as –

‘Yoga is a group of physical, mental, and spiritual practices or disciplines which originated in ancient India’.

 

Why should I do it?

Not just being a good stretch and workout for your body, there are many other pluses for getting on that mat and attempting advanced poses that put you in awkward and funny positions.

Physical Benefits:

  • Increased Flexibility
  • Increased Strength
  • Improved Balance
  • Increased Stamina
  • Improved Body Alignment (reduces joint pain)

Mental Benefits of Yoga:

  • Stress Reduction
  • Body Awareness
  • Better Sleep
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Relaxation

 

 

 

Classes:

There are so many on Koh Phangan, you are spoilt for choice! The great thing about going to a yoga class is they have everything you need already there! Mats, blocks, and a qualified teacher who can come around and correct your alignment to make sure that you are doing the posture correctly to prevent injury.

 

Types of Yoga

 

Hatha Yoga – The Classic

One of the most common types. Hatha is a slower moving classes that require you to hold each pose for a few breaths. Good for beginners as it is considered a gentler form of yoga. However, the Sanskrit term “hatha” actually refers to any yoga that teaches physical postures.

Yin Yoga – Poses held for a long time

Want something less vigorous? Yin Yoga may be for you!

Specific poses are held over the course of several minutes, with the idea of stretching the body’s connective tissue, particularly around the joints. Yin Yoga is a practice intended to build the body to be able to sit in long meditation sessions and to act as a counterpoint to movement-oriented vigorous yang styles of yoga.

However be prepared to grin through a little pain, when holding the stretched for an extended amount of time.

 

Vinyasa Yoga – Work up a Sweat

Vinyasa tends to be a more vigorous style of yoga incorporating series of poses called sun salutations, in which each movement is matched to the breath. Vinyasa is also called flow, in reference to the continuous sequence from one posture to the next.

 

Bikram Yoga – Feel the Heat!

You will definitely sweat in this yoga! With the temperatures reaching 105°F (40.6°C), with a humidity of 40%.

Bikram yoga is meant to flush toxins, manage weight and allow students to move more deeply into poses. So through the grueling 90 minutes, flowing through the 26 postures and 2 breathing techniques, your body will thank you after.

 

Ashtanga Yoga – Fast-paced and physically challenging

Each series is comprised of a set of poses (asanas) that are always performed in the same order. The sequences are fast-paced and physically demanding.

It involves synchronizing breath with these progressive and continuous postures, which produces internal heat while detoxifying the body.

 

Iyengar Yoga – All ability, gentle-paced yoga focusing on alignment

The focus of this yoga is to focus on the correct musculoskeletal alignment, when the asanas (poses) are held for much longer than in other schools of yoga .

In a typical iyengar class will use props, such as; blocks, belts, bolsters, chairs and blankets, which are used to accommodate injuries, tightness or structural imbalances, as well as teach the student how to move into a posture properly. Iyengar allows for full relaxation as you perform stretches.

Due to the use of props and gentle pace, it is suitable for many abilities and people with previous injuries.

Kundalini Yoga – Want to try something a little different?

Kundalini Yoga practice is designed to awaken the energy at the base of the spine in order to draw it upward through each of the seven chakras.

It consists of repeated movements or exercises, dynamic breathing techniques, chanting, meditation and mantras, which are often repeated and is synchronized with the breath.

You will feel energized after this session.

 

Restorative Yoga – Gentle with equipment support

Very gentle on the body, suitable for people with previous injuries due to the use of props to support the body as it relaxes into poses over the course of several minutes.

Restorative yoga focuses on staying in each pose long enough to encourage passive stretching. Examples of the type of poses are; seated forward bends, gentle supine backbends, and twists which are adapted to be restorative with the addition of props like blankets and bolsters.

 

Which yoga style will you try?