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
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.
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.
Helps control insect and spider populations. Provides food for snakes and Tokay Geckos.
Poses no danger to humans at all.
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’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.
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.
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.
Tokay’s mainly eat insects, but they will tackle scorpions, mice and smaller lizards.
Phangan Explorers favorite animal! So big and beautiful and surprisingly gentle animals.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Typical maximum length about 1.5 meters. They can get up to 2.2 meters – about 7.5 feet long.
Ngoo how hom, Ngoo how mo (long o sound)
All over Thailand and most of Southeast Asia.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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!)
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
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.
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.
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
9. Dragon Fruit
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.
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.
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.
It is a Buddhists tradition so it is also celebrated in neighboring countries, such as Cambodia, Laos, and Burma.
Day 1 – National Elderly Day
The first day of Songkran is Rod Nam Dum Hua ritual day. During this day, young people would pour fragrant water into the elders’ palms as a gesture of humility and to ask for their blessings.
Day 2 – National Family Day
The second day is to be spent sharing quality family time together. You start with waking up early and give alms (food and offerings) to the monks. An important religious ritual on Songkran is ‘Bathing the Buddha image’, in which devout Buddhists pour fragrant water over Buddha statues both at the temple and at home. More religious Thais would engage themselves in Buddhist ceremonies and merit-making activities throughout the holidays.
At this present date, Songkran has evolved into one massive water festival celebrated all over Thailand. Massed of people gather in the streets, armed with their water guns and buckets of water, in order to spray their rivals.
However the real meaning behind the splashes is to symbolically wash off all misfortunes in the past year, welcoming the new year with a fresh new start.
April is the hottest part of the year in Thailand, so being soaked is a refreshing escape from the heat and humidity.
When is it?
Before Thailand adopted the international New Year’s Day in 1940, Songkran was calculated based on the solar calendar, which varied from one year to the next. Now Songkran in Bangkok is from 13 to 15 April of every year.
However different regions of Thailand can celebrate this festival up to 7 days!
Chiang Mai – 7 days
Bangkok – 3 days
Koh Phangan – 1/2 days
Koh Samui – 2/3 days
Where to be for Songkran?
The area to be in is Thong Sala, the main town, where the bulk of the water fights will be happening. However if you are driving around you should expect kids (and adults) on the side of the road waiting for you to get a soaking.
A great idea is to hire a truck and have
your store of water in the back of the truck, ready to spray everyone.
In Samui, they celebrate the full 3 days, 13-15th April.
The most popular road is Chaweng Road, the main party and food strip. Around 1km long, it is over crowded with people spilling out onto the road. Where the slow moving trucks and vehicles have their supply of water spray everyone as they pass. Also prepare to be blasted from any angle as people are hiding in bars and the restaurants, either side.
Well known as one of the most popular road for night clubs, cheap drinks and tourist souvenirs; this road gets transformed into a huge, wild, water fight, down the whole street.
The challenge – Khao San is less than 1km in length, but it’s guaranteed you wont make it from one end to the other dry. If you do you are a ninja!
Many bars will be staying open throughout the festival, some with DJs set up inside plastic shelters and podiums for dancing.
Probably the largest and wildest crowd in Bangkok; The entire 5 km length of this street – mostly known for Patpong – is packed on two levels with thousands of young Thais carrying anything that can spray water.
The best part is that you can enjoy the party in relatively dry surroundings by staying on the BTS sky walk that runs above the street.
From up there you can witness the full extent of the game: a huge colorful crowd of smiling young Thais slowly walking between two rows of stalls selling water guns, food, soft drinks and of course, lots of beer. The highlight is to spot the firetrucks ambushed at each intersection with their incredibly powerful water hoses.
Where do I get the water?
There are usually water stations (a big tub of water with a refillable hose), at every bar, where you can stock back up. However, these areas are target zones, and people with full water guns, hang around for those poor people who have run out, being defenseless.
What is the Chalk?
You may also get covered in chalk, a custom originating from the chalk used by monks to mark blessings. This combination of water and powder is almost identical to the celebrations of Holi, and indeed, it maybe that the customs originated in India as certainly Songkran is celebrated more widely and longer in the Northern part of Thailand.
Top Tip – Be careful with this, as some nasty people mix this with Tiger Balm, for a warming sensation. Avoid at all costs.
There is nothing worse then having a water pistol that only squirts a pathetic trickle of water, while you are getting blasts from a powerful hose across the road. Get prepped!
2. Go all out!
Just face it, you’re going to get wet! So just roll with this and get stuck into the action. You’ll have more fun when you fully commit and embrace people going around spraying you with water. And don’t forget this is a tradition, where the water is meant to be a blessing. So the more water you get, the more blessed you will be.
3. Dont Drive
Driving bikes is NOT advised, as the roads are very slippy due to the water and many accidents happen. So if you want a good Songkran to remember, stick to walking.
4. Carry any valuable items in a plastic bag
Everything, and I mean everything, will get wet, so make sure you travel with a waterproof case, or wrap everything in a plastic bag. Or best still, don’t take your valuables in the first place.
5. Avoid the ice-y buckets
Some evil people, will not just fill their buckets with water, there will be some lovely ice cubes in their too. So have an eye out on who has a cheeky grin on their face who might be doing this.
6. Watch from Above
Buildings with balconies, are likely to have people on them, preparing to target their prey below. So be ready to run!
7. Get a Truck
Getting a truck and throwing buckets out from the back, from your big bucket with water, is the best way to make Songkran. You will feel the power if this high advantage point. However through large crowds of people it is not easy to make a quick escape.
8. Go with a group
Nothing is better than spraying people you know. However strangers will also be pointing the gun your way. You will be getting into the swing of things when you realize it is all against all.
Stay safe, enjoy and hope you have the best Songkran from all at Phangan Explorer!
Fun Fact – Mango is a low-calorie fruit that is high in fibre, and is a great source of vitamins A and C. It also contains folate, B6, iron and a little calcium, zinc and vitamin E. Mangoes are a good source of antioxidants.
Time: 30 mins
Combine the rice and water in a saucepan; bring to a boil; cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes.
While the rice cooks, mix together 1 1/2 cups coconut milk, 1 cup sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan over medium heat; bring to a boil; remove from heat and set aside. Stir the cooked rice into the coconut milk mixture; cover. Allow to cool for 1 hour.
Make a sauce by mixing together 1/2 cup coconut milk, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and the tapioca starch in a saucepan; bring to a boil.
Place the sticky rice on a serving dish. Arrange the mangos on top of the rice. Pour the sauce over the mangos and rice. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, or any topping of your choice.
Get creative with some of the additional tops you can add. Make it your own.
Coconut ice cream
Different flavored rice – Black, white, red (Bhutanese), green (pandan), blue (butterfly pea)
Sweet coconut sauce – don’t forget to drizzle generous lashing of this
Visa runs are a pain, we know, but we all have to do them. Summed up here is the info and top tips to make your visa run as hassle free as possible.
Visa runs are a pain, we know, but we all have to do them.
Below describes the options available.
Border Bounce – 1 day visa run
1 day visa run from Koh Phangan to Malaysia’s border, the quickest and most efficient way to stamp your passport to extend your stay in Thailand.
Important – Different visas have varying lengths of stay and expiry dates. It’s important to check what agreement your country has with Thailand and the visa type you currently have to understand how long a new stamp will allow you to stay for.
You will leave Koh Phangan very early. (The transport company you go through will tell you the exact times).
You will then board the very first ferry leaving the pier which takes you to the mainland and the group is then transferred to an air conditioned mini bus where you begin the drive to the Malaysian border for the border bounce.
When you arrive at the
border, you must first have your passport stamped to leave Thailand. You
will then enter and exit Malaysia at their border gate before stamping
back into Thailand. The length that a visa run will extend your time in
Thailand depends on the type of visa you have. We recommend you read the
details on your paperwork very carefully.
After returning from your border run to Malaysia, you should arrive back in Koh Phangan around 7pm.
If you were to stay in Thailand passed your expiry date, overstay charges are currently 500 THB per day. These charges can soon mount up so a border run to Malaysia is the best way to avoid this.
If you overstay too many times you can face a prison sentence and be expelled from the country for a certain amount of time.
It’s important to note that Thai Embassies in Malaysia only issue one entry Tourist Visa’s (60 days).
How long does it take?
Usually your passport is given back within 3 working days. (NOT weekends). And be careful of religious holidays, as embassies will also be closed.
Top Tip – Check opening and closing times, of passport pick up and drop off.
You can either catch a bus or take a flight to the countries, depending on your budget and time period.
Cheapest is busing to Burma or Penang, Malaysia, which takes all day, but set off early in the morning, arrive late at night.
Flying can go directly to Kuala Lumpur, or Bangkok then neighboring countries.
For buses: go to travel agencies around the island. They are usually 1500thb one way to Penang. All the hassle of driving is taken away.
Air tickets: use price comparison sites.
Driving: If you want to drive and have the luxury of stopping when you want, a shared car is also an option. Look at car hire centers for prices. Split between a group of people can also be just as cost efficient.
Top tip – That you will have to show proof that you have 20,000 Thai Baht in your bank account. And some place may make you have a flight/ travel ticket out of Thailand in order to get stamped.
30 day Visa Extension
Extended another 30 days in Koh Samui, immigration center when running out on your 60 days on a tourist visa, or 30 days tourist visa, which can total 90 days in Thailand.
This can be done in one day, so no need to stay overnight. It may take 1-3 hours. However to avoid the crowd and it taking longer, go to the immigration early.
Check opening and closing times, as they close during lunch, so don’t go then.
Top tip – For a hassle free, quick process; get there early (as soon as it opens), have all your paperwork already filled in, along with the required documents.
passport (Don’t forget)
Passport photocopied pages
2x passport photo
visa registration forms
visa fee (1900thb )
If you want to stay longer term there are other visas then tourist ones. E.g. working, or education (learning thai language, or thai massage). These can offer up to 1 year stay, with every 90 days a visa run to another country (for 3 days) to renew the stay must be done.
Top Tips for any visa run
Go prepared with all documents
Make a trip out of it
Visa runs are a pain, but think of it as a new adventure where you get to experience another country and its culture.