Monday, August 24, 2009

PHANGAN PART 2

Last visited March 2017

HAD SALAD, THAN SADET, HAD THIAN, BOTTLE BEACH PLUS N
EARBY BEACHESTaking it easy on Had Sadet (click to expand pix)

My main Phangan page is getting pretty lengthy so after revisits in August 09 and June 2010 I kept information on new places pretty concise on that page with the idea of doing a more detailed coverage here.

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HAD SALAD (Haad Salad, Hat Salad) is in the north of Phangan's west coast (map).
Had Salad from Cookies hotel block balcony. Very nice white sand beach, not too narrow here at the top of high tide with clear water. About half a dozen accommodation places along the beach mainly flashpacker or midrange, but check that high end joint front right - Salad Buri. There are some budget rooms, mainly closer to the main road. Very quiet beach - those longtails seemed mainly ornamental and few daytrip longtails come in because Mae Had with its better snorkelling is just to the north. At low tide the water gets pretty shallow particularly closest to camera where quite a bit of sand and some rock is exposed. Mid way along the bay, the beach has a fairly steep profile and thus doesn't get too wide at low tide. Nevertheless you have to wade out quite some distance to swim freely. No problems high tide.
That's the restaurant roof front center - views not quite as panoramic, but still pretty special.
The fringing reef out of shot to the left protects the beach from swell which sometimes is generated by the summer westerlies. From late November to April this is a lee beach.


SNORKELLING AT HAD SALAD.
Lots of people were content to snorkel around in the middle of the bay inside the fringing reef. I noticed quite a few fish in this area on my way out to the reef drop-off. The drop-off is not precipitous like many - more a steepish slope. There was a good variety of coral types along the seaward side but unfortunately not a great range or vibrancy of colour. Fish life was reasonable but not the variety, colour and numbers you see in top coral areas. Both coral and fishlife improved a fair bit along the northern headland, but cannot match nearby Ko Ma at Mae Had (which in itself is down several steps from world class).

Cookies position on the southern headland of Had Salad. Pool front left, panoramic restaurant mid-level right, hotel block top right, various bungalows top and mid-level left. Most bungalows and all the hotel rooms have nice beach/bay views - it seemed some of the poolside bungalow views were blocked a bit by vegetation. Being tucked behind the northern headland, this place was sheltered on those 10-15% of summer days when the westerlies get a bit blustery. And there is plenty of nice shade past mid-day. But the aspect here is NNE - you will have to go mid-beach to catch the sunsets.
Another caveat - steep climbs to most rooms and bungalows. Cookies access driveway comes part way down the hill from a dirt access road which runs along the top of the headland off the main paved Had Yao to Mae Had coastal road. If you can't hack slopes, most of the other beachfront midrangers like
Haadland, Salad Hut and Salad Beach Resort looked pretty sweet to me with nice bungalows, gardens, pools etc.

I thought Cookies was a class act. The views are fantastic from most bungalows/rooms plus the restaurant, the service good, the food nice and at pretty normal budget bungalow prices and the pool area was a nice place to spend time. It's a step or three up from my usual basic backpacker joint, but Lady Tezza does like a bit of comfort. I picked the cheapest room, the Over Sea Hotel Room at 1200 baht high season, which included breakfast, aircon, hot water,TV with about 50 chanels, DVD, and serviced daily if you asked. At the resaurant there were 2 laptops for the internet (1baht/minute), pool towels, boxes of games, books and DVDs. To me, this was more a lower-midrange room than a flashpacker.
Value? Well right now I'm researching prices for Ko Lipe early December and can't get an aircon room, no TV, no hot water, no pool for 1200. And Had Salad is as nice as any Lipe beach - plus Cookies is better than the 2 places I'm researching.
The room at Cookies was big with enough room for another normal double matress beside our king size bed if needed. It was concrete construction which stayed cool when the aircon was off, with semi-polished floors and cool staining on the bathroom walls to give a granite appearance (the shots on the websites look like the bathrooms are plywood, not concrete). The aircon was quiet and there was 24 hours electricity. The balcony had a nice seating/table set plus a hammock to enjoy the great views. However inside could have done with some sort of seating and a few hooks and shelves for small items. The room also had its own safe deposit box.
Cookies website gives has some good pix of the various accommodation exteriors and interiors - although sawadee.com is probably better in this respect.
Our one problem was that despite requesting a pier pickup on booking backed up by an email before arrival, we had to wait about 25 minutes after someone rang Cookies for us. At least we weren't charged - pickup is usually 400 odd baht per vehicle. On departure they have scheduled songthaew taxis running down to the pier about 4 times daily for 150 baht per person.

Cookies beachside pool has enough elevation for a pleasant outlook. There was a slightly higher spa pool area behind camera plus some sunlounges back there shaded by vegetation most of the day. Nice shade was also provided by that Bali-like sitting bure (roofed structure) beachside on right.

Central part of Had Salad is a nice place to hang approaching sunset.

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AROUND HAD SALAD

Captions are a bit small - click to expand

From Cookies it is an easy walk to Had Kruad, Hat Thian (west) and Hat Yao to the south. A longer walk to Mae Had to the north. Chaloklum and Coral Beach on the north coast are about 6km and 9km away and are best reached by motorcycle (heaps for rent in Salad - Cookies' were going for 180 baht a day) or bicycle if you are a nut-case like tezza.

Had Kruad (Khruat/Gruad etc) is a small bay just south of Had Salad. Keep walking along the dirt access road which Cookies' driveway joins and in a few minutes you will reach the first driveway to Lucky Resort which has flashpacker and budget huts spaced down the hillside plus a pool. Adjacent is the similar Dragon, with Haad Gruad Beach Resort in the northern corner (note this last place has some shocking user reviews on sites like travelfish).
This lowest tide shot shows the beach and access to the sea are not great. However this secluded and laid back bay had quite a few guests of the longtime traveller type.


Had Thian (west coast) is a further 10 minutes walk south along the same dirt access road as Cookies and Had Kruad. There is only one bungalow place in this small bay, Haad Thian Beach Resort which has aircon, tv and hot water rooms/bungalows, quite a few big enough for families. Some of the more expensive bungalows are very flash but cheaper ones are more flashpacker. Unlike Kruad, you can enter the water off the beach as shown in this low tide shot and there is also a pool.

Had Yao (west coast) is about 20 minutes walk from Cookies (but another 10 from other Had Salad Resorts) either by the main coastal branch road which is now paved all the way between the major beaches, or by continuing along the walking track from Had Thian's access road (keep going straight ahead where this track branches left uphill). Nice beach with lots of accommodation and facilities - a bit like a quieter Had Rin. This is a low tide shot - the water tends to be pretty shallow close to shore.


I put in the driveway out of Cookies* to the access "road" from the main coastal road. To get to Had Kruad and Had Thian it's just a matter of following this narrow rough dirt "road" to their driveways. To get to Had Yao you need to take the walking track in yellow from close to Had Thian.
*if you are not staying at Cookies don't hesitate to take the steep path up past their pool and restaurant to join their access driveway. I have done it several times, no problems. This is a thing about Thai resorts - all but top end joints don't question people cutting thru their property. 

To the north of Had Salad is Mae Had (Hat Mae, Haad Mae etc). This is shot from the sandspit out to Ko Ma looking south. A northern section of the beach which is not quite as attractive curves away behind camera. Like Had Salad, water can get pretty shallow at lowest tide inside the fringing reef, but because Ko Ma has probably the best coral in Phangan on its southern side and those trees provide nice shade, this beach is very popular with the daytripping boats. There are some interesting clumps of coral in the lagoon off the beach and on the reef drop-off out from the beach too.
There are some real nice bungalow places behind the trees, the front rowers right on the sand. I noticed many have upgraded since my last visit and tend to have aircon etc and were asking around the 1000 mark for front row hig
h season.

UPDATE - in Apeil 2012 I decided to stay at Mae Had for a few days. Got me a real nice bungalow at Mae Had View.

Outlook from my front row budget bungalow - 500baht with hot water. I have a TRIP REPORT with lotsa pix and details of this joint and Mae Had here.

The beach is about a 4km walk from Had Salad, but the road out of Salad has a killer hill and is a real good workout. So much so that I grabbed a bicycle at a yoga joint at the top of the hill (100 baht per day - pretty good bike for a change). The yoga place featured a collection of real sleek dudes and dudettes lounging around prior to doing and instructors' course. Hey you new-agers will also like this joint - cosmic tarrot card reading, herbal steam, reiki treatment with chakra balancing etc. Gourmets may appreciate the Thai cooking class. THE YOGA RETREAT.

OTHER YOGA JOINTS - there is quite a selection on Phangan. Matordor Trips has a list, some info on each and sublinks HERE.

To the east of Mae Had heading along the north coast of Phangan......

The western section of the big bay at Chaloklum on the island's north coast. Chalok's pier can be seen at the left (more clearly if you click to expand), but the town and the eastern section of the bay are hidden by the near vegetation. Chalok is popular with some old time travellers because it is still a working fishing town but also has the usual traveller restaurants/tour bookings/internet etc, plus several low key bungalow places along the bay. Known for its seafood restaurants too. Access from Thong Sala is by good concrete road. The beaches and water are okay to both sides of the town, but it does get shallow with an exposed section of reef low tide in the western 20% of the bay, so maybe consult your maps before booking.
I shot this from a viewpoint restaurant along the road to Had Khom, an excellent place for a recovery beer or four after riding my hire bicycle up the killer hill from Chalok.



This place is about half way along the beach west of Chalok's pier shown in the previous shot. No exposed reef at low tide here - although it gets a lot shallower than in this pic. Good position with only a 5 minute walk along the beach to the heart of Chaloklum. I shot this in 2012 off a billboard further west at Mae Had - hence the 2km arrow.
This joint appears to be flashpacker/lower midrange. A couple more budget-flashpacker places further west near the end of the beach. Plenty of budget joints immediately east of Chalok's pier.

People are always asking for elephants. These dudes were close to Chaloklum on the main road from Thong Sala and I saw a similar place on the steep hill just north of the Mae Had turn-off on the west coast road. Rides in the jungle etc are available if that sort of thing floats yer boat.

Coral Beach (Had Khom) is about 3 km east of Chaloklum on the north coast. I found it much easier to access than previously - a newish concrete road leads from Chalok over steepish hills to a point just past Had Khum and there ares several bungalow access tracks to get down to the beach. There are 3 bungalow outfits on the beach and another on the western headland. As you can see, the beach itself is pretty sweet, and the water was deep enough close to shore for easy swimming low tide. I reckon this is kinda like Bottle Beach (further east) last time I saw it, but easier to access. I'm pencilling this in for my next trip.

UPDATE JUNE 2010 - well, I didn't get to stay on Coral next trip, but I trekked across from adjacent Had Khuad (Bottle Beach) and hit it at lowest tide - some difference! Nevertheless I still like it as a beach and have seen some glowing reviews recently. Note the above 2 shots were taken from Coral Bay Bungalows which has budget and flashpacker style places straddling the headland, most with views over Coral Beach but some along with the restaurant looking westward across to Chaloklum.


Bungalows on the sand at Had Khom. These belong to Ocean View Resort

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THAN SADET

For the second part of the my August 2009 Phangan trip I went across to Than Sadet on the east coast, a place I've visited several times before on daytrips. The word on the forums is that Mai Pen Rai on Had Sadet is the place to stay.
Than Sadet actually refers to the small river which flows out at the southern end of the beach.
The bungalows at the beach have a songthaew taxi which takes off from Teep's Than Sadet Travel Agency in Thong Sala just across from the piers at 1330. This cost 150baht per passenger. Mai Pen Rai can arrange transfers at other times for 800 per vehicle. The road up into the highlands has more paving now but is still super rough and steep in parts. I still don't recommend it for amateur motorcyclists although plenty were doing it.
You can also access Had Sadet from Had Rin by longtail or the on Samui-Thong Nai Pan ferry.

Verandah of Tezza's rockside bungalow at Mai Pen Rai. The bunglow room's front to left is covered by vegetation but with sufficient clearing for the window view 2 shots down. A cliffside boulder behind actually overhangs the rear bathroom to form a roof.

Beach view from Chez Tezza verandah. People are always asking for a bungalow on the sand - well Had Sadet has them. Some belong to Mai Pen Rai, others to JS Hut. Mai Pen Rai's atmospheric beach restaurant is at the far end of the beach. Food and prices are average for island budget bungalows. Mai Pen Rai's riverside bungalows start that end - you can see the small bridge crossing the river far left.
Bear right past the bungalows for about 50 m and then walk up the slope to
Tree House Phangan's restaurant at neighbouring Had Thong Reng.
That's the Phangan east coast ferry which runs across to Samui and back each day nosing into the beach. For details see Phangan Part One towards the bottom of the page and
Mai Pen Rai's access page (it has a shot of the slightly smaller ferry which seemed to alternate with this one).

Neat outlook from bungalow itself. This place had plenty of room for 2 people and their gear, a nice 4 poster bed (the posts were stained sapling branches) with a nicely fitted mozzie net and a thin but fairly comfortable Thai queen size mattress backing up to that window. The place was clean and the fan quiet but the generator cut out about midnight. Towels, drinking water, soap and toiletpaper were supplied and the funky indoor/outdoor bathroom as mentioned had an overhanging boulder as a roof - plus a concreted pebble floor and slate featured walls. There was a western flush toilet and a bum spritzer. Cold water shower had good water pressure.
Not sure about value - this was a backpacker not flashpacker standard room as far as amenities were concerned and at 650 baht (no brekka) was pretty expensive. But what price do you add for the views and the funky artiness of design? To tell the truth I'd easily add 150 to the typical high-season 500baht Andaman bungalow.

Note that each bungalow is individually designed. Quite a few have lofts and there are plenty of family bungalows. Mai Pen Rai's website shows dozens of pictures of interiors and exteriors.

The north headland at Sadet. There are at least 4 bungalow operations on this headland - Mai Pen Rai's bungalow operations take the first 2 levels behind the furthest boat and continue around the rocks away fron the camera for at least 150m - Plaa's is above them and Silver Cliff is to Plaa's left. That's Silver Cliff's restaurant high left with the white roof (see the fabulous view below) and Plaa's restaurant furthest right at top. The big building just above the end of the beach is another restaurant - this is JS Hut's second restaurant with some beachfront and lower rock bungalows. The more expensive mid-beachfront restaurant for JS Hut is out of shot left of camera and Mai Pen Rai's popular restaurant is at the other end of the beach behind camera. The small twin peaks of Chez Tezza's bungalow-verandah roofs can just be seen peeking over the vegetation just above the for'ard flag mast of the most distant boat.

UPDATE - when I stayed a few days here in April 2012 JS Hut was not operating. A frequent Sadet visitor told me the lady who runs it only opens 4 months of the year. I figure they are probably the busiest 4 months - with this area's better weather giving a second high season in July/August, I'm thinking those 2 months plus January and February. The place was certainly open in August 2009.

Fabulous view from Silver Cliff Bungalows' restaurant - just as good as near neighbour Plaa's Thansadet Resort (see the shot 70% down Phangan Part 1. Worth the climb alone, but I also found prices in both these better than the beach-level restaurants. The food at Plaa's was better too - exceptional. I didn't get a chance to eat at Silver Cliff, but made a point of finding time for a beer or more up here. Bungalow prices were considerably lower at both than Mai Pen Rai but you have to consider the climb and I'm not sure if they offer the same degree of artistic funkiness.
UPDATE MARCH 2010 - my friend Eddie made this comment: "PLAAS - Did you see the inside of Plaas bungalow?? Worth atleast 1000 baht but available for 300 to 400 baht."

So I made a point of staying at Plaas in April 2012. My 450baht bungalow was huge, had a very nice polished wood interior and tinted glass sliding doors. Plus a huge bathroom with a BATHTUB. I Noticed Plaas has family bungalows, often absent at beach bungalow places (but not at Mai Pen Rai who's variety of bungalows is mind-boggling. I have lotsa info and pix of Plaas and general Sadet from my trip on the PHANGAN TRIP REPORT PAGE.

Outlook from my Plaas' bungalow April 2012

A fair few daytrip boats put into Sadet making for some longtail noise but also some interesting people watching - particularly the rich dudes and their babes/hot daughters who hop off the speedboats. Most daytrippers walk up to the falls, grab some sun or swim time on the beach and take a meal or snack in the restaurants. Daytrippers might note that the most obvious of these in the middle of the beach is considerably dearer than the ones at both ends and way dearer than Plaas' or Silver Cliff's.

SNORKELLING AT THAN SADET
Coral does not like fresh or less than pristinely clear water. For that reason I gave checking the bay at Sadet the big miss - the river water flowing into the bay was a bit murky. Neighbouring Had Thong Reng had much clearer water and no appreciable stream flowing into it. There was some coral of various types off the rocks both sides of the bay but disappointing in having little variety and no vibrancy in colour. Ditto fish life.

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AROUND THAN SADET

Had Thong Reng is just over the small headland south of Than Sadet and can be accessed by a track off the river bridge at Sadet in less than 5 minutes. The small bay has a nice beach and had much clearer water than Sadet. The bungalow operation here is Tree House and the promotional blurb they gave me says this is the new location for the old Ko Chang Tree House people. They had quite a big range of nice looking bungalows between 250 and 550 baht located back of beach and up on the headland to the right of shot. The restaurant is also top of headland and that big shack central beach-front is the beach bar. www.tree-house.org
email - sunshine@tree-house.org
UPDATE JANUARY 2012 - I just got news that Tree House has lost the lease to their land - the lease-holders have sold out to an upmarket developer.



Abandoned Thong Reng restaurant - April 2012


Hide on High Jewelry and Bar - way up on the hilltop 10 minutes northwest of the beach - very laid back scenic joint, as is Viewpoint Restaurant and Bungalows nearby. See the Phangan TRIP REPORT page via the index for more info.

There are 3 "waterfalls" moving inland from Sadet beach and adjacent to the access road. This is the best - Thong Nang Waterfall (and various other names) and can be reached from the beach in less than 15 minutes of easy walking. Like many Thai falls, it is less than whelming, but the pool is usually real nice for a cool swim. I have visited at other times and there was a much better, clearer flow of water. In low flow times like the above, most of the water enters the pool by a shute which goes under that big rock back-left. It was possible on a previous trip to slide down this shute into a cave under the rock and then swim underwater into the pool. However the shute seemed partially blocked by debris this trip and looked too small for a human to pass. So I gave it a miss.

You can walk to Thong Nai Pan Yai from Than Sadet on a trail considerably closer to the coast than the roads. This leaves Sadet about 5 minutes up the main Sadet access road just inland from the Ranger Station - follow the signs to Viewpoint Bungalows but go straight ahead where the track to Viewpoint turns hard right uphill after another 5 minutes. This track is not for motorbikes being super rutted and steep in sections and narrowing to a one-person rainforest path in the highest third. It dumps out adjacent the small supermarket/travel agency/motorbike hire place about midway along TNP Yai's inland main street. The track took me 55 minutes to walk - beach to beach 65 minutes. Above is the first sight you get of Thong Nai Pan Yao and Noi (most distant) from the path.


Modified Google Earth image. I was surprised at Google's line scale - distances seemed greater to me. But then the track is not straight line - zigs and has some good height changes. Sure beats walking the road route. But I stress it is for walking only - don't be mislead by locals riding bikes up the first section from the turnoff near Than Sadet. There are some houses up there but the road is impossibly steep and rough even in this section. Later it narrows into a rainforest track and even had a 2m deep ditch across it at one stage.
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HAD THIAN (TIEN) EAST COAST
I was so taken with the look of Had Thian when my Thong Nai Pan to Samui ferry called in August 2009 that I decided to spend some time there next Phangan visit - June 2010. 

This is Had Thian East Coast from Horizon Bungalow's restaurant - the southern third of the beach is hidden at left and includes the funky new-agers' 
The Sanctuary Resort beachfront restaurant against the headland. FAMILY RESORT's bungalows are adjacnet to the right. There is another bungalow place behind the rocks at far right plus one hidden by the trees mid beach. BEAM where I have stayed is on the lower slopes about 200m behind the beach just left of that saddle (right of image).
Those "rocks" in the water starting mid-beach are actually unexpectedly good coral - this is one easy place to snorkel off the beach. Swimming is good too because excessive shallowness at low tide is not a problem. There is a neat sunbathing platform mid-bay hidden by the tree front right of pic. The sand is not the super-fine stuff found on some Phangan beaches. Cute Had Wai Nam is a 5 minute walk across that low saddle right of shot - bigger but still attractive Had Yuan East Coast is less than 15 minutes trek by good track behind the camera.

Google Earth image of Had Thian and surrounding beaches' location - I cranked up the vertical exaggeration a bit much on this shot, but the mountains in SE Phangan look almost as impressive in reality. That's Thong Sala the main pier town in far background. Note there is a new road which goes from Had Yuan/Had Thian right across that huge divide towards Thong Sala - it meets a small road which comes up from the south coast at Ban Kai, hidden behind the divide. I have a map on the PHANGAN TRIP REPORT PAGE. Click this image to expand.

Outlook from front row of The Sanctuary's beach-corner restaurant. Wonderful place to spend time with a pretty friendly relaxed crowd - the place offers yoga, detox, all sorts of personal development courses - all the new-agers' stuff. Accommodation tends to be flashpacker thru midrange and restaurant prices are a bit higher than other Thian places whose accommodation is more budget into flashpacker. BREAKING NEWS - I just Googled the website - the joint also has a DORM and they talk about longhouse type rooms too.
Note new type of longtail hull, pretty common in Phangan's se corner. Longtails are the main form of access - you come in from Had Rin East and will be asked anything from 300 down per boat. I managed 200, no bargain. An old guy hangs around just to the left of frame and makes regular runs down to Had Rin for a lesser amount. There is a vehicle track into Thian now but I understand it is a shocker - no visitors I saw were coming in by vehicle and there were no daytripper motorcyclists.
There is a walking track which meets the one out of Had Yuan further south and treks up over the very high steep mountain to Had Rin. I tried to find it at Had Yuan but had no luck in early visits. Finally did the trek - 90/120mins each way - track very steep in parts but well defined once past the first 30m. Okay view of YUAN on a short detour at top but couldn't find any good overviews of HAD RIN. Details re finding the start HAD YUAN END about 15% down this page.

Never a dull moment at The Sanctuary.

Part of The Sanctuary's characterful beach-corner restaurant and bar.

UPDATE MARCH 2017. I stayed a few days at Sanctuary.
The place was pretty full but I managed to get a bed in their DORM - 350baht which is a bit expensive but commensurate to other accommodation at this joint. And this is the cleanest and most spacious dorm of the hundreds I've stayed in. Friendly too - those new-agers and health nerds no attitude.
The restaurant was as atmospheric as ever (it's not as dark as this - I set my elcheapo camera to show the outside outlook),


Outlook from the hillside restaurant of Beam Bungalows - the beach is about 200m thru the trees. Attractive split level place but not as funky and arty as The Sanctuary's. Excellent food at prices maybe 10%-20% higher than typical budget restaurant but sevings are very generous. Good service from very friendly family. Most of the attractive bungalows are built up the adjacent hillside in a very nice garden setting - had outside bathroom ones for 150 and those with bathroom for 300 in June 2010 - prices may go to 250 and 500+ in coming high season. I had a cheaper bathroom job down on the flat before the hill - very good bungalow but surroundings not as attractive.
Beam hasn't a website at time of writing - Ph 66(0)869 439 294

Pay attention gang - a 100 baht bungalow in 2010! Beam offered me this near-new outside bathroom place in June. Similar places up in their nicely landscaped hillside area were going for 150. Management told me this one would be 200 in high season. Can anyone tell me of another 200 baht bungalow high season 2010 - particularly on a very nice beach on one of the better islands?
I passed this one up on account I had a heap of washing to do which is hard with an outside bathroom - I got a bigger and very good 250 baht with bathroom joint adjacent. Perspective - night before I'd stayed in a 250 baht Had Rin fleapit with outside bathroom, thumpa thumpa party music untill 4am and the Had Yai chapter of the Harley Club blasting their hogs up the adjacent alley in the early hours. Night before that a slightly inferior bungalow for 500 (twice as much!) on Ko Muk - super low season, I was the only guest in the whole resort! And I had to bargain that down from 1000. 1000! Tell them they're dreaming. I did.
UPDATE MARCH 2017 - BEAM was full when I called by. I blame these blog dudes banging on about how nice this 3 beach area is.

Bit of a contrast to Had Thian's new-ager thing - Horizen offers kick-boxing instruction. Pretty sweet location high on the southern headland with excellent views from bungalows and restaurants.
In 2017 I wanted to stay here but there was no staff around - a sign said book on FACEBOOK or ring a phone #. Too complicated - I kept walking. Interestingly, only about a third of the bungalows seemed to be occupied in what appeared a fully booked 3 beach area - dunno how hot THAT business plan is.

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AROUND HAD THIAN


HAD WAI/WHY NAM
Less than 5 minutes walk over the low saddle to the north of Had Thian brings you to Had Wai Nam - only one place on this nice little beach, Wai Nam Hut - backpacker/flashpacker with prices a bit higher than similar joints on Had Thian. Nice bungalows on steep headland adjacent camera and up hillside behind beach restaurant in shot. Yoga instruction in open headland pavilion right of camera. This place also has coral right off the beach in the north half of the bay - not quite as good as at Had Thian.
Booked out in MARCH 2017 except for their 300baht dorm. I should have gone for it - I have always wanted to stay on this beach and enjoyed my later stay in nearby SANCTUARY'S dorm

HAD YUAN
Under 15 minutes steeper walk in the opposite direction (to the south) from Had Thian gets you to Had Yuan - this is a longer attractive beach with nice sand, deep enough water all tides and a full range of bungalows from budget to midrange+. I particularly liked the ones along the wooden walkway at the southern headland. Bungalows are ranged up the slopes behind, hidden by the trees in this pic. The northern headland had some higher places with spectacular views.

Dining cabana adjacent excellent restaurant of Bamboo Hut, north headland of Had Yuan. I stayed there in May 2012 - more pix and details in the TRIP REPORT SECTION.

In MARCH 2017 I stayed in a bungalow high above the southern headland walkway at CLUB BAR ENGAGE which is a renamed GOOD HOPE. Above is the view from their rather nice restaurant. Joint has a very outgoing Dutch host - okay budget bungalows and reasonable food/drink prices.

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HAD KHUAD - BOTTLE BEACH

Having called in several times on daytrips and trying unsuccessfully to cycle in from Chaloklum one time (hur hur hur) I finally got to stay at Bottle Beach in June 2010.

Eastern end of north coast. White Sand, clear water, long protective (from most winds) headlands, 4 nice places to stay - my 400 baht (low season) beachfront bungalow at Bottle Beach One was behind those palms mid-right of shot.
I longtailed up here from Had Thian for 1000, bargained down from a 2500 ask - 1000 is a fair bit but it was a 20 minute trip and the alternative (longtail back to Had Rin - songthaews to - longtail from Chalok Lum) would have taken hours and cost maybe half that.
The viewpoint from which the panoramic shot was taken (60% down page on Phangan part 1) is top of highest peak in background

Bottle Beach One is actually a pretty classy resort - most of the accommodation is flashpacker into midrange including some very nice newish garden bungalows inland from the pool. I couldn't figure why they have given a fair section of their prime beachfront to budget bungalows until I noticed all 6 were occupied in low season vs maybe 10% of the other places. Keeps up the cashflow in slow times. I think the free or subsidised accommodation with the dive courses is in these bungalows too.

Doesn't get too much closer to absolute beachfront than these 450 baht (June 2010) fan ones.

The beachfront restaurant here was scenic, had good food at average budget bungalow prices - tended to get a fair few cruising longtails etc calling in for a feed and beer. Service was patchy - mainly good, sometimes scratchy. For more pix and latest prices Google for the website.
I thought the adjacent oft-praised Smile Resort looked pretty good too - sweet bungalows, nice beach corner restaurant with slightly higher prices.

Bottle Beach from the walking track across to Had Khom (Coral Bay) to the west. Seeing this track goes as high as the eastern-side viewpoint mountain top right of pic, this outlook - the only decent view you get of the beach on the steepish half hour climb up - is a bit disappointing. You descend steeply for half an hour on the other side too - and then you have to come back. Good for walking off copious amounts of Chang. Good excuse for drinking copious amounts of Chang in bungalow restaurants both sides.

 
I trekked across to Bottle Beach from Thong Nai Pan in April 2012 to see what had changed. Not much - the most significant was probably these new concrete aircon bungalows at Bottle Beach One replacing a couple of the beachside fan ones. 

 I HAVE MORE INFO AND SOME OTHER PIX ON THE BOTTLE BEACH TRIP REPORT HERE
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Some nice scenery from the east coast ferry as it makes its way down to Had Rin on the way to Samui in August 09. This is Had Wai Nam - Had Thian (east), the new agers'/detoxers'/retoxers' beach is just over the low saddle to the south. Click to expand.

Tezza freeloads on glamour shoot from Mai Pen Rai bungalow verandah hide-away

Note there are more pix of Sadet, Salad and many of the other places on this page on the Phangan Part One page - plus info/pix on a lot of other Phangan locations, transport info, when to go etc.

The Phangan TRIP REPORT PAGE also has o a lot more info, maps and pix of these places.
If you have any questions, please ask them in THE FORUM rather than below. I don't get a chance to check all threads daily, but unless I'm travelling I'll try to monitor THE FORUM regularly, If you see mistakes or have additional info, please post it below.

1 comment:

jaspreet singh said...

nice place but you are in Thiland and want to detox your body and mind than you need to visit
http://www.orionhealing.com/detox-in-thailand/