Last time I was there was back in 2002, almost exactly 6 years ago. I loved it. I still remember walking out onto the beach and hear ing music (not too loud) that seemed to coming from the sand itself. That was my first time in Thailand and staying on Koh Phang Ngan for 8 days was bliss. I’ve been back to Thailand numerous times since then, but never back to that island.
I had a friend return from there recently, and he told me that he was ‘a little sad’ at the amount of development that had occurred since the last time he was there in 2004. When I was there, it seemed to be mostly bungalows and a lot of cheapie huts at that. My friend tells me that virtually all of the bungalow operations have had major facelifts and many sport swimming pools on their grounds; basically, the place has moved way upmarket.
I’m talking about Haad Rin beach, of course (maybe I should have mentioned it earlier).
I ask about this because I’ll be there at the end of June for 3 nights, just as a sort of ‘climitization to the islands’ after Bangkok and en route to Ko Tao, where some family and I are going to do a PADI open water course.
So, is it true? Has Haad Rin gone irrecognizably upmarket?
Dunno, but I was warned off it as completely fucked up by someone who’s been there many, many times. There are still many many cool places, though, as soon as you get away from the nasty shit at Haad Rin.
Koh Tao is still nice, though.
Never been to Ko Tao and I’m pretty excited about it. Maybe it’d be better to just skip KPN and spend the 10 days I’ve got planned for the islands all on Ko Tao.
I lost many brain cells on Haad-rin in the mid 1990s. If a beachside bungalow on the sunrise beach costs more than 80baht, it’s gone upmarket IMHO.
I spent two weeks there last year and loved it. Haad Rin is more developed, but in a cozy kind of way (away from the beach ‘resorts’).
There are beach-hut resorts on the west coast, about half way up the island (convenient for everything), and some gorgous secluded hideaways a boat ride north of Haad Rin on the east coast.
Amongst all the animal shots you should find some pics of the places I just mentioned: http://www.pbase.com/seanmccormack/pacthailand
Thanks for those pix. I think I might just stick to the plan and spend 3 nights in Had Rin before moving on to Ko Tao. My brother and sister are 17 and 21, respectively, and I think they’d like a little taste of the craziness of that beach. That’s why I included it in the itinerary. If it was just me and the wife, we’d skip it and go on to Ko Tao. But I think they should experience Koh Phang Ngan on a first trip to Thailand.