You may have heard that things are a-changing here on Koh Phangan, or at least developing. The islanders have banded together and agreed to divide the island into zones. What a great initiative! This week’s blog is all about Phangan’s ‘partition for protection’ project and what it means for us residents on the island.
Koh Phangan is both a destination for the international party crowd – with its world-famous Full Moon parties – and an area of outstanding natural beauty and traditional Thai culture. Beyond the hedonistic beach parties, the island is quiet and peaceful, with gorgeous waters, flora and fauna, as well as thriving food, diving and health and wellness scenes. What’s more, unlike many tourist spots in Thailand, the hotels and businesses here are largely owned by locals. As Koh Phangan’s popularity grows, the islanders want to maintain this balance in order to protect the interests of the Thai businesses and, in turn, the island’s authenticity.
To that end, tourism operators, hotel and landowners have come to an agreement to partition the island into delineated zones for different categories of activity. In this way, existing businesses will be protected and highlighted and new developments can be controlled, ensuring any new interests are in keeping with ours. Residents and visitors can also enjoy different aspects of the island in its full intensity.
What it means for Bay Residence
We’re entirely on board with the project. As long-term residents of Koh Phangan, not only do we want our friends and neighbours to thrive, but also encourage our beautiful island home to maintain its diversity and traditional charm. Additionally, we know this initiative will be well-received by our guests and residents. If you’re considering buying one of our gorgeous apartments or villas, you can feel secure that it is and will continue to be a unique property on the island.
What’s more, as land prices rise, your investment will accrue value: there’s no better time than now! Alternatively, if you’re popping over for a much needed holiday in one of our luxurious villas, you are guaranteed peace, tranquility and an authentic Thai experience that’s gradually being lost elsewhere. But what's more, you’re conveniently close to everything else: this development means you’ll be able to find your way around the island more easily, given that specific zones are allocated to particular activities.
The island is already quite naturally zoned; the new initiative will simply underline what’s already happening and control future developments.
Zone 1 - Lifestyle Centre
The southwest Baan Tai area enjoys amazing winds and boasts an incredibly long expanse of beach, which is ideal for kiteboarding and stand-up paddleboarding. While the party scene remains popular, zone 1 is tipped to be Phangan's "next big spot" and with a glowing rep, its lifestyle scene is blooming. With a focus on great restaurants and bars, it’s even got yoga studios and a dance centre.
Zone 2 - Full Moon Party
Haad Rin beach and its surroundings will remain the destination for Phangan’s world-famous Full Moon parties, with its well-established systems and infrastructure that cater to the tourists who hit the island for the event.
Zone 3 - Heritage and Nature
The locals take particular pride in this zone thanks to the esteem it was held in by Thailand’s fifth king, Chulalongkorn. He visited the island at least 14 times on his personal steamer boat and supposedly had a particular fondness for the area around Than Sadet waterfall. You can still find his symbol – a deer – carved in the rocks there. No, you won’t actually see any live deers wandering around, but the area and its natural beauty is especially protected. For this reason, infrastructure here is limited.
Zone 4 - Into the Sea
The far-north zone is where the divers head. Sailrock, the primary dive-boat destination from world-famous Koh Tao, is actually almost equidistant from Tao and Phangan. In fact, many say the diving on Koh Phangan is actually better value than on Koh Tao. And for those who prefer to stay above the waves, this zone is also great for wakeboarding, stand-up paddleboarding, jet skiing, and to partake in one of the many sailing tours on offer. If you’re after just a little glimpse of what’s beneath the surf, head to Koh Ma – a tiny island off Mae Haad which is ideal snorkelling territory.
Zone 5 - Health & Wellness
Yogis and health-nuts assemble – this is the super healthy zone! The original home of Agama’s Yoga University, the area is now packed with great quality studios where you can take courses or go on a retreat for yoga, meditation, detox and general wellness. There are well-equipped gyms offering classes in group exercise, circuit training and more. Keen for a detox, or simply cleaner living? The food scene is suitably health-orientated; and the majority of restaurants here are known to dish up fresh and vibrant vegan food.
To celebrate all these great touristic offerings as well as the island’s authentic fishing culture, we’re gearing up for Koh Phangan Color Moon Festival 2015, which takes place from December 9 to 13. Meet us at this five-day festival which aims to boost the awareness of this island’s rich culture and attractions.
What do you think – how accurate are these zones? Tell us below!