We spent a lovely couple of weeks on the island of Koh Phangan, Thailand. We were able to recover from the rush of island hopping. We went to the Full Moon Party (I covered the party on my blog and talked about the intense trash problem, so if you missed that, make sure to check it out and sign my petition to the Thailand government to deal with this issue!). My parents joined us there are a few days. I celebrated my 29th birthday. We enjoyed a few different vegan restaurants. I did some yoga. Pete and I experienced an amazing Theta healing session. That's how we spent our time on the island in a nutshell! Now let's get into some details.
I won't organize this portion of our trip day-by-day as I did with the past travel diaries because there's a lot to cover and some days weren't that interesting (we had a lovely, stormy Netflix day, for example!). In addition, I already covered the Full Moon Party which was a big part of our stay there. Instead, I'll talk about the different areas we stayed, some highlights of the food and things we did, and I'll include photos, of course! Hope you enjoy!
Haad Rin, Koh Phangan
We stayed in Haad Rin for 4 nights and 5 days at Rin Beach Resort. The resort was lovely! There's a private beach where we hung out and we relaxed by the pool a lot. It was nice to stay in one place after traveling from island to island for 5 days.
We chose to stay in Haad Rin for the Full Moon party, but the area itself wasn't really my favorite (in hindsight). It comes to life for the party and then it's fairly deserted the rest of the month. There isn't much in the way of spirituality and the place is lacking vegan food options, but we made due. The beaches are so-so as the sea life has been decimated from the trash issue from the Full Moon Party. Overall, it's ideal for backpackers or young travelers looking to party but I wouldn't recommend families to visit this area. We had fun nonetheless. Read on to hear what part of the island I did love the most!
We went to the Full Moon Party. Check out the full details and photos on that post.
We had some delicious food. The only vegan place in the area is called House of Hummus. We ate there numerous times! We loved the falafel pita sandwich and the baba ganoush. They also had vegan cheese Borekas, which are pastries filled with cheese and vegetables. Divine!
We found some other delicious food and coffee around town (good coffee is hard to come by in Thailand so at one point we would have coffee at one place, then head to another place for food). We had amazing Thai food, Indian food, and more Mediterranean food (we found Za'taar flatbread, our favorite!).
We went to a Muay Thai fight! That was pretty interesting. We saw a knock out and some good fights.
Ban Tai, Koh Phangan
My parents joined us for the second half of our stay in Phangan and we headed up to Ban Tai to meet them. We stayed at a bungalow on the beach, ate good food (of course!), and lazed around. Ban Tai was better in my opinion that Haad Rin as it's quieter and more centralized, but it still wasn't my favorite part. We found great deals on the place we stayed and enjoyed it very much, but if I go back to Koh Phangan, I wouldn't choose to stay here. It's great for families and couples, though. It's also very popular for kiteboarding, which my dad is very much into, so it was great for that.
I turned 29 on January 28th! Happy Birthday to me! It poured rain most of the day so my mom and I did yoga on the deck and we relaxed a lot. In the evening, we drove up north for dinner at Karma Kafe (covered further below). It was a lovely birthday surrounded by good vibes and those I love most!
Pete and I had a photoshoot with a couple, Emily and Steve, that found us on Instagram. It was fun!
I couldn't resist the urge to practice SUP yoga, and was pleasantly surprised that I was able to hold this forearm stand (long enough for Pete to take a photo!). Haha!
Pete and I LOVE spicy food, so Thailand is like a mecca for us. Most places make the food "white" spicy though as I'm sure many people have complained and sent the food back. One night, my parents stayed in so Pete and I ventured out in search of local food. We found a small Thai restaurant down the road. The family was sitting at a table drinking, smoking hookah, and enjoying good music. One of the girls took our order while the mom (or grandma) prepared our food. It was a cool vibe and they were so welcoming!
The food was THAI spicy. We didn't even ask for it spicy and we almost met our match... almost. We took breaks in between as we were sweating profusely and we downed a couple of Chang beers to cool the spice. We were super pleased though, and finished every last spicy-ass bite. Satisfied! It was one of my favorite dining experiences so far.
And let's not forget about the epic sunsets in Ban Tai! We all know by now that sunsets make me swoooooon, and Ban Tai didn't disappoint.
Northern Koh Phangan
Pete and I rented a scooter at the beginning of our stay in Koh Phangan and explored the north side of the island. I observed more resorts and yoga centers in this part of the island, making it ideal for families, yogis, or those looking to delve deeper into spirituality. We stopped for lunch at Orion Healing Center (photos below) and made plans to go back there another time for a Theta Healing Session.
This region was my favorite part of the island, and I wish we had stayed there a few nights. It didn't stop us from driving up there every chance we got! There are vegan restaurants everywhere (there a literally 3 right next door to each other that are always packed!). There are yoga resorts and studios all around and plenty of places to explore various spiritual healing methods (like reiki and access bars, to name a couple).
Orion Healing Center
A friend of mine back home has a daughter living in Koh Phangan and she works at Orion Healing Center. Of course, we went to meet her and check it out. Orion is a calming, peaceful retreat center on the north part of the island. In addition to accommodations, they have two yoga decks and a vegan restaurant. They host trainings of all kinds and offer numerous different forms of healing.
My new friend recommended that we try the Theta healing. Pete and I each had Theta healing sessions with a gifted Thai healer. Theta Healing is a meditative technique that's performed by a healer. Both client and healer enter a theta brainwave state - an altered consciousness where brainwaves are slowed to a relaxed mode. There, the practitioner asks for a Theta healing from Source and with your permission, scans your genetics, your history, your beliefs, and your core for areas that need to be healed. I found a great article here that talks about it in depth. Pete was skeptical at first but went along with it anyway, and was amazed afterwards and very grateful that he did it. I, too, had a breathtaking experience. I would definitely recommend it for others.
We dined twice at Orion and we enjoyed delicious food. Photos and descriptions are below.
During Pete's healing session, I took a yoga class at Orion. It was one of the best classes I've taken in a long time and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was for advanced practitioners and the teacher, Antoine, definitely delivered! Plus, you do yoga while staring at the ocean. What could be better?
Eat.Co (which stands for Eat Consciously) was a gem to find. In fact, we ate there 3 times over the course of our stay in Koh Phangan. It's got a great vibe (live music some nights!) and a spiritual shop in front full of crystals, gem stones, and home-made goods. You can tell it's popular with the locals and ex-pats as well, as it was hard to find a place to sit each time.
Vegan or not, this place is sure to please all, so make a point of stopping by here if you are in Koh Phangan. Some of our favorite dishes are below.
We went to Karma Kafe for my birthday, a raw food vegan restaurant on the northern part of the island near Eat.Co. I must admit that raw food isn't my preference by we wanted to try something new, and we were very pleased! The food is flavorful, beautiful, organic & healthy.
Here are a couple of the dishes we tried.