Sunday, 30 May 2010

Trekking Routes in Koh Phangan

Koh Phangan is blessed with an abundance of unspoiled nature: jungle, mountains, waterfalls and inaccessible beaches are all available to explore by those wishing to trek on the island. This post details some of the trekking routes available on Koh Phangan.

Khao Ra

Khao Ra is the highest peak in Koh Phangan. It stands 630 meters above sea level. From the summit there are great views of the bays of Thong Nai Pan and Chaloklum. On a clear day the distant island of Koh Tao is also visible. The trek starts near the elephant place and view point on the road between Thong Nai Pan and Bantai. It is not an overly strenuous walk but the path is not well marked. ‘Bird and Trekking’ man (on the Bantai-Thong Nai Pan road) has organized tours up the mountain.

Phaeng Waterfall

This is one of the best waterfalls on the island. It is a national park so the whole area is protected against development. It is free to enter the park. The trek involves a steep walk up a jungle trail. Once at the waterfall it is possible to take one of several clearly marked trails to a nearby mountain viewpoint. From there you can follow trails up Khao Ra. The trail is in the middle of the island. To get to the trail head take the main road from Thongsala to Chaloklum and take the sign posted turning off to the right (if you are heading north).

Chaloklum to Bottle Beach

You can reach the remote and beautiful beach of Bottle Beach or Haad Kuat. The trek takes about two hours. The path starts at the western end of Chaloklum. Follow the dirt  path to Haad Khom and then take the narrow and winding narrow path over the mountain that drops down to Bottle Beach.

Haad Yuan and Haad Thian

This is an excellent two hour trek that starts in Haad Rin and goes north over mountainous terrain before dropping down to the beautiful beaches of Haad Yuan and Haad Thian. There are no roads to these beaches, but you can take a boat out or retrace your steps.

Companies offering organized trekking tours include: Hippo Club Tours (Thongsala), Phangan Safari (Chaloklum) and Phangan Safari Eco-nature Tour (Chaloklum).

Remember to follow these simple rules for your own safety.

1)    Don't trek alone
2)    Tell somebody where you are going so they can call out help if you don't home back.
3)    Bring plenty of water and sunblock.
4)    Wear boots or good shoes. Not flip flops. The island has many snakes, including the poisonous variety.
5)    Get a map, no matter how basic, to guide you. A compass is also useful too.
6)    Give yourself extra time to do the trek. There's nothing worse than being stuck in the middle of the jungle in the dark.
7)    Bring insect and mosquito repellent.
8)    Don't leave any rubbish behind.
9)    Don't start fires.

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