Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Club 9 Review

Club 9 Newest Club addition

Club 9 is the newest club in Koh Phangan. It is also the largest club on the island. Although having an indoor club is not a new idea, it does seem to be quite novel for Koh Phangan where people tend to gather and revel outside. The FMP, the Half Moon Party, the Jungle Experience and the Black Moon Party are all outdoor events with either the jungle or the beach providing the ‘walls’.

Better than Brandon

Although it is not a new idea to charge a cover charge, it is a new idea to use some of that money to get someone famous to play. The other events take the punters money and put on the very non-famous Brandon Block or Graham Gold: both of whom nobody outside of Koh Phangan has heard of. Already in the short life of Club 9 they have hosted Dub Pistols, LTJ Bukem and (disappointingly) Brandon Block.

It is sincerely hoped that this trend in investing in music talent to come to Koh Phangan is a good thing. The derivative sound of progressive/hard trance/techno that the same small band of Thai and ex-pat DJs play for every event in Koh Phangan is frankly monotonous. It is just a re-hash of Goan trance that seemed good back in the late 1990s and has since vanished.

If Koh Phangan is going to persist in championing trance why not get Paul Oakenfold or Tiesto to play more often?

Drink deals

Club 9 has drink deals sometimes available. Something along the lines of pay 1,500 THB to drink as much as you want and get a breakfast. Considering a bucket usually costs 250 THB that means you have to be able to drink 6 buckets to get your money back!

Hostel next door

The club has something called Skittle Vodka and serves pizza. There is also a VIP room available for hire. Next door is a tie-in hostel, House 9 for those who prefer noise to a private beach bungalow.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Angthong National Marine Park

Excursion from Koh Phangan

One of the best excursions from Koh Phangan is to the nearby group of small islands known as the Angthong National Marine Park. It is a protected area that was not open to the public until 1980. It is a collection of over 40 islets that are mostly uninhabited and have a good selection of wildlife and marine life. It also has some splendid scenery and a breathtaking inland lake.

Until 1980 the collection of islands known collectively as Angthong was a naval base for the Thai navy. Now it is a national park. It costs 200 Thai Baht for foreigners to enter (40 Thai Baht for Thai nationals).

About Angthong National Marine Park

The 42 islets cover an area of 250 sq km. The islands are the peaks of limestone mountains that finish in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The islands have wonderful rock formations from which they take their names such as Sleeping Cow Island and 3 Pillars Island. There are also dramatic cliffs, hidden beaches and lush forest.

Wildlife in Angthong

The islands are home to a variety of animals including 40 types of tropical birds, dusky langurs, short tailed macaques and sea otters. The sea around the islands is also rich in corals and marine life. One of the best diving and snorkeling spots is around Koh Sam Sao. It is an area that has fan corals and a wealth of fish to spot. Sometimes dolphins can be seen in the area too. Most diving schools on Koh Phangan have trips to Angthong Marine Park year round except in July when the currents change and make visibility bad. Recommended diving specialists in Koh Phangan is H2O Scuba School.

The park headquarters is on the largest island, Koh Wua Talab. Here it is possible to hire guides to see something of the interiors of the islands. On the same island there are treks to impressive viewpoints of the archipelago. Also on Koh Wua Talab is a camping ground with tents for hire. Staying the night in Angthong is wonderful because you have beautiful beaches all to yourself like you were Robinson Crusoe.

Golden Basin Highlight

The highlight of a trip to Angthong National Park is a visit to Koh Mae Ko. It is an island that contains a big lake with turquoise water. Surrounding the lake is a golden basin (‘angthong’ in Thai) that gives the name to the archipelago.

Other activities in Angthong

As well as trekking, snorkeling and diving, other popular activities include sea canoeing and exploring limestone caves. The whole area has pristine natural scenery that is well worth the effort getting to the island.

Other than the park headquarters the only other inhabited island is Koh Paluay that is a semi-permanent home to sea gypsies.


A number of dive schools and travel agents arrange trips to Angthong Marine Park. A trip typically costs about 1,500 Thai Baht (excluding entrance fees). If you have your own boat or yacht it is an ideal area to moor in a bay and enjoy your own private beach.