Koh Phangan Thailand

Fire Dancer Pirates Bar Koh Phangan

I’m in the middle of a HUGE party here on Koh Phangan, for the Thai Songkran Festival. The house music right outside this Internet cafe is pounding the beat, and everyone’s dancing like crazy. I’ve been powdered, drenched, powdered again & drenched again, so many times it’s impossible to count! The supersoakers are out in force, and others are just throwing buckets of water, sometimes iced on everyone. Everyone is soaking everyone else, and Everyone is smiling like they’re having a great time (and we are indeed!)
The Thais are going nuts. This is obviously a big thing for them. And today the sun is shining without a cloud in the sky. I haven’t a clue what the temperature is because for the last 3 hours I’ve been completely soaked, feeling nice & cool.
I’m sorry but I’m not taking pix of this wonderful event. 🙁 Can’t risk the camera (which by now would be history!). I’ve refilled my supersoaker at least 50 times, and I’ve got a nice blister coming on my trigger finger.
Too bad everyday can’t be like this one! Tonight there’s a big party at the Pirates Bar, with a bunch of DJs with their setups in little nooks in the sheer cliff. I’ll post some pix of the bar soon. It’s right at the end of the beach I’m on, which is one minute away from my bungalow. How convenient.
I’m not jonesin’ anymore! Yippee! Sweet Thai medicine for my insomnia. 🙂
So the story about this Thai New Year celebration is that they’re supposedly cleansing themselves of all the shit from the last year, so they can start the new year fresh. It’s new years cause today is their Equinox, with the sun directly overhead. It’s the hottest month of the year here, so a great excuse to get soaking wet!

Koh Phangan Beach Scene


A beautiful, friendly, tolerant country (it is full of Buddhists after all). Unfortunately economic development and unbridled tourism has deformed this country. Check out Ko Samui or Ko Phanghan for a real getaway. Stay away from Bangkok, Pattaya and Phuket. Chaing Mai too has changed for the worse. The hill tribes of the north are worth a visit though.

Maya Bay, Thailand

Many places were untouched by the Tsunami, including the famous Maya Bay on Phi Phi Island, where “The Beach” with Leonardo DeCaprio was filmed. This is perhaps the most beautiful beach I’ve ever been on (and that’s saying a whole lot!)


I haven’t been to Thailand for 22 years, when I took a 2 1/2 year journey around the world. Much has changed here in the intervening years. Thailand has industrialized, urbanized & developed to an amazing degree. Much of this development is haphazard, which has created a whole set of problems, particularly pollution and degradation of their beautiful country’s environment.


On top of that they are now recovering from the devastating Dec 26th, 2005 Tsunami which hit Phuket & surrounding areas & islands very hard.

Tsunami devastation on Phi Phi Don Island, Thailand There used to be a market, restaurants and bars where now there is only sand.


Despite the enormous toll in human life and property lost, the resilient Thai people are rebuilding and those areas untouched (the majority) by the Tsunami are open for business but suffering because tourism is down. Many Thai people working in the hotel & restaurants are having to take huge pay cuts to keep their jobs.


Visit our Hip Guide to Thailand for more information and beautiful Thailand photos.


Public Holidays in Thailand

Public Holidays for 2006 in Thailand include:
January 1 New Year’s Day
April 6 Chakri Day
April 13 0000 to April 15 0000 Songkran Days (Thai New Year)
May 1 Labor Day
May 1 Mid Year Day (Banks only)
May 5 Coronation Day
May 7 Royal Ploughing Ceremony
August 12 Queen’s Birthday
October 23 Chulalongkorn Day
December 5 King’s Birthday
December 10 Constitution Day
December 31 New Year’s Eve

After the Tsunami

This business on the beach in Patong, Phuket was hit hard by Tsunami

On Decemeber 26, 2004 a large Tsunami hit the coasts of Thailand, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India. The southwest coast of Thailand was hit hard. Hundreds of people lost their lives, with damage to business along the shore in the billions of dollars. The affected areas include the popular tourist destinations of Phuket, Krabi, outlying islands like Koh Phi Phi and Phang Nga, the province north of Phuket.

Continue reading

Ko Samui

Laid Back Mae Nam Beach

Once upon a time, Koh Samui was known only to adventurous backpackers who would spend days taking long bus rides and a long ferry ride to arrive on this tropical island paradise. They would shack up in a primitive bungalow on the beach for weeks at a time, blissed out on the sun, sea, sand and tranquility of this remote island.

Continue reading

Drugs in Thailand

The Thai government recently launched the third phase in its unrelenting war on drugs, this time focusing efforts on the Thai borders and small time dealers at bars in Bangkok. The last two phases in this war on drugs saw thousands of Thais lose their lives in what the government called gang wars, but the truth is not clear and justice is nowhere to be found.

The wars and their associated crackdown have had a chilling effect on the Thai subcultures that surround drugs, including marijuana. Once upon a time the Thai people were afraid of nothing, and extremely tolerant. After all, tolerance is a pillar of Buddhism. But I witnessed how paranoid the Thai people have become concerning drugs, some not even wanting to talk about them anymore.

During my last visit, twenty-odd years ago, I was able to purchase green cannabis cookies from a huge glass mason jar on the counter of my bungalow’s restaurant. Those days are gone, and you can no longer purchase or consume marijuana easily in Thailand. Other drugs like opium, heroin and the newer trendy drugs of speed, crack and ecstasy are all pretty much equally illegal and visitors caught with any illegal drugs will be treated harshly by the authorities.

The Thai government’s anti-drug program fund snitches, which means people who turn in drug dealers get financial incentives, as well as police officers who make busts. It seems a drug bust in Thailand will cost you several hundred to thousands of dollars to deal with, and that is only for small amounts. If you’re unlucky or stupid in dealing with the authorities you could spend a lot of time in a Thai prison. Not a pleasant vacation at all.

That said, drugs are still available, but harder to find. Obviously bars are a place where dealing still goes on, although the current operation in Bangkok will probably make dealers everywhere more wary. The best advice I could get on scoring a bit of Thai weed was to chat up a bar girl. They always know how to please!

Still it is unwise to flaunt any drug use. Smoking a joint in public is no longer a good idea. The legendary Thai Stick is nowhere to be found in Thailand anymore. In fact much of the compressed green/brownish weed sold in Thailand is probably imported from Cambodia now. It’s nice and spacey, but a far cry from the lovingly grown and carefully manicured sweet mind-blowing Thai weed of the ’70s. Ah the good ol’ daze!

Need I say that to import or export any drug to or from Thailand is utterly insane. With the stringent security at airports your next destination would likely be a miserable jail cell. Ask Schappel Corby (the Aussie girl who just got sentenced to 18 years for importing marijuana into Bali).

Thai Massage

Healing House – Chao Phao Beach, Koh Phangan

World weary travelers are always happy to disembark in Thailand where relief from travel stress, aching muscles or a bad back is just a massage away. The Thai people mastered the art of massage centuries ago, and are more than happy to share their knowledge of the human body with visitors.

Thai massage is based upon the principle of Chi, which is the flow of energy through the body. Tension blocks the Chi, resulting in an imbalance of energy, and dis-ease. By focusing their massage on pressure points, they can release the blocks and allow the Chi to flow easily again, thus restoring your body’s health and putting a smile back on your face.

Traditional Thai massage flexes your limbs while applying pressure to specific points. This increases the blood flow to the area and stretches your muscles. Some of the positions may cause discomfort at first if you’re not in good shape or have a physical problem which should be mentioned at the start of the massage so they can be more careful where necessary.

Continue reading