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3G in Koh Phangan

wifi in Koh Phangan

In the good old days there were internet cafes where people spent an hour or so sending and receiving emails. Once that task was out of the way the average tourist was free of the net and could enjoy a swim in the ocean or a good book. Wifi and 3G networks have changed all that.

Those internet cafes that haven’t started offering other services such as ticketing must be experiencing very lean times. People simply don’t like to use public computers anymore. Instead they bring their own computers with them. These computers are either laptops, tablets, iPads or smartphones.

While several hotels and guest houses as well as bars and cafes offer free wifi in rooms and public areas, it is often the case that people prefer to have access to the internet anywhere and at anytime.

It has reached the stage where travellers and long term residents look to their smart phone as their portal to the internet. It is a simple matter to use a Smartphone as a modem in order to access the web.

Koh Phangan is an island that doesn’t have its own undersea cable to the mainland for the internet. At the moment it piggy backs off Koh Samui’s connection. This affects the speed of the cable internet on Koh Phangan.

At the moment the only 3G network with coverage all over Koh Phangan is DTAC. This is a great way to get cheap internet on the island. You can buy pre-paid plans that range from 49 Thai Baht to 890 Thai Baht a month. No longer can internet places in Koh Phangan charge 2 to 5 Baht a minute with impunity. The monopoly is being broken.

The situation is due to get better in the summer of 2013. AIS and TOT have announced they will roll out island-wide coverage. At the moment DTAC is far from ideal as the service is over-subscribed.

It seems that in 2013 Koh Phangan will really get connected. It won’t be many years before the whole island has good 4G coverage.

Dongles in Koh Phangan

If you are using a dongle then the situation is a bit more complicated. It seems that each network (DTAC, True, TOT and AIS) requires users to buy their dongle – you cannot change sim cards on the one dongle.

Medical Services in Koh Phangan

Southland Medical Clinic
The island of Phangan has made large strides in terms of improving infrastructure, facilities and amenities: the roads have got better (especially the road from Bantai to Thong Nai Pan), the electrical power supply is more constant (new poles were placed in 2008); and now there is a Tesco Lotus in Thongsala for shopping. As mentioned in an earlier post, work on Koh Phangan airport has now begun. Unfortunately, not much progress has been made on medical services in Koh Phangan.

Several of the beaches have small pharmacies where you can pick up basic medicines. There are better pharmacies in Thongsala, and recently a big one opened in Bantai. They sell a range of drugs some of which you need a prescription to purchase.

There are a couple of medical centers in Thongsala along the main road. I went to one in 2008 feeling terrible, slightly delirious and covered in tiny red spots. The doctor told me I had herpes and prescribed expensive medicine. He seemed to be in business primarily to facilitate tourists claiming back medical expenses on their insurance policies.

I later found out that I had dengue fever, as several other people on the beach where I was staying also had it. It’s not lethal and goes by itself the first couple of times you get it, but can be fatal the third time you contract the disease. It’s spread by mosquitoes.

On another occasion I had a cut on my foot that went septic, which is easily done in Thailand. This time I went to Koh Phangan Hospital just outside of Thongsala. They treated my wound and gave me antibiotics. It cost only 50 Thai Baht to see a doctor.

Koh Phangan hospital is a simple affair with a few beds, a couple of doctors an X-ray machine and nothing much else. The doctors do a good job and are able to deal with motorbike injuries and other minor problems. I don’t know if they have snake anti-serum. For any serious injuries the hospital will organize an immediate evacuation to Koh Samui where they have Bandon International Hospital and Bangkok Hospital Samui. These are big and fully equipped hospitals.

Around the time of the Full Moon Party Koh Phangan hospital often gets overrun with victims of the party. Commonly they treat minor burns (from the fire attractions), broken limbs, motorbike scratches (Koh Phangan tattoo) and those who are lost from taking too many psychedelics and other illegal substances.

Obviously due to the thousands that descend on Haad Rin for the Full Moon Party there has sprung up a couple of medical centers in the town. They are Southland Medical Clinic (Tel: 077 375515); Siam International Clinic (Tel: 077 375521) and Bandon International Clinic (Tel: 077 375471-2, Fax: 077 375414).

During the night of the Full Moon Party there are volunteer medics on hand to give emergency medical treatment.

For those in need of medical help after Jungle Experience, Half Moon Party, Black Moon Party or Shiva Moon Party there is now in Bantai Bangkok Hospital Samui Clinic (Tel: 077 239599) that has an ambulance.

All these private clinics in Haad Rin and Bantai are small, have doctors and can arrange immediate speed boat transfers to Koh Samui. They all cost a pretty penny; so, if you aren’t seriously hurt and don’t have insurance then the best thing to do is to go to the government hospital outside Thongsala on the road to Srithanu.

Diving Accidents

For those involved in a diving accident, there is a small decompression tank in Koh Tao and a bigger one on Koh Samui. Koh Tao medical services are on a level slightly lower than Koh Phangan’s.

Dentists in Koh Phangan

For dental work the dental clinic on the road between Thongsala and Bantai is said to be OK. However, people go especially to Bophut in Koh Samui for the dentists which are supposed to be excellent.

Thailand has a growing reputation for its cheap and excellent medical services. People come to Thailand for surgery, dental work and IVF treatments. They don’t, however, come to Koh Phangan for these things.

Koh Phangan Hospital – 077 377034 & 077 238315
Phangan Animal Care – 077 238375