Tag Archive for Thongsala

Phangan Bicycle Tours

phananbicycletours

The average Koh Phangan local would probably scratch their head at the prospect of choosing to get on a push bike and see the island. Why not use a moped like everyone else? These farang are a strange bunch – deliberately choosing the hard option.

And the local Thais have a point. By 9am the sun is up and at full blast. Any physical exercise is going to see even the fittest souls pouring with sweat. And there is sunburn and heat stroke to contend with. And yet…

And yet there is the love of mountain biking, the fun of technically challenging off-road trails, and the chance to explore places that mopeds struggle to get to. Not to mention the great work out and the chance to save the environment the carbon and pollution from combustion engine fumes.

Phangan Bicycle Tours has been around now for a couple of years. The fact that they continue to get good reviews on Tripadvisor suggests they have a viable business. At the time of writing they had 220 ‘excellent’ scores and 3 ‘very good’ scores. No one has marked them as ‘average’, ‘poor’ or ‘terrible’. That is quite a feat. Nearly all popular restaurants and resorts have a handful of unsatisfied customers.

Here are the tours available:

  1. Classic. This is from 8.45am to 1.15pm and covers 19 kilometres. The course includes roads, dirt tracks and jungle trails. The tour takes in a coconut pressing plant, a rubber tree plantation, a temple and Phangan Animal Care in Wok Tum. This is a tour of the West coast of Koh Phangan which gives visitors a chance to see aspects of the island economy that were vital until tourism. The tour includes snacks and drinks and costs 1,150 Thai Baht per person.
  2. Family. This is from 9.45am to 2pm and covers 13 kilometres. The tour is on roads, dirt tracks and jungle trails. Sights passed include a school, the police station and a local market. The cost is 1,200 THB per person and includes snacks, drinks and lunch.
  3. Explorer. This is from 3pm to 7.30pm and covers 18 kilometres. The tour is on roads, countryside tracks and through the jungle. The tour takes in Phangan Police Station, a temple, a coconut processing plant, a rubber tree plantation and the night market. The cost is 1,250 Thai Baht a person and includes drinks, snacks and dinner.

There is a pick up / drop off service for all the tours. It is free from Thongsala, Baan Tai, Baan Kai and Wok Tum. Further away an extra fee of 100 THB is charged (except for Thong Nai Pan and Than Sadet that costs 200 THB).

All tours include mountain bike, helmet and first aid kit. None of the tours are neither particularly demanding nor dangerous. For the Family Tour there is the option of hiring a kid’s trailer (800 THB), kid’s bike (800 THB) or child seat (400 THB).

The company is run by Mark and Soren. They are 2 devoted cyclists who have been at the vanguard of developing the mountain biking scene in Koh Phangan. You can book online or visit their shop in Thongsala. See below for the location of Phangan Bicycle Tours.

The tours are as much about experiencing another side of Koh Phangan and Thai culture as they are getting a workout on a bike. If you are really keen for thrills and spills on a mountain bike then speak to Mark and Soren and they might be able to sort out a more adrenalin inducing tour for you.

Location

Address: 99/121 Moo 1, Tambon Koh Phangan, Amphur Koh Phangan, Suratthani 84280
Telephone: +66 (0)89 593 9732
Website: www.phanganbicycletours.com

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