Sunday, 18 October 2015

Photo Blog Post: The Dogs Of Haad Rin

Gone to the dogs...

This week's post will appeal to dog lovers, as it features some of the pet dogs and stray dogs who have lived in Haad Rin over the years.  Some of the photos are just interesting dogs I took random photos of, but other dogs may be famous to anyone who has visited Haad Rin in years gone by...

1) Tripod

Going back ten years or so, perhaps the most famous dog of Haad Rin was Tripod, as he was known to backpackers, or Three Leg, as the locals called him.  Tripod was a dog with three legs who used to hang around Chicken Corner, and he was a lovely dog.  Sadly, he's no longer with us, but in years gone by Tripod was known to almost everyone who visited Haad Rin.

Tripod, one of Haad Rin's most famous dogs.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

10 Travelling Questions: Ask Something Different

An alternative to 'Where have you been? Where are you going next?' etc yawn yawn...

The inspiration for numerous questions.
If you're backpacking around the world, or even planning a backpacker trip, then an excellent twitter account to follow is @STATravel_UK, and they recently raised a very valid point when they tweeted...

"Everyone asks the same travelling Qs: Where are you from? Where are you going? How long? Ask something different & we'll re-tweet the best."

After a few months of backpacking the standard introductory backpacker questions definitely become repetititive, so it's good to vary things up by asking a few alternative questions.  STA Travel UK's tweet drew a number of interesting suggestions for questions to ask on your travels, and I've featured the best suggestions below...

1) "If you had to pick one place you've travelled to settle down & live where would it be? #travel"

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Things To Watch Out For: Break Ins

Cautionary advice...

Keep an eye on your valuables.
The vast majority of people who visit Haad Rin have an excellent time, but there are a few risks and concerns to look out for which could potentially ruin your visit, particularly over the Full Moon period.

Haad Rin Guide book contains a chapter covering some of these potential risks, physical, financial and otherwise, which you may come across during your stay in Haad Rin.  I should mention that the point of cautionary advice like this is not to make people so worried that they avoid visiting Koh Phangan altogether, but simply to raise awareness of some of the things to watch out for.  Hopefully, this will help ensure that visitors to Haad Rin have a problem-free stay on Koh Phangan and enjoy their visit to its full potential.

Here's one of the entries from the 'Things To Watch Out For' chapter from the Haad Rin Guide Book...

Break Ins

In total, I've spent several years living in Haad Rin and been to over thirty Full Moon Parties, and I've never had a problem with a break in.  However, there was one Full Moon Party when I returned to my room to discover my padlock had been covered in oil.  I presume this was an attempt to force open the lock, but thankfully the padlock remained in place and my room stayed safe.

Saturday, 27 June 2015

Map Of Haad Rin Hostels

Before booking your Haad Rin acommodation, check out the locations of all of Haad Rin's hostels.

Haad Rin Guide Book features various maps focusing on the various locations in and around Haad Rin, such as Sunrise Beach, Sunset Beach, Leela Beach, Haad Rin Village, etc.  Also included are maps focusing on a specific theme, such as hostels, hotels and restaurants.

You can check out all of the maps in the Haad Rin Guide Book, but to give you an idea of what to expect, here's a map of the hostels found in Haad Rin.

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Unusual Thai World Record Holders

A few world records from Thailand

Thailand holds many official world records, and here are just a few of the most unusual...

1) Most expensive painting by a group of elephants

Artistic world record holding Thai elephants.
I wasn't even aware that there was a world record for the most expensive painting by elephants, but apparently there is and it was set by a group of Thai elephants on 19th February 2005!

Their painting was entitled 'Cold Wind, Swirling Mist' and sold for the price of 1.5 million baht!  At today's exchange rate that equates to a price of around £30,000 or $46,000!  They're clearly some very talented elephants!
Guinness World records: Most expensive painting by elephants

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Accommodation On Haad Rin Sunrise Beach

Two top rated resorts, a hostel and a cheaper option.

Haad Rin Sunrise Beach.  Home to the Full Moon Party,
but also home to some top rated accommodation.
Haad Rin Sunrise Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Koh Phangan, so if you're a beach lover then a room or bungalow here is ideal.  The northern end of the beach is generally the sunbathing end of the beach, and at night the beach next to Drop In Bar and Cactus Bar is the party end of the beach, so bear this in mind when deciding where to stay.

The first time I came to Haad Rin I found a place to stay right on Sunrise Beach for only 150 baht per night.  That was almost fifteen years ago and admittedly as far as accommodation goes it was a very basic room, but I was just looking for a bed to sleep and little more, so I was very happy with this bargain.

However, since those early days pretty much all of the resorts directly on the beach have invested in more upmarket rooms with more upmarket prices to go with them.  Nowadays therefore most of the resorts directly on Sunrise Beach are aimed more at deep pocketed tourists rather than backpackers on a budget.  There are a couple of reasonably priced options still available on Sunrise Beach though, and if you’re visiting outside of the Full Moon period then the prices become a little more affordable.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Songthaew Taxis On Koh Phangan

Getting to Haad Rin from other areas of Koh Phangan.

A songthaew taxi is a shared taxi truck
with two facing benches of seats in the back.
The island of Koh Phangan has semi-fixed rates for most taxi journeys, but prices seem to be a lot looser than they were a few years ago, and taxi drivers will often ask for a bit more as their opening gambit.

If you’re coming to Haad Rin from Thong Sala or Ban Tai then during the day the price is meant to be 100 baht per person.  From the far end of Sunset Beach to the taxi drop off point in Haad Rin is 50 baht per person.  In the evenings the price can be more, and if you want a taxi to leave immediately, rather than wait for its set departure time, then again you will have to pay more.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Buckets And Fake Alcohol

Cautionary Advice...

The vast majority of people who visit Koh Phangan have an excellent time, but there are a few risks and concerns to look out for which could potentially ruin your visit.  The Haad Rin Guide Book contains a chapter covering some of these potential risks, including 'Buckets' and 'Fake Alcohol'...


The infamous buckets of the Full Moon Party.
It’s not a regular occurrence, but backpackers have had their drinks spiked at Full Moon Parties and at other times, and the easiest drink to spike is a bucket, so if you are drinking buckets make a point of watching out for each other.  If you get separated from your friends then it's wise to stay off the buckets until you find each other again.

Aside from the small risk of getting spiked, buckets can be quite lethal anyway.  If you've never experienced buckets before, it's therefore wise to take things easy on your first night (or avoid them altogether), and ensure your friends keep an eye on you, as I've seen even hardened drinkers misjudge their tolerance levels and end up spending most of their night ill and being sick.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Other Destinations: Koh Phi Phi

Beyond Koh Phangan: Taking a look at other popular destinations in Thailand.

Long Beach, one of Koh Phi Phi's most beautiful beaches.
As you'd expect, the Haad Rin Guide Book focuses mainly on Haad Rin itself, but the guide book does also include a couple of other general sections relating to Thailand.

One such section is the 'After Haad Rin - Moving On' section, which features a brief round up of some of the most popular destinations that people head to after Koh Phangan.  When writing the round up, I’ve tried to take into account the opinions and preferences of everyone I’ve met over the years in Thailand, and not just rely on my own opinion.

The descriptions for each destination are fairly brief, and only intended to give readers a very basic idea of what to expect.  As an example, here's the entry for Koh Phi Phi...

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

The Fire Hoop: Win Or Lose?

Backpackers risking life and limb in the name of entertainment...

The fire hoop.
I've mentioned before on this blog that a popular late night form of entertainment on Haad Rin Sunrise Beach is the fire skipping rope, where drunken backpackers attempt to skip with fire ... not always successfully.

The fire skipping rope isn't the only fire related late night activity that you'll find in Thailand though, and other fire activities include the fire limbo, fire jugglers, flame throwers and a particularly dangerous fire activity ... the fire hoop.

The video below features drunken backpackers attempting to jump through a flaming hoop of fire ... with mixed results.  To make things a bit more interesting though, rather than just edit together a compilation of fire jumps, the clips are instead presented in the form of a quiz...

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Basic Map Of Haad Rin

...and street name index.

I’m not a professional cartographer, so the maps featured in the Haad Rin Guide Book won’t win any awards for graphic design.  However, the locations of hotels, hostels, restaurants and other landmarks are accurate, so the maps in the guide book should be a practical help for first time visitors to Haad Rin.

Where maps have been included, their purpose is to help you find your way around Haad Rin, so rather than use the official Thai street names, I’ve referred to streets and lanes by their 'unofficial' backpacker names.  This should be more helpful for finding your way around, as for example the term ‘Restaurant Lane’ will mean more than ‘Soi Tonson’.

As an example, here’s the first map from the guide book which is a basic map of Haad Rin:

Sunday, 11 January 2015

The Key Locations For Visitors To Haad Rin

If you’ve never been to Haad Rin yet, then here's a summary of the key locations you need to know about:

Haad Rin Sunrise Beach pictured in the
early morning when it's peaceful and quiet.

Koh Phangan:

The tropical island in Southern Thailand where Haad Rin is located.

Haad Rin Sunrise Beach:

Haad Rin has two beaches, but the main beach and the most popular beach for sunbathing is Haad Rin Sunrise Beach (also known as Haad Rin Nok, 'nok' being Thai for sunrise).

Haad Rin Sunset Beach:

Haad Rin Sunset Beach (Haad Rin Nai) is only a five or ten minute walk across the peninsula from Sunrise Beach, and although the actual beach itself is not a great beach, the area is popular with people who want to stay somewhere a bit quieter where they can sleep at night without hearing the music from the clubs on Sunrise Beach.

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