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Staying on Haad Salad, Ko Phangan. Dangers and Annoyances.

We have absolutely loved staying on Haad Salad, Ko Phangan for the last 6 weeks. It’s a beautiful beach paradise with calm, clear waters that my children can safely swim in and kayak on. We found good, cheap family accommodation and enjoyed good Thai food and rainbow sunsets .

But there are a few dangers and annoyances, we thought we’d let you know. Forewarned is forearmed, as my mum says.

Staying on Haad Salad Ko Phangan Dangers and Annoyances

Dangers and Annoyances of Staying on Haad Salad, Ko Phangan.

1. Coral and Sea Urchins. Haad Salad beach is littered with broken coral and the remnants of nasty little tube worms. The workers rake the beach every morning, but it’s a hazard in the shallows. They cut your feet to shreds if you don’t wear shoes. Three of us have had bad cuts that took ages to heal because coral fragments were lodged in there. Once you get out past the “danger zone” of the shallows, there is a beautiful white sand sandbar, your feet are safe, so long as one of the resident sea urchins hasn’t broken free from its rock ( Chef stood on one, ouch!)

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2, Dogs. There are dozens of dogs on Haad Salad. Dog poop on the beach makes me feel quite ill. The workers rake the sand every morning and get rid of it, but it’s still a bit gross.The dogs are mostly pets, not strays. Some are lovely, but some are very aggressive  Watch out for the big black dog, the beautiful 3 legged dog and the two little apricot poodles. One of the poodles bit Chef, it only caught his jeans, luckily. You will see a lot of territorial dog fights.

We fell in love with “old dog” his real name is Baguette. Give him a pat from us if you’re passing his way.

Haad Salad Ko Phangan Dogs

3. Mosquitos. Boy they’re bad here! They’re far worse than back home in Port Douglas. Mosquitos are mostly only a big problem around sunset.  In shady spots, like around your bungalow, they pop up all day.

There is Dengue fever here, but the guys tell us it’s rare.  Dengue fever is nasty and can even be fatal.The Dengue carrying mosquito can bite during the day and lives in clean, standing water, not muddy puddles.

They say there is no malaria here.

We’re finding DEET sprays aren’t working too well here at all. Mosquito coils don’t seem to deter the mosquitos much either. They DO bite through clothes. A combined approach and staying indoors at peak times is your best defence.

4. The Full Moon Party.

For around 3 days before and 3 days after the monthly Full Moon Parties the island fills up. Everywhere will be busier, not just Haad Rin. Our lovely family accommodation here on Haad Salad starts playing trance music and offering beach barbecues. There is more late night noise and more fireworks going off. They sell fireworks in all the shops here, big ones. We’ve grown used to loud bangs in the night. The roads become more dangerous around Full Moon Party time, more youngsters on mopeds, more danger.

That being said, the Full Moon Parties are fun, we took the kids!

5. Drugs. We don’t take drugs, ever, but plenty of people do. The police here really don’t like it and are totally on the ball. There is a big police presence at the Full Moon Party and we saw them stopping lots of vehicles. Watch out, I’ve read that even the dealers will report you to the police.

5. The Roads and Traffic Accidents.

I’ve seen so many people hurt in bike accidents in the last month. You can be as careful as you like, we were, we still had an accident. A guy here was rear ended by another scooter yesterday, he was stationary, three people required hospitalisation. Ko Phangan has very steep hills and windy roads. Some of the hire bikes are badly maintained, the brakes on the two we hired were terrible.

If you don’t injure yourself you can badly injure your bank account. We scratched a bike, the repair bill was hundreds of dollars. Bike hire places do not offer insurance, they hire the bikes out cheap and wait for you to stuff up, it seems to be how they make their money.

Taxis have accidents too, the road to Haad Rin is particularly bad, it’s like a roller-coaster.

6. Health Care There is no hospital on Ko Phangan. There are good emergency treatment facilities, but the big hospitals are on Ko Samui, a ferry ride away. ( We experienced both, my husband had emergency surgery on Ko Samui while we were staying on Ko Phangan) All the more reason the be extra careful on the roads and not go too hard at the Full Moon Parties.

7. The Wet Season We stayed on Haad Salad into the start of the wet season. As it approached the sea rose and the beach disappeared, the rain grew more and more frequent. It has hardly stopped raining for the last week ( end of October).We’ve really enjoyed playing in the torrential downpours but you may be a bit fed up if you’d come here for a short holiday at this time of year. There is a low tide season and a high tide season, the difference is remarkable.

8. It’s Relatively Expensive. More expensive than the cheap parts of Thailand. Ko Samui costs an arm and a leg because it’s full of package tourists. Ko Phangan retains it’s backpacker feel, so far. There are a couple of very luxurious resorts on Haad Salad beach. Food costs are above average, but, we’re on an island, transport costs have to be added on, that’s understandable. Two places on Haad Salad charge decent prices, My Way and Haad Salad Villa. Some of the shops in Haad Salad are over priced and try their best to rip you off, the purple shop was good for us. Transport is costly unless you hire a bike.

…………………

That’s it, I can’t think of anything else. This is truly one of the nicest beach places we’ve ever stayed. Ko Phangan is a million times nicer than Ko Samui ( we think) and accommodation is a lot cheaper. We didn’t make it to Ko Tao, Chef’s operation stopped us moving around and we’d heard everything was more expensive over there. The prices on Agoda and Booking.com certainly were higher. I’ll post about the accommodation we found on Ko Phangan soon. Sign up to have it delivered straight to your inbox.

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Alyson is the creator of World Travel Family travel blog and is a full-time traveller, blogger and travel writer. A lifetime of wanderlust and now over 7 years on the road, 50+ countries allowed the creation of this website, for you. She has a BSc and worked in pathology before entering the travel arena and creating this website. World Travel Family Travel Blog has been helping you travel more, better and further since 2012, when Alyson and James first had this life changing idea. On this site you can find endless travel information, tips and guides plus how to travel, how to fund travel and how to start your own travel blog.

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Chris Wei

Thursday 13th of February 2020

We are on Koh Phangan and it is still very nice here. We experienced two times, that the prices here are HIGHER than on AirBnB or Booking com.

We recommend to book a Bungalow at least a month in advance. The earlier the better! One night we stayed at a 20 bed hostel and we hated it so much. It was even more expensive than our bungalow!

Have a good time and enjoy life!

Alyson for World Travel Family

Friday 14th of February 2020

We had a lot of leg work to do there and then some hard negotiating on accommodation costs but we got there.

Salome Bronkhorst

Friday 24th of May 2019

Hi Alyson, we're heading to Haad Salad Villa next week, based on your recommendation :) Also staying in Mile Map Hostel at the moment, ha ha. Anyway, I wanted to check whether the prices here are current - I see you have updated the page this year, and I want to make sure I understand the costs, etc.

Alyson Long

Friday 24th of May 2019

No idea sorry, this post is from about 6 years ago, check the price on Agoda. Things could be very different there now, it could have changed hands, it could have been demolished. We also negotiated a discount with them and went without aircon to get the price down. We were pretty skint back then LOL and stuck for 6 weeks in a more expensive part of Thailand. Enjoy!

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Monday 22nd of September 2014

Oh no, poor Baguette! We were thinking of going back next year, the boys loved Baguette and Pepsi and Cola ( OK< one of them bit my husband, but they were fine with the kids) That's sad, he was a sweetheart. Thanks for telling us and glad you enjoyed our little paradise.

Jackie

Monday 22nd of September 2014

Today is sadly our last day here at Salaad Villas and we've loved every minute of it and are planning to spend a month here next year. From the gorgeous Burmese restaurant staff to the hilarious massage girls everyone has been wonderful. How I'm going to go back to real life next week after waking up to this view everyday is beyond me. If I could smuggle the gorgeous Owen, the most placid dog I've ever met, into my luggage I would. He lives on our porch and follows us to breakfast. We're probably going to miss him the most, especially my 2 girls. Thank you so much for your recommendation. I only hope the proposed airport doesn't completely ruin this tranquil little patch of paradise. Sad news I'm afraid. I just asked about Baguette and she passed away 4 months ago. Sorry.

Jo Carroll

Monday 28th of October 2013

Thanks for this - Ko Phangan is on my list of places to visit when I go back to Thailand.

I always think that mosquitoes that bite through clothes aren't playing fair. If I smother with repellent and miss a bit, and they get me - well, that's part of the game. But I travel alone, and smothering my back is simply impossible, so I need mosquitoes who understand the rules.

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Monday 28th of October 2013

The worst places for mosquitoes I've ever been are the Thai islands and trekking in north Thailand. These mozzies don't follow any rules Jo, they drink DEET for breakfast!