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What Do We Do All Day? Haad Salad, Ko Phangan

22/09/2020 by James Long

One of our readers wrote: I’d love to simply hear more about your day-to-day lives. What do your kids do all day? How does one spend six weeks in a remote place….I honestly have no idea. Don’t you (and the kids) run out of things to do? I just can’t fathom how you pass each day! Six weeks spent in random villages enjoying yourselves no less blows my mind  I’m your student now, I’ve subscribed and look forward to learning more. So what do we find to do on Haad Salad, a little beach on paradise island, Ko, Phangan, Thailand, for 6 long weeks without the distractions of work, school and chores? I’ll tell you.

 Haad Salad Ko Phangan What is there to do?
My view from the breakfast table, D (9) paddling out to Coral Island, seen behind.

Well that’s exactly the sort of question I like to answer, feel free to ask more, anybody, I will reply.

We’re talking about the six weeks we spent at Haad Salad Villas  on Haad Salad beach on Ko Phangan, Thailand.

It was a very relaxed, lazy time. The quieter life is, the more school work I do with the boys, we got through a lot.

There were a few busy days. We had our big day out in Haad Rin for the Full Moon Party and a few days where we’d hire mopeds ( we had a few issues!) and explore the island, maybe only 5 days, the rest of the time Haad Salad Villas was our home.

Finding Things to Do on Ko Phangan, for 6 Weeks

There is a Japanese guy called Kaz who lives on Haad Salad, he has his own  kids’ Pirate Ship anchored off the beach, we spent one day playing on that. Unexpected things would happen, like the day the monkeys came to pick the coconuts, we could just observe life and be interested in it.

We wouldn’t normally sit tight for so long, particularly in a place that worked out as fairly expensive, but Chef and his hernia forced our hand a bit. We were stuck.

Yes, I had bored days and fed up days and stressed out days. This is life, not a fairy tale, but mostly it was WONDERFUL!  We were really sad to leave this morning, we’ve left a piece of our hearts there with those lovely people ( although we’re delighted to be in Surat Thani, it’s surprisingly great to be in “real” Thailand, not a tourist area). There are a bunch of things to do on Ko Phangan, most of them are pretty touristy so we didn’t check them out, we just quietly got on with our lives and explored our end of the island. It’s pretty, quiet, sleepy even away from Haad Rin and time moved slowly

So this is what we did, mostly.

Around 4.00am I wake up, switch on the computer and start working on the blog, answering emails, contacting people, writing posts, trying to redesign and pimp up the thing. It’s a lot of work. I’ve been working really hard on Pinterest lately, I’ve put a lot of hours in on that and it’s paying off. This is my me-time, I enjoy the quiet hours while everybody sleeps.

There is also a lot of trip planning that needs to be done, flights, finding accommodation, booking *ahem* cruises! I could spend all day on the computer and never be finished.

6.00am to 7.00am The boys wake up. We have big cuddles and I realise how lucky I am. We just hang out ’till breakfast time. Sometimes D will read on the Kindle, he’s been re-reading all the Harry Potters. Sometimes they’ll put the tablet on and play games, sometimes they’ll get dressed straight away and go outside, our room is almost right on the beach and it’s perfectly safe. There is an amazing swing on the sand, I go and give them a push if that’s what they want. They’re boys, they like playing with sticks, making man traps, practicing stick fighting or pretend fire twirling or checking on the dogs and cats.

8.00am The restaurant opens. I like to go first by myself and have 5 mins with my coffee looking at the bay and patting my friend “old dog” before the boys come and disturb the peace. The restaurant is our living space, we like just being there. It’s social, there are people to talk to, workers and sometimes other guests. Once the boys arrive we order. Omelettes, porridge, pad thai, whatever we fancy. It usually takes over an hour for breakfast to be done with.

Haad Salad Ko Phangan. What is there to do?
2 octopus in a bucket. 3 fascinated small boys.

After Breakfast Sometimes D takes off on a kayak by himself. He’s grown up with kayaks. He paddles out to “coral island” and looks for shells. Sometimes I go too and we paddle further around the headland and look at the fish and the coral. The boys will dive down and grab sea cucumbers and put them on my lap. Nice!

A few times D went out with one of the workers, he kept the kayak steady while the young man dived down hunting crabs to eat. Boo isn’t much of a paddler yet, he’s not strong enough, but if somebody else is doing the work he’s happy to come for a ride.

Sometimes we play frisbee or bat and ball in the shade outside our villa. The boys’ skills have really improved. Sometimes they surprised me by building sand castles, we lived on a beach, they were never interested in sand castles.

Sometimes I go for my walk, either because we need something from the 7-11 in Haad Yao or just for exercise. There is a very steep hill to climb, the trip takes over an hour. One or both of the boys comes with me. I love talking to them as we walk, a lot of “school” happens this way. We find cool things like snake skins and interesting plants. We pick up rocks to protect ourselves from vicious dogs. We buy ourselves an ice cream or a yoghurt from the 7-11 and walk back.

After that we need a shower or a jump in the sea.

After going in the sea I have to shower the kids, rinse their rashies and shorts, hang them out to dry and get us all dressed again. Sometimes I do some hand washing, sometimes I organise laundry to be done for us.

If it’s not lunch time yet we can spend more time on the computers.

12am-1pm We’re thinking about lunch. We like to go to My Way, the restaurant next door, for lunch, the view is nicer and we sit at bamboo tables under shady trees, toes in the sand. I got into the habit of taking a book to lunch, our Explorers book. I’d read a bit to them or we’d flick through, look at pictures and chat. Sometimes we’d play Uno, Boo adores Uno. Lunch at My Way would take at least 2 hours, they were very slow! There was a little boy next door, his mum runs My Way, my kids played with him, running around playing cops and robbers. We have tom ka gai or green curry or massaman curry. We normally share a main dish between two. The kids have fruit shakes, sometimes I have a white wine if I’m feeling decadent.

Homescooling in action! Reading over a long lunch at Haad Salad’s My Way Restaurant.

After Lunch. Some days I’d read The Hobbit to them, a chapter at a time. One or both of them would be in the hammock on our balcony, I’d sit in a chair with my feet up. Some days we’d do a bit of school work, maybe half an hour each of written work or online learning. The boys also do things like computer animation or programming or just play a game like Zoo Tycoon, that really helps Boo with his reading. Some days we’d watch a movie or a documentary on You Tube as we sit outside. Some days I’d work and they’d use tablets or play with whatever friend was around. Some days I’d get all enthusiastic about cleaning and sweeping our room to get rid of the sand. Some days I’d ask for a room change and have to tidy everything up. Some days I’d go off and buy water, big heavy bulk packs. Some days we’d swim and snorkel. Some days we’d watch the workers fishing, they caught two octopus one day, that was cool!

Haad Salad Ko Phangan
Sunset cuddles.

5-6pm Dinner time! Chef and I liked to sit in the restaurant in the evening. Before he had surgery, Chef would play Thai volleyball or football with the boys and the young Burmese workers just outside in a shady spot. Post surgery, I’d do it! Dashing back in to our table for a slurp of beer or wine. Sometimes we’d play more Uno. Sometimes the boys had a sunset massage, 100Baht for half an hour, but the massage ladies liked the kids so they’d always keep massaging and chatting for longer. Sunsets are spectacular on Haad Salad, we always watched the light show. Dinner was long and leisurely. From time to time we’d have friends to sit and chat with. Sometimes the boys would play with the poodles, Pepsi and Cola, and their young Thai owner. They’d all laugh like crazy as the little dogs raced up and down the beach digging holes and the boys copied them. Boo said they ran like little aeroplanes, you couldn’t see their legs moving. If the tide was in, the Burmese workers would fish from the restaurant deck straight into the sea. The boys would watch or join in.

Haad Salad Ko Phangan
Playing, running and being free. On this day it was cops and robbers with two Thai friends.

7pm-8pm Bed. Boo liked to read and perform his favourite book to us at bed time. So cute! We got into the habit of watching an episode of Dr Who in bed, or a kids’ movie. Not always, sometimes Chef and D would read and Boo and I would be out like lights. D reads until he falls asleep, Chef switches the light off when he’s ready.

Sunset massage on Haad Salad beach

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned Chef much. Post op he spent a lot of time lying down reading, he couldn’t swim or even stand up for long, but them’s the breaks. Before he was laid up he would run for an hour or so almost every day and go for long swims. Luckily he managed to go scuba diving to Sail Rock just before his hernia, it was a brilliant dive.

So does that answer the question? Thank YOU for asking.

It’s not much different to how we spent our days at home, minus work, cooking and housework. The days just disappeared, it was really lovely.

We’re back on the road now, we’re on our way to Malacca and from there to Legoland Malaysia, so there will be more exploring, some busy days and less relaxing, it’s good to mix things up.

So, just a reminder, if you’re heading to Haad Salad, Ko Phangan, we highly recommend Haad Salad Villas. We looked at everywhere else on the beach including a couple of self catering apartments and still prefered the villas. It was also the cheapest place on the beach for the 4 of us. Great memories, great times. We have posts on costs of staying on Ko Phangan and some of the dangers and annoyances we encountered there. Please be aware that this post is a good few years old now and things may have changed.

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