Things to do in Haad Salad
Diving and Snorkelling
There are three main dive shops in Haad Salad. There are also dive shops in the nearby beaches of Chaloklum and Haad Yao. The prices are very similar between the shops so don't waste too much time comparing prices. Moreover, all the Haad Salad diving outfits come highly recommended with excellent records in safety and environmental protection.
Although there is a coral reef just off Haad Salad coast most diving courses and snorkeling trips focus on the main dive sites of Sail Rock, Ang Thong National Park and Chumphon Pinnacles.
You can usually reserve a place for a dive course or fun dive online and then pay when you arrive in Koh Phangan. So no need to depart with your cash before you see the school.
Most dive trips go from Chaloklum which is 15 minutes away by taxi. The cost of transfers is usually included in the price of the diving along with lunch. Remember to mention if you want a vegetarian meal.
All the dive shops have snorkeling options for those not keen on diving. Those who like to do these things without joining a group the best option is to hop over to Mae Haad Beach, hire a snorkel and mask and go and explore the corals at Koh Ma Marine Park (no entry fee and the corals are close to the shore). For more about Mae Haad see www.maehaad.kohphanganhotelreviews.com
Pirate Divers has been running since 2008. They offer PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water and Dive Master courses. The price, according to their website, for an Open Water course is 12,500 THB. If you dive with Pirate Divers you can get a small discount for the accommodation at Smile Beach Resort.
Blue Horizon Divers
Blue Horizon Divers offers both PADI and SSI diving courses. They take out small groups and can give tuition in English, French, German and Spanish. The dive school is attached to Haad Salad Villa Resort.
As with the other dive schools on the beach, Blue Horizon has Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and Dive Master courses. They also do courses in Nitrox diving. According to their price list Open Water ccourses cost 11,000 Thai Baht.
Blue Horizon Divers use a small catamaran that is considerably faster than the big dive boats most diving shops use in the area.
The Dive Inn
The Dive Inn is a 5 Star PADI Dive Resort. The stars are for the standard of instruction not for the quality of the rooms. The Dive Inn has PADI Open Water, Advanced Open Water, Rescue Diver and Dive Master Courses. Open Water costs 12,500 THB. If you book online they want you to pay a 20% deposit. Experienced divers will be interested to know that The Dive Inn also offers nitrox dives.
France Plongee is a small dive shop in Haad Salad dedicated to teaching scuba to French speakers. They offer PADI and SSI qualifications.
A few of the resorts rent out mountain bikes by the hour. There are also a few rental places on the nearby beach of Haad Yao as well as in the main town of Thongsala.
For those looking for off-road adventure we suggest contacting Fun Bike Hire in Thongsala. They have pioneered a few long runs down jungle paths.
Be sure to inspect your bike before renting.
Kiteboarding or kite surfing is really starting to take off in Koh Phangan. It is using a kite to surf over the sea.
There are a couple of kite surfing shops along Ban Tai beach. During the moonson months from October to December the winds pick up and Malibu beach in Chaloklum is the place to ramp up over the waves and get generous air time.
Kite Boarding Asia has a branch in Ban Tai on the south coast. They offer full equipment hire and tuition. Check out the video! It's an xtreme sport.
Visiting Koh Ma Marine Park
Koh Ma consists of a small island just off the coast. It is joined to the mainland by a sand bank which is visible at low tide. Koh Ma is the only designated Marine Park in Koh Phangan waters.
It is free to explore the marine park. Just head for Mae Haad. It is just a few kilometers north of Haad Salad. If you are driving a motorbike or scooter beware of the sharp bends on the Mae Haad Road.
The coral reef is about 25 meters out to sea. To get there follow the signs for Island View Cabana. The resort restaurant rents out snorkels for 80 THB an hour. Enter the water at the sign as there is an area cleared of rocks that allows you to reach the corals easily.
Koh Ma is a marine park and fishing is not permitted.
Wipeout opened in 2013. It is an aquatic obstacle course located at Laem Son Lake. The lake is south of Haad Salad just inland from Srithanu. It takes about 15 minutes to get there by taxi or motorbike.
The obstacle course has 6 parts including the 'iceberg' which catapaults you through the air and into the water. It costs 500 Thai Baht to use the course. There are a couple of restaurants and drinks stands around the lake.
A note of warning - people have died in the lake from drowning. It is a deep lake and it used to be a zinc mine.
There are no end of parties to attend in Koh Phangan. There are two main places where the parties happen - in the Ban Tai area and in Haad Rin.
The biggest and most famous party is the Full Moon Party in Haad Rin. 10,000 or so drunken and up-for-it young people dance and drink the night away on the beach under the large moon.
In the jungle near the village of Ban Tai are the sites for the Jungle Experience and the Half Moon Party. On Ban Tai beach is the Rhythm and Sands party and the Black Moon Culture party. By a waterfall in neighboring Bankai is the Blue and Green Sramanora Waterfall. With a bit of research you can find a party virtually every week.
Haadlad Prestige Resort offers cooking classes. Their chef from the Khun Sunee Restaurant gives expert tuition to educate people not only how to cook Thai food but also how to identify Thai ingredients back in the students' home countries. Classes are either in the morning or afternoon and come with a recipe booklet and ingredients guide.
Jang's Kitchen on the beach also provides Thai cooking classes.
The Yoga Retreat
Yoga Retreat is a self-contained resort about 1 km from the beach. They offer classes and courses in Ashtanga or Hatha yoga. For those wanting a harder regime there are detox retreat programs available. Obviously there is a vegetarian restaurant.
Those keen to sign up to an intensive yoga course should check out all the options available in the Srithanu area. To name but a few there is Agama Yoga, Orion Healing, Ananda Wellness Resort and Gaia Yogashala. Read more here.
The Pyramid Yoga Center
The main road to Haad Salad has a right (east) turning just before the village. Just past Peppercorn is a track leading up a hill to the Pyramid Yoga Center. David and his partner teach yoga and its relevance to chakras and modern physics. They have drop in Hatha yoga at 7am and 5pm. Restorative Yoga is 3.30 pm. They also have yoga teacher training, detox, fasting and Chinese medicine. There is a restaurant on site.
Wang Sai Waterfall
There is a small and pictureseque waterfall with a basin big enough for swimming. It is called Wang Sai Waterfall and it is about 1 km inland in a beautiful jungle setting. Head for the Yoga Retreat which is just 50 meters from the waterfall.