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Review of Haad Salad Accommodation 2017

January 24th, 2017 | Posted by admin in Resorts - (Comments Off on Review of Haad Salad Accommodation 2017)

Haad Salad sunset

There are plenty of accommodation options for Haad Salad. Over the last few years the north west beach has built up a reputation as one of the best beaches in Koh Phangan. Moreover, its proximity to Srithanu and the New Age revival happening in this area has further increased visitor numbers to Haad Salad. Srithanu might have yoga but Haad Salad has a pristine beach. Below are a few notes about changes to Haad Salad resorts in terms of Trip Advisor reviews.

The Winners

Cookies Salad Resort are doing the basics of clean accommodation and friendly staff very well. They have jumped 10 places up the rankings on Trip Advisor from 30th best hotel to 20th best hotel on Koh Phangan.

Green Papaya Resort has the most expensive rooms in Haad Salad. Despite having a website that my computer reads as an attack page, the hotel goes up 3 places from 31st to 28th best hotel on the island.

The biggest winner in the battle of the Trip Advisor ratings is Haad Salad Villa that climbs from 7th to 1st in the speciality lodging category. Well done!

Salad Beach Resort clearly had a good year. They rise from 45th to 29th best hotel in Koh Phangan. It’s a tough Trip Advisor category and they are doing the right things to impress.

Similarly, Salad Buri Resort and Spa are on an upward trajectory. The hotel moved from 47th to 32nd in the TA rankings.

Smile Beach Resort doesn’t get many Trip Advisor reviews. It has nearly as many excellent as terrible reviews. However, it rises from 86 to 80 in the B&B list for Koh Phangan. It still has $10 rooms.

Salad Hut is showing the other traditional bungalow outfits how to do it. They climb from 11th to 5th best lodging spot on the island.

The Losers

Double Duke Bungalows opened in 2013. Often new bungalow resorts with new bungalows and new facilities score well on Trip Advisor. Not Double Duke – it falls from 56th best B&B to 79th best B&B on the island.

Asia Bungalows used to be the 13th best speciality lodging on the island. Standards have dropped and the numbers reversed. Now Asia Bungalows is the 31st best lodging on the island.

Haadlad Prestige Resort and Spa is a good mid-range accommodation option in Haad Salad with pool and air-con rooms. The resort is slightly separated from other businesses in the area and it feels like you have a private beach. A few poor reviews on Trip Advisor has seen this place drop from 54th best hotel to 61st. The staff could do better.

Phangan Natural Resort are typical of a certain type of Koh Phangan business – things are not going quite according to plan for this jungle retreat – they have dropped from 58th to 67th in the Koh Phangan B&B category. The economy rooms are not cheap enough to warrant the climb up from the beach. They have responded to the slump by putting a hold on bookings through room search engines. You don’t pay commissions but you don’t get the same volume of interest.

Salad Grand Bungalow with its traditional wooden bungalows and name change is slipping down the charts. The bungalow set up went from 216 to 250 in the speciality lodges category.

It is the same story for Sea Salad Resort – cheap rooms, few reviews and a falling ranking – it dropped in 2016/2017 from 130 in the speciality lodging category to 201. Not great.

Conclusion

While Trip Advisor rankings are far from perfect because of such things as false reviews and demographic behaviours we can see through this comparison between 2016 and 2017 rankings which of the resorts in Haad Salad are making an extra effort to make guests happy. This and price are surely the key determinates when it comes to many people’s accommodation choices.

Pyramid Yoga Centre

August 9th, 2016 | Posted by admin in Yoga - (Comments Off on Pyramid Yoga Centre)

pyramidyoga

Pyramid Yoga Centre is an impressive yoga place set back in the hills behind Haad Yao and Haad Salad. If you take the most inland road Haad Yao to Haad Salad and then take a left at the Peppercorn Restaurant you will soon hap upon the Pyramid Yoga Centre. It is a peaceful jungle location, far from the madding crowd, and a nice spot to do some yoga.

If you are heading to Pyramid Yoga Centre then take it slowly when you do the left turn. The signage is not very good, and most people miss the place the first time they go. Once you find the track and drive to the end, you have a short walk up a hill to the centre.

The main yoga hall has a large thatched roof in a pyramid shape. The sides are open which affords a great view of green jungle as you do your yoga. Just a short walk down the hill is the Tree Tops Restaurant that serves tea, filtered water, raw food and health food.

There is a focus on chakras and healing. I see on their website that in August they have a cancer remission retreat. This is yoga for the young and keen to learn, but also for the old and those keen to live longer. They offer a range of yoga styles including Hatha, Kundalini and Pranayama. There is also yoga teacher training courses, fasting and detox programs and traditional Chinese medicine.

The website is one of those slightly irritating dual location productions. There is a lack of information about both the Philippines Pyramid Centre and the Koh Phangan one. They do announce in bg letters in the header:

“OUR MISSION – To share and proliferate the traditional teachings of the Science of Yoga. In so doing, the Scientific aspect of the chakras is presented in the light of Quantum Physics, showing that modern research has come full circle and back to the energy wheels of the Ancients.”

The further you read the sentence, the more confused you tend to become. Whereas quantum physics does display many remarkable parallels with Buddhism and Hinduism as books since the Tao of Physics have explored, the assertion that ‘modern research’ has returned to the ‘wheels of the Ancients’ is harder to prove.

The head teachers are obviously very experienced and have guided many students to a better understanding of themselves. Pyramid Centre in Haad Salad has numerous recommendations. The story of David and his partner Marina is an impressive one. David travelled the world on a ‘yogic journey’ before returning to Canada to set up the first Pyramid Centre in Victoria in 1996. They set up the Koh Phangan branch in 2002. The Chakra Yoga Center in Palawan, Philippines began in 2008.

Telephone: +66(0)77 374130
Address: 58/34, moo 8, Koh Phangan, Surat Thani 84280, Thailand
Website: http://www.pyramidyoga.com/

Drop in Classes

Monday to Friday:

7.30 am to 9 am – Sunrise Hatha Yoga
3.30 pm to 5pm – Restorative Yoga
5.30 pm to 7 pm – Sunset Yoga

Review of Peppercorn Restaurant

August 7th, 2016 | Posted by Salad Daze in Bars and Restaurants - (Comments Off on Review of Peppercorn Restaurant)

Peppercorn Restaurant in Haad Salad

The Peppercorn Restaurant has long been Koh Phangan’s leading steak restaurant and has been pioneering high end dining on the island since 2006. The restaurant used to be in a quiet jungle location in the Srithanu area. Now that the restaurant has relocated to Haad Salad it has become far more accessible and visible. It is no doubt a smart commercial decision and also great news for people planning on heading to Haad Salad.

The menu at Peppercorn restaurant is dominated by the finest steaks. They regularly have New Zealand beef, Argentine beef and Japanese wagu beef. Not only is the meat cooked perfectly it is accompanied by seasonal salads and fresh ingredients. There is a range of sauces to savour. They also stock a supply of selected high quality wines. They have specials as well as a la carte and do extra menus throughout the year.

It is not just beef. They also do lamb pot roast, roasts, vegetarian dishes such as tomato stuffed with spinach and feta cheese au gratin. There are plenty of salads, as well as fish. There is also a tempting dessert menu. Much more than just a steakhouse.

Bavarian Pork Roast

The prices are more than for Thai food in the area. However, it is not cheap flying in beef from South America and New Zealand. You can dine on steak with starters and dessert for about 15 Euros a head or about 750 Thai Baht.

Peppercorn Restaurant is open from 4pm to 11pm. The kitchen closes at 10pm. The restaurant is open Monday to Saturday.

The restaurant is located on the main road at the southern end of Haad Salad. There is a view from the restaurant over the bay. It is a much more scenic location than the previous spot the restaurant had. Although near Srithanu Village before, the steakhouse was a little hard to find, or stumble over unless you had your own transport. In its present locale near Haad Salad beach the restaurant is bound to flourish.

So if you like rump steaks or tenderloin, or t-bone steaks or fillet steak Peppercorn in Haad Salad is the place to head.

Address: 58/28 Moo 8, Haad Salad, Koh Phangan, 84280 Surat Thani
Tel.: 087 896 4363

Location

Reviews

Peppercorn has loads of good reviews on Trip Advisor. Most rave about the food and service. At the time of writing only 2 people rated the restaurant as poor or terrible. Here are soe snippets.

Resort Ratings in Haad Salad in 2016

January 12th, 2016 | Posted by Salad Daze in Comment - (Comments Off on Resort Ratings in Haad Salad in 2016)

asia-bungalows-TA

Haad Salad has plenty of places to stay that range from basic bungalows on the beach to villas with private pools. When choosing where to stay many people consider the ratings resorts and hotels receive from such popular sites as Trip Advisor and Agoda. However, without knowing if a place has gone up or down in the ratings a vital piece of information is missed. Below are notes about how accommodation providers in Haad Salad fared on Trip Advisor and Agoda over the period 2015 to 2016.

Agoda

It is slightly depressing to discover that not one resort in Haad Salad improved its Agoda rating over the year. Several places such as Double Duke Bungalow, Asia Bungalows and Salad Grand Bungalow don’t have an aggregate score out of 10 yet due to a lack of reviews. Green Papaya Resort went from no Agoda score to 8.2.

Sea Salad Resort maintained the score of 7.4. Salad Beach Resort likewise remained at 7.9. And Haad Salad Villa stayed at 7.8 over the year from 2015 to 2016.

Those places that lost ranking on Agoda are Smile Beach Resort (6.7 to 6.5), Cookies Salad Resort (8.1 to 7.9), Salad Hut (8.7 to 8.6) and Salad Buri Resort (7.8 to 7.7).

It would seem the places in the last list need to do more to maintain standards of service and quality of amenities and facilities.

Trip Advisor

The changes in the Trip Advisor rankings for Haad Salad resorts is more dramatic than for the equivalent Agoda rankings. The only thing that is a bit confusing with Trip Advisor is their decisions of whether to classify a place as a ‘hotel’, ‘lodge’ or ‘B&B’. There seems to be little consistency in their classification of places. What exactly is a ‘speciality lodging’ and how is that different to a typical Koh Phangan bungalow resort? Does any accommodation provider including breakfast in their rental deals deserve to be designated ‘Bed and Breakfast’?

Gripes aside, here are the changes for Haad Salad accommodation Trip Advisor rankings for 2015-2016

Double Duke made an impressive jump from 71 to 56 in the B&B category. Likewise Asia Bungalows went from 26th to 13th best lodge in Koh Phangan. A small gain was also registered for Salad Buri Resort (#51 to #47 in hotels).

On the other side of the coin, Salad Grand Bungalow did terrible dropping from 123rd to 216th out of 273 lodges in Koh Phangan. Similarly, Sea Salad Resort plummeted from 55th to 130th out of 273 lodges. Not much better was Smile Beach Resort that fell from 46th best B&B to 86th best B&B in Koh Phangan.

Others that had bad years on Trip Advisor were Haad Salad Villa (from 4th to 7th out of 50 speciality lodges in Suratthani); Phangan Natural Resort fell from 45th best B&B to 58th best; Cookies Salad Resort (from 27th to 30th best hotel); Salad Beach Resort (from 42nd to 45th best hotel); and Green Papaya Resort (from 26th to 31st best hotel).

While these ranking have to be taken with a pinch of salt, they do highlight the fact that some places in Haad Salad really need to improve their service and make their cleaning staff work a tad harder. The most common complaints about Koh Phangan accommodation are always that the room was dirty; that the linen was dirty and not changed; that there were insects in the room / bathroom; and that the staff were rude. If some resort owners focused on these things more than upgrading accommodation and facilities in order to charge customers more, they would no doubt benefit from improving Trip Advisor and Agoda ratings.

How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?

July 3rd, 2015 | Posted by Salad Daze in Activities - (Comments Off on How Long Can You Hold Your Breath?)

The answer to this question is probably something you asked yourself after you learnt to swim and you had time in a pool to muck around. When I was a kid I had competitions with my best friend as to who could hold their breath the longest. I often won with times of over 3 minutes.

Freediving is something similar. It is diving without scuba equipment. It’s you, flippers, mask and swim suit. You dive down and experience the underwater world as you hold your breath.

There is more than a knack to it; it is a proper regulated sport, like scuba diving; complete with accrediting body. On the neighbouring beach of Haad Yao, a new company has set up that offers freediving lessons. The company is called Apnea Koh Phangan Freediving School. They are located at Baan Haad Yao Villas on the beach.

As with a scuba school, Apnea Freediving offer a range of courses from 1 day introductions to courses leading to qualifications allowing you to teach free diving. They do free dives at Sail Rock so that students get an exciting aquatic environment to plunge the depths on a single breath.

There is theory and training. Key to the training is learning breathing techniques. Apnea Koh Phangan guarantees you will be able to hold your breath (above water) for 3 minutes after the training.

Here are the details:

Discover Freediving – Max depth 12 meters. 4,000 Thai Baht or 4,500 Thai Baht with a trip to Sail Rock. 1 day

Freediver – Max depth 20 meters. 6,500 Thai Baht or 7,000 Thai Baht with a trip to Sail Rock. 2 days

Advanced Freediver- Max depth 35 meters. 9,000 Thai Baht. 3 days

Master Freediver – 4 to 5 weeks internship. 25,000 Thai Baht or 30,000 Thai Baht with breakfast and lunch included

For qualified freedivers a fun dive costs 1,400 Thai Baht (group discounts available)

There are other courses available for those keen on pursuing the sport.

It should be mentioned that freediving takes you deeper sooner than equivalent scuba courses. If you fancy learning more and you are in Haad Salad why not pop over to Haad Yao and chase down Apnea Koh Phangan. Alternatively their email address is info@apneakohphangan.com

Has Koh Phangan Changed?

April 25th, 2015 | Posted by Salad Daze in Comment - (Comments Off on Has Koh Phangan Changed?)

West-coast

Koh Phangan has changed a lot since it became a tourist destination in the 1970s. Now it is 2015 and Koh Phangan is very different to the undeveloped jungle island that it once was. As with many holiday spots Koh Phangan has moved on. It seemed that it had become a party and beach mecca for the young. Very recently both the central government in Bangkok as well as the provincial government have insisted Koh Phangan clean up its act. Has anything changed?

The answer is basically no. Not long after the military regained control of the country in 2014 they started a campaign to cut back graft, nepotism, scams, foreigners working on a tourist visa and the numerous instances of where the actual law had been ignored for years. They set about reigning in the Jet Ski scammers and the illegal selling of permits to beach chair vendors. They tried to enforce the alcohol curfew after 2am and the 1am closure of massage parlours. Tighter visa restrictions were put in place. They also told civil servants to stop wasting their time on social media instead of working. In short the General had a clear vision of what needs to be done in Thailand.

Koh Phangan did not escape his notice. The double murder of Brits in Koh Tao no doubt focused the attention of the administration on the Samui Archipelago. The general set out a plan to re-brand Koh Phangan as a place to experience ‘Thai style’ parties, as well as sun, sand and 5 star hotels.

It ended at that. None of the party organisers in Baan Tai, Haad Rin and elsewhere on the island paid any attention. The DJs kept playing and the ‘up-for-it’ crowds kept coming. Thailand has seen dozens of coups since getting democracy. Fiercely independent, the locals have a habit of ignoring what goes on in Bangkok.

The end of the party scene seemed more likely after the Governor of Surrathani Province in early 2015 issued a notice that all the parties (bar the Full Moon Party) were too noisy and disruptive and would stop immediately. Again nothing happened. See here for more.

The week of the gubernatorial decree the Half Moon Party went ahead. This was followed a few days later by Jungle Experience holding a special anniversary all-nighter.

To outsiders this might seem confusing. How can the Koh Phangan police not do anything? Why does the governor allow his authority to be flouted? Why doesn’t the General flex his muscles and just bring down his own men from Bangkok to shut down the parties?

Nothing is clear. This is the way things are done in Thailand as well as other places in Asia. Nothing is transparent; the media is not informed about negotiations between stake holders. The notion of the supremacy of the law is just that a notion.

The Full Moon Party is as important to Thai tourism as the beaches of Phuket. It is a huge money spinner and a major attraction. Closing the Full Moon Party on Haad Rin Nok was quickly off the table. Unfortunately, the party culture that the FMP has engendered has led to numerous outdoor parties, club nights and DJ events. The island now has a growing music scene and even the smaller parties are gaining international acclaim and attracting big name DJs. You cannot easily manufacture the image of a tourist destination. It looks like the party faction is in a position to gain concessions; to get a compromise.

Koh Phangan will keep on changing and as it does it gains something. The hippies came and gave rise to the need for cheap bungalows and reggae bars. We still have them in Haad Salad, Haad Yao, Haad Khom and other places along the coast. The high paying customers came to Santhiya on the beautiful beach of Thong Nai Pan Noi and the ‘luxury’ cache of Koh Phangan grew. The Full Moon Party gave birth to a burgeoning dance music scene and that will persist. The only thing that hasn’t changed is the paradise beach locations – still sun, sand, jungle and warm sea.

Haad Gruad

March 21st, 2015 | Posted by Salad Daze in Places to Visit - (Comments Off on Haad Gruad)

Those guests staying in Haad Salad might seek a pause from relaxing on the beach or in a hammock and seek distraction with a bit of exploration. One possibility is to visit the beach just south of Haad Salad called Haad Gruad. It is one of the lesser visited beaches in Koh Phangan and totally free of development except for one resort and a couple of restaurants nearby.

You get to Haad Gruad by getting to the main road and turning south. A short distance is the entrance road to Haad Gruad Resort. You walk through the resort to access the beach. Haad Gruad beach is about 70 meters long. It has soft white sand mixed with dead corals and is fringed with coconut palms. The sea is strewn with large boulders which you can clearly see as you come down the hill to the beach. It is a good beach for snorkelling and splashing around in the shallows.

At the south end of the beach there is a rickety wooden walk way that takes you to some large rocks on the headland. From here you can admire the sea views. You can also attempt to fish. It is possible to catch small fish and squid. The path leads to another small and beautiful beach called Haad Thian West.

The beach at Haad Gruad has a path leading up to the main road. Next to this path, and slightly elevated, is a medium-sized swimming pool. Above this is the resort restaurant. While the food is nothing to write home about, it is a great location for lunch.

There is a small bar on the beach called Sunny Bar. It is one of the old-skool bars with accretions of odd decoration and a couple of low tables and chairs.

Most of the reviews of Haad Gruad focus primarily on the resort. While most find it a little slice of paradise, a few find it too isolated and bad value for money. Haad Salad feels like a quiet beach with little going on but has enough food and drink options to please the overwhelming majority of guests. This becomes apparent from a trip to neighbouring Haad Gruad. However, this is the unique selling point for Haad Gruad – it is virtually a private beach for those staying at the resort and for those few tourists that make it down the hill.

Prices Changes for Haad Salad Accommodation 2015

January 22nd, 2015 | Posted by Salad Daze in Comment - (Comments Off on Prices Changes for Haad Salad Accommodation 2015)

I have just updated the prices for the hotels, resorts and backpacker places on Salad beach for 2015. We use r24.org as they offer the best prices of all the major booking engines.

I noticed that virtually all the accommodation providers in Haad Salad hadn’t changed their prices for 2015. The only exceptions were Salad Hut (cheapest hut had gone up $3), Haadlad Prestige Resort (again just an extra $3 for their cheapest room) and Salad Buri Resort and Spa. The later has had quite a price hike going from $59 to $70 for their best value rooms.

This is great news for beach lovers. It points to a few possible conclusions. The falling price of oil has meant costs have dropped and so the same prices equate to more profits. Another possibility is that the law of supply and demand has led to few resort owners feeling confident enough to rise prices without gifting customers to their rivals. Another possibility is that there is something of an unspoken agreement by the resort owners not to start a discounting war.

Whatever the reason, the visitor to Haad Salad should be pleased that 2015 is a good value year.

We should note that hotels, resorts etc. can change their prices anytime during the year (although they usually don’t), and that at Full Moon time and the peak time of Christmas and New Year the prices shoot up.

Personally, I love Koh Phangan in March. It is low season but the weather is hot and the sea is calm; few people are around and so you can get some real room bargains.

Chef Tummy Has Island Hit

January 4th, 2015 | Posted by Salad Daze in Fun - (Comments Off on Chef Tummy Has Island Hit)

Chef Tummy has propelled himself to minor fame through his musical efforts. Chef Tummy is a European who has a cooking school in Haadlad Prestige Resort on Haad Salad Beach. While many might have known that the jolly chubby fellow could hold a tune with a guitar, few would suspect that an ‘artist’ was hiding behind the bonhomie.

Chef Tummy made a recording of a fun song. It’s called ‘No Snow’. He made a video to go with it. It is almost a Christmas song. The chorus mentions the fact that there is no word for ‘snow’ in the Thai language. He claims the song got requests on Thai radio. He might have been played on Thai radio (there isn’t a Koh Phangan radio yet). His YouTube video has managed about 2,000 views in 6 years. I think stardom is a distant dream.

However, Chef Tummy is busy re-recording his best hits and is hoping for crowd funding for the recording and future world tour. He is in collaboration with the supposedly famous Dr. Don G., ‘legendary 1960’s rock guitarist and Beatles cover band impresario’.

Joking aside, the song showcases the charms of the ex-pat life in Koh Phangan and is fairly catchy. It is also good to see an acoustic fight back to all the bland techno / trance / minimal house that is threatening to overrun the island.

Chef Tummy Thai Cooking School

May 8th, 2014 | Posted by Salad Daze in Activities - (Comments Off on Chef Tummy Thai Cooking School)

chef-tummy
One of the chief pleasures people find in Thailand is eating. Thailand boasts a unique style of cuisine that combines hot, sweet and sour. It is rich in flavour and full of great ingredients. Thai cooking is gaining in international popularity with Thai restaurants appearing all over Europe and America. Such dishes as green curry and tom yum goong have become part of that list of international dishes that include such favourites as pizza and balti curry.

A great way to impress your friends when you return home from your dream holiday in Koh Phangan is to hold a dinner party and produce some Thai classics. You might think this is a tall order, but not at all. For a start it has become much easier to find some of the key ingredients for Thai dishes such as coconut milk and sweet basil in supermarkets. Such is the global market that we live in.

For those lucky souls that have chosen Haad Salad for their beach holiday one of the best places to learn how to cook a couple of Thai dishes is the delightfully named Chef Tummy Thai Cooking School.

The cooking school is located on the beach at Haadlad Prestige Resort. It is run by a friendly and rotund man who is happy to laugh at himself and call himself chef Tummy. Don’t be deceived by the joviality – he is very serious about making delicious Thai food.

You can choose from a wide selection of Thai dishes for your cooking lesson. In a session you can normally make 2 or 3 different dishes. There are sessions both in the morning and the afternoon.

The cost is 1,500 Thai Baht per person. This includes a trip to the local market where you can get a feel for the natural produce as well as pick up some negotiating tips from Tummy. It’s then back to the beachfront school. Each student has a wok and is given careful guidance from chef Tummy.

Naturally when the cooking is over you get the chance to try your own delicious dishes. Make sure to take notes so that you can replicate the dishes back home.

Who knows it may lead to a new career for you!

H3>Contact Details

None available at the moment. If you want a lesson just stroll down the beach to Haadlad Prestige Resort and ask for cooking lessons at the restaurant.