Those going to Koh Phangan to hang out in the party zone of Haad Rin and Baan Tai might come to the conclusion that the island is mostly visited by English speakers from the UK, the USA and Australia. It is more accurate to say that these young Anglophones are drawn to the party area, not the entire island. Other parts of Koh Phangan are popular with other nationalities.
The fastest growing sectors for tourism in Thailand are Chinese and Russian tourists. While most visit Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Samui a few make it to Koh Phangan. Thong Nai Pan attracts a few. Russians also seem keen on private villa rental as they perceive it as better value for money. The Chinese, like other Far East Asians prefer more hand holding and tend to choose mid to high-end hotels.
Europeans, and especially French speakers, tend to like those beaches that are quieter and offer basic, good value accommodation. Than Sadet and Haad Tian on the East coast have a pool of returning French speakers.
In Haad Salad French tourists are catered for by France Plongee. It is a dive outfit that has shops in Haad Salad in Koh Phangan and in Koh Samui. Their office is located just off the beach, at the north end of Haad Salad. They offer both beginner courses as well as advanced courses. There is a choice of both PADI and SSI Dive master qualifications to choose from. And, of course, as with all dive shops in Koh Phangan, they will take qualified divers out to dive the local reefs as well as sites farther out such as Sail Rock, Chumphon Pinnacles and Ang Thong Marine Park.
The primary selling point of France Plongee is that they offer tuition in French by expert divers. They are indeed a professional outfit with good reviews. However, most dive shops on the island have dive masters who among them speak several languages. In this sense, France Plongee is slightly defunct. Nevertheless, knowing that only French is spoken will appeal to some Francophones.
France Plongee charge 4,000 Thai Baht for the introductory day course entitled ‘Discover Scuba’. This is for those who just want a taste of scuba to see if it is for them. Credits from the day course can be used to reduce the expense and time needed to get a PADI Open Water certificate. A PADI Open Water course costs 12,000 Thai Baht.
If you are a French speaker and feel isolated by all the English spoken on the island, then despair not, places like France Plongee are doing well and offer a little refuge from the English speaking world.