Reggae isn’t as dominant as it used to be. In the 90s it was the music genre of choice for countless backpacker bars and restaurants all over India and South East Asia. Bob Marley tapes and CDs were played over and over.
Tastes changed in the early 2000s. Countries like Thailand embraced mid and high end tourism and the wheelie suitcase replaced the backpack for many travelers both long and short term.
And of course with the money coming in from non-budget tourists the need arose to supposedly crack down on reggae cigarettes.
One place you will still hear the occasional bit of reggae music is Reggae Village in Haad Salad. The Welcome sign on the outside of the building has the rasta colours. Inside the bar is not an alter to all things reggae but there are a few Rastafarian touches. The staff are friendly and laid-back but they don’t sport huge dread bundles.
If you were really into reggae and Jamaican culture you might be disappointed by Reggae Village.
Otherwise you might enjoy the place. There is a good selection of food and drink on offer at reasonable prices for a tourist spot in Koh Phangan. They play a good selection of music.
Moreover, there is a pool and table football to enjoy. The entertainment doesn’t stop there. They also show films every day for those who just want to lounge around.
In the evening the atmosphere becomes a bit livelier: they play some good music or show live sports. On occasion it is possible to catch some live music at Reggae Village. There is often a happy hour early on in the evening to get people in the mood.
The owner hails from the small UK island of Jersey. He makes sure the Western food remains authentic and enticing. He has recently added to his reggae empire with the neighboring Jay Jay Pizza Restaurant next door.
Indeed Reggae Village has become something of a village of services and facilities on offer. They have a tour counter to buy tickets. They also organize taxis as well as bike and jeep hire. Unlike most places they will not only take you to the Full Moon Party but also ferry you back.
That is not all. There is an English scuba instructor to teach scuba or take people out on fun dives. There are also a few rooms available for rent. You can book online at Hostelbookers. I suppose it could be classified as a ‘hostel’ but the rooms are no cheaper than the budget bungalow operations. I really hope the banality of hostel culture never takes hold in Thailand, and especially in Koh Phangan.
Perhaps the oddest and least ‘reggae’ activity on offer is the rifle range out back. They have a basic wooden range and an air rifle for rent.
Reggae Village is located on the road leading down to the beach. You can’t miss it, and if you do, ask anyone – they will point you in the right direction.
The reggae golden age might have passed for Koh Phangan, but it lives on in a slightly new format at Haad Salad’s Reggae Village.