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Phanganist visits Colleen and Chad at Veranda in Chaloklum
Colleen is originally from South Africa and Chad hails from Canada. Veranda is found on the edge of Chaloklum.
So Colleen and Chad what is your Koh Phangan story?
Chad – I visited Koh Phangan for the first time about 17 years ago and 15 years ago we came here during our
honeymoon. [Colleen says that she saved Chad from a life of celibacy, and Chad replies that he saved Colleen
from a life of wearing paper pants and running around with a tambourine (both laughing!).] We have visited Koh
Phangan every few years and have seen the island grow, as well as it growing on us more every time.
We found Chaloklum and decided this was a place we wanted to stay 6 years ago but it wasn’t the time in our
lives to make it a reality just yet.
Colleen – We were here a few months ago and left a few boxes in storage here. When we left we decided we
would never return to Koh Phangan as travellers again. Either we became business owners (not really thinking
this was possible) or we would never come back.
We were preparing to leave Thailand and I came to collect the boxes. Within a few days an amazing opportunity presented itself and we bought Veranda. A touch of Koh
Phangan magic perhaps. Chad and I tick along on the same pace and vibe whenever we are here. We may be
from different countries but Thailand has always been our country, so we decided to call Chaloklum and Koh
Phangan our home.
So what is Veranda all about?
Veranda is about Integrative Health and Wellness. We’ve brought over 40 years professional work experience in
healthcare and education industries between the two of us to Chaloklum.
We are both very well experienced and well qualified within international education and healthcare, as well as the alternative healthcare industries.
We’re offering an exceptional fully integrative wellness approach backed by authentic qualifications, which is very
important to us and extremely rare to find. We’re both trained Hospice counsellors and both registered trauma
Many people come to Koh Phangan for yoga and wellness. People need sustainable lifestyle management skills
in normal daily life. Being in paradise is great, and being able to take a little bit back with you wherever you live
the majority of your life is the most important thing.
We want people to be able to take care of themselves when they leave and know they are in good safe hands while they’re here.
Over the years we’ve seen many people come to Koh Phangan and totally lose themselves. At Veranda we’re
pragmatic. Discernment is important. We’re all humans walking with our feet on the ground. We help people find
their own personal balance.
Chaloklum is the perfect place for rejuvenating your overall health and wellbeing. We love the local fishing village.
The local people, beach and other business owners make this a peaceful and beautiful place.
We’re members of the #trashhero movement along with a few other businesses in Chaloklum and we’re happy to
see the community participate in this effort to reduce waste. Living on an island shows how much more attention
we need to pay to our oceans and #trashhero is a great way to do our part.
What was your background before your life at Veranda?
Colleen – I’ve been in healthcare and education for over 20 years. Within that I wear many hats. I’m a pharmacist
technician and have worked in various NHS hospitals across the UK and South Africa. My focus was mostly
patients with addiction, cancer and infectious diseases. I’m also qualified in early childhood services, focusing
mostly on children with special needs.
I’m a registered trauma professional and hospice counsellor as well as having a degree in economics and finance. I’m also a yoga therapist registered with the International Association
of Yoga Therapists, massage therapist and certified Pilates instructor. I never stop studying and growing. I’ve
worked with people on the treatment side of healthcare for many years and in the last few years I’ve moved more
into a lifestyle management role in corporate wellness.
And then we’re both Dive Masters which is an added bonus living in Chaloklum being the dive centre of the island. Deep water wreck diving is one of my Loves.
And Chad what about life before Veranda?
Chad – Early during my time in Thailand – almost 18 years ago – I fought Muay Thai professionally for 3 years.
My name was Chank Sak Niyom (Chad from the Niyom Gym). It was an authentic experience and I was the only
farang fighter in Hat Yai at the time. This helped me continue my practice of martial arts and this experience
provides a basis for some of the physical fitness services at Veranda.
I have a MA Applied Linguistics and I’m a qualified teacher and have spent many years in the classroom. I found
that this required far more of my counselling skills than my teaching skills, so that’s how I’ve moved more into
counselling and Supportive Dialogue services that I offer as part of our Integrative Health approach. You can
read more on this at saliyalife.com
What has Veranda got lined up for the future?
It’s best to keep an eye on our Facebook page @verandaphangan for the weekly schedule.
On Sundays, we have a very healthy superfoods brunch which is very popular and this is 11:30 am till 2 pm, it’s
250 baht and is vegetarian and vegan friendly.
The beautiful sauna is available too. This is 200 Baht and includes a sarong and great herbal tea.
Chad teaches the Beach Boot Camp which is about building lean muscle mass, strength and endurance without the use of any weights or equipment.
Colleen is teaching Yogalates, which is a wonderful blend of yoga and Pilates.
We also have wholesome breakfasts on the beach in the morning from 8am.
Both – We may be biased but to us Chaloklum is the best bay on the island. It still has a traditional fishing village community. We love everything about it.
Finally your Life philosophy?
Colleen – Authenticity, Truth, Integrity.
Chad – If you never take a chance, you’ll never have a chance.
Both – Have the Life of your Time!
People who know of Veranda know of the beautiful deck on the beach but there is also a beautiful garden which
is a different world and is a great place to relax. Hammocks and swings and beautiful green grass greet you and
you instantly feel relaxed and peaceful. It is a private place where you can have some alone time if you need to
get away from everything. Veranda has a beautiful sauna, a lovely garden and a café.
Phanganist loved to meet Colleen and Chad and hear their interesting story as to how they have decided to call
this little island their home. Veranda and the Wabi-Sabi Garden is certainly a place to visit if you feel you need
some time to have a quiet peaceful environment or just to have a relaxed think with one of the best views of the
Veranda can be found on the West side of the beach opposite Lotus diving so please go and check it out
and have a chat with Chad and Colleen or just go for a shake, to sit on the beach or in their beautiful Secret
See the Facebook page (@verandaphangan) for more details regarding awesome Veranda events coming soon.