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It has been the best part of a year now since Thailand had a lockdown due to COVID and tourists and other foreign visitors trickled quickly out of the Country for various reasons. Some for safety to be with family in their home countries, others for visa reasons, some out of choice, most would have left anyway. But what has not been replaced by the usual departure of visitors is more arrivals. People left and have not returned.
For a lot of us, we live on Koh Phangan all year round anyway and have for years, our support network is here and our long term visas are already organised, we’d be here anyway. For the rest of you, you may come seasonally and so chose to be here for longer during the global turbulent times, knowing it’s safer here. There’s probably some of you who have never been before and got stuck here and some who decided to stay and wait it out.
Whatever reason or history you have with Koh Phangan at this present time, what we can say is that it is the quietest it’s been for years.
Even many Thai people have gone back to their homes on the mainland for work as the tourism industry has been terribly affected.
It’s a tough situation for us all, there is no doubting that, but we must admit that there is something wonderful to come from this situation. We must make the most out of this quiet island.
The most notable of all the beaches is obviously going to be Haad Rin. It was chosen as the home of the full moon party because of its world-class beauty and this is even more prominent these days. The sand is softer, the sea is cleaner and it’s a welcoming place for families to enjoy as well as young people. Many of us who would never have visited Haad Rin before have been gobsmacked by how lovely it is and are enjoying to visit it now.
Of course, if you like crowded social beaches you’re going to be annoyed but isn’t the whole point of being on a beach to relax, as if you’re in some deserted paradise? Now you are. All of the beaches are never very busy, Phangan’s beaches are truly returning to that famous novel set not far, aptly named ‘The Beach’.
If you have never stayed on Koh Phangan for the low season then you will have missed out on one of the great things, the real community. There’s not many of us and so we all really start to feel like a family. It’s easier to bond with the Thai people, more so in this pandemic because we are all struggling with something. We care for each other, look out for each other, feed each other, and are close.
The community feels at the strongest peak it has done for a while, the pandemic accelerates this and it’s a beautiful thing.
One thing, in particular, is that the roads are much quieter, some mornings you can drive from Thong Sala to Baan Tai without seeing a single other person. This in turn means there are less drunk drivers about and in general it’s safer. Although you should still be safe and wear a helmet of course.
People are healthy here in general, there was only one case of COVID and the vibe is that people are caring for their bodies and health, a common trend on the island anyway. The hospitals are less busy because there are not so many tourists getting in motorbike accidents and so if you do need their services you get treated quickly.
The island feels safe, it is mostly all the same people here for many months now. Apart from some domestic tourism coming and going, it’s an extremely comfortable atmosphere and feels almost less transient than it has done in previous years which is nice, almost standing still in peace.
Yes, there are still parties happening, but they’re over away from where most people live. The distant bass of the Baan Tai party week is a fond old memory. The island is peaceful, not just because of the lack of noise but also because it’s in the air. People are settled and getting on with life as best as they can. It’s calm and beautiful.
Quietness brings peace and for sure we all have troubled days but we’re pretty sure that everyone’s feeling blessed to be here in the calmness, the peace.
It seems that Koh Phangan has returned to its old ways of being a true paradise island. An escape from the the ‘real world’ outside of the metropolis cities. This is one of the best times to enjoy this amazing natural beauty of an island so make sure you make the most of it.