Alen from Germany, along with his girlfriend have been island hopping through Southeast Asia visiting islands such as Phi Phi, and Koh Lanta then changing from East to West to do Koh Tao and Phangan, however like many others they are enjoying Phangan so much they have ‘dropped’ Koh Tao for now.
Phanganist have been following and supporting Phangan Island Project (PIP) and Alen has recently been to volunteer with processing the plastic a few times. We wanted to bring you a perspective from a Koh Phangan short term visitor on the situation and this amazing project.
How did you hear about PIP?
I heard through Phanganist!
What encouraged you to go?
Sustainable thinking, when I have kids one day I want to send them traveling and I want to come back to this island and don’t want to have to make my way through the beach kicking plastic bottles out of the wat!
This island is mostly used by tourists so it is about giving back to the local people a little bit. It is not about pointing fingers, but more common sense.
For people who want to volunteer tell them what happens….
You cut bottles and sweat your ass off for 2 hours but then you start to learn about the background and why you cut, why you separate and the topic is coming up with the knowledge that it is not financial but getting back to the balance.
How has it influenced or inspired you?
I started to be interested and met other people at the hostel who are involved in Chemistry and I’m trying to figure out if the plan will work and if they may have side products and so on.
I met a guy who does a project with Vietnamese and Thai people and this makes me think about being sustainable, I will create a contact with this guy and pass him to PIP to stay in touch. When I am back home I won’t be able to travel for 2 years as I will be studying but I hope I can still follow the situation to see any development.
Was it nice to see other people volunteering?
Very and they all do it very enthusiastically! No one was hanging around, they’re all really into it. When lots of volunteers show up it goes faster.
Would you recommend it to other visitors to the island and why?
I wouldn't say recommend it, it’s more about if you are interested and if you don’t want to go by different sources such as media not telling you the truth, you can experience this in a real way and see what people are really doing against it and it is very genuine.
I would recommend to people to see it, even if you don’t do anything at least listen to the story, it will give you an impulse to do something.
Are you enjoying Koh Phangan?
Oh very much, it’s a beautiful island and has everything you need. When you want to go crazy it’s available and when you want to rest also, I found a great coffee place which is important for me in the morning ha-ha!
There is a special spirit on the island not comparable to Koh Lanta which is so laid back or Samui which is overcrowded.
What sustainable message would you say to new visitors of Phangan?
Try to fill up your plastic bottles as much as possible and if you go for a snack dont take a bag just use your pocket, use your backpack or whatever!
And check out PIP they will help you get more information on it and you can decide if you want to participate or have ideas.
Follow our events listings to see when PIP need volunteers and go get involved!