Do you want to discover Arambol in India or wondering whether to come from there to Koh Phangan? We are here to help with our guide from guest writer Ferhan who looks at the similarities and also differences…
Arambol, Arambol, Arambol, I love your nature...There is a song named Arambol and when you listen to it for a few times, your brain quickly gets used to it and you can sing it unconsciously while you are walking on the street.
Magically, Arambol hypnotizes you with its many habits and you cannot go out of them even though you are aware of them.
Firstly, Arambol was very popular among hippies in the 1960s and 70s and you can still see people with hippy clothes but not with hippy lifestyles. Capitalism also captured this nice place and hippies here now are part of this commercial life. You can see many shops selling hippy clothes, and many people dressing like hippies and walking without their shoes on the streets.
The same europeanised situation is valid for Koh Phangan as well. You can find Thai food everywhere of course but western food has already started to capture restaurants, hostels and bars run by both foreigners and local people. Like Arambol, because both places are very touristy and attract Western people with their amazing nature.
But even Koh Phangan has more amazing nature than Arambol because the cleaning habits in Koh Phangan are better than Arambol. Indian culture is even more relaxed than Thai one.
On the other hand, you will have the opportunity to listen to a diverse style of music from various musicians belonging to different cultures via interesting musical instruments. They just meet incidentally with each other in any place and start to make a jam session together. When you listen to this random performance, you will only say ‘Wow, I am so lucky to listen to this’.
You will feel lucky to see many amazing drawings, paintings, jewellery, fire performances, talented jugglers and performers. Arambol is really the art centre of Goa and it pushes you to discover the artist inside you. When you try to practice one of these artistic diversities you will be surprised how you can do it. It is a magical place if you are interested in developing yourself in one of branches of art. This is why almost everybody here is an artist.
Koh Phangan in comparison to Arambol is that it is mostly a party place however this should not make you think that there is no place for a party in Arambol. You can party everywhere in Goa with its big Psytrance music scene. Goa even has its own type of music called ‘Goa trance’.
Koh Phangan gives you Techno, House, Electronic and Trance music from various talented DJs in very nice places; beaches, forests and interestingly decorated bars, hotels and hostels. Koh Phangan is mostly known for the ‘Full Moon Party’ which is held on Haad Rin beach at full moon time every month, many people come from various countries only for this party.
‘Koh Phangan Full Moon Party has become a world-famous institution, but its ancestral home remains the crescent cove of Haad Rin Beach on the southernmost tip of Phangan Island in Thailand. More than 12 powerful sound systems turn the 800-metre beach into possibly the most popular open-air nightclub in the world once a month, with a lively festival-like atmosphere, great music and huge quantities of alcohol. This one-of-a-kind event is routinely listed on bucket lists as one of the essential experiences in Thailand which absolutely must be seen to be believed. As many as 30,000 party people gather on the famous strip of sand to party in the glow of the Earth’s nearest celestial neighbour, right through the night and into the dawn. Due to the cost of cleaning up after such carnage, the local community implemented a 100 baht entry fee to access the beach on the night of Koh Phangan Full Moon Party.’
There is also Half Moon and Black Moon parties in Koh Phangan in every month. Many people from different cultures enjoy amazing parties here, guys! If you are interested in these type of music, you should come to Koh Phangan for sure.
Both places have a very different culture, however, when it comes to spiritual activities, healing, enlightenment and Yoga, these different cultures are in the same melting pot. In addition to lively night life and crowded parties, both Arambol and Koh Phangan present a relaxing environment triggering people to feel a part of the earth at the same time. Maybe you can think that these activities are also part of commercial life, and probably you can be right to some extent but generalisation of this thought for all spiritual activities is unfair.
There are dedicated and sincere people only trying to help you in terms of self-knowledge, and self-improvement. Yoga is an ancient practice of India coming from the holy book of Veda so Arambol provides more options ranging from shamanic practices, Chakra practices, healing therapies to all progresses of Yoga, Tantra, Ayurveda massages, and herbal treatments because those practises mostly settled in Indian culture in ancient times rather than Thailand.
Of course, you cannot find any better place in Arambol for good Thai massage rather than in Koh Phangan. The root of Thai massage even came from a combination of Ayurvedic therapies and Yoga postures. So it seems all spiritual activities and therapies including Thai message spreaded throughout Asia from India. So Arambol is an old lady in those practices compared to young and beautiful lady Koh Phangan.
As a result, both places have different capabilities resulting from different cultures and history.
Arambol is smaller, cheaper, and a compact place rather than the big island Koh Phangan. When you should definitely see places like Arambol beach, Sweet Water Lake, Bungean tree, and some waterfalls in Arambol, you cannot count such heavenly places in Koh Phangan. There are no more alternatives for bars, restaurants, and hostels in Arambol compared to the wide range of Koh Phangan.
On the other hand, if you focus on music, art and spritiual activies, Arambol is more compact and speacialised in those spheres.