Exciting Phangan is a tour company in Thongsala that offers tailored tours and Koh Phangan experiences. It is a new start up that brings together many of the highlights of the island. Whether the company can flourish is very much open to debate.
Exciting Phangan – Tours that Matter. That is the strapline. The website also uses the tagged phrase ‘Off the Beaten Track and Exclusive Excursions in Koh Phangan’. This means the company will organise a private tour or experience with a knowledgeable local. The tour needs to be booked at least 7 days in advance to allow for preparations. Customers can choose from a range of tours and experiences or discuss with the team who will tailor-make their experience.
To give you an idea of the range of tours on offer here is the activity list given on the website:
Hike with a Real Jungle Man
Discover Jungle Medicine Plants
Culture of Koh Phangan
The Culture of Thai Cuisine
Craft your own Silver Jewellery
Dance like a Thai
Reiki – Master the Energies
Fascinating Fire spinning
A Better Me
Relax and Indulge
Private Dinner on the Beach
Some of these are self-explanatory such as fire spinning. Anyone who has been to a beach party in Koh Phangan has seen a young Thai lad fire dancing with a burning rope. Learning Thai cooking is also another typical holiday learning experience.
Less common are the dance lessons. A female Thai dancer teaches the student at her home. Thai dancing is for women; although in this enlightened age that we live in, men are also welcome. The lesson is 90 Euros.
No one has so far given tours and lectures on medicinal plants. Recreational plants has been more the Koh Phangan thing for the last 2 decades! The tour is lead by a local man with an extensive knowledge of the jungle and the uses of the plants found there. Whereas tours of the National Parks in Koh Phangan is not new, the emphasis on how to use jungle plants is. This experience costs 100 Euros and needs groups of 3 or more people.
‘Culture of Koh Phangan’ is such a general term. This tour essentially involves being driven around by a local man who goes to lesser known places and who tells stories about the island. It is as much about making friends with a local as it is about getting a deeper understanding about an island that had something of a ‘Wild West’ feel to it prior to tourism. This tour costs 120 Euros.
Other tours seem to be re-packaging yoga, meditation, spa services, reiki lessons etc. Srithanu has a range of gurus who while being highly realized realise that they still need to make a few bucks. The New Age and spa services is essentially outsourced and you are paying for the recommendations that the third party can bring. Better Me costs 150 Euros. Reenergize Yourself costs 120 Euros and Relax and Indulge will set you back 150 Euros. So if you think the prices are high you are paying for recommended service and for the livelihood of the middle person.
Is this great value? That is subjective. What is noticeable is that their Facebook page has no entries for 2016, and just as tellingly, the blog part of their website still has the ‘Loren ipsum’ Latin blurb that template websites have when they are first uploaded to a domain. From a webmaster’s point of view, it is very poor, and so easily rectified with one short blog post.
No doubt Koh Phangan is exciting and offers much for those interested in nature, water sports, yoga, cooking and Thai culture but it is doubtful that this company will align itself as the main provider of tailor made tours and experiences on the island. Backpackers might be going out of fashion, but the information available on the net means even the greenest of greenhorns can organise activities independently.