Sunday, 25 August 2013

Bophut and Chaloklum

Bophut is one of the most interesting places to visit in Koh Samui. It retains a lot of the original wooden, Chinese style fisherman’s houses in the aptly named “Fisherman’s Village” at the entrance to Bophut. In Koh Phangan the northern village of Chaloklum is similar. In many ways these two villages and tourist destinations are similar.

For many visitors to Koh Samui Bophut is the ideal location for a beach holiday. It has a long stretch of white sand beach lined with resorts. Most of the places to stay are in the mid-range and could be considered 3 or 4 star (not that the star system has any standard application). There is Sandy with pool, restaurant and air-con bungalows starting at 600 Thai Baht. There are a few budget places set back from the beach. There is the boutique styled Zazen and the branded Anantara Bophut Resort and Spa with excellent facilities, private pool villas and definitely worthy of 5 stars. In short there is a great choice of accommodation suiting all budgets. Many of the resorts back on to the beach. This means guests don’t have to deal with roads or noisy traffic.

Chaloklum doesn’t have the same range of resorts or indeed any big hotels, but you can stay in relative comfort in places like Buri Tara Resort and Spa and Chaloklum Bay Resort. Outside of Thong Nai Pan Noi, Chaloklum has some of the nicest places to stay on Koh Phangan.  The village of Chaloklum is the centre of the small fishing industry in Koh Phangan. You can see old houses, longtail boats, bigger fishing boats and the men repairing their nets. Recently they have created a seafood area with a few great places to eat fresh BBQ fish as well as traditional southern Thai fish dishes.

As with Bophut, Chaloklum has a boutique feel to it with stylish bars and restaurants to enjoy such as the Mandalay.

Being Koh Phangan, it is not all up-market. There is still a strong backpacker presence. There is the Omega Bar with regular open mic nights. There is also the nearby beach of Haad Khom that is off the main electricity grid and has cheap and basic bungalows that can be got on a monthly rate.

There is plenty to do in Chaloklum such as archery, elephant trekking, and during the windy months, kiteboarding. There is sometimes a party at the nearby Paradise Waterfall. Yet, it remains a relaxed and peaceful spot far from the excesses of Haad Rin and the Full Moon Party; similar in a way to Bophut that has plenty of great bars but doesn’t have any pick up bars.

Since Bophut has its own ferry pier, as well the nearby Big Buddha, it is easy to jump on a boat to either Thongsala or Haad Rin. From there it is a 30 minute taxi ride to Chaloklum. If you are spending a bit of time on the islands it is worth checking out both places.

For more information about the best things to do on Koh Phangan click on this link and it will take you through to It is by far the best review site dedicated to Koh Phangan.