Things to Do in Haad Rin that Don’t Involve Drinking
Everybody knows that Haad Rin is a great town for partying. Its reputation as a place to go a little bit crazy proceeds it. For those looking for something to do other than drink and stay up all night I have compiled this list of things to do in Haad Rin that doesn’t involve drinking.
Beach and Water Sports
As the crowds gather in Haad Rin just before the full moon there are often beach sport competitions to join. 4 days before the FMP there is a beach soccer competition. Teams consist of 7 players (5 play and 2 are reserves). You can enter as an individual or as a team. There is a small registration fee. The winners of the competition get medals and cash prizes. To enter email or telephone Heinz: firstname.lastname@example.org (+66 87 010 7692).
Running at the same time as the soccer competition is a volleyball tournament. This runs for 3 days and finishes with a floodlight night game. Teams of 2 take on each other following international beach volleyball rules. There is an entry fee and prize money for the winners. Again contact Heinz if you are interested.
You can rent kayaks from several of the beach front places. Be sure to use sunblock and take water.
Rent jet skis at your own risk. They ask for your passport as a damage deposit. I think you can see the problem.
There are a few good dive spots around the coast of Koh Phangan. Farther afield are Sail Rock (5 star rated PADI dive site), Chumporn Pinnacle and Ang Thong National Marine Park. You can see plenty of marine life including the world’s biggest fish – the whale shark. In Haad Rin there are Lotus Diving and Phangan Divers. There are also dive schools in Baan Tai and Thongsala.
Most dive schools have options for fun dives for licensed divers. The dive sites chosen will depend on season, visibility etc. They all run training courses in diving and most offer ‘discover scuba diving’ that allows unqualified students to experience diving in one day.
There is plenty of beach fun to be had in Haad Rin. The best beach is the longer sunrise beach (Haad Rin Nok). It has soft white sand and is wide enough to accommodate people playing games as well as those who just want to soak up the sun. In the shops in Haad Rin you can Frisbees as well as bat and ball kits.
The sea is great for swimming. From October to January the sea is often a little rough. Lots of people enjoy splashing in the waves. It is also possible to buy a cheap bodyboard and ride the waves back to the shore. The waves aren’t suitable for surfing.
Muay Thai is Thai kickboxing. It is the national sport and very popular on Koh Phangan. There are several schools in Haad Rin, Baan Tai and Thongsala where anyone can go for muay Thai lessons. Most of the schools have former champions to head up the coaching.
In Haad Rin there is Jungle Gym near Haad Rin pier. It has a very experienced staff and is the oldest gym on the island. You can take Muay Thai instruction or just enjoy a decent workout.
Haad Rin Arena
There is a small arena in Haad Rin. It is owned by the next door Coral Bungalows. They have 2 fight nights on the 2 nights leading up to the Full Moon Party. Ticket prices can be as low 150 THB a person.
The arena has food and drink. There are usually several bouts. The youngsters and the women start off the program. The final fight is the big match-up. By the end the crowd are normally cheering loudly as the contestants give it their all. To become a contestant you have to first prove yourself in one of the muay Thai gyms in Koh Phangan.
For those wanting exercise without violence there is yoga. Koh Phangan has long been a haven for the new agers. Jungle Gym has yoga lessons by instructors who are familiar in hatha as well as other types of yoga.
Hansa Beach Resort used to have a sunset yoga session around their pool. I am not sure if it is still running.
From the spiritual to the superficial. Those young females wanting cash and who rate their beach bodies can enter the annual bikini contest in Haad Rin. It is held between Christmas and New Year. In this liberated age it is surprising how popular this possibly sexist event is. I don’t know if transvestites and transgender people can compete.
Haad Rin might be the party centre of Thailand but it is still an over-grown village on a tropical island. The beauty of the area is there to be enjoyed. And it’s free. You can start off by following the main road to the end and turning right up the hill. This will put you on the 10 minute hike to Seekantang or Leela Beach.
The more challenging walk is to Haad Yuan. It takes between 1.5 and 2.5 hours depending on fitness levels. The first part of the jungle trek is up a steep hill. After that it gets easier and you get some wonderful views. The destination is the picturesque little beach of Haad Yuan. Here you will find boutique bungalows, a hippy atmosphere as well as new agers doing yoga at Blooming Lotus.
There is usually a longtail boat taxi in the bay waiting to take you back to Haad Rin for a few dollars.
There are plenty of things to do in Haad Rin for those able to get up. You don’t have to spend much money for many of the above suggestions.
If none of the above grabs your fancy there is always shopping in Haad Rin and Thongsala, or exploring the island on motorbikes. And if none of that appeals then go back to bed and await the next dance party.