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Koh Phangan: These Are a Few of My Favorite Things!!!

Chaloklum

Welcome!!!

Welcome!!!

The village of Chaloklum is located in the north of the island, and is a sleepy, laid back fishing village. 4 of the scuba diving schools are based out of here and for most of the year the dive boats leave from this pier. There is really only the main island road and a short village road with shops and restaurants on either side. We have everything from delicious Thai food, great street food, delicious western food and even TWO Italian restaurants! While Srithanu is the yogi hang out, Thong Sala is the “city” and Haad Rin is the party, Chaloklum is that perfect in between with everything you need from quiet to party and an amazing group of locals and expats that make it feel like home!

we are a drinking village with a fishing problem…. so come over and join the fun

My Beautiful little village

My Beautiful little village

The World’s End International Cafe Bar and Restaurant

For the perfect morning coffee or a sumptuous sandwich for lunch… World’s End is the perfect spot. Situated in front of the pier you have an incredible view of the boats coming in and out and can watch the day to day life of a fishing village pass you by.
Run by Lotta for the last 6.5yrs it was originally opened in 2005 and is pretty much a landmark and meeting place for every expat in the village and indeed, the island. Lotte has lived on Koh Phangan for 13yrs, arriving here with her husband and working as a dive instructor. As it happens to so many of us, they came for a few months and never left, ultimately making the island their home.
Among all the incredible options on the menu such as huge baguettes with a wide range of fillings, to quiche, full English breakfast, oatmeal and fruit shakes to die for you will find the most popular item, the Eggs Benedict, truly something worth treating yourself with.
Another plus to the incredible little gem is the options for vegetarian, vegan and even gluten free, making sure there is something for everyone.

For those of you wanting to get married on the island, here is a little secret, Lotta makes the most delicious, stunning wedding cakes!!! So be sure to look her up!

If do one thing in Chaloklum be sure to visit The World’s End!

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AA Massage

This fantastic little gem is run by a wonderful Thai lady named “A”. She has had it for 3yrs and it is conveniently located behind the 7/11 on the curve of the “main” street of Chaloklum. She often has 1 or 2 helpers that are under her training and they all do a phenomenal job. 350baht (around $11 USD) for a 1 hour oil massage is my preference, I try go at least once a week. If you are looking for a great relaxing massage to help work out the kinks of travel, visit AA Massage!

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Genny’s aka Cucina Italiano

Genny’s is the ultimate treat while you are on the island and a place I always remember when I leave. Located right on the beach on the “main” road of Chaloklum, means you get to sip red wine while dining on homemade pizza or pasta made by Genny, a local legend! Watch as the tide comes in and on quiet nights you might get serenaded by Genny when he brings out his guitar… The food is amazing and the atmosphere is one of a kind. If for some reason it is full on the terrace, no worries, you can sit next door at Lost Dog and enjoy a drink while still ordering your food at Genny’s, ’cause this is how we roll on the island, relaxed and laid back!

Lost Dog

Located right next to Genny’s is another great stop, they make delicious burgers and have cold beer. Also a pool table for some fun in the evenings. You will find a lot of the local expats gathering here each night and they are always happy to welcome a newby… also if Genny’s is full, you can still order pizza while enjoying drinks and the sunset at Lost Dog

Holy Grill

Meat eaters rejoice!!! This is the place for you, but fear not they have veggies too for those of a more discerning palate. Holy Grill is run by the phenomenal couple, Hinch and Francis, they will welcome you to the Grill and make you feel at home. With the all you can eat BBQ buffet for 220baht, it makes me drool just thinking about it. Hinch’s master BBQ skills produce varieties of chicken, beef, pork ribs (my favorite), fish, veggies (another favorite), add to that bread, salads of all varieties and an apple if you wish. It is well worth the price and definitely worth the atmostphere.

On top of that Hinch and Francis are amazing for other reasons, they provide many BBQ’s for fundraising, just recently it was for the Scuba Drivers bid to save Sail Rock (our prized diving site) and before that an awesome event to raise money for our local humane society, PAC.

A definite itinerary stop where ever you are on the island.

Indy Kitchen / Chaloklum Travel

Needing to book a bus ticket and a little peckish at the same time… well have no fear, Bea and Go have you covered at Indy Kitchen and Chaloklum Travel. Located near AA massage on the “Main” road of Chaloklum. This family run business right out of there home makes you feel welcome and part of the family, especially when the kids are around. Bea and Go have to be 2 of the most amazing people in the village, Bea’s cooking is outstanding (I recommend the crispy pork on fried rice) and both of them are experts on anything travel related within Thailand. I take all my friends and couchsurfers to see them. They are honest and clear and don’t try and make you buy the most expensive choice. Truly wonderful people, with the cutest kids!!! Oh and Bea bakes delicious yummies…..

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North Beach

For the best sunset drink you need to follow the dirt beach road passed 7/11 to the end and there you will find North Beach, a great spot for an afternoon drink while watching the sunset.

Photo by Sarah Train

Photo by Sarah Train


For the best

Crow Bar

On the way out of Chaloklum on the road to Tong Sala you will see the sign for the Crow Bar, run by a wonderful couple Chris (Estonia) and A (Thailand), it is often the home away from home for many of us. Warning this is not a ONE DRINK bar!!! Most of us only leave in the wee hours of the morning and if you are too inebriated to drive you can always crash the chairs until you sober up. Thursday have phenomenal live music and if A is cooking you are assured of an incredible meal! Just be careful when someone convinces you to “squeeze the chicken” as there are consequences… It is the Thai version of the Cheers pub, where everyone knows your name.

Mae Haad

Just outside of Chaloklum is a beautiful beach with a little island attached by a sandy strip. Mae Haad beach is a stunning place and one of the best places to go snorkeling, they even saw a whale shark there once. White sand, lots of coral, and massages right on the beach.
Here is a little clip of something exciting I saw while snorkeling :

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2015 in Thailand, Travel

 

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Gelato and The Sistine Chapel

References

Still feeling exceptionally jetlagged and exhausted, of course waiting for the boyfriend to come online at 2am in the morning is not helping.. I decided to give the Vatican another go. There was just too much to see and Kate and Svet insisted I bite the bullet and pay to see the museum and Michaelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel.

While checking my emails I went to the couchsurfing site to leave a positive reference for Alfonso. I discovered that he had 2 negative references from girls who “Upon arrival found that the sleeping arrangements were not what I expected and so was forced to sleep in the bed with him”. Seriously???? Unless there was a gun to your head, the floor is perfectly comfortable as an alternative or a hostel. Alfonso is very Italian in every way, so if you agree to sleep in his bed…. I wrote that certain misunderstandings could occur but to take culture into the equation and that Alfonso was a perfect gentleman (once I realised he was moving my hand because of his ribs) and a fantastic tour guide. But it was rather amusing to read that after the fact.

There Appears to be a Tour Group or 50

Kate and I had our morning cappuccino and pastry, seriously I would live here just for this morning tradition, and then I headed back to the Vatican and Kate to work.

As I walked up to the Vatican I was gobsmacked at the number of people. I thought yesterday had hundreds, I think today had thousands. The lines waiting to go through the metal detectors were all the way out of St. Peter’s Piazzo.

Half the Line

I walked around the other side thinking to go to the bookstore and gift center and possibly slip in the back way. I picked up a postcard of the Sistine Chapel, as there was no photography, and mailed it to my folks.

The bookstore was near the exit for folks who had just toured the church. I casually made my way over there to, check out the changing of the colorful guards of course.

I glanced around, as if looking for someone, and headed towards the bottom of the steps. At precisely the same time one of the security guards, just as casually decided to side step in my line of direction, barely making any eye contact, so continuing the aim of being casual I casually turned around and headed out the exit. Ah well it was worth a try.

Gelato and Music

I decided to take a break from the milling of tourists and looked for a place to get gelato icecream. I had been in Italy for 3 days and still had not savored the deliciousness of this delicacy. Popping into curio shops as I went I finally found a place with a nice outdoor area. I was allowed to get the child’s size with 2 flavors, choosing classic chocolate and vanilla, figuring you can’t go wrong with a classic. Except for the occasional ice chunk, it was divine and the perfect break.

Mmmmm Gelato

Mid way through my icecream we were entertained by a gentleman playing fabulous violin music. It doesn’t get much better than that.

Vatican Museum

Once I had prevented myself from licking out the gelato bowl and paid, I headed towards the Vatican Museum, I figured even if it cost 20 euros at least I could say I had seen the Sistine Chapel by Michaelangelo.

It turned out to only cost 15 euro, so that made my pocket book feel better. As I passed through, thinking to myself that at least most of the tourists are at the Vatican and not come to the museum yet, I was amazed at the beautiful artwork.

Entry Had Great Display on Boats from World Cultures


All These Roofs Hurt Your Neck


Stunning


Some VERY Nice Statues


Possible Muse for Modern Alien Movies??


This is Painted in 2D, Believe it or Not


My Favorite the Hall Of Maps

Then I turned the corner and discovered that while half the tourists in the world were indeed at the Vatican, the other half were at the Vatican Museum. Being 5ft/1.5m tall meant I was at armpit height and not able to see over anyone. We were literally shuffled and herded like cattle and there was no time to stop and take pics or to double back for another look. About the only good aspect of this shuffle and glance was that occasionally you would find yourself amongst an English Tour and could pick up on things the guide was saying. It was funny watching them when they realised you were most likely using their knowledge without paying and suddenly they would pull their group over to explain something in more detail. Not wanting to prove them right, I would continue aimlessly following the crowd, slowing when I came side by side with another tour group.

Am NOT Tall Enough For This Many People

The Sistine Chapel

The museum was huge and was set in a way that led you from one style of art to another and all the while showing signs that promised the Sistine Chapel was just round the next corner. Eventually, about 20 corners later, we entered a smallish hushed room with a low, all be it pretty roof. The guards were very sternly shushing everyone and glaring at folks who even dared to raise their camera with the notion of taking a picture. There was a bench running around the edge, of course chock a block full, but I managed to squeeze into a corner just off it. After being herded through 2 hrs of art I needed to sit. I sat for about 30 seconds before I was promptly and very sternly told to stand. Wonder if they have special training for this….

I must admit, it was a very pretty ceiling with some lovely pictures, but I was rather underwhelmed. Could it be all the years of seeing pictures of the one main panel of God’s finger reaching out and imaging this huge painting on a grandiose ceiling??? Or perhaps spending over 2 hrs shuffled from room to room at armpit height with no idea of where or what was going on, as awe inspiring as the art was of course. I don’t know, but either way I was too exhausted to stand and stair up at a rather pretty roof and decided to find a place to nap. At least I can say “been there , seen that!”

Making my way through the masses I found a spot in a courtyard and promptly passed out for almost an hour. Who ever thought visiting an art museum could be so taxing. After recovering I explored, a far less populated, ethnological exhibit about world cultures, filled my water bottle and left. Heading out you go down a phenomenal spiral staircase or stair slope maybe.

Glad I went to see the pretty roof, but never going again unless there is a private tour of 1, namely me! Well ok I would go again even with other tourists but with enough room to breathe…

Lovely View To Wake Up To

Lunch!!

I wandered around looking for something to eat and finally spotted a little cafe deli like place down an alley. I think it was the old smiley guy ushering me inside that sold me. I chose a brocoli and sausage pizza and a dough stuffed with spinach. It was a little greasy, isn’t everything in Italy 😉 , but delicious.

An American family came in and looked very confused at how to order, and since there was a SEVERE language barrier I gave them a run down. It is actually quite cool when you go into these little places as you can buy pizza by weight, you decide on how big or small and then they weigh it. Very clever if I must say so myself. To the family I said “just point and reference size, they will get it”.

Since it was too early to go home I went looking for stamps and wandered round a bit. Sometime near 4pm the wall of exhaustion was fast approaching. Luckily Svet had texted me to say that his roommate was home so I could just head back.

His roommate had just got back from visiting his mom on the coast and was very happy to share some home made lemon cake she had sent back with him. It was divine and I enjoyed my piece just in time before passing out for a nap.

Last Meal

I had managed to get hold of Nicola and set up plans for dinner as I was not sure if I would see him again before leaving. We met around 9.30pm and headed downtown. I am still not used to this idea of only going out at that time, when I am at home that’s when I am in my jammies with a cup of tea.

Finding parking is always a struggle and occasionally people get creative.

I Guess if it Fits???

It was a glorious night and we walked along the river as Nicola told Kate and I some of the history. Then we found a piazzo and ordered 2 pizzas and beer. If there was pizza heaven I think I was in it. They were divine. My favorite being the simple baby tomatoes and buffalo mozzarella. In fact I think I can safely say that pizza was damn near orgasmic!

Heaven on a Pizza Crust


Good Friends, Pizza and Beer!


Downright Orgasmic

Heading back to the car we met some people who took a couple of pics, then there was a bemusing interaction with the photographer, who spoke no English, indicating he needed a pic with me too. I love meeting people!



Our Mystery Photographer

Simply a superb day!

 
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Posted by on September 26, 2012 in Italy, Travel

 

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