You are only granted a 30-day visa upon landing by flight into Thailand. If you plan on travelling though Thailand before or after your retreat we advise our students to obtain a Two-Month tourist visa from your local Thai Consulate in your home country. If you intend to stay even longer you can extend this two-month visa by 30 days on Koh Samui. If you intend to stay even longer, you can obtain another two- month visa by making a trip to Penang, Malaysia or cross one of Thailand’s borders.
When filling out your Thai visa application form, you can put Bamboo Huts, Koh Phangan, Thailand for your guarantor/and or place to stay in Thailand. When you apply for a 2 month tourist visa state on your application form that you are visiting as a tourist. It is best not to mention that you’re doing a Yoga Retreat here, otherwise you will have to apply for a special visa that is difficult to obtain and involves so much paperwork and each Thai embassy has their own right to reject your application form if they don’t feel you have the exact paperwork that they see fit!!!
Money, communications, language
The local currency is the Thai Baht and it is the only currency that is accepted in Haad Yuan, and the rest of the local bays here. There are no ATM’s, or ability to use visa or traveler’s cheques here, so each person should get whatever money they need in Thai baht beforehand (for example at the airport or Had Rin) for the entire length of the yoga retreat. You may store your cash safely, in the safety deposit at Bamboo Huts or wherever you are staying for the duration of your stay.
Of course it is both easy and possible to take a 5-10 min boat taxi to Haad Rin to take out money, but it does involve more time and money to do this exchange. In the bay area of Haad Yuan and Haad Thien, many of the places often run a tab, of which you can pay off at the end of your visit- for any extra stuff you may want to purchase during your time here.
You can exchange cash, traveler’s cheques, and use your debit card and visa in Had Rin through ATM’s, exchange centers, and banks or in Bangkok- I would recommend getting whatever you need for the time you are here in terms of Thai baht in Bangkok or Haad Rin.
The temperature on Koh Phangan tends to remain fairly constant and warm year round and are characterised by bright shining sun and clear blue skies, though there can be some rain year-round.
Southern Thailand has 2 seasons: wet and dry. The wettest month tends to be in November, although depending on the monsoon. December can be quite wet as well. The dry and hot season tends to be from April – May.
The most touristy times of year tend to be December, January, February, and August, while the low-seasons of September and October are the best kept secret and perfect time for a more quiet beach holiday, with sunny blue skies and calm seas.
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There is internet and WIFI in Haad Yuan at Big Blue, Pariya Resorts, & Bamboo huts, and in Had Thien at the Sanctuary Resort. The nearest post office is in Haad Rin (the internet is also readily available there). You can make calls on Skype via the internet, at Big Blue Resort in Haad Yuan, or at the Sanctuary in Haad Thien. Also you can call with a phone card at a local telephone booth, from your cell phone or from the travel agents or internet stores in Haad Rin.
The local language is Thai, and although most people speak English, and Burmese, the Thais love it when we try and greet them in their own language.
For any shots and vaccines, you can consult your local travel clinic to see what they suggest. It is really up to the individual for what they choose and what they feel comfortable with.
There is no need to bring iodine tablets or purification liquids, the water is safe to drink in Thailand. However, the bottled water is even better and is sold everywhere. You can refill your bottle with purified water at Bamboo Huts and other Resorts.
The nearest medical facilities are located in Haad Rin, a 10 minutes boat ride away. There you will find a few medical facilities and pharmacies/chemists. A larger state hospital is located in Thong Sala although if you need further medical treatment we would recommend going to Koh Samui, our neighbour island which hosts a few excellent medical facilities including several large hospitals.
We highly recommend that you purchase an international travel insurance for your trip.
Massage / Beauty
Included in your package is one massage with Pam (below Bamboo Huts) who offers awesome Thai and Oil Massage for 300 baht/hour.
The Sanctuary Resort has a spa offering massage, waxing, manicures/pedicures, and facials. In low season they often have daily “half off” discounts. Check with The Sanctuary for more details.
Thai Massage can also be found at Stone Bar (Haad Yuan), Barcelona (far end of Haad Yuan beach), Nok at Lovelip (behind the Sanctuary in Haad Thien), and the Thai Massage Mammas (far end of Haad Thien beach).
Big Blue. We affectionately refer to this as the Big Blue Mall as it has all the basics; toiletries, medicines, hangers, coffee, snacks, clothes and inflatable water toys to name some.
The Sanctuary offers some clothing items, natural beauty products and other gift items.
You can drop your laundry at Bamboo reception. They charge 60baht/kg.
Tea Temple @ the Sanctuary
Join the Free Talk Sunday at 3pm to hear about current offerings from international healers and therapists. Check the chalkboards for updated info on movie screenings and events outside the restaurant or besides the Tea Temple.
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