THAILAND – The Land of Smiles
Thais are often depicted as fun-loving, happy-go-lucky people. But they are also a proud and strong minded people with a fierce fighting spirit. They have struggled for centuries to retain their independence. Formerly known as Siam the country is now officially known as the Kingdom of Thailand (meaning the land of the free).
Thailand has never been colonised by a foreign power. It has been influenced by foreign cultures and has developed to become a thoroughly modernised country. And yet, Thailand retains its own unique blend of contemporary and traditional values and lifestyles. The ever-changing spirit of Thai culture remains dominant throughout the country.
Around 65 million people live in Thailand. Thai is their primary language, while English is considered the secondary language of the elite. Other ethnic and regional dialects can also be found. About 75% of Thai citizens are ethnic Thai. Chinese (14%) and various other ethnic groups (11%) make up the rest. Thailand is predominantly Buddhist (95% of the population). Residing mainly in Thailand's deep south, close to the Malaysian border, a significant minority (around 4%) follow Islam. Other religions including Christianity, Hinduism, and other beliefs are practiced by the remaining 1% of the population.
Koh Phangan - or Ko Pha Ngan - came from the word “Ngan” which means sand bar. The name was derived from the many sand bars that are visibly seen around the island during low tide season. This sand bars also serves as protector of the island from strong monsoon. Koh Phangan is a lush tropical island paradise in the Gulf of Thailand, boasting unspoiled white sand beaches, azure seas and an unsullied jungle interior.
Koh Phangan started as a back door escape from its larger sister Koh Samui, but is now blooming into an international destination for tourists and travellers around the world. Although very popular, the island has yet to become highly developed and retains much of its natural beauty. People here continue to live a peaceful rural Thai lifestyle. Coconut farming is an important source of income for the local people and there is a flourishing fishing community. There have been many changes caused by development, but Koh Phangan still has plenty of remote beaches and is surrounded by a beautiful coral reef. Coastal areas are lined with plantations of gently waving coconut palms, and the untouched rainforest houses a rich diversity of flora and fauna. About 8000 people live on Koh Phangan. Some are Chinese whose ancestors migrated from China over 100 years ago. The main population lives in Thongsala the main town of the island.
Things to do
At and around Horizon Muay Thai Camp there are plenty of things to do. There are 3 white sandy beaches all in walking distance, so plenty of opportunities to relax in the sun. In fact, you can jump directly into the sea from rocks below our restaurant. There are many movie nights offered at the various venues, with new and old movies. Or, after a day of training, you can also choose one of the many massages. A great way to give those sore muscles some time off! Or, when you really are looking for some mindfulness, try out the various meditation and or yoga workshops offered right next door to The Camp.
In the nearby small town of Haad Rin (a 10-minute boat ride away) you can find all necessary amenities: banks, a hospital, telephones, well-stocked pharmacy, general stores, dive shops and all the shopping and night clubs that you might wish for.
On days off from Muay Thai training you can also take day trips around the island during which you can visit some more of the islands outstanding beaches, see the local temples and Koh Phangan's biggest tree! Wind up at the main ferry port, Thongsala, for a Muay Thai match at a local Muay Thai fight night where you can cheer on Horizon's fighters if they are competing. Or how about a round island boat trip. Visit more stunning beaches, go snorkelling or fishing, and visit freshwater falls at a favourite bathing spot of Thailand's kings. And, ofcourse when you have the chance visit the famous as well notorious Full Moon Party!