Sarana Bungalows – Koh Phangan | The Top Ten

Planning your stay on Koh Phangan?

Stunning views from our beachfront bungalow, Koh Phangan

If you’re contemplating where to stay on the island, here’s why you should check out Sarana Bungalows to kick back and enjoy some of the best vibes in paradise!

Use this handy navigation list to jump to any section!

  1. Beautiful Bungalows
  2. Beach, Ocean & Infinity Pool
  3. Food & Drink
  4. Scooter Hire & Transport
  5. Things To Do
  6. Social Life
  7. Sustainability & #SmallChange
  8. Massage
  9. Yoga
  10. Sunset Views

Please note that Sarana Bungalows is Adults Only accommodation.
Although some of this stay was complimentary, all views and opinions are genuine and my own.

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Beautiful Bungalows

We had the joy of staying in one of the 4-bed beachfront bungalows. Our room had a lovely dock with a hammock, floor cushions and a perfect view across the water to Koh Samui. At night, it was a marvel to watch all the lights twinkling beautifully on our neighbouring island.

Sarana offer a variety of rooms to suit a range of budgets – twins, triples, quads and a dorm room – and they’re more than happy to accommodate groups!

Idyllic picture of our room at Sarana Bungalows

Conveniently, when you arrive and check in, you are assigned a tab number. This comes in super handy during your stay at Sarana Bungalows – all of your food, drinks, taxis, and more can be assigned to your tab and you can pay the bill at the end, using cash or card. If you are like me and want to track what you’re spending, just pop into the reception and they’ll let you know what your tab’s sitting at!


Beach, Ocean & Infinity Pool

Not only is there an idyllic beach right on your doorstep, but it leads you directly into the sea! No more wandering around with sand in places it doesn’t belong – you can get yourself back to your room, shower and be sitting with a cocktail in hand mere minutes after your dip in the ocean!

Game for some beach volleyball at Sarana Bungalows?

There’s a tree-swing, a beach volleyball court and I spotted some folks kite-surfing that I’m sure it would be easy to arrange – just have a word at reception to find out more!

Beach volleyball on the edge of the ocean.
Picture from Sarana Bungalows Facebook Page

Perhaps the sea isn’t always your thing?

No fear – there’s a stunning swimming pool with sun loungers all around for you to cool off and relax to your heart’s content.


Food & Drink

The Veggie Delight at Sarana Bungalows – 160thb

There’s a fantastic menu to choose from, at super reasonable prices! With plenty of vegetarian options of both Western & Thai food, cocktails, smoothies and drinks promos to die for – there’s something for everyone to enjoy at any time of day!

Check out my Instagram for a world of scuba diving and travel related beauties!

Dive Into Travelling Instagram Post about Smoothie Bowls at Sarana Bungalows

Scooter Hire & Transport

It’s super easy to get hooked up with a scooter at Sarana Bungalows. Simply jump into reception from 9am – 6pm for a scooter to be delivered a few minutes later. It’s 250thb for a 24 hour hire and there may be discounts for longer rental periods.

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If you prefer to take a taxi, just ask at reception and they will happily book one for you. It’s 100thb per person for a ride to most places on the island and they’ll let you know otherwise. Bear this in mind if you’re grabbing a taxi from the ferry – they might try to charge you more!


Things To Do

The folks at Sarana Bungalows are so helpful and there are a million and one leaflets on things to do around the island at reception, along with an amazing wall map guide! From scuba diving to full-moon parties, beaches to bars and restaurants, they’ve got you covered.

Weekly Activities Board at Sarana Bungalows

They also host a bunch of fun on-site activities for you to get involved in so be sure to check their weekly chalk-board for updates!

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Social Life

Sarana Bungalows is the kind of place that you can find your own space, peace and quiet when you want it. It’s also the type of place that facilitates friendships with ease. There’s a shared dining area where you’re sure to meet people from all over the world. There are lounging spots, a yoga temple and pool area where folks like to chill out – and don’t forget the beach, sea, and volleyball area!

Having a great time in the Sarana Bungalows infinity pool!

In the evening, there are often group tours heading out to the bars and clubs and, once you’ve found some friends, it’s almost too easy to join in! Koh-Phangan is renowned for its full- and half-moon parties and the team at Sarana really know how to do it in style.


Sustainability & #SmallChange

Sarana Bungalows really do care about the environment – and they encourage you to do the same! From bamboo straws to reusable wash bags, they’ve done their best to find sustainable solutions for everyday needs.

They’re also active beach-cleaning angels! Check out my guide to beach, land and reef cleaning and see how easy it is to play your part in changing our world for the better!

Sarana Bungalows Instagram post about their beach clean!

Into the bargain, there are free water refills near the bar, so remember to bring your reusable bottles. If you forget, don’t fret! They’ve got metal 1 litre bottles for sale at reception along with sustainable tote bags, bamboo toothbrushes and other wonderful, world-changing goodies!


Massage

Sarana Bungalows Instagram post about their massage services.

With 2 beautiful, beachfront massage huts, you’d be crazy to miss out! There’s nothing quite like getting a full body massage with the sound of the waves beside you, a cool breeze rolling by.

Sarana Bungalows skilled masseuses at work

Just think – that could be you!


Yoga

As if Sarana Bungalows wasn’t zen enough, they even host regular classes in the yoga temple, surrounded by lush greenery. Yoga mats and face towels are provided to make life super easy.

Yoga class in the Sarana Bungalows yoga temple

Our class was led by Instructor Elena, a true goddess at work!

Sarana Bungalows Yoga Instructor Elena’s Instagram Profile

Please don’t worry if you’ve never done yoga before – the classes are tailored to all levels and you should always be gentle with yourself. Remember to breathe, relax, and enjoy!


Sunset Views

What island paradise would be complete without breathtaking sunset views?

Sarana Bungalows Instagram post about their incredible sunset!

Sarana Bungalows offers these in abundance, but no matter how great these photos are, you’ve really got to experience a sunset like this with your own eyes!

Sunset over Sarana Bungalows

Sarana Bungalows is just the same – this haven on Koh Phangan needs to be seen to be truly appreciated.

Sunset at Sarana Bungalows

If you’re interested in booking a stay at Sarana Bungalows, drop them a message on their Facebook page or get in touch with me right here.

I hope you’ve enjoyed reading top ten reasons to stay at Sarana Bungalows. If you agree, please share this post, like my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram. Your support is hugely appreciated – thank you!

Benefits of Diving | The Top Ten

What’s so great about scuba diving?

Happy Jen and Hazal!

Here are my Top Ten reasons why scuba diving is one of the best things you can do for yourself – and for our planet!

Use this handy navigation list to jump to any section!

  1. Learn a new skill
  2. Travel to new places
  3. Boldly go where few have gone before
  4. Find space and calm
  5. Be at one with nature and life on earth
  6. Meet new people
  7. Improve your mental health
  8. See exotic wildlife
  9. Do more of what you love
  10. Conserve our precious ocean & planet

Learn a new skill

There’s something to be said for broadening your horizons and learning something new! A sense of accomplishment is up there with one of the most basic human needs and, with scuba, you can be sure to find endless opportunities to develop! From starting out by earning your Open Water Certification, to taking it all the way to Technical diving and diver specialties, the road to expanding your knowledge is bountiful.


Travel to new places

Whilst travelling to tropical locations to spend time in the sun, sea and sand is at the top of a lot of people’s agendas, you don’t have to draw the line there. Scuba diving can be conducted almost anywhere that you find water! From the ice caves of the Arctic to abandoned inland quarries, lakes and rivers, there are innumerable places to explore to seek out new underwater adventures. There might even be diving right on your doorstep – metaphorically speaking…

…Unless you happen to live here:

Gorgeous beach shack in the Dominican Republic

Boldly go where few have gone before

Although there are globally renowned dive sites which host thousands of divers every year, the world is full of unexplored terrain – both over and underwater! As a certified diver, you are at liberty to take a buddy and adventure forth into the unknown. Map new dive sites, search for wrecks, perhaps you’ll even discover a rare or undocumented marine species!

Secluded beach in Indonesia

It’s also important to recognise the privilege of this experience. We may have evolved from water dwellers millions of years ago, but the ability to explore the source of life on our planet is a beautiful gift recently bestowed to us. Take this opportunity to delve into the unique and undiscovered blue that represents 71% of our earth’s surface and find yourself at one with our planet and it’s aquatic origins. You’ll be one of a very lucky few.


Find space and calm

The water is a vast entity with depths we can only imagine. It is a sacred space, and you can feel it. It holds you like a full body hug and guides you into a state of mindful meditation. Scuba diving is not swimming – the aim is to expend as little energy as possible for the most rewarding experience.

Upon entering the water, it’s not silent as you might imagine. It’s bustling with pops, crunches and squeaks from aquatic life. The melodic rhythm of your breathing accompanies you on every journey, becoming your own meditative metronome. Your heart rate slows as you enter a space of relaxation, where tranquility washes over the body and mind. For about 60 minutes, you are at peace – living absolutely in the moment – and that is truly priceless.


Be at one with nature and life on earth

Like a stroll along a beach, a walk in the park or a mountain trek, a dive in the ocean brings you closer to the elements! Where the earth’s jungles have monkeys, exotic birds and insects, the ocean have sharks, dolphins, whales, tropical fish, eels, rays, turtles, crustaceans and so much more. Just as there are fields of wildflowers on land, there are beds of stunning varieties of coral, bearing their beautiful shapes, colours and sizes for our eyes to feast on.

They say that time spent in nature is the best medicine, and I couldn’t agree more.


Meet new people

Who needs tinder when you’re on a dive boat?! Jokes aside, it’s a fabulous way to meet people from all over the world and many walks of life. Life-long friends can be found in the dive community. Travellers, holiday makers, marine enthusiasts, environmental agents, thrill seekers, and passionate dive professionals are just a handful of the types of people that board the dive boat every day. No matter who we are or where we come from, we are all part of one big family!

Your dive boat buddies are among some of the best friends you’ll find.

Improve your mental health

This has been a major part of my personal journey and I genuinely can’t advocate for it enough. Like some type of miracle potion, scuba diving has opened my eyes to the wonder and value of all life, including my own. I’m at peace every time I enter the water, living in the moment, allowing my senses to carry me on a voyage of gratitude for who and where I am on this planet.

Happy Jen

Scuba:

  • Demands that I slow down
  • Invites me to be grateful
  • Values forward planning and problem solving
  • Encourages me to remain calm in times of difficulty
  • Reminds me to breathe and take responsibility
  • Stimulates my mind with the wonders of our world

See exotic wildlife

Glide alongside the majestic Hawksbill Turtle. Dance with Bottlenose Dolphins and seek out the meandering Moray Eel. Hover in awe of a gentle giant, the Whale Shark. Swim with hundreds of species of fish in a single dive. Observe the miniature Nudibranchs that require a keen eye to spot. Study the symbiotic relationship between the Gobi and the Shrimp. Avoid the Titan Triggerfish… (who are big softies, really).

And that’s just the beginning.

I love all the fish in the ocean (except triggerfish!)

Coral is an outstanding animal and an essential contributor to our marine ecosystems and planetary survival. It acts as a nursery for thousands of species to nest their eggs, providing shelter for their early stages of development. It provides food sources for all sorts of life-forms, including parrotfish, who create sand as a byproduct!


Do more of what you love

Scuba provides an excellent platform for you to build on hobbies that you already love! Perhaps you’re an avid photographer or videographer? Maybe you have a home aquarium or are interested in plant propagation? If you’re into sustainability and environmental protection, then there is so much scope for you to pursue and develop these interests in the world of diving!

Underwater filming and photography is great fun!

Conserve our precious ocean & planet

Although this may be the last item on my list, it’s definitely not least. This is possibly the most prevalent of all benefits of scuba diving.

We are visitors to the largest ecosystem on our planet and it’s only right that we do everything in our power to protect it. It’s our duty to give back to nature, or more aptly, take away all the things we’ve put there that do not belong.

Every dive is a fun dive but, more importantly, every dive is an Eco Dive. We are ocean ambassadors and the effort to remove bags, cans, plastic bottles, lighters, indeed, anything that doesn’t belong in the ocean should be at the top of our to do list.

The most important rule of diving is to never hold your breath. Alongside that, I’d say never hold anything. The creatures of the ocean, big or small, strange or familiar, friend or foe are not to be touched. There are surfactants on the skin of marine animals which are there to protect them from harmful and foreign bacteria. If we touch anything – even with gloves on – we risk exposing them and compromising their immune systems.

The only things we should touch or remove on a dive, are the man-made waste products that shouldn’t be in the water in the first place.


I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my top ten benefits of scuba diving! If you did, please share this post, like my Facebook page and follow me on Instagram. Your support is hugely appreciated – thank you!

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First days on Koh Tao | The Top Ten

Hey guys!

Finally getting round to updating you on what’s been happening on Koh Tao, in the gulf of Thailand! I’ve packed a lot into my time here already so I’m going to keep it concise is with The Top Ten. I hope you enjoy!


1. Simple Life Divers

Some of our simple life family from
September 2019

Simple – without a doubt – hits the top spot. This is the dive school and centre which has supported me through my Emergency First Response (EFR), Rescue and Divemaster Training courses (so far). They’re professional, friendly and extremely helpful – I couldn’t recommend them more. Do you want to discover scuba diving? If you have any questions, please get in touch right here.

2. Yang’s Restaurant

Woop woop! I don’t know where I would be without Yang’s! These guys have fed and watered not just me, but all of my colleagues from pretty much the moment we set foot on the island. A bit of an institution; the portion sizes are generous and prices are cheap. With Thai, Western and pan-Asian options, it’s my all-round winner for anybody looking for good food on a budget.

3. Koh Tao For Sale

A Facebook group has been set up with island hoppers in mind, and I love it for the sustainability aspect. Pretty much everything can be saved from landfill – I actually bought peanut butter, pesto and a half bottle of shampoo for way less than they cost in the shops. From clothes to scooters, home-furnishings to dive kits and accessories, you can pick up literally anything under the sun from your neighbours on Koh Tao.

4. Zest Cafe

The veggie breakfast comes with a glass of fresh fruit juice and a tea or coffee – 150thb

What a find! Zest is a reasonably priced coffee shop and sandwich bar with a wonderful selection of vegan/veggie/gluten free options and a high standard for every dish. Paninis, bagels, baguettes and fresh salads are just a few of the options available on their extensive menu. I’m loyal to their little cafe on the Up Road in Mae Haad, but I’ll be sure to check out the larger venue at the bottom of Sairee ASAP.

5. Koh Tao Cinema

Koh Tao Cinema is located in The Hacienda – right beside the crazy golf course, pool tables and sports bar. This dinky little room hosts a projector and eight large sofas. One cinema ticket is 50thb, but you can then use it towards buying a drink or food at the bar. The cinema shows a variety of films from new releases to kids shows, advertised on a daily basis via their Facebook page. If there is something specific you want to see, you can message them directly. So far, they’ve presented The Big Lebowski and a private screening of Chasing Coral – for folks at Simple Life – at my request!

6. Shakes

Coconut shakes from Bambam restaurant in Mae Haad – 50thb each

Available everywhere on Koh Tao, a shake a day keeps the hunger away. Available in a wide variety of flavours and freshly made, they’re ideal to cool down and energise between meals. There are fruit smoothies, milkshakes, lassies (blended with yoghurt) and iced coffees to choose from. I’m particularly fond of banana and peanut, though the coconut shakes are great for re-hydrating and also super tasty! Just let them know if you want a little less sugar in yours – they’re automatically made with a generous amount.

7. The Queen’s Cabaret

The costumes, jewellery, makeup and hair are absolutely incredible

A right of passage in Thailand, the ladyboy cabaret show is a must see, more than once! On Koh Tao the show starts every night at 10.20pm at the far end of Sairee. There is no ticket price to enter but you do have to buy at least one drink in the venue. Soft drinks start at 150thb and alcoholic drinks are around 250thb, which contributes to the cost of the show. Dancing, singing and acting are a big part of the performance, with a little bit of audience participation thrown in. Guaranteed to make everyone smile!

8. Pancakes

Pong and his pancakes – located outside the 7-11 at the top of the Up Road

A bit of an obsession of mine… There are portable pancake vendors dotted all over the island. Quite like crepes, with savoury or sweet varieties, there are any number of fillings available to satisfy your on-the-spot craving. I’m a huge fan of the banana and nutella one, topped with a drizzle of condensed milk which takes it to a whole other level of delicious.

9. Electrolytes

Electrolyte sachets are available for 8 – 10thb individually or buy a box of 50, bringing them down to about 4thb a piece

Hail hail electrolytes! The tap water on Koh Tao is not safe for drinking, so it’s bottled water all round. You can order large vats of water to be delivered to your home, or buy bottles at shops around the island… But it’s important to know that all of this water is straight H2O. The treatment process removes everything, including the salts, sugars, and minerals which contribute to healthy body and brain functions. Queue ELECTROLYTES! Returning many of the necessary nutrients to the water, these sachets of dissolvable goodness promote focus and keep light-headedness at bay.

10. La Pizzeria

The margherita pizza – 170thb & the funghi – 200thb

I know pizza is a big thing all over the world, so I didn’t think I would struggle to find some. I did, however, expect to struggle to find good pizza. Coming from Glasgow and our incredible Paesano pizzerias, I have high standards which are hard to meet. La Pizzeria makes a strong effort. With a huge variety of toppings, calzones and delicious starters, the authentic Italian sourced ingredients and the best garlic mayo out are just a few reasons why I love this place. They also deliver on the island if you message their Facebook page, and if you collect 10 pizza box vouchers you get a free margherita, or 170thb off a pizza of your choice. Brilliant – more pizza!


Well that just about sums up my top ten stand out experiences of Koh Tao so far! Look out for the upcoming posts which go into a bit more detail about each of these features. If you have any questions about diving, Koh Tao, travel, or anything else, please drop me a message on my contact page, I would love to hear from you!


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