Things have indeed moved on since the first hippies discovered the tucked away beaches of Thong Nai Pan Noi and Thong Nai Pan Yai. The area seems to have by-passed the phase of being over-run with Israelis clutching their army pay and gone straight into the mainstream of tourism.
The latest tours by Saga include Siam Island Adventure. It is an 11 night tour that costs £1,549. For the same money I could travel around South America for 3 months. Nevertheless, for those who don't want to think about buying tickets or finding places to stay the package tour will always remain popular. The Japanese who fear that all the world is dangerous bar for their ugly city or town where they live, the guided tour is the norm when going abroad.
The 'Siam Adventure Tour' starts in Bangkok and takes in Hua Hin and Chumphon before hitting Koh Phangan. Tourists are treated to 2 nights at Havana Beach Resort in Thong Nai Pan Yai before visiting Than Sadet and then moving on to Koh Samui.
What is interesting about the Saga holiday to Koh Phangan is that it chose Thong Nai Pan rather than Haad Rin, Haad Yao or Ban Tai as its beach location. This is confirmation perhaps that Thong Nai Pan is the best beach on the island. It is also intersting to note that the price of £1,549 is not enough to stay at the better resorts of Santhiya, Panviman or Rasananda. In a way I'm pleased as I like the owners of Havana.
However, if you are reading this and you are thinking of going to Koh Phangan for the first time, then unless you are old don't waste your money with Saga. Thailand is one of the safest places to travel in the world. Why not make your own way down to Koh Phangan from Bangkok and why not give some of your money to the local businesses along the way instead of giving it to corporate entities in First World countries?