CNN’s Bangkok-based Hunter Forgan did a thoughtful long-form piece on the economic and social prospects for my home island of Koh Phangan, Thailand this week. He and photographer Aidan Dockery stopped by my house for an extended afternoon feed. My dear Supansa Boonmatum whipped up a feast, which Hunter said was the best Thai meal he had had for weeks. Of course it was. 

Here is an excerpt, with my short quote. 


“There’s Far More to Koh Phangan than the party”
While a “same, same, but just slightly different” attitude appears to prevail (for now at least) in Haad Rin, Koh Phangan as a whole has witnessed a more nuanced evolution in recent times.
The party has, in the past, tended to define the entire island, with many regarding it as a feral wild child, especially in comparison with more polished Thai tourist destinations like Phuket or Koh Samui.
A blissed-out counter-culture-friendly vibe remains. But the island has broadened its appeal beyond backpackers to attract high net worth holidaymakers, families, yogis attracted by a vibrant wellness community centered on the village of Sri Thanu, digital entrepreneurs and Bangkokians seeking refuge from city life.
“The image of the island presented by the Full Moon Party is potent,” admits island-based author and writing coach Brian Gruber, one of the administrators of the Koh Phangan Conscious Community Facebook page, an online hub for island-relevant events, information and discussion with over 50,000 active members.
“But I think that the message that there’s far more to Koh Phangan than the party has been filtering through for a while.”
The economic pain caused by the pandemic has, of course, been acute for many people. But in some ways, Koh Phangan appears to be not just surviving but thriving.
Hunter promises to pick up my bar tab next time I am in Bangkok.