TRIPPERS TIP: Hail a “Taxi” at Top Rock Bar

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By Benjamin Pratt | May 5, 2016

Top Rock Bar, Koh Phangan Thailand

The view into the horizon from the deck at Top Rock Bar. Koh Phangan, Thailand. Photo via my-kohphangan.com

Top Rock bar is situated in the southwestern part of Koh Phangan, Thailand, amongst the inimitable and unapologetically unique vibes of the island’s landscape. A bar literally at the top of it’s game, floating on a rock, 150 steps above ground level.

Tucked away from the gluttonous Full Moon Party antics of the Haad Rin rent-a-crowd, Top Rock Bar is a place for the more reserved but equally as weird. The long walk to the top, through a (semi) dense Thai forest and up man-made wooden stairs sets the mood. And at the top the path uncovers an enormous flat stone laid with an open deck and bar, rewarding your efforts with chill beats, the best panoramic views of the island and an enigmatic energy provided by the sloth-like fun-dispensers who run this hip joint.

Perched on the coast of Thailand’s most notorious island, Top Rock Bar wouldn’t be more than 25 metres x 15 metres. It’s relatively small, probably on purpose, so the place never gets too rowdy and remains an intimate environment to hang out with a friends watching the sunset, before moving onto bigger and wilder Phangan adventures.

The first time we were taken by a local; have a few beers, make a new connection and enjoy this sunset view I’d heard so much about. We stayed there all night, until the music stopped. It was a magic environment with reggae music ‘til late and free people passing “taxies” around ‘til the fat lady’s lungs burst.

I was there everyday after, or just about, staying only a few minutes away at Okay Bungalows. Some afternoons – well before sunset – my brother and I would be the only people there; puffing on a “taxi”, drinking beer and shooting slingshots with the laughing Thai staff into the surrounding rainforest. It was the perfect place to hang out for us – whether it was filling up with the sunset crowd or it was just us slothing around, watching ‘Old Pa’ smoke cigarettes in his hammock, attempting to communicate with us through inaudible strung-out Thai murmurs and wide smiles.

Top Rock Bar is a birds-nest for humans. “Taxies” set you back a moderate ฿200 (each) at the bar (it’s the same with Amsterdam Bar down the road) and beers are standard price (considering they have to carry the bottles up 150 stairs, they probably charge more, too), plus they’re hooked up with a small kitchen and do basic Thai meals at around ฿200. Sure, it ain’t anything as spiritually revitalising as the organic and vegan meals at Karma Kafé, but it’s still damn tasty after one or two “taxies”.

If you’re on the island I definitely advise you hit it up, at least once. It combines all the elements that could only exist in Koh Phangan and Thailand. Go early and sloth out shooting slingshots, or lounge in at sunset peering glaze-eyed into the horizon.

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