Who fancies some exercise?
On 28 February Go Adventures Asia, an event planner that specializes in organizing races, triathlons etc across SE Asia is holding Koh Chang’s first adventure race the ‘Ultra & Trail Unseen Koh Chang 2015‘ . There are three events – 13Km, 35Km and 66Km. The event will take place in the southeast of the island on routes laid out around the Salakphet area. This is a quiet area, very little traffic plus plenty of dirt roads . For the 35Km & 66Km you’ll obviously need to be pretty fit. The 35Km also includes a stretch through the jungle which looks interesting to say the least.
I signed up for the 13K race, as it seemed a good idea at the time. I don’t run now and my last competitive attempt at running was the annual Ingleton Middle School cross country around 34 years ago. I came 5th. Not bad, although it helped that all the best runners took a wrong turning, and ended up hopelessly lost. I’ll be hoping for something similar to happen this time. In accordance with advice I’ve received from experts, I’m keeping a training log and am taking notes of my times and distances run. End of Week 1 and both columns read ‘Zero’ . But, I’ve got 3 months to go, how hard can it be for a middle aged bloke to do 13Km in 35C heat on rough, hilly tracks?
This week’s mini-adventure took me to Klong Nonsi Waterfall on the east coast. It’s a small waterfall that has had a high “Meh” quotient for me in the past. I can take it or leave it. If there’s water in it it’s a pleasant but unexceptional spot, if not then it’s a dry riverbed. However, all that has now changed. Firstly there’s anew dirt road that leads to the start of the trail by the river. S no need to pay 10 Baht to park outside a local’s house and walk though their fruit farm. Secondly, and far more interestingly, a narrow trail has been cut to allow access to the hitherto unseen third level – which is a beautiful little waterfall.
Klong Nonsi was developed for tourists years ago, you can see the old steps by the side of the river in places and small dams were built at the second and third levels. So at some time in the past access to the third level was possible. However, this hadn’t been possible in the 10 years since I’ve been going there.
Of course, it’s not easy to get to the third level. The path is a barely visible trail that leads up a steep ( 45 degree + ) slope. You’ll have to use your hands to grab roots and vines in some places. Once up the slope the trail meanders through undergrowth for 50 metres or so before you come to the descent to the waterfall. Septembers flash floods caused a lot of landslides and one of them took out the path down to the waterfall. So you need to scramble down loose soil and tree roots the best you can. Not too hard but easy to slide down if you aren’t careful. Once at the bottom you can have a swim or turn right and walk down the river to the top of the second level where you’ll see people down below you.
There were quite a few people at the waterfall, I saw a few try to go to the top but they turned back. But definitely worth the effort if you want to see the ‘real’ Klong Nonsi waterfall.
The Awa Resort opened it’s doors earlier this month. This is the island’s newest luxury hotel and is located in the central area of Kai Bae beach which has now become a bit of an upmarket enclave with Gajapuri Resort, The Chill and now Awa Resort all next to each other. Three very good resorts to choose from. Awa is owned by the same family who run The Dewa , on Klong Prao beach which is well known for it’s distinctive design. As it’s brand new there are some very good deals to be had at the moment. I’ve heard of people finding rooms for as little as 60EUR / night – which is a bargain. If you still haven’t found a room for High Season use the search box below. It automatically compares prices from all the main online booking sites.
Also just opened is Pajamas Hostel, which is a flashpacker hostel, one minute walk from Klong Prao beach. It’s bright, modern and owned by a young Thai couple with experience of running similar places in Bangkok. There are a mix of 4 bed, dormitory rooms plus private rooms. Ideal if you’re the sociable type that values safety and security and prefer a nicer, longer beach than at the usual backpacker hangout of Lonely beach.
And another welcome new addition, a restaurant. ‘Baanta’ opened last week. Located by the roadside at the north end of Klong Prao village. it’s from the owner of the posh Panviman Resort and staffed by Panviman staff but prices are way cheaper than the hotel and also lower than most ramshackle roadside places. Very good food, nice surroundings, cheap cocktails & drinks, efficient staff, a large fish tank, a couple of big TVs for important football matches, plus chandeliers. Needless to say it’s been busy every night.
Finally, The Guardian newspaper in the UK did a big travel supplement last weekend featuring ‘The best tropical holiday destinations in Asia for under £40‘ - There were three places from Thailand mentioned. One was on Koh Chang. That was ‘Baan Rim Nam’ our guesthouse. :-)