Health. You’ll find a couple of private clinics, pluss a government hospital and private hospital on the island. There’s also a very good dentist. If you have minor ailments, iy;s often far cheaper and just as effective to go to a pharmacy and get them to give you the required drugs or bandages. See this page for far more detail on hospitals, doctors, clinics and malaria.
Herbal Sauna. Koh Chang’s original herbal sauna is locate in Bailan. This adobe style building quickly caught the eye of backpackers who headed there to ‘chill out’ prior to a night partying. Build a room, build a fire, throw on some scented oil – how hard could it be to run a sauna? Not very assumed a growing number of backpacker resort owners who now have their own herbal saunas. on site. You’ll also find small herbal saunas in Lonely Beach, in the centre of Kai Bae near Coral Resort and also at the far south of the village just past the turning for KB Resort. In Klong Prao, there’s a small sauna on the walkway to the beach, 200 metres south of Koh Chang Resort.
Homestays. If sleeping in a fisherman’s spare room, waking up to the sound of Granny hacking up phlegm, realising you aren’t flexible enough to use a squat toilet properly and then sharing a Beer Chang for breakfast with Dad’s chums – “Hey you! Manchester United, very good.“, “You like Thai ladies?” – is your idea of a holiday then several locals in the beautiful Salakphet Bay area will welcome travellers into their humble abodes for a small fee. (You pay them, they don’t pay you.)
Hongtaews. You won’t know the word but you’ll know what they are. When you’re travelling around the island you’ll notice row upon row of new, non-descript shop units, usually home to vendors of t-shirts, beachwear and assorted souvenir junk to run down small bars and restaurants. This type of unit is called a ‘hongtaew’. Local developers have realised that there are plenty of people willing to pay a few thousand baht a month to rent 16-20 square metres of roadside space, so it’s easy money. The downside is that most of the hongtaews are real eyesores and if the government was serious in developing Koh Chang as a high end destination they’d bulldoze the lot of them and build landscaped public gardens, complete with rockeries, water features and gazebo in their place. A large mall could then be built in the centre of the island to provide plentiful shopping opportunities coupled with great views and an up close jungle experience. Yep, I had a sneak peak at the Koh Chang Masterplan. ;-)
Horse Riding. In Hua Hin, on the opposite side of the Gulf of Thailand, horseback riding along the beach has long been a popular pastime. Here on Koh Chang, elephant riding (trekking) is the thing to be seen doing. Therefore, it wasn’t surprising that the one attempt to open equestrian centre, i.e. a couple of horses that would plod around a 200 metre oval track, failed to take off and it closed in 2006. You may notice a chestnut mare tied up roadside near Baan Chaba Resort on Pearl Beach but this functions as a lawnmower, and not as a rental. The good news that in Klong Son valley the Pony Rehabilitation Centre offers pony trekking tours and also riding lessons. So anyone with the urge to ride whilst on holiday can now do so.