Kai Bae. This area was the site of some of the first backpacker bungalow resorts on Koh Chang. Families here were the first to recognise the potential in opening their houses up to scruffy hippies in the mid-eighties. Now, 25 years on and they’re coining it in.
Interestingly, years ago the family elders divided their land between the sons and daughters. The sons, of course, got all the good land, that which was best for farming fruit. The daughters got the scraps with poor soil where only coconut palms could grow. So, it’s the daughters and descendants, that now own the beachfront resorts whereas the sons’ families still have their fruit farms.
Karaoke. Question: What beach holiday wouldn’t be complete without a night spent in a karaoke bar? Answer: All of them, if you’re Thai. None of them, if you’re not.
Cultural differences you see, it’s these little things that make travel to countries poorer than your own so interesting. Stay here too long and you’ll be putting ice in your beer and dipping fruit in a mix of chili powder and sugar to give it some taste.
If you feel the urge to make a twat out of yourself in public then you can find a dozen or so small ‘videoke’ places which have coin operated machines that play Thai music videos with transliterated English subtitles. These are usually drinking dens for workers but anyone is welcome to join in the fun. In Klong Prao village a large Karaoke establishment ‘Bu Pha Karaoke’ complete with restaurant upstairs and aircon karaoke rooms downstairs opened in mid-2009 on the main road opposite Noren Resort.
Kicking Ass. Is a beach vacation too laid back for you? Do you feel the need to learn how to ‘whoop ass’ in a divine manner? Look no further as in high season you’ll often find impromptu classes in various martial arts on offer from MMA loving travellers eager to find the finances required to linger longer on Koh Chang. So, keep an eye out for classes in ‘Antique Tibetan Kung Fu in the Dragon style‘. (It was never going to be in the ‘fluffy bunny’ or ‘duckling’ style, was it?)
Backpacker activity credibility checklist:
- Gives a nod to an oppressed nation? – Yep.
- Got a bit of tradition? – Sure, it says Antique.
- Is violent, but in a spiritual and therefore acceptable manner? – Heck, it’s Kung Fu – don’t you remember the 1970s David Carradine TV show? (No, you probably don’t but you pretend that you do and that it was classic TV. It wasn’t.)
Surprisingly, there’s still nowhere that offers Muay Thai courses or training on the island. Something for which there is a demand.
Klong Prao. The longest and overall the quietest beach on the west coast of the island. Still easy to find a quiet stretch of beach even in High Season. Home to large package tour resorts, a couple of the best five stars on the island and three backpacker hut resorts for people who like peace and quiet on a budget. Klong Prao village which offers a slice of normal life, rather than being totally tourist orientated, is located near the south of the beach.
Klong Son. The first small village you come to as you head from the ferry piers round towards the west coast beaches. Very much a local village for local people. The inland valley is home to a golf driving range, the best elephant camp on the isl;and and a pony rehabilitation project in addition to fruit farms. If you are looking for a quiet area to live then this is a nice location, 10 minutes drive to White Sand beach.
Koh. The Thai word for island. For the sake of credibility, and also accuracy, pronounce it the same as you would the first two letters of the word ‘God’ and not to rhyme with the word ‘Go’.