Vaccinations. If you’re the sort of person who is thinking of emailing me because you’re worried about getting Japanese Encephalitis or Yellow Fever on Koh Chang then save yourself the time and just get the vaccinations. There’s zero chance you’d catch it here and the locals wouldn’t have a clue what it was as it isn’t something they worry about.
Same goes for any other tropical maladies that expensive vaccinations are available for in Europe and the US. There’s no real need for them. But if you worry about catching something then save yourself the stress and get the jab. At least you’ll sleep soundly at night, safe in the knowledge that should something bite you you’ll be protected from harm. ( Unless of course you get Dengue Fever, which is prevalent all over S.E. Asia and for which there is no vaccine available. )
Vets. There’s a small Animal Hospital, located close to Koh Chang Resort, which is run by a nice Thai vet who used to work at a tiger zoo. But for most people, the sole source of animal health care is Lisa, an American woman who runs a small practice more as a community service rather than a money making operation.
Lisa is in the process of registering her practice as a charitable foundation ‘Koh Chang Animal Foundation’ which would enable her to actively solicit much needed funding from organisations outside Thailand. If you’d like to contribute cash or veterinary knowledge, she’d be very pleased to hear from you. Animal lovers should call her on: 089 042 2347 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Any visitors to the island who’d like to make a donation in person to help her work can call into her house/clinic in Klong Son, 1.5km along the road to Baan Kwan Chang elephant camp. You can also find all the info you need about the Koh Chang Animal Foundation at www.kohchanganimalfoundation.org
For specialised veterinary care, you’ll have to head to Trat or better still Chantaburi or Rayong. We take our dog to a vet in Rayong (and another at Thonglor Pet Hospital, Bangkok ). They knows their stuff, are easy to talk to, isn’t expensive and won’t try to sell you pricey medicine if a cheaper generic equivalent is available. The only downside is that Rayong is a 180 km drive from Koh Chang.
Visas. It all used to be so simple for everyone from backpackers to bar owners to early retirees who wanted to stay on Koh Chang long term. All that was required was to hop across to Cambodia every 30 days and get a new 30 day visa. But as of 1 Oct 2006 the rules changed. The latest set of rules limits anyone who hasn’t already obtained a Visa, to a 15 day Visa on Arrival, if they enter Thailand by a land border and you can;t keep renewing them every 15 days. So, if you plan on staying on Koh Chang long-term, give visas some thought. Ideally get hold on a 12 month multi entry Non-immigrant ‘O’ or ‘B’ visa before you arrive in Thailand. These are easy to get from certain consulates around the world. Or a multiple entry tourist visa will enable you to stay a few months with just the odd day trip to the Cambodia border. ( For anyone in the UK, the Thai Consulate in Hull, is one of the best when it comes to obtaining visas of any kind, see http://www.thaiconsul-uk.com/.)