The Beaches

Volker’s Koh Chang – From the early 1990s

Volker Klinkmueller has worked as a freelance correspondent and photographer since 1991. In addition to working closely with the Tourism Authority of Thailand in promoting the country abroad, his articles and photos have appeared in many German newspapers and magazines over the years. He is also one of the authors for the Stefan Loose series of travel guides ( A German language equivalent of Lonely Planet )

More importantly, for the purposes of this site, he has been visiting Koh Chang regularly for 20 years and is an old friend of some of the German resort owners who set up their businesses in the early days of tourism and who are still going strong today.   ( You will see a few photos of Plaloma Resort here and one of James, the owner with considerably more hair than he has now.)

Volker has kindly allowed me to reprint some of his photos of Koh Chang here.


  • I went there in 1991 as a young intrepid backpacker. Idyllic.It was so unspoilt then. Stayed in the huts. I seem to remember having cold showers with a bucket.

  • How nice to see the photos of Ko Chang 1994. I have been there. it is a long time ago. We stayed on two Islands, Ko Samet and Ko Chang. Very adventurous time.
    At the moment my son is on Ko Samet and Ko Chang. What a difference.
    I get a lot of videos and photos.
    Before he left, with his friends, he did not know that his old mother, has been there already. My memories came back, as I saw your photos of the “old
    island of Ko Chang” Thank you.
    Regards from Gisela Bockelmann

  • Thanks Rodney. It’s always interesting to hear recollections form the days before mass tourism ( even if that was under 30 years ago ) The pirates and the bandits, were they Cambodian? Or Thais on the run form somewhere?

  • Wow this brought back some memories. We ended up on Koh Chang in 1990. Just a few huts at the time I believe those that are in these pictures. It was my first time to come across pirates they would ride up on the beaches in boats selling us there Cigs and beer but never robbing us. Oh and to use the restroom ( Holes in the ground). I think I stayed 2 weeks there then fell ill. There was a young lady you owned a restaurant on the beach a circular one she was extremely nice to us. There was a monkey tied to a tree nearby I remember him biting a French girl. She had to wait for some days to get a boat back. The locals only had a boat go to the island once a week back then Some great memories exploring the island pretty even got friendly with the bandits in the center of the island. Jeez memories flooding back

  • Stayed at Kc on white sand beach in 1994. Was amazing, have great memories drinking whiskey under the stars.

  • Wow.. great to see the pictures of the olden days.

    I have also lots of pictures from 1994 when we were at Koh Chang and staying at the wooden cabins from owners: a young couple that time, he was Dutch and she was thai. i would love to go back and see what happened to Koh Chang as it was a beautiful place but also dangerous for women sometimes.. I remember this very well! Also that year i remember a french guy drowned in the sea by the current i believe. his ashes were scattered at sea ..

    if i can upload pictures i would love to!

  • Hi Carson, I doubt you will recognise the beach at all. Koh Chang 2012 is an entirely different island to Koh Chang 1994

  • I’m heading back to Koh Chang for my second visit in April 2012.
    I was first there in 1994.
    I stayed on White Sands Beach back then and it was idyllic.
    Can’t wait to get back there but I’m sure it will be a very different place now.

  • Thanks for the comment. But you will be pleased to know that there are a few of the old wooden boats still being used in Salakkok Bay – at Salakkok Seafood restaurant and also in Klong Prao where Aana Resort, Pu Talay, Iyara, Keereeta Lagoon and The Hut all use the old wooden boats to ferry guests along the river.

  • Thanks Ian and mostly Volker!
    So so nice to watch and oh I wish I could travel back in time and just be there…amazing pics!
    Enjoying Koh Chang as it is today of course, all but the traffic-situation, would love to see the use of the old long tail boats starting up again, and why not?! Maybe it would be a favour to the environment (depending on how much pollution they cause the sea….?), and if we are gonna continue enjoy our life on Koh Chang something has to be done.

  • Volker–thanks for the photos. James &; Jurgen (RIP) were def pioneers on KC and it’s nice to see some old pics of the early days. I remember Jurgen loaning me his Kawa 250 when I needed to travel down to Kae Bay sometimes (back then it was an all-day trip unless one took the shuttle boat down the west coast).

    Why no pics of “Bubbly Bongs”? No have or maybe in the future? I think the statute of limitations has run out by now so we don’t have to worry…

  • Hi Jonny

    The photos are on Flickr – see this link They are scans of old photos made by Michael, a photographer who has a house on the island.

  • Hi Ian

    You mentioned in one of the above comments about old Koh Mak pictures?

    Do you know where I could find a website with all the old photos of Koh Mak?



  • amazing pics, me and my cusin were always staying, at the old huts at kc, first time in 2004, loooved it and the atmosphere were truly great back then before luxury big deal hotels.
    My husband worked at old kc-bar for years, the bar we met and even had our wedding party at. I remember i took the sign away from hut eight(ours) when they started to remove them all. Now its on the wall here in our condo in sweden and reminds us that ko chang have changed but damn we had fun before the tourism were all about big money.xxxkarin and jack.

  • I am sure some people must have large stashes of pictures taken before the digital age which should be scanned and uploaded somewhere. ( Michael, a photographer who lives on Koh Mak did this with a lot of old photos from Koh Mak – most taken in the 1950s and onwards.)

    Maew, the owner of Blue Lagoon, and his extended family grew up in the house that we now own and in a couple of other fisherman’s houses nearby. The wooden boats, same as the one shown in the photo that was taken near our house, are still in use today on the estuary near us. This is a nice touch as everyone likes to be taken down the river in an old style wooden boat.

  • When I was in Koh Chang (the second time) a few weeks ago, I talked to a guy from Blue Lagoon and he told me how Koh Chang was a place without or at least with not many roads. At this time, mostly longtail-boats were the means of transportation to nearly exclusively the Western area of the island. To get more information on this – or to even get photos! – would be… well, wow! Thank you for Volker’s photos. I love this look into the past!

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Koh Chang Island Guide For Independent Travellers