I was cleaning out a cupboard and came across this old map of Koh Chang from 1999. Nowadays maps and guides to the island are free and paid for by advertisements but back in the late 20th no-one advertised their wares and relied solely on word of mouth and the power of telepathy to get word out about their business ventures, so the map maker had to charge tourists.
1999 was when Cambodia was known simply at ‘Democretic Kampuchea’ and Klong Prao came with two additional ‘h’s in the Anglicized spelling. It was also an age of mysticism with the island’s main tourist attraction being the ‘Pyramid Herbal Sauna and Massage’ at what is now KC Grande Resort. However, the owners soon realised that there was more money to be made by selling Jacuzzi Suites to package tourists than aromatherapy to hippies.
You’ll see that a decade ago there was far more variety of boat services to the island. Nowadays you are limited to the two car ferries. Back then there were various services by slow, converted fishing boat. You could go direct from the mainland to Bangbao or Salakphet or even to White Sand beach and Chai Chet.
Although the price of ferry tickets has doubled, a seat on a pick up truck taxi from the ferry piers round to the west coast beaches has only risen by 10-20 baht in over a decade. No fares are listed for taxis down to Lonely Beach and Bangbao as there was only a rough dirt road in that part of the island which until relatively recently had been virtually cut off from the rest of Koh Chang. In fact, it wasn’t until late 1998 that pizza and the banana shake, nowadays regarded as staple foodstuffs, reached the citizens of Bangbao.
One thing I don’t understand is the photo of the building, which I presume must be in Trat somewhere, captioned ‘Resideng Gumport Antiquateo Bldg’.
A few pics of the map in all it’s glory. (Yes, that is a cat’s paw you can see in the corner of one of the photos.)