For 2006

January-March 2006

trat-food

4 Jan Photos here are from New Years Even at our place and in the canoe on New Year’s day . . . it’s   a hard life

** Per Tommy – your email address is incorrect , I cant reply to you.**

Dave visited KC recently and took his life in his hands by hiring a taxi from outside Bangkok Airport direct to Laem Ngop pier.   Much quicker than the bus, and at only 3,000 baht, cheaper than the cost of a couple of one way flights.   If you’re feeling adventurous, why not try it?

Speedboat services – another new one . . .

From Bangbao to Koh Wai, Koh mak, Koh Kood, there’s a new service from Ao Phrao Speedboats now running using a twin engined speedboat.   Leaves Koh Chang at 11am daily.

Small plots of land on White Sand Beach, around 300 metres from the beach and accessible along a public track will be up for sale soon – they’d be excellent for housing. Plots will be half a rai (800sqm) each and a total of around 6 Rai will be sold or leased.   Prices will be very affordable. This land is owned by the Thai military, so the situation will be similar to that on most of Koh Samet.

Land can be bought, sold and leased by private individuals but at the end of the day it still actually belongs to the military.   Therefore, in the advent of a war, they could take the land back for war time use.   (This is highly unlikely, unless the Cambodians obtain nukes.) I’ve been promised a copy of the plot plans and prices in the next week or two, so email me if you’re interested.

6 Jan – Jeremi you’re on the website! You slept thru New Year, what you gonna do???

Thinking of travelling from Koh Chang to Siem Reap? From a recent post on the Lonely Planet discussion board . . .

“Despite warnings in the LP for Cambodia, we inadvertently ended up paying 1000 baht from Koh Chang to Siem Reap in Cambodia. (We bought the tickets from the Treehouse, a supposedly backpacker friendly place, who are also part of this rip off). We were taken to a restaurant near the border at Poipet where a guy in what appeared to be the embassy gave us the visa forms to fill out-we didn’t realise that this cost an extra 200 baht each, and that this was not in fact the border at all just another rip off. Everyone in the place fell for this, it was so cleverly done. Then we herded (eventually) on to an old crappy bus that took hours to get us to Siem Reap   -obviously so that we’d all be so tired that we’d have to stay at the guest house they conveniently dropped us at at 11pm. DO NOT buy any bus tickets from Koh Chang, do this trip yourself – it is a joke and so easy to fall for.”

It isn’t entirely fair to blame Treehouse for the rip off, but if a resort is doing business with a tour agent it’d be nice to know that they do care a little about the service an agent provides in addition to simply counting the commission they receive.

As one response commented: “Many people handle the border just fine without any scams at all. The one thing they all share in common is that none purchased a transport to Siem Reap from a guesthouse or travel agent in Thailand.”

If you’re straying in the Klong Prao / Kai Bae area then you’ll see five small islands located between a few hundred metres and 3 kilometres s   offshore. Here’s a few photos from a recent paddle around the islands of Koh Yuak, Koh Suwan, Koh Man Nai, Koh Man Nai and Koh Pli by sea kayak.

Forgot to mention Cookie Restaurant reopened on 31 December.   Worth a visit if you’re on White Sand Beach.

15 Jan – More crime on Koh Chang.   A well known bungalow resort had their restaurant trashed by 16 Russian guests who were visiting from Pattaya.   The restaurant closed at 10pm which was too early for the group, who came back and reopened the bar . . . with large pieces of wood.     The owner wasn’t too happy when he found out in the early hours of the morning and let off a couple of rifle shots to end the revelry before calling the police. They came and the end result was the group apparently paid 30,000 baht for the damage and were repatriated to Pattaya.

Meanwhile at   a nearby luxury resort the accountant forgot to put   150,000 baht into the safe and the result was that a wad of 40,000 baht, that had been left on a desk, (unsurprisingly) disappeared.   The owner reckons a guest is responsible, rather   than a member of staff.

Fear not, KC is still a safe island, but I suggest sleeping with a gun under you bed just in case.

The boys in brown have been making the rounds of all motorbike hire shops.   It’s time for the annual meeting where the local authorities meet up with the rental shop owners.   The owners sit, nod their heads and agree to whatever hair brained schemes are put forward and then go away and continue as normal until the next meeting – at least that’s been the pattern for the past 5 or 6 years since these annual get-togethers began.

Siam Royal View have now released prices for small plots of beachfront land in Klong Son development.   You’re looking at 4 million baht plus for a 300sqm beachfront plot.   See http://www.siam-royal-view.com for info and .pdf pricelist.

Yeah, Koh Chang is quiet isn’t it? Occupancy at virtually all hotels & resorts is well down on this time last year. Will KC ever be a popular tourist spot or will it forever be known as the island you head to when a natural disaster wipes out your first choice destination? Only time will tell. One plus is that you’ll find yourself in a good position to haggle at most resorts – especially those which aren’t in prime beachfront locations.

10 JanDon’t miss out on this if you want land for a house or two on Koh Chang . . . If there’s one thing rarer than finding a decent cup of coffee on Koh Chang then it must be an affordable, small plot of land in a quiet, undeveloped location but only 5 minutes walk from the beach.

I went to see the land yesterday morning.   As the plot plans have only just been produced, marker posts aren’t yet in the ground and access tracks aren’t complete.   However, I was surprised by how nice an area it was and also by the fact that some plots will have sea & sunset views.     In my opinion, this land is probably the best deal that I’ve seen since I’ve been living on Koh Chang.

A local developer has done a deal with land officials to have small plots of government owned land with ‘Chanote’ title (meaning that you can get permission to legally build houses, resort, restaurants etc etc) available for long lease, up to 30 years.

All contracts will be signed and registered at the Government Land Office in Trat and are done through a Trat based lawyer.   (Buyers wont just sign a piece of paper from a landlord.)   As it’s a lease a foreigner’s name can be on the contract, no need to set up a Thai company or have a Thai name on he contract.       The leased land, and/or property built on it, can be sub-let or sold as it’s no problem to change the name on the lease agreement which is between the lessee and the government.

There are ten plots, prices are from 930,000 baht (620 sqm) – 2,880,000 baht (1920 sqm) In addition to the purchase price there’s annual rent of 4,800 baht per year to pay the government for the land.   As of today, two of the plots have already been taken.

The deal is that 50% is payable on initial contract signing and the remaining 50% when the official document from the Land Office is received – around a month later.

Plot plans, prices & photos

19 Jan – If you were in the vicinity of Laem Ngop the other day you’d have seen warships from the Royal Thai Navy parked offshore as part of the celebrations of Thailand’s naval “victory” over the French in WW2. As with many   battles, there are differences of opinion over who actually won.   Thailand officially claims victory which is fair enough, but naval historians tend to hold a different opinion.   This is mainly based on the fact that no French ships were sunk whilst the Thai fleet, despite their bravery, was only saved from being wiped out by a ceasefire brokered by the Japanese.     Here end’s today’s history lesson.

Last update I mentioned that the island seemed pretty quiet considering it was high season.   I received an email from a guy who has a business here saying I shouldn’t say things like that as it might put visitors off coming. (?!?) Fair enough, the island is packed with visitors, there are no rooms available anywhere, there are traffic jams of mopeds on the roads.   OK? Rushing to book your flights?

If you’re staying in a fancy hotel it’s worth shopping around for your tours.   Visit any tour agency outside the hotel and you’ll find the exact same tour or trip at half the price that is advertised within the walls of the 4 star.   Luxury hotels seem to think that if you’re paying a lot more than most for a room then you should also pay far more for an identical tour. One emailer learned this recently when, having paid 900 baht for a snorkelling trip booked through their hotel, they found themselves on a boat where the other people they spoke to had only paid 500 baht for exactly the same trip.

And finally, an early contender for Koh Chang’s wedding of the year , taken from the Thai language press . . .

Triple play

The guests, it has to be said, were taken aback by the wedding invitation card, which announced the nuptials of bridegroom Yeuifa Meelaap and two brides: Vassana Uysap and Jenny Saibua.

A wedding for a threesome was unusual, and all the more so when one realizes that the groom was also a woman.

Talking to reporters, the trio explained that K. Vassana, a mother of one child, and K. Jenny were very close friends, “sworn sisters”, as they put it. Together they ran Vassana Seafood on the holiday island of Koh Chang in Trat Province.

The groom, Yeuifa, ran the nearby Khunyoong Seafood restaurant. Each, they said, was in love with the other two.

The groom followed tradition, paying a bride price of a 10-baht-weight gold necklace, 300,000 in cash and a car to each bride’s family.

People at the ceremony admitted that it was unusual, but in no way objectionable.

The happy trio have now combined their businesses into the Vassana Seafood and Khunyoong Seafood Talay Pao Restaurant, and have moved into a house in nearby Rayong Province.

24 Jan – Imagine you’re the owner of a beautiful boutique hotel on Koh Chang and you decide to have a very tasteful brochure printed to advertise it.   You’ve spent millions of baht on your hotel as so it’s only right that your brochure oozes sophistication.   You decide on a minimalist approach, letting the photos speak for themselves without unnecessary text, but you’re lost for words about how to describe your little diamond amongst Koh Chang’s rough.   You only need one exquisitely crafted paragraph. What would you do? I’ve no idea, but when I saw the text below it was like deja vu all over again . . . . as I originally wrote it!!!

Note how the ending of one sentence is removed to avoid referring to lack of a sandy beach in the vicinity.   Now if only I knew the Thai for “cheeky bastards” :-)

White Sand Beach land update . . . After asking a few questions I discovered that the lawyer acting for the sellers cant actually provide a ‘cast iron’ 30 year lease for these plots.   They can be leased in renewable 3 year contacts, but any buyer won’t be able to get a 30 year lease.   Instead they have to just trust that the government wont take the land back.   To be honest, this is unlikely.   Koh Samet is an example of an island where many resorts are built on land leased in the same manner as the plots here. But, you’d have to be happy to do things the Thai way if you wanted to lease one of these plots.

30 Jan – I was over on the east coast of the ‘Oriental Eden of the East’ the other day and was struck by how dead the three resorts I visited were – I expected to see some signs of life.   One was a rather expensive western run place, (lots of local gossip about problems with the lease, rip offs, unhappy landlord etc) and the other couple were Thai run, one very nice and one best described as ‘homely’. So, if you’re looking for a bed on the east coast   – take a look at Suan San Chan, (www.suansamchan.com) about 2.5km south of Centrepoint pier ad only been open for a couple of months.   Three types of very tastefully designed bungalows from 800 – 1,200 baht/night all have hot water, AC, satellite TV; in this small 18 room resort.   Bungalows are in a shady garden area and here’s a small private beach – so it’s a good place to get away from the tourist masses for a day or two or, if you arrive on the island late and just want somewhere comfortable to stay.   Call Khun Paiboon, who speaks English & German, for a free pick up from the ferry pier. Tel: 07.137.5854

If staying on the east coast isn’t your thing, but finding a small friendly place for a beer is – try ‘Souk Bar’, about a kilometre south of Centrepoint ferry.   Run by a young, arty Thai guy called ‘Ed’ who’s got a very nice little bar right on a small sandy beach, where you can listen to chill out music until the early hours.   He’s been open for 6 years but only recently got round to putting up a sign, that’s how laid back it is.

And finally, if you don’t want to stay on the east, don’t want to eat & drink on the east but do want to live on the east, there’s a funky house for sale right on the beach, literally a couple of metres from the sand.   It’s been recently rebuilt – supposedly as a   guesthouse but the Thai owner now doesn’t have time to run it, so it’s for sale.   1.25 Rai of ‘Chanote’ titled, beachfront land and this 3 bedroom house for 5 million baht.   Located 5 minutes drive south of Centrepoint ferry.

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4 Feb – Call it becoming a fashion victim, call it the influence of western civilisation, call it a sad attempt to blend in with hip young backpackers . . . but I actually saw a local fisherman wearing fisherman’s pants yesterday.   What’s wrong with 99 baht polyester football shorts?

Best Western, the traveling salesman’s choice of expense account accommodation, will soon be opening 3 star resorts on Koh Chang and Koh Kood, according to recent reports.

A few months ago I mentioned that Jim and his 42′ schooner ‘Remington’ were heading to KC to offer adventurous types liveaboard trips around the archipelago.   Jim’s now here, with his yacht, which can be seen moored off Lonely Beach.   For info on charters and the boat in general see www.sail-remington.com

First it was ‘The Times’, then ‘The Independent’ and now ‘The Observer’ has printed a full page article on Koh Chang which, as with he two other articles, is little more than a thinly disguised advertorial for the Amari Resort and Kuoni holidays.   Surely it’s time for a few other hotels to get together an organise a press junket?

There are a few good lines in the article.   A nice contradiction to begin with: There is little resort-style development on Koh Chang   . . . because it is a protected marine national park – although not protected from earth movers on every corner helping to throw up new hotels.”

And proof, if it were needed that travel journos don’t really have clue where they are when they’re enjoying the freebies on offer from the likes of Amari & Kuoni Corp.: “A seven-night stay at the Amari Emerald Cove resort costs from £756.50 per person. This includes international flights with Thai Airways to Bangkok and onwards to Phuket and transfers to and from the resort” That’s a hell of   along transfer from Phuket to Koh Chang :-)

Fortunately the write up does   a pretty good job of not going overboard on the tourist brochure bull that is usually associated with this type of write up.

San Miguel beer is now brewed in Thailand and San Mig Light   and San Mig Pale Pilsner are available in V-Mart supermarket, Klong Prao for 55 baht per 640ml bottle.   The latter tastes particularly good, it’s very smooth and far superior to Thai beers in the simple fact that it’s drinkable.   The former has no taste but being a Light beer I guess that’s the point. And, using that reasoning, it must be good too, although it still tastes like piss to me.

Samui’s tourist arrivals from the UK were down 30% in January following the murder of a good looking young female visitor a month ago.   Koh Chang’s arrival figures were unaffected following the murder of an old bloke a month ago.   The lesson from this is that if you’re old or ugly, then no-one cares if you get murdered abroad. Unless it’s a particularly bizarre death, ‘Bob Thompson, 59, died after inadvertently swallowing a parrot fish whilst snorkelling off the paradise island of Koh Chang, Thailand.’ -this stands a change of being considered newsworthy by sub-editors.

10 Feb – Breaking News, a ferry capsized at lunchtime today (no foreigners   – other than Burmese – dead so it isn’t really news).   The boat capsized and sank 300 metres off the mainland.   Three people drowned, a dozen were injured.   The cause was overloading the boat with construction materials which were heading for a resort on Koh Kood.   Be sure to ask how many concrete poles your ferry is carrying before buying a ticket.

10Feb – Was there a rape in Lonely Beach recently?

An emailer wants anyone staying around the area between Siam Hut and Treehouse to be careful if they’re walking home alone at night as his friend was raped there by a Thai guy. She went to the international clinic and a report was made to the police, what if any action was taken to find the culprit remains a mystery.   But if it’s anything like the murder of a Thai   woman in Klong Prao last year, when locals were told to keep quiet in order not to frighten tourists away, then it’s a pretty f&$ked up state of affairs but not one that should surprise anyone who’s lived in Thailand for a while.

Also from my ever expanding Inbox . . . here’s a link that’s interesting:   Apparently the guy/gal is now in Kai Bae, a fact that I believe as I’ve had an email from him asking for info about renting restaurants, bars etc.   It’s a small world.

Cheerier news . . . .   yesterday Steve from the UK bought the funky house for sale in Dan Mai, which I only put on the site 10 days ago.   Proof if it were needed that the good stuff for sale sells quickly and the un-sellable overpriced crap takes months or years to sell . . . basically as long a time as it takes for a sucker with cash to come along.

One local is living the high life after entering into a small hotel project with an Italian guy.   Building costs were figured at 14 million baht with he Thai & Italian sharing the cost.   However, in reality the cost was less than half this.   Guess who pocketed 7 million?

I had a couple of days in Bangkok recently, the end result is that I’m probably the only person on Koh Chang who’s doing a bit of work for a company offering ‘no option’ heart disease patients treatments using stem cells derived from their own blood.   More info at www.theravitae.com or www.vescell.com.   It’s interesting stuff and the proof that the experimental treatment works is pretty overwhelming.

11 Feb – I just discovered, from Alexa.com, that this site is the 721,066 most popular on the web. My aim is to be in the top 721,000 within the next 6 months.

There’s less than a month to go until the annual Koh Chang Queen’s Cup event which involves kayaking for elephants. (As they cant do it themselves, their trunks aren’t quite as flexible as they’d like to think.)

The good news is that the format has been changed from previous years.   (I wrote an article last year about the crap format – teams of 3 people competing for 3 days which was about as   un-tourist friendly as you could get).   This year lucky participants get to kayak across the open sea from Bangbao to   Koh Wai and on to Koh Kham.   It’d make for an interesting paddle and I’ll be taking bets on how many people actually make it alive if the wind picks up, as the two person teams have only around 6 hours paddling time to make it across nearly 20 kilometres of open water.

It is a very good cause though, and it’ll definitely be an experience to remember so why not give it a try if you’re on Koh Chang on 11 March and have 2,000 baht entry fee to hand.   For more info call: 01 919 3995.   You could visit the event website – www.kohchangqueenscup.com, but that would be a waste of time as it hasn’t been updated for the 2006 event yet.

Of all the posh hotels on Koh Chang ‘Nirvana’, in Bangbao is the one I receive most complaints about.   They’re often minor niggles but they shouldn’t occur in a place costing well over 5,000 baht/night.

A guest who contacted me a few days ago started by commenting that Nirvana is a wonderful example of original style and design, truly inspired by its creator, the gardens are lovely and the setting is delightful – a haven of peace and tranquility So far, so good.

But the positives were followed by a list of negatives. Among the small quibbles the guest had, the one that amused me was: “There were tea and coffee sachets (and mugs) in the room, but no means of heating any water.   (Luckily we’d brought our own travel kettle)”

However, it was the fact that the guest contracted a rash which was later diagnosed as being due to bed lice, which they re convinced must have come from an unwashed duvet cover. The guest’s conclusion: “Fantastic accommodation, setting etc.   HOTEL MANAGEMENT SKILLS NON-EXISTENT!!”

Nirvana bosses should also note that charging walk-in guests around 1,000 baht a night less than those who book in advance online also isn’t a way to win friends and keep guests happy.

19 Feb – Thanks for the cheese . . .whoever sent me the package of Anchor mature cheddar from somewhere in Thailand (cant read the postmark on the parcel.)

Quote of the day is from a guy who was staying at Klong Prao Resort who described it as being like “Colditz”.   He wasn’t referring the standard of accommodation but to the sunbed war which has broken out between the British and Germans.   Neither group is in the right, with members of both nationalities throwing their beach towels over sun loungers as soon as the sun rises.   When someone famously asked “Why can’t we all just get along?” they obviously hadn’t just seen their sunbed snaffled by a lobster-red European tourist.

If you’ve got 550,000,000 baht to spend on a hundred room resort, let me know as I know a family who want to sell their very well known resort which is sitting on 31 Rai of prime beachfront.

A few places you lot reading this have told me you liked on Koh Chang . . .

First up, ‘Sea Hunter’, sea fishing tours. 1,200 baht per person for a day at sea on a fishing boat.   Friendly staff, good food, good quality equipment, knowledgeable captain and the guarantee of catching loads of fish.

‘Slick Willies’ – The themed American diner in VJ Plaza that three people have mentioned in the past week. Huge burgers and milkshakes the way milkshakes should taste. Not cheap, but you’re paying for quality (and the decor).

‘Bread & More’ – Bakery, sandwiches etc in VJ Plaza, near the apartments.   again, a couple of people have mentioned the place in glowing terms. Also focuses on quality, so expect to pay 100 baht+ for a sandwich using imported fillings. (But don’t order the iced coffee, it’s crap.)

Try the excellent ice cream at ‘TeTeCaCa’ or ‘Titicaca’, in 3×3 Avenue, Kai Bae – it’s one of those places where the staff don’t really know to spell the name of the place.   Two things to avoid are 1) the rather sad attempts at coffee and food; 2) asking the staff why this coffee, snack & ice cream place has a Mexican name.

Finally, just opened last week is ‘Moccachino’, roadside at Kai Bae Plaza which is already my favourite coffee shop on Koh Chang simply because they actually know how to make good, strong coffee which is sensibly priced plus the coffee shop is very nicely designed.   The place also doubles as an internet cafe with a choice of Macs or PCs, both with large LCD monitors.

23 Feb – Another unreported death on Koh Chang.   I had a call a few days ago from the friends of a Taiwanese girl who drowned off Kai Bae beach on Feb 9th.   The family suspected it was more than an accident as she was a good swimmer.     We checked and the hospital where she was taken confirmed that it was accidental, although the doctor who saw her did admit that it was very strange that she drowned in mid-afternoon, in calm seas, not far offshore and no-one noticed.     Take care if you’re swimming at the southern end of Kai Bae beach.

I had quite a few emails as a result of the advertising from Harlequin Properties in a couple of British Sunday newspapers last weekend.   Apparently, they’re selling the Siam Royal View development in Klong Son where 10 million baht will get you a house on 330sqm of land in a compound with 400 fellow homeowners.

My general dislike for large housing developments aside, it was interesting to see on www.harlequin-property.com the statement: Thai shareholders all sign undated share transfer contracts at the time the company is being registered.’ Whilst this may be common practice   – when a foreigner is setting up a Thai registered company to buy the land – and most lawyers will say “Don’t worry about it.”, it’s still odd to see a developer actually coming out and stating it on their website for the simple reason that    it also happens to be, technically, illegal.

If you’ve got a resort or any type of business you want to sell, let me know.   I get quite a few emails from people with cash in their hands and who are looking for businesses to buy outright or to invest in, on Koh Chang.

And finally . . . If you’re in Trat town you might fancy a visit to ‘Trat Food Safety Street’.   Look left, look right, look left once again and if there are no motorbikes racing through the food stalls, dig into your bowl of noodles.

28 Feb – ‘Youths hide anti-tank missile launcher near Ambassador Hotel’ A recent headline from the Pattaya Mail – no real reason for mentioning it other than it does offer a timely reminder for owners of battlefield munitions. Remember, to lock up your shoulder fired guided missile launchers again after use.   I find a length of chain and three-digit combination lock, readily available from your local haberdashery store for around 120 baht, does the job adequately.

More hotel feedback, this time from Val – praise for Tropicana and you’re left with the feeling that Grand Lagoona has some room for improvement:

“We were meant to stay at the Amari,  but cancelled when they  announced a final rate that was doubled compared to our pre-booking rate the day before!

We followed your advice and choose to stay instead at the Tropicana. We completely agree with you, we loved it, thought it was really excellent. We would go back very happily.

One day we stopped at the Grand Lagoona, Bangbao for lunch and it was a complete disaster.   The food was so bad that even some drinks had to be sent back. We can take some pretty average food, but that was probably the worse I’ve had in years, all countries considered. The place in itself was dirty, empty and had an eerie, spooky feel.”

Land for Sale on Koh Chang . . . In response to emails I’ve received recently, I went off on a hunt for land the other day.   Not just any land but the aim was to find small plots of ‘Chanote’ titled land with beach frontage and easy access to the main road i.e. land, suited to building a nice house on.   This criteria ruled out the west coast, so we headed east and   came back with a handful of places that anyone interested in living on Koh Chang should seriously consider plus a few other interesting bit & pieces.

Here’s a taster . . . want to be able to walk out of your house & onto the sand?

A two storey concrete beachfront house, (needs renovation) built right on the shoreline on around 1500sqm of ‘Chanote’ titled land with private access.   And it has about 40 metres of beachfront.   Price: 5 million baht.

I’ll be adding photos and info about ten other good value plots – some by the beach, others inland in the next few days

3 Mar – ‘Untamed Travel’ magazine, for sale at all good bookstores in South East Asia and V-Mart, Koh Chang, are revamping their Koh Chang page. If you think your business, bar, restaurant or resort deserves a mention let me know.   Also they’ll be a monthly section on ‘happenings’ – which is ‘young person speak’ for parties/events etc.   If you want the world to know about your next party night, event or special offer for the magazine readers send me an email.

In what one Koh Chang based website has described as “the biggest night of violence since, ohhh, I don’t know when but it wasn’t like this when I was a lad”, all the roadside mirrors located on hairpin bends along the hill between White Sand Beach and Klong Son were smashed a few days ago.   Police have ruled out youthful hijinx and are looking for ugly people with a   grudge or closet vampires.

If you enjoy irony, you’ll like this . . . On a road in the south of Koh Chang there’s a new ‘archway’ built over the road that welcomes visitors to the area of Koh Chang that was the site of   naval battle between the French   & Thai navies in WW2. ‘Wel Come to History Navy’ reads the sign over the road.   The politically correct way to describe the battle is that the Thais fought bravely (i.e. the Thai navy was wiped out).   Therefore, it is a tad ironic to see on the reverse of the overhead sign the words. . . . .   ‘Bon Voyage‘.

Any divers on Koh Chang on 11 March are invited to get their diving trousers on for the ‘First Annual Underwater Clean Up‘ which is being organised by people who like to organise stuff in return for pats on the back from   DASTA officials. (Google it) Contact dive operators for more details and don’t forget to ask why they chose the same date as the annual Queens Cup Elephant Kayaking event when there are 364 other days it could have been held on.

More land etc . . .

I’ve now added info about small plots of land for sale from a half rai to 6 Rai.   The most expensive being 8 million baht.   See all the listings here. Also, if you’re into teak wood houses, you’ll like the photos of the   three houses for sale on about 1500sqm   of land for 5.5 million baht. Pics here.

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9 Mar – Our humble guesthouse made the front cover of top bi-lingual Thai travel mag ‘Places & Prices‘ this month.   OK, so you can can only see the deck over the river, as the majority of the photo shows the view from one of Aana Resort’s ‘Top View villas’. (If you’re a voyeur these would be good rooms to book as you can peer into other guests’ supposedly private balconies & plunge pools from them.) But a front cover is a front cover.

Congratulations to Michael & Heather on their   engagement last week.   Michael asked for my help in rounding up a wild elephant, spraying it with a message in   indelible paint   expressing his love for his wife-to-be and then chaining it to a tree so the loving   couple could pose for an album full of photos.   And I was more than happy to oblige.

Photo gallery for Wai Chek beach added.   Wai Chek is so far off the beaten track that it’s virtually on the unbeaten track. But it can be reached by motorbike or pick-up without too much effort if you know where to go.

Couple of interesting resorts for sale, one large & one with three rooms, the first is a lovely resort but in an awful location.   The guys at Sunbelt in Bangkok are doing their best to convince anyone with a few million dollars in their pocket that ‘Koh Chang Grand Orchid’ in Klong Son is worth buying. Maybe they should mention you get good views of the nearby cement factory from reception and it’s within easy walking distance of the electricity office, a real lifesaver for any Thai guests who may have forgotten to pay their electric bill. And if you’re wondering how little 27 million baht   will get you on the west coast of Koh Chang click here to see this advert from a Pattaya based property agent.

Visitors staying at the southern end of Kai Bae beach need no longer endure a walk of over 10 minutes in order to reach the nearest 7-eleven minimart.   A new one will open in the coming days opposite the turning to Kai Bae Hut.

Important news for people who share single plates of fried rice and will happily a mile in order to buy a bottle of water for 5 baht instead of 10. Down in Bangbao ‘Hippy Hut’ have rooms for 100 baht/night.   Also in Bailan one roadside bungalow resort is already advertising ‘low season specials’, also 100 baht/night.

Here’s a fun quiz to end with . . . the girlfriend of which European business owner, based in the south of Koh Chang, was going round telling everyone that she met in the market, how she is going to wreck his business and teach him a lesson? (It’s a long & rather interesting story and, knowing who the guy is, doesn’t really surprise me at all.)

25 Mar – Day 4 of the Klong Prao garbage dump fire and as with previous mornings, I saw a cloud of grey smoke with distinctive ‘burnt plastic’ aroma hanging   over the village and down to Barali & Tropicana Resorts when I took the dog for his morning walk.   Anyone know how long piles of household and hotel waste can smolder for?

Assisting in my bid to be an omnipresent media whore, John at ‘Thailand Real Estate Magazine’ recently asked me to churn out a series of lengthy space filling articles on real estate on Koh Chang. Seeing this as an opportunity to use the phrase ‘your very own home away from home on a tropical island paradise’ at least one every paragraph, I jumped at the chance.   The first of three monthly articles is in the April issue of the free magazine which has just hit newsstands and estate agency’s coffee tables around the Pattaya area.   Anyone not fortunate enough to be able to get their hands on this limited edition copy can download my article in pdf format   if they have nothing better to do.

Whoever is in charge of PR for CocoCape Resort on Koh mak obviously knows that they are doing as their resort keeps popping up in UK newspapers.   Most recently in The Times where Koh mak was recently recommended as the ultimate away from it all island with CocoCape being the place to stay.

Anyone want to buy an island? If you have around US$3 million in your pocket then Koh Man Nai, pictured left giving subtle come hither looks to potential suitors, can be yours. The catch is that you can only build on a little over 4 Rai of the island, the rest is designated as National Park land.   But you can’t get much more exclusive than a small island a few hundred metres off Kai Bae beach.   However, you may have to mine the waters nearby to prevent daytripping kayakers from ruining the calm during high season.

18 Mar We had some free time a couple of days ago, so we went out on the boat.   A couple of photos taken on Koh Rang, where we stopped off for lunch.   We had this small bay with views of Koh mak, the island in the distance, to ourselves.

Gulf Charters – www.GulfChartersThailand.com are organising a ‘Songkran Flotilla’   over Thai New Year.   A 5-day cruise around Koh Chan, Koh mak,Koh Kood and all islands in between.

Itinerary
12th – Get together at Gulf Charters Koh Chang Base at Salakpet on Koh Chang
13th – Overnight at Koh Mak, Dinner ashore at Koh Kham
14th – Overnight at Koh Kood, Dinner ashore at Captain Hook’s
15th – Overnight at Koh Kood, Dinner ashore at The Beach Natural Resort
16th – Overnight at Koh Wai or Koh   Ngam
17th – Return to Koh Chang

Visit their website for prices, more details.

The big new resort in Bailan is now 70 percent complete and will have 96 rooms and suites.   It’ll be named ‘Princess Resort Koh Chang’ and will be Royal Princess Hotels & Resorts first island resort property.   Expect it to be well run as Princess Resorts are a division of Dusit Thani Hotels, purveyors of 5-star luxury. Just don’t expect a long sandy beach.