2 Jan – The show home at Siam Royal View housing development is 90% complete and it’s . . . . orange. The workmanship is good; the design is pretty nice, especially the high ceiling in the living/dining area at the front of the house which gives the room a very bright & airy feel, but why is the exterior tangerine?
With jovial backslapping and seemingly endless “See you next year!” quips out of the way it’s time to get back off the holiday spirit and into the humdrum world of life on a Thai island again.
It looks like a very well known, well established bungalow resort owned by a local family will be available for lease soon. This place is in all the guide books and is in a prime west coast location. The family need to take a break from running it and spend time raising their kids, so are looking to lease it. Annual rent will be around 1 million baht. The contract will be for 12 years. Photos and more detailed info coming in the next couple of weeks.
** Important to note that as this resort will be leased from the owners themselves and not from a third party – e.g. an expat who’s previously leased it, as is the case for most of the small resorts that are available on Koh Chang. So there’s nothing else to pay – only the annual rent. A common theme running through resorts to sublease from western lessees is the fact they all ask for several million baht to “sell” the property that they don’t actually own. They ploughed their savings into it, after 1 or 2 years it didn’t work out and they didn’t get rich quick and so now it’s time to sell it on and cover their losses. Avoid these types of places unless you have successfully run resorts before.
Dec 31st was the busiest I’ve ever see in it out at the snorkelling islands around Koh Rang. Speedboats were queuing to find a mooring space and there were a couple of huge ships who deposited hundreds of non swimming Thais into the water. People watching was half the fun, I wish I had a photo of the woman swimming with mask, snorkel and wide brimmed sun hat.
Deaths – Peter Williams, long term English resident of Kai Bae passed away on New Year’s Eve. Funeral was on 1 Jan. Described as a typical English gentleman who enjoyed his cricket and also a beer, he’ll be missed by those fortunate enough to have shared his acquaintance over the years.
Also a couple more tourists killed riding motorbikes and apparently a policeman deliberately mowed down by a car just over a week ago.
Elsewhere in Thailand 3 people died as bombs went off in Bangkok last night and NYE celebrations were cancelled. Western embassies put out the obligatory advisory message against non-essential travel to Bangkok. In light of the 400+ people who died in road accidents in Thailand over the past 3 days . . . have any western embassies issued warnings against non-essential road travel in Thailand? I think not. Unless you’re Iraqi the odds of getting caught up in a bomb blast or terrorist incident in Thailand are much lower than in your own country. Not a cause for panicky holiday cancellations but be sure to report any unattended hand grenades to the relevant authorities.
Announcements . . . The Treehouse, Koh Chang’s backpacker’s mecca has a new website www.tree-house.org. It’s a hippy-trippy Flash driven site which features the font used on the ‘Spangles’ packets from the 70s. Kai, the webmaster, would also like me to tell you about the great New Year’s Eve party that they will be having . . . but actually took place a couple of days ago as I didn’t update the site in time. Consider this plenty of advance notice for NYE 2007 when I’m sure they will also be having a party. If you’ve got an event of any kind you’d like plugging for free here or on the Koh Chang page of ‘Untamed Travel’ magazine – let me know.
Is Koh Chang attracting a different kind of visitor this year? A couple of people mentioned that to me over the festive period. I cant say that I’ve noticed the change myself as far as the guests staying at our place go but from the emails I receive I think the island is starting to get a higher percentage of package tourists with expectations of a livelier, more upmarket, Samui-esque island. Which is a pity for those of us who enjoy peace and quiet. What I have noticed is that our little area of the riverbank is changing, it looks like a couple of fisherman’s houses will become restaurants on the opposite bank and nearby some locals have sold up and builders from a large resort are beavering away on something or other. Interesting to see that the roof is actually been painted in camouflage colours so it blends into the mangroves when viewed from, say, Google Earth or a passing helicopter.
7 Jan – Think you’ll be bored on holiday? Think again, Koh Chang possesses watersports facilities to compete with those anywhere in Thailand. Inflatables now come in three colours and are available to rent from all good beach vendors. Expect a yellow airbed to be added in time for the 2007-08 season.
The Ultimate Battle of the Ultimate Guides. Koh Chang now has three different ‘Ultimate’ guides to the island. Perhaps one should rebrand itself as the ‘ultimatest’ guide? See the giants battle it out for e-supremacy, bragging rights and advertisers cash at www.kohchang-thailand.info & www.whitesandsthailand.com whilst www.koh-chang.com is only in it’s ultimate form in print.
Then there’s this site, ‘The ultimate penultimate guide to Koh Chang’ – written by someone with time on his hands and nothing better to do for people like you, those with time on their hands to read it and nothing better to do.
The Ultimate Day Out – Pattaya’s Siam Sailing Co. have been cruising around on their ‘Supercat’ for the past week. You know it’s a supercat because it has ‘Supercat’ written on the side in metre high letters. It ain’t subtle, but there again neither are a pair of panda fur speedos. This waterborne penis extension can be yours for a mere 45,000 baht/day – max. 8 guests, including accommodation, food, drinks and a variety of nibbles. Bling optional.
The Ultimate Web solution . . .need a new back end? Want to stand out from the online crowd? Or simply need to know how to pronounce ‘MySQL’ correctly? If this is all geek speak to you, contact Alexis at www.kcdarsana.com, for your web related requirements or call in to their corporate HQ on the road to Klong Plu waterfall.
The Ultimate Act of Caring . . . Thai TV showed photos of government ministers visiting those injured in the NYE bomb blasts, those lucky folks all received polythene wrapped gift baskets (Potato chips, energy drinks, shampoo, tins of condensed milk and more!) from the ministers, whilst families of those who died were given a whopping 10,000 baht. This is more than enough to compensate the family for the earnings the deceased would have accumulated during their working life. It is based on a complex calculation which factors in the deceased emigrating to North Korea on 1 January 2007 to take up a job in an asbestos mine at Work Camp 4, on the outskirts of the Pyongyang nuclear test site, and then taking an evening job as a nerve agent test guinea pig at 17 Won per hour.
The Ultimate Job on Koh Chang (not really but it pays for your beer) . . . An English teacher, preferably a native English speaker with some experience, is required for a private student working for a property developer on Koh Chang. 2 hours x 2-3 classes per week in the evenings. Hourly rate to be confirmed. If you’re interested email Carsten at Anchana Language School, White Sand Beach.
The Ultimate Cover Up . . . According to hotel staff, a young child on holiday with his parents from Europe, drowned in the pool of a 4-star resort last week. Hotel staff were instructed by the GM not to tell anyone, except people they meet in the market and like to gossip with.
The Ultimate Minibus Ride . . . Sonja & partner are looking for anyone wanting to share a private transfer from Koh Chang – Siem Reap on 25 February. If you’re going that way and want to share the expense let me know.
The Ultimate Afternoon Stroll . . .there’s a nice little walk across Koh Wai which is worth a look if you’re visiting the island on a boat trip, have more than 30 minutes to spare and want to get away from the snorkelling masses. A few photos and more info here.
The Ultimate New Trend . . .Herbal Saunas. The original Herbal Sauna is in Bailan and, as with all successful small businesses, it has been copied. Now there are at half a dozen Herbal Saunas dotted along the west coast. The original is a unique hand made, purpose built adobe style sauna. Nearby, on Lonely Beach, this copycat uses a converted septic tank or possibly a reconditioned grain silo, as a sauna.
The Ultimate Confidence Boost . . .The khaki clad Defence Minister of the ruling military junta in Thailand was reported on the BBC News website as saying that it was “highly likely” the NYE bomb attacks in Bangkok were carried out by “men in uniform” by which he didn’t mean subversive supermarket shelf-stackers and grudge bearing valet parking staff. Sleep safely Bangkok.
The Ultimate Method to Beat the Thai Drink Driving Test . . .I had to drive to the ferry pier to pick up some of our guests a few days ago, the police had a checkpoint set up looking for people who still might be over-enjoying extended New Year celebrations. The boys in brown were stopping all the cars and questioning the drivers. In the absence of any breathalyser equipment, a cunning line of questioning was used in order to weed out any drivers who had been imbibing prior to getting behind the wheel:
Police: Hello. Have you been drinking alcohol?
Me: (Making a point to look at the clock in the car.) It’s 10.30am, I had a small Beer Chang last night, does that count?
Police: OK, you can go.
14 Jan – Thrillseekers can now parasail on Koh Chang courtesy of Rung Rueng Parasail, Kai Bae. Get dragged skywards by speedboat for 600 baht. Head to Coral Resort, Kai Bae or contact any tour agency or resort in this part of the island for info.
Down in Bangbao there have been sightings of a foreign visitor engaging in unnatural activities on a regular basis. Apparently he’s taken it on himself to pick up garbage out of the sea. Restaurateurs have been told repeatedly not to instruct their staff to throw garbage into the sea early in the morning before any tourists are around, but this still occurs. Whether this one person’s actions will leave any long lasting impression of the wealthy individuals responsible for the majority of garbage that gets dumped directly into the sea remains to be seen. Probably not if the hotels who continue to burn their day’s garbage on waste land not too far from Klong Plu waterfall are anything to go by. There’s nothing like the smell of smouldering plastic at sunset to remind you that you’re in Thailand.
Big property update. Info on the compact and bijou Baan Talay Thai development on the quiet east coast added for anyone looking for a peaceful life by the sea. Photos and details here. Other good stuff on the way when I have time including plots of land ideal for housing. 13 nicely sized plots from 852sqm – 2,432sqm, with Chanote title, access road, electricity and water on site, from 1.45 million – 3.8 million baht. Lovely, quiet back to nature location in a valley, jungle clad mountains around you, 1km to the local village, and only 10-15 minutes drive to White Sand Beach. Also more condo units on sale soon from 3.8 million baht for an 82sqm 1 bedroom place.
Live Music update – The Irish Pub on White Sand Beach are currently advertising for Folk Singers. Keep an eye out for the Thai equivalent of an old bearded guy in a fisherman’s smock, with his finger in his ear singing an acappella tale of how rough life was for those involved in building the Manchester ship canal in days gone by.
According to guests who stayed at Tropicana Resort over Xmas & New Year the management managed to seriously screw up a lot of bookings with at least 30 people being double booked and getting sent off to stay at another less desirable and far less popular hotel for all or part of their stay. Klong Prao Resort was another place that came in for a fair bit of criticism for unfriendly staff and crap management by guests who stayed over New Year and shared their thoughts with me.
If you’ve ever wondered why Thais aren’t great explorers, this sign in Lonely Beach may provide the answer. South-west is the direction you head to for Italy, Nepal and Cambodia apparently. A few more photos of Lonely Beach added so you can see how the young people of today live when they are on holiday. (I don’t know why they choose to live in a shack either when there’s a perfectly good 3-star just along the beach. It must be a phase they’re going through.)
Another wedding on Klong Prao beach last week, the moment I heard the grooms utter his vows “Without you Angie I can’t function.” (That was his vows in their entirety.), I knew that as soon as the bloke presiding over the ceremony and who pronounced the happy couple man and wife ‘by the power vested in me by the General Manager of Klong Prao Resort and the Lord God Almighty’ I just knew that Angie and hubby’s first song would be Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’ . . . and so it was.
Sangtawan restaurant has now replaced Cookies as my favourite eatery on White Sand Beach. Not sure what’s happened to Cookies in the past few months, they’re getting complacent and it isnt as good as it was. However, Sangtawan, adjacent to Cookies, on the beach with the white lanterns in the tree, has been excellent the past couple of times we’ve been. The cocktails are also worth a mention as they’re cheap and taste like cocktails should rather than over sweet fruit punch.
22 Jan – It’s not a sea view but as views go it’s a pretty nice one to wake up to. 13 plots of land for 90 year lease to foreign buyers at the north-west of Koh Chang. Prices from 1.45 million baht for 852sqm. 10 minutes drive to White Sand Beach, 2 minutes to the local village and buyers are allowed access to the private beach & facilities at Siam Royal View.
Ever wondered what the first symptoms of heartworm in a dog look like? Neither had I until blood started pouring out of our dog’s nostrils the other day. Fortunately we were in Rayong at the time and know the vet there very well. So after three injections, a course of pills and a day spent holding an ice pack on the dog’s snout ‘Santa’ made a quick recovery.
It’s around this time of year that our thoughts turn to the annual commemorations of the Battle of Koh Chang, a France vs. Thailand naval encounter in January 1941. Our thoughts also turn to thinking that it’d be helpful if certain websites mentioned the annual celebrations in advance in the future. So, had you been at the naval memorial on the mainland a couple of days ago you would have seen naval top brass staring out to sea in obligatory sombre mood. If this sounds like a reason to visit Koh Chang in mid-January 2008, best pencil it in to your diary now.
Thai TV station iTV ran a series of news features on Koh Chang. They had their helicopter buzzing around the skies over Koh Chang 3 weeks ago and the results of their trip were aired last week. I only saw one as I tend to have better things to do that watch any Thai TV channel. This was about the changes in Bangbao and how the poor fishing folk had moved out to be replaced by restaurateurs and dive companies. Not exactly ground breaking investigative journalism but some nice aerial pictures.
Dominic from ‘Six Billion Others’ was on Koh Chang interviewing Thais for this art project which will result in a video installation in a Paris gallery. The project, headed by French artiste Yann Arthus-Bertrand is sponsored by Apple & Air France amongst others and consists of a team of six people travelling the world conducting identical interviews with people about their lives, hopes and dreams. The end results should see the light of day in 2008. For now see www.goodplanet.org for more info. Is it only the French who can get away with this type of thing, call it art and find corporate sponsors to boot?
Mr Kampon Jaroenkajornkul, head of Trat tourism business association, spoke to the Bangkok Post regarding tourism post NYE bombs ‘‘After the bombings, around 10% of visitors to Koh Chang decided to leave the island for fear of their safety.” So where did these tourists who felt they were holidaying in an unsafe environment whilst on one of the sleepiest islands in Thailand go to? They couldn’t go home as flights were full. They couldn’t go to Bangkok obviously. Other tourist hot spots would be far higher up a list of potential terrorist targets than Koh Chang, so Samui, Pattaya, Chiang Mai, Phuket etc were out. My guess is either they all went next door to the peace loving nation of Cambodia or Mr Kampon may be talking nonsense. Ruling out the first option on the grounds that I only included it so that there’d be a choice of options, you’re left with the second. Given that a lot of people had only booked into Koh Chang’s hotels until the 2 or 3 of January there was bound to be a definite drop off in hotel occupancy for the following week, which has picked up again now. Why the quiet second week of January? Possibly because a lot of money grabbing resorts charge ‘Peak Season’ prices until mid-January so unless you really have to visit in the first two weeks of the year anyone with a brain will delay their holiday until the second half of the month and prices have come down.
Google hate me. They stopped me showing ads on this site for a reason they won’t specify so there goes a couple of thousand baht in monthly ad revenue. So if you’ve got something crap you want to advertise let me know and I may be desperate enough to take you up on the offer. Otherwise, I’ve still got two kidneys and so one is up for grabs to the highest bidder.
Need a Buddhist prayer for a special occasion? Perhaps one to keep you safe whilst riding your motorbike? Or do you simply to ward off ghosts but don’t what to say? Mam donated a couple of thousand prayer books to Klong Prao temple as they didn’t have any. So it’s bonus points for us in the eyes of the Lord Buddha and my thoughts of reincarnation as a cockroach are now firmly in the past.
Try Tapas Bar on White Sand Beach for a pre- dinner drink on the beach. Nice, friendly little bar on the sand with no thumping music.
29 Jan – Tip for travellers, if you’re arranging to meet at the Treehouse – get the right one. I picked up a couple by the road in the south east of the island who had gone the wrong way, realised their mistake and were trying to get round to the west coast to the Lonely beach branch.
In response to numerous, more than one but less than three, emails asking about the absence of a discussion board on this site. I had thought about it but I really can’t be arsed at the moment. Therefore, you’re best off posting on the TripAdvisor Koh Chang forum if you want to hear from people who’ve visited KC before and also want the opinions of the very helpful Local Expert for Koh Chang who goes out of his way to help those in their time of need. It’s a kind of a Mother Theresa position, providing some rays of hope and/or comfort for those who’ve booked at resorts they really shouldn’t have bothered with or weaning unsuspecting Americans off their painful addiction to Let’s Go guides. the main difference is that it can be done from home rather than the slums of Calcutta.
Question of the week came from one of our guests who’d just arrived here and obviously wasn’t involved much in planning the holiday “Which way’s Koh Chang?” she asked There’s only one answer for this type of question, but as I didn’t feel I knew her well enough to enquire as to what type of drugs she was on, my reply was limited to “Err, over there.” and pointing north, adding “You’ll find a map on the table.” hoping she’d manage to find the table by herself.
In case you missed it, the Thai Justice Ministry is currently overhauling it’s laws to make them fairer fair to women and improve Thailand standing as a modern, almost first world, country. The marital rape law has long been a bone of contention as it allowed husbands to rape their wives with impunity. The Ministry had a tough choice, abolish the law to make this illegal and so be equal to both sexes or, and here’s the good bit, make it legal for wives to rape their husbands and so ensure equality of the sexes. Guess which option they went for?
Last week we heard from Mr Kampon Jaroenkajornkul, head of Trat tourism business association, who came out with the statement ‘‘After the bombings < in Bangkok Dec 31 >, around 10% of visitors to Koh Chang decided to leave the island for fear of their safety.” – a sentence which is must be some kind of anagram formed from a far more sensible statement. This week another local power broker with a desire to be seen as a safari-suited mover and shaker has come up with a solution to Koh Chang’s water woes according the the Thai News Agency.
‘The Deputy Chief of Koh Chang has proposed to use Reverse Osmosis, a system used to distil sea water to fresh water, to control the water shortage on the island.
Mr. Sakprasert Charoenprasit, revealed that Koh Chang will face water shortages from January-May every year. Five-star hotels and resorts will not encounter water shortages as they have their own underground water pumps. However, small hotels and resorts have to buy fresh water. As for the long-term plan to prevent water shortage, reservoirs will be constructed on the island and RO system is expected to be installed.’
Whether he prefaced his announcement with “Baldrick, I have a cunning plan . . .” isn’t mentioned. However, imagine there was an island in Thailand, far further offshore than Koh Chang, and which had well over 2.5 million visitors per year, dozens of world class hotels and a serious water problem, one so severe that even the best 5 star hotels had to ration water at times. So, wouldn’t Samui have had a huge reverse osmosis plant by now if it was a viable option? It hasn’t, although some resorts do have their own small scale RO plants. I wonder if Mr Sakprasert will address the problem of where the huge plant for Koh Chang will discharge tens of thousands of litres of super concentrated saline waste water every day. Also nice to see that his position as Deputy Chief of Koh Chang gives him the authority to decide to build reservoirs in water catchment areas, all of which lie in the National Park.
On the subject of bright ideas that faded fast under the glaring light of ‘real life’, let’s not forget that by 2007 motorists were to be banned from bringing their cars onto Koh Chang and tourists were to be ferried from beach to beach by boat whilst the main form of transport on the island was going to be the humble bicycle and White Sand Beach was to be transformed into an overdeveloped sea of drab, uninspiring shop units to become the architectural equivalent of Valium. OK, so the last aim came true, but previous examples of totally un-thought out thoughts that pop-up in the minds of politicians when a reporter is anywhere in the vicinity can be found in the News Archives.
How do you know you’ve made it in Thailand? When you can drive your Ferrari to Koh Chang and if there isn’t enough room in the boot for your suitcases you can get one of your staff to bring them in your Hummer, as an expat guest staying at the Amari did last week.
Coming soon, eco-friendly sea transport, ideal for anyone feeling guilty about blowing their personal carbon allowance for the year on the flight to Thailand. (No, it isn’t a yacht.)
9 Feb – A nice beach for anyone looking to get away from the crowds. No need to trek too far to find a bit of privacy if you find White Sand Beach, Klong Prao or Kai Bae too touristy. Instead, head down to Bailan Resort where you’ll find the beach below. Brand new, AC Bungalows on the beach for around 1300 baht/night and fan bungalows for around 700-800baht. Part of the beach is also rented by ‘Mangrove’, which has well designed but simple bungalows aimed at flashpackers rather than their scruffier backpacker brethren.
In a new section entitled ‘Biggest disappointment of the week‘, I’ll be covering the sad tale of a guy who left Koh Chang glum faced after visiting the ‘By Hand Club’, in Klong Prao, opposite the gas station, only to find that not only was it staffed by a couple of middle-aged women but that it merely sold handicrafts and nothing more exciting than that was available. Next week, it’s the turn of www.kohchangtv.com, but if you’re expecting a site for local cross dressers you’ll be wasting your time.
Psst . . . wanna invest in a once in a lifetime opportunity. See www.royalsiamtrust.com, land bankers on the mainland, southeast of Trat. You too can invest in over 100 acres of prime grade mainland beachfront in a location that currently receives about 150 visitors a year all of whom have got lost trying to find the Koh Chang ferry piers or have stopped to rest on their way to the casino on the Cambodian border. Anyway, according to a report in the Singapore Times, the equivalent of 4 million baht/rai will buy you a very small slice in the prospector’s pie then all you have to do is wait for someone with even more money to burn to come and take it off your hands As a guide, you can pick up beachfront around here for a couple of million/rai or less easily. Without wanting to use the word ‘dodgy’, it does seem a bit ‘d-d-y’ as far as worthwhile investments go.
I’ve had a few banana shakes in the past week, so, for anyone’s who’s a bit of a connoisseur of all things fruity, the results of my unscientific, subjective taste test follow: 1) Paradise Resort, Koh Wai – 50 baht Actually had three there in the past week when I’ve been out on the boat, can’t fault the shakes and the restaurant is a great place for people watching 2) The cheap Thai restaurant opposite Alina Resort, White Sand Beach whose name I can’t remember at the moment – 30 baht, if they can do a great shake for 30 baht why cant more places? 3) Salakphet Seafood, Salakphet – 40 baht, probably joint second but edged out on the extra 10 baht price. 4) Buddha View, Bangbao – 60 baht, tasted fine but not blended enough, still a bit crunchy.
The new telephone office will open soon on Pearl Beach just behind the Post Office. No longer will you have to trek into Trat to apply for a phone line and be told to wait 3 months, or be told that “the internet is full” when you apply for your ADSL connection. Those services and other reasons to queue, will be available here by the end of the month.
Dhevatara Cove, Samui . . . take a look . . . how nice are those pool villas? On Samui one will set you back a cool million – US dollars not baht. But what if you could buy an almost identical style of villa, complete with a private pool, on a small private beach on Koh Chang for well under half the cost of one on Samui . . . how nice would that be to own? Fear not house-hunters . . .More info on the way just as soon as I get round to adding it.
Bamboo Bungalows on White Sand Beach do Italian food on the beach and it’s pretty good. I usually avoid eating western food on Koh Chang unless someone else is paying for the meal . . .and this occasion was no exception, but I’ll be back again and maybe even pay myself next time. The pizza tasted like pizza and the pasta tasted like pasta – that might not sound like much of an achievement, but if you’ve visited Thailand before you’ll know that it is. It’s not in the same league as Invito, the best of the Italian restaurants on KC, but it’ll do me.
The March edition of Thailand Property Guide will include a 3-page feature on the paradise island of Koh Chang . . . including colour photos no less. I know this because I’ve just finished writing it.
A couple of serious investors, each with with 50 – 80 million baht on hand, have contacted me recently and they’re both looking for a profitable small resort on Koh Chang to buy. The key words here are ‘buy’ i.e. not lease for a few years and ‘profitable’ i.e. really makes money and offers a good rate of return on the selling price, two criteria which rule out quite a few places I can think of. But if you’re a resort owner or know anyone who has one and is interested in selling let me know. (And if you want to buy a 38 Rai, 150+ room, well-known, west coast resort for 560 million baht, let me know too.)
Two modern houses for long term rent in Kai Bae. One at 25,000 baht/month ( pictured left) and the other at 30,000 baht. Both quiet locations, both on 1 Rai or more of land (1600sqm+), both built during the past 18 months to a good standard – basically, the best quality house rentals you’ll find at the moment on the island. Photos and info will be online next week, in the meantime if you’re interested email me.
It’s always fun to receive emails from some Eastern Europeans as they’re often pretty excited when you actually reply, and you can’t help but invoke images of Borat . . .
Subj: Hello from Latvia!!!!!!!
Thank You very much for contakt with ##### diving center, Everything is ok ,I find my friends…..
Best of the Best regards from the Latvia
Have a nice times
16 Feb – I was out on the boat the other day, so there’s this rather arty boat photo showing the kind of water you won’t ever see off Koh Chang, but will find off the smaller islands to the south; and a cute & cuddly monkey photo (bottom of the page) as I have a thing for taking photos of wild monkeys. The one pictured goes by the name of Keith and lists his interests as scratching his arse, flashing passing boats and shagging birds, by which I hope he means female monkeys and not gulls; anyhow Keith is looking for a like-minded female monkey, macaque or whatever the hell breed he is, to settle down with in his Bangbao cliffside treetop home with sunset views. Simian dating, another unique service from IamKohChang.com.
Had a cracking meal at my new favourite restaurant on Koh Chang on Sunday. Sitting in a little ‘sala’ by the sea, no other people, excellent cocktails, awesome food, friendly owners, only one other couple, (only about 5 tables in all), no intrusive music, a couple of hammocks to lounge in . . . the list of stuff I like about the place goes on. I mention the name of the restaurant somewhere on this site, you’ll know when you see it, but like all good things in life you need to make the effort to find it and you’ll be rewarded. :-)
How hard is your kid? Could he have any of the others in the school yard or is he a bit of a wuss and needs some toughening up? There are a couple of Muay Thai events at different locations around the island this coming weekend and the bout that caught my eye was the one pictured left – the 22 Kilo class. i.e the weight of an average 8 or 9 year old. Looks like it’s time to get junior to put down the Gameboy, pick up the gloves and battle these local brats, the winner earning a kilo of guavas, case of fish sauce and bragging rights as ‘King of the International Playground’. Disclaimer: If your 8 year old doesn’t already go on 5km runs at 4.30am in the morning and kick a bag for 2 -3 hours every evening, it’s probably best not to even allow him anywhere near any Thai child in a ring unless you have a comprehensive insurance policy or are a sadist.
A couple of houses for anyone interested in living on Koh Chang long term but not ready, or in a position at the moment, to buy a place of their own. Two very nice houses in Kai Bae are available for long term rental – both owned by long-term expats. It’s very hard to find any well built houses on the island to rent, even harder to find anything in a quiet & convenient location. Both are worth a look:
House for sale or rent – a 2 bedroom, newly built house on 1.25 Rai of land in Kai Bae for sale for 4.5 million baht – will discount for a quick sale as owner needs to move to the mainland as soon as possible for his kids’ schooling. Also available to rent for 25,000 baht/month. Fully furnished with UBC satellite TV.
Also, nearby another house for rent. This was just completed earlier this year and is 208sqm, 2-3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, two floor house on 1 Rai of land in Kai Bae. Very bright & airy, fully furnished, with cable TV. 30,000 baht/month, will discount for 12 month contact.
This is the aforementioned Keith giving the camera his best ‘Blue Steel’ look.
Some people like to accuse me of using this site to promote my own interests, such as the rather nice speedboat pictured above and available for rental at very reasonable prices, ‘Baan Rim Nam’ described by the Rough Guide to Thailand as “charming and idiosyncratic” (which I think is a compliment) or even having property listed here such as these lovely teak wood villas on Koh Mak, which I earn a commission on. But it’s emails like this extract from one I received a couple of days ago that show me that I’ve got the mix of having a laugh, blatant self-promotion, crass commercialism and general info about the paradise island of Koh Chang pretty right:
“Hello, I came across your website by pure chance and what a joy! The chances of me, a 60 yr old grandmother living NW of Johannesburg, 1000Kms from the nearest beach, actually visiting Koh Chang are as remote as me visiting the moon – but I just couldn’t resist telling you how much I enjoyed reading about your island . . . “ and so it goes on a bit extending an invite to the vineyards of South Africa etc, but you get the gist.
So it looks like I’ve got a the ‘Online Grannies who will never visit the island’ demographic wrapped up. All I need to do now is win over the ‘Pissed off business owners who don’t get free advertising on this site but feel they should for some unfathomable reason‘ segment and I’ll be sorted. Remember if there is anything on this site that upsets you or you simply don’t feel that your business is getting the free publicity it truly deserves – you’re welcome to email me and I’ll be happy to post your email on this page, give you a mention, tell the world about any upcoming events you have on – for free. No need to pay for an advert.
23 Feb – The new Bangbao pier is nearing completion the views from the end of the pier are great. Ignore the handful of ‘workers’ a.k.a. guys sitting around fishing, and take a stroll along to the lighthouse at the end. It’s going to be fun watching visitors lugging backpacks and suitcases almost 800 metres from the parking area at the start of the pier to the very end, that’s for sure. But the lighthouse at the end will make for a good view point when it’s completed. Nearby, construction on Tranquility Bay Residence’s new 316metre long pier will begin in a week or two. Also, along with this new pier, a new one is also virtually complete in Salakphet, in the south-east of Koh Chang and another new pier is under construction now in Laem Sok on the mainland. This pier will replace Laem Ngop as the departure point for boats to Koh Mak and Koh Kood. It’s nearer to these outlying islands but further from the airport and Trat town.
Talking on Koh Kood . . . there’s going to be an airport built there suitable for small planes. Private and charter flights will be operated from Bangkok by an arm of Thai Airways, which means that anyone visiting Koh Mak could feasibly fly into Koh Kood and then have a 15 minute speedboat ride to KM.
And, for anyone doubting my ability to seamlessly link topics . . . talking of Koh Mak, I’ve updated the info on the teak wood villas for sale and added more construction photos. When you think that under a year ago there was nothing but uncleared jungle on one plot of land and now there are seven completed houses and ten under construction in three different areas, you know you wont be waiting an eternity for your house to be built. Even more remarkable is that the advertising budget for the developments is zero, no brochures, sales girls or paid adverts – just this website and word of mouth. Prices from 95,000 – 150,000 Euros, which would get you a 280sqm house on 1000sqm of land with sea view plus a swimming pool shared with only four neighbouring houses. Two beaches are within 5 minutes walk.
Heading to Siem Reap in early March? Waltraud is interested in sharing a private transfer by car from Koh Chang to Siem Reap on 5th March. If you’re heading that way and want to travel in safety & comfort and share the cost, then get in touch.
Competition Time: I’m proud to announce the launch of first ever IamKohChang.com competition, perfectly timed to coincide with the first ever time that someone’s given me something to give away. On offer is the novel ‘Thai Girl’, by Andrew Hicks, notable in that it’s the only novel partially set on Koh Chang that has sold over 15,000 copies – not bad for a first novel by an unknown author in a foreign country. The copy on offer, unsigned by the author and therefore in mint condition, is up for grabs to whoever can answer a simple question. How simple? was a question I posed to Andrew when we met last week as I know my audience and their limits. My suggestion of ‘Name the author of Thai Girl by Andrew Hicks’ was rejected in favour of this brain teaser more suited to the intellect of potential readers ‘Given that Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’ isn’t really about Thailand at all, but a fabled desert island that could be anywhere, can you name the only backpacker novel that really is set in Thailand?’ All correct emails received within the next couple of weeks will be put in an imaginary hat and the winner chosen at random in a totally unbiased draw. Having said that, being on Koh Chang in the next couple of months and so able to pick up the book in person – thus saving me the cost of postage, may well influence the outcome of the totally random, but yet secret, prize draw. A second follow up questions will be asked in the unlikely event of a tie. ‘How come no bookshops on Koh Chang stock the only English language novel to be partly based on Koh Chang and which has received good reviews both in Thailand and abroad?’ Wondering if ‘Thai Girl’ is yet another ‘boy meet bargirl’ snooze-fest? Take a look at some reviews and a bit more info about the book. For more about the author, visit Andrew’s new blog. He’s just got connected to the information superhighway in his upcountry Thai home, so is now telling the world of his self-depreciating, English gentleman abroad/fish-out-of-water observations which make for a jolly good read if you’re bored with this site.
Financial News – a quick round up from the markets. The price of limes have been fluctuating wildly in wake of news on hording by local restaurants and scurvy fears amongst visitors to the island. All this, much to the chagrin of the Klong Prao citrus future traders co-operative. Locals such as Somchai na Talad, who bet the family cockerel on the lime price decreasing in March, have been seen trying to recoup their losses on the whopping 17,500 baht debenture share listing from the Kai Bae Fermented Shrimp Paste Co. Next week, Warren Buffet’s views on the price of Isaan sausage.
The building site next to VJ Hotel & Spa, Klong Prao will be a rather nice boutique resort within a few months – their website is now up with some limited info – www.thedewakohchang.com
1 Mar – This is ‘Squawks’ so called because that’s what she does all the time. No ‘Meow’ just continuous squawking. I’ve been looking after her for about 3 months since she was abandoned by her mother, it’s kind of like having a Tamagotch that eats croissants but doesn’t have an ‘Off’ button.
I got ran off the road the other day by Angelo a.k.a the Birdman of Brazil, who thrust a couple of VCDs in my hand and begged me to give his new aerial photography business a mention. Seeing as it’s a great idea it didn’t require too much arm-twisting for me to agree to stick a page on this site with a few stills from the videos for anyone interested in his services. I can’t remember the exact costs but it’s far cheaper than you’d imagine to get Angelo to risk his life for you in his paraglider. In return for his efforts you will receive a video and/or stills of any area of the island. In addition to the obvious snapshots of beaches and and spying on your neighbours, this service has a multitude of business applications. Keith, from Koh Chang’s top cable TV station, provides the technical know-how to put Angelo’s aerial images into an edited CD format in what’s marketed as a same day service. There was going to be a link to a page of info with photos etc but I couldn’t figure out how to do a screen capture properly, so use your imagination until the next update when I should have some pics.
The Lonely Planet Online Guide now has up to date reviews of a select handful of the best places to stay on and around Koh Chang . . . and we’re in it. < Desperately searching for a little blushing smiley icon to insert here > Here’s what they had to say abou Baan Rim Nam:
Live like a canal fisherman, with wi-fi and air-con. Perched on a wooden pier on Khlong Phrao, and backed by a mangrove, this renovated wooden fisherman’s home affords the opportunity to experience a side of Ko Chang most visitors never see . . . . The guesthouse is often full so reservations are highly recommended. Read the full review on the award winning Lonely Planet website – so you know I don’t make this stuff up. Two thirds of their list is hard to argue with, but there are a few that shouldn’t be on it and although the reviews are credited to the legendary Joe Cummings, LP’s ‘Mr Thailand’, it wasn’t him who was on Koh Chang reviewing places but another author for the awesome LP guides. In addition, anyone who actually set foot at our place would know we were on a river estuary and not a canal as that makes it seem like there should be barges and locks outside. So the review’s total nonsense but it’s nice nonsense and that’s what’s important.
Tech Tips . . . Saw a shiny new pick-up with the URL of what I presume to be the owner’s website plastered over the rear window. But before you advertise your site so prominently it might be better to make sure you don’t get the message ‘You’ve been suspended, bitch!‘ when people type in the domain name – www.rocksaltcafe.com. :-)
Do you have a nice house to rent out? If so, let me know as there’s a growing demand for good quality rentals. Clare’s house in Kai Bae was rented for a year within a couple of weeks of me putting it on the site. And ‘Hi’ to Chris & Brenda who rented it and will sell their California beachfront home in order to move to Koh Chang.
The announcement of the opening in April of the new Gajapuri Resort and Spa, in Kai Bae has put me under the impression that resort owners are deliberately setting out to confuse taxi drivers. These guys, with just the basics of English, a half-hearted smile and a flask of rice whisky to keep them going; will now have to figure out if customers speaking English in any one of a variety of foreign accents including Geordie and Scouse, want to go to Kacha Resort, Gajapuri Resort or Kachapura Resort.
K. Sirichat from Gajapuri, emailed me to let me know that the resort website can be found at www.gajapuri.com. Prices from 4,500 baht/night. If that’s too rich for your blood, head next door to the 200 baht/night Siam Holiday huts. Interesting fact . . the name ‘Gaja’ or ‘Kacha’ comes from the Sanskrit word for elephant. Aana Resort is also named after an ancient word for elephant from a southern Indian language. It’d be nice to see things a bit more relevant to today’s tourists by naming a resort after the Swedish or Russian for words for elephant. Or simply go with ‘Nelly’ or ‘Dumbo’ for an elephant themed hotel.
Lots in the news recently about bombings & killings way down in the south of Thailand. One of our guests got an SMS asking if they were OK – seeing as they were barely 1500km away from an explosion or two and, had the fabric of time and space been warped at the precise time the bombs went off, they could have been killed. It really was a close escape. Bombs and murders in the south aren’t news anymore. If bodies aren’t hacked up with machetes on a daily basis, that’s news. The media could play their part though as referring to the area as the ‘restive south‘ doesn’t help matters and would piss me off if I lived in a restive area as opposed to an island paradise. Not many slayings in paradise. All that’s required is a slight change to ‘festive south‘ which I’m sure would make locals feel much happier. It may not stop the deaths immediately but I know that I’d think twice before decapitating a rubber tapper if I were feeling ‘festive’ and not ‘restive’.
Ahoy! – anyone want to buy a yacht charter company based in Koh Chang? If so, two yachts plus website, minivan, Thai registered company etc are up for grabs. See www.sailing-in-thailand.com & if that doesn’t take your fancy you can buy Papa’s Deli in Kai Bae or Nirvana Resort in Bangbao on the site. There’s something for everyone in the ‘Great Koh Chang End of Tourist Season Sales’ which are now on with discounts on all kinds of small businesses and poorly located, over priced shop units.
Thai Girl Competition: The competition (see last update) is still officially on despite the fact I’ve already chosen a winner, simply because it’s amusing for me to see how badly some of you get the answer, to what I thought was a blatantly obvious question, wrong. So, here’s the question again ‘Given that Alex Garland’s ‘The Beach’ isn’t really about Thailand at all, but a fabled desert island that could be anywhere, can you name the only backpacker novel that really is set in Thailand?’
Remember, the prize is a book called ‘Thai Girl’. Also bear in mind that I’m not accepting the answer ‘Backpack by Emily Barr’, as that isn’t up for grabs and so for the purpose of this competition doesn’t exist. So far answers haven’t quite reached the level of total irrelevance to the question that a response such as ‘Trevor Francis in the 1978-79 season away at Spurs’ would, but they aren’t far off.
Copies of ‘Thai Girl’, are available from Lonely Books, opposite Chang Park Resort, Kai Bae or Nature Beach Resort, Lonely Beach. They have a dozen or so on the shelves and it’s well worth a read if you’ve got nothing to thumb through until the new Harry Potter comes out.
How far would you walk to meet me? (I can predict there are a few people saying they wouldn’t even cross the road.) But last week one Finnish couple walked from Bangbao to our house to say ‘Hello’, although I think they may have been more interested in meeting the dog and a couple of free beers. But when they got home Ari put up a webpage with a few photos of his time on Koh Chang. Ari’s website in English.
Tranquility Bay Residence – The Movie. The developers of have produced a 3D computer simulation of the completed development. This is the slimmed down low-bandwidth version suitable for downloading over the internet, a superior quality version on CD is available for interested parties. I’ve also added an availability update as the 60sqm & 120sqm condos in Phase 1 are selling well.
10 Mar – Since December 2006, the Whitehouse, Bailan has been under new ownership with the new boss and key staff having worked at well known resorts on koh Chang for many years.. Here’s a view from the balcony of one of the rooms. Nice quiet little beach, pool and AC bungalows for around 1600 baht/night.
Apologies for the delay in adding a new update, this was caused by factors beyond my control – mainly due to spirits, of the ethereal rather than liquid variety. The outboard on our boat had problems last week and, having narrowed the problem down to a faulty fuel pump, it was time to find the root cause. After a bit of head scratching the answer dawned. We’d forgotten to offer a duck to the boat spirits at Chinese New year. Yeah, we were busy and you can’t buy a good roast duck on Koh Chang and a trip to the mainland would have been in order but we thought that the boat spirits wouldn’t notice and a Kitkat and a ham & cheese croissant would suffice. Obviously we were wrong as the spirits weren’t to happy with their carbohydrate loaded offering and conspired to knacker the fuel pump, as they do. But it didn’t stop there, as the pick-up truck spirits got wind of the pissed off boat spirits and came out in sympathy, causing an oil leak which took a couple of trips to Trat to get fixed properly. I wish I was making this up.
Time to get your thinking trousers on . . . ‘How big is Koh Chang?‘ A simple enough question and one that should have been resolved a long time ago. At least that’s what you’d have thought. But it hasn’t. Koh Chang varies in size quite a lot depending on who’s holding the tape measure. The Thai Tourist Authority list it as 429sqkm, which is the most common size quoted on websites about the island, not a shock as you’d expect the Thai authorities to know how big their islands are. One problem with this calculation is that as soon as you think about it, it’s obviously incorrect. That would make KC at least 40km long by 10km wide which it isn’t, unless it’s been stretched recently. Fortunately, Wikipedia has an entry for Koh Chang and that lists the island as being 217sqkm. However, the final word should go to the United Nations and their Earth Watch site, based in Switzerland – a country not known for screwing up either numbers or dull data. They have Koh Chang listed as 214.6sqkm which is virtually the same as Wikipedia. And it should end there . . . but it doesn’t. It’s widely accepted that Koh Chang is the second largest island in Thailand, after Phuket, so why does the aforementioned UN website have Samui listed as being larger than KC at 233sqkm? Maybe it isn’t that reliable after all or maybe people are just guessing at the actual size and can’t be arsed to measure it accurately. The bottom line is, does it really matter and does anyone really care? Probably not.
Trekking, I met up with Tan who does trekking ans has a business called, you guessed it ‘Tan Trekking’ the other day and pretty soon you’ll find a page of info about his treks on this site. What sets him apart is that he’s actually a licensed tour guide with over 10 years experience trekking in the Chiang Mai and Krabi areas, and he lived in Australia for a few years so you can have a sensible conversation with him in English, which is a big plus if you want a guide who can explain what you’re seeing and not just leave to you play ‘Follow the leader’ up and down a hill.
Beach for Sale! 550 metres of beachfront, 50 Rai (80,000 sqm) land. The only undeveloped beach on Koh Chang with sunset views, ideal for housing development or exclusive private resort.
Evolution Tour have got their hands on a shiny new Nissan Teana saloon that will be used for private transfers between Bangkok & Koh Chang and Pattaya & Koh Chang. We were on the ferry the other day and saw the car, the driver was getting plenty of envious glances from his mates who were in their minivans. If you want to make the trip to KC in comfort then you’ll find more info here.
I got some aerial photos of Koh Chang taken from a video shot by Angelo of, you guessed it, Koh Chang Aerial Video & Photography, your specialists in Aerial Video and Photography on Koh Chang. Much better than Google Earth if you’re looking to spy on neighbours or check out land on the island or need unique promotional photos or video etc Even if you’ve got no interest in using their services the photos here are worth checking out as you wont see views of Koh Chang like these anywhere else.
An old friend visited from Bangkok last holiday weekend and decided to indulge in one of the activities that we lay on for guests – riverside dog wrestling. It was fun watching Santa get out of that choke hold she had on him, but those nights spent watching the Ultimate Fighting Championship are beginning to pay off for him.
On Koh Mak the price for the final couple of small teak & brick bungalows has been reduced from 68,000 to 60,000 Euros for a fully furnished island hideaway / place in the sun complete with aircon.
Also on Koh Mak, locals got together for a meeting to complain about the lack of land available for them. For some reason this made the Channel 11 TV News last week, I watched and thought to myself, “I hope the one in yellow isn’t complaining as she owns a brand new resort.” Not sure what the locals expected, maybe to have the island enlarged a little. Should get someone to measure it for them.
Want to see something really freaky? Take a look at this photo, what do you see? According to the guy who wrote the blog this picture was taken from, it shows the ghost of a French naval officer. The blogger explains . . .“How do I know that it is a french naval officer? For the simple reason that in the early part of the century seven french battleships invaded Ko Chang, taking on several defensive Thai battleships in a war documented by a monument father down the beach. I have studied this photo since that day and i think that this could be the most surreal moment i will ever capture! I know now that the energy is all around us.” Makes you think doesn’t it . . . mainly about the sad state of the world if it’s left in the hands of people like this.
Thai Girl Competition: The final plug for this book at least until the author lets me have another one to give away. The winner of this rather sad excuse of a competition was Soren from Denmark who’ll pick up his prize in person next month.
Finally . . . I took one of our kittens to see Lisa the vet the other day and spent a while talking. She has a list of people who, for whatever reason, haven’t paid their bills for a long time and have to be chased for money. I was a bit surprised to find that the three main non-payers were expats living on the island who run a beer bar, a resort & pub and a tour boat business respectively. We aren’t talking huge amounts of money – less than 2,000 baht each but to my mind there’s no reason why they shouldn’t promptly pay the person who treats their pets. Maybe a little naming and shaming would speed up the payment process ;-)
19 Mar – A bit of horn blowing to start. The Jan/Feb issue of leading Finnish travel magazine ‘Mondo‘ included a section on the 178 best places in Thailand or ‘178 parasta Thaimaan vinkiaa’ as they say in the land of the sauna. This covered things to do & see and places to stay. Koh Chang got a mention and two places to stay on the island were included. One was the remote Treehouse on Long Beach – ideal for backpackers wanting to escape from it all. The other was rated as the most interesting / unique place to stay on the island. Was is a deluxe 4 star resort? Was it a new boutique hideaway? Or was it the smallest guesthouse on the island . . . Baan Rim Nam, our place. You’ll have to pick up your copy if Mondo to find out, but it’s safe to say I wouldn’t be mentioning it if it wasn’t the third option above. So thanks to which ever Finnish journalist I now owe beers to.
The photos on this page are from the mainland heading south towards Cambodia. If you’ve got a hire car and are looking for something to do with it, a drive down here kills a day and although most of the road from Trat to the border is pretty mundane. But you can get off the main road and onto the beach road which is far more interesting. This photo is of Ban Chuen beach, several kilometres of sand but, as beaches go, it’s just a bit pointless, rather like Cha-Am only much duller which is no mean feat. Simply put, there’s no reason why you’d want to come here for more than 30 minutes unless you’re Thai. The other photo below is of a fishing village who’s name I’ve forgotten. Follow the road signposted to Mai Rood Resort and you’ll end up in it. Loads of very cheap seafood to be had and a few herds of water buffalo in the fields nearby.
Last week the Gulf Daily News – That’s Gulf of Arabia not Gulf of Thailand – carried a story on the Bahrain Cricket Club’s up-coming trip to Thailand to play in the Bangkok Sixes tournament at the end of the month. According to the article they’ll be playing warm up matches in Phuket, Pattaya and Koh Chang. Cant say that I’ve noticed a well watered oval anywhere on KC and I doubt whether the Klong Prao Sports Club could muster a First XI who could even understand the game let alone play it. But if you see a group of Bahrainis having a knock around on the beach this week you’ll know who they are.
If you’ve been searching in vain for an interesting shop on White Sand Beach, which is an experience akin to looking for a needle in a haystack, a new shop called ‘Klin Mali’ – adjacent to Banpu Resort provides a good start. This opened about 4 weeks ago and sells handmade silver jewelry which is pretty nice. Mam went last week and bought quite a few pieces. Necklaces and bracelets can be made to order and if you’re looking for some unique leather & silver bits and bobs for yourself, kids or as souvenirs then it’s worth a look. The best of the rest has to be the lamp shop – ‘Portobello’ with handmade paper lanterns than can be flat packed for easy packing into suitcases. The rest is pretty much the usual tourist dross, t-shirts and the same souvenirs as you’ll find for half the price in Chatuchak Market, Bangkok.
Proving that you can take the hotel out of Pattaya but you cant take Pattaya out of the hotel, Nirvana Resort will be hosting a Harley Davidson riders meet this coming weekend for young-at-heart Pattaya based gents with money to burn on Harleys – official motto ‘Yesterday’s technology at tomorrow’s prices’. Turn up on your 115cc rental bike and you’re unlikely to be let in.
Restaurant for Rent in Kai Bae. A 40 seat restaurant on 400sqm of land by the roadside is for sale for 950,000 baht including all fixtures & fittings ( decor, tables, chairs, kitchen equipment, glasses, cutlery, pool table, satellite TV. . . everything you need to run the place) The current owners who built the restaurant about 4 years ago will just take their personal items and leave everything else. After that the only things to pay are annual rent of around 100,000 baht/year and a bit of tax – around 7,000 baht/year. The landlord’s a decent guy, the location is good and the price is sensible. More info and photos.
Koh Chang’s first live webcam is now up & running at the office of Coco Dee Bo Tour in Chai Chet. The camera faces the northern end of Klong Prao beach and enables you to watch low resolution comings and goings outside Coconut Beach Resort & Paradise Resort, but it’s not really clear enough to make out who’s hot or not – I already checked that. Tip for backpackers: Save money on sending numerous emails to friends and loved ones. Send one email with the webcam URL and the times you will be standing in front of it. Then either write out your message on the sand in front of the webcam or on large pieces of paper which can be held up in front of the live cam. Simple and it’ll save a few baht. Do this a few times and you’ll have enough saved for an extra bucket of vodka/Redbull.
The emailer who compared a mother and daughter pair of Russian tourists to “Shelly Winters and Cindy Lauper” was being a tad unkind, and yet uncannily observant, judging by what I have seen outside some hotels where the fashion clock has been turned back to the mid-1980s.
Trekking, the ‘Tan Trekking’ page is now on the website. When I’ve got time I’ll be doing a section on things to do, probably called ‘Things to Do’ or something equally inspired but for now you’ll find the trekking info here.
There’s yet another Beach for Sale – around 400 metres of secluded beach, south facing, with a sheltered lagoon, the total area is 365 Rai of beach & flat valley land for a mere 65 million baht. Can be reached by motorbike or boat. Cheap price as it doesn’t have much in the way of title deeds yet.
26 Mar – “Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for flying with us. The temperature on the ground is a balmy 34 degrees and the sun is shining, please grab your ankles as we’re coming into land.”
Air Koh Chang, Trat province’s very own very low budget carrier will begin flights downtown Laem Ngop to the new city runway in the heart of Klong Prao’s bustling central business district in a few short weeks.
Formed by a unique partnership between a local taxi mafia chief and two drunk American tourists with high credit card limits, Air Koh Chang uses only the best pre-owned light aircraft from the Mongolian state cart company. Built in Dangyong Province, Eastern China and based on photos of a small plane that flew overhead on a crisp autumnal evening in October 1985, these winged horseless carriages would have been considered a marvel of technology a mere three generations ago. The six-seater features two classes – ‘First’ and ‘Last’. First Class passengers enjoy airconditioned comfort, complimentary nibbles, a full servicing from a hostess and an additional luggage allowance, whereas cheapskates don’t and should consider themselves fortunate to be onboard and not wing-walking their way to the island.
A unique ‘Fly Free! Pay if you Land’ ticketing scheme assures passengers that, should the worst happen – for example as a result of a wing or large chunk of fuselage being removed at an inappropriate or inconvenient time, their flight will have been at no cost to themselves. Touching down in Klong Prao passengers will be asked not to kiss the ground as excess spittle could weaken the runway.
At Klong Prao Souvenir Shop & International Airport, safety and environmental concerns have been taken to heart. Trees which may snag in the undercarriage have been removed and a large pile of rocks has been set in place to prevent the plane from skidding into the nearby river and thus polluting the water table. An Environmental Impact Survey was carried out and none of the fireflies inhabiting the nearby mangroves expressed any concerns regarding earth movers being in operation around the clock on their doorstep or being in the take off & landing flight path of the planes.
Job Openings – Midget required at Klong Prao International Airport ‘Laundry service, noodles, Puncture Repair . . . all this and flights too!’. Duties include shouting “Boss, Boss the plane is coming!” whilst running out onto the runway handing out garlands of flowers to all and sundry.
(Actually I made all of that up – except for the bit about the landing strip. If you’ve got your own ultralight plane and fancy attempting to land on Koh Chang you’ll need to contact Sea View Resort and ask nicely for permission to land as it belongs to CP Group.)
Moccachino – the nicest coffeeshop / internet cafe on Koh Chang shut last week. (That’s where I used to go for a decent coffee.) There was a good reason for the closure – the owners are busy with another much bigger project which needs all their time. The good news, for someone, is that it’s now for sale for a very good price – only 550,000 baht, which includes all fixtures & fittings plus the annual rent paid till June 2008. You get everything you need to run the business and although it won’t make you rich, it would be a nice little starter business easily run by a couple of people.
The biggest resort on Koh Chang is for sale. If anyone with deep pockets is interested, email me.
Tranquility Bay Residence have redesigned the interiors of their luxury condos. Out with the more traditional dark wood decor and in with a brighter more modern colour scheme and layout. See for yourself.
The rather artistic photo to the left is of the old style boats that used to ferry the fat & lazy around the mangroves at Salakkok Kayak Station & Restaurant
Loads of accidents last week. When heavy rain fell on the big hill between White Sand Beach & Klong Son last week, the surface of the northern side seemingly turned to lard. Even 4WDs were having problems on some corners and a couple of motorcyclists coming in the opposite direction had their bikes slip from under them fortunately they missed the cars and ended up in a ditch. (It’s not easy to claim on your vehicle insurance for damage caused by a sliding child.) The roads are very slippery when they get a downpour on them and you can be assured that your death will not be publicised as a warning to other incompetent road users, it will be kept under wraps so as not upset fellow visitors and will therefore be in vain. So best wait till the roads dry if you plan on heading over the hills.
Nisa Cabana Resort. This is another of those new places built by very wealthy people that makes you wonder if they don’t have anything better to do with their money. Nice enough place, but the location is pants. Prices from 4,000 – 40,000 baht/night with no beach, restaurants or shops within walking distance. Maybe Chinese & Russian tour groups will like the place. Check the website, it’s in Flash as you’d expect from a Thai site, meaning it looks very pretty but no-one will ever find it when they are Googling.