For 2007

July – September 2007

baby-elephant-pic6 July – Rain. Only yesterday I was watching the BBC and there was a report of the forgotten victims of the flooding in the UK. The ‘forgotten’ are from Hull, and so you’d think they’d be used to being ignored by the rest of the nation by now, but apparently not. The gist of the piece was that some residents now have damp carpets and so reckon the UN should be called in to provide emergency relief.

How bad is it? One interviewee claimed conditions were so bad for her family that they would have to live off takeaway food until they get their insurance money for new kitchen units. That’s how bad the situation is. As you read this there are musicians in Africa busy writing a charity single to raise funds to pay for an airdrop from McDonalds for the stranded citizens of East Yorkshire.

Who’s escaping the rain in the UK to head to Koh Chang this week? If so sunbathing, snorkelling in crystal clear water and sitting by the pool with a good book are just three of the activities you won’t be doing as it isn’t just the UK that’s been a bit damp recently.

At about 4am last night it started raining, and is still raining this afternoon here on KC. I spent the morning watching trees float past the house. The flash floods aren’t as bad as those from Sept 30 last year when many bridges were damaged but in Kai Bae the bridge in the centre of the village is now under the river. It’s days like this that justifies having a 4×4. You try driving a Toyota Prius across a flooded river and pretty quickly you’ll wish you had 3 litres of diesel under the hood rather than a few alkaline batteries, regardless of the consequences for the environment.

There’s no such thing as a free lunch. Yes, there is. Thanks to Alex from the Amari Emerald Cove for that and the lengthy chat on the meaning of life and why opticians shops feel the need to have such huge signs.

From the Thai News Agency today . . “TAT launches Keeping Thailand Beautiful project
The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT), Central Office Region 5, organized the Keeping Thailand Beautiful project at Koh Chang sub-district in Trat province yesterday (Jul 5). Its objective is to stimulate Thailand’s tourism industry.
The Deputy Governor of Trat, Mr. Anan Pittayayon, presided over the opening ceremony of this project. Many tourism operators have joined this project.   Mr. Chuchart Oncharoen, the Director of the TAT, Central Office Region 5, says the Keeping Thailand Beautiful project will help relevant agencies conserve many tourist destinations in the country and will also foster the villagers to be proud of their local areas.

You’d think that this means that there will be something as basic as rubbish bins on the beaches and a few signs asking the (mainly) Thai visitors who picnic on the beach to actually use them. I’m betting there won’t be.

Probably go back to Bangkok again soon if the rain continues. There are several good indicators of just how bored you are getting with the constant rain. The benchmark I use is when I seriously consider buying an eight pack of mini boxes of Kellogg’s cereals just to test whether our cats prefer Cocopops, Rice Krispies, Special K or one of the more exotic new nut cluster varieties to their usual Whiskas. So far I have resisted the urge.

7 July – For any meteorologists reading, Thai Met Office report that the total rainfall on 6 July in Trat was 210mm. In layman’s terms . . . that’s a lot.

13 July – ‘Koh Chang – Carbon Neutral by 2010’. That’s the worthy aim of a new scheme that, in the light of the recent Live Earth shows, has been dreamt up by the powers that be on Koh Chang in an effort to get matey with Al Gore. At present Koh Chang receives a little over half a million visitors a year, a relatively small number compared to the similar sized islands of Samui & Phuket. Add to this the fact that 80%+ of the island is virgin jungle lying within the boundaries of the National Park and you’ve got an island that is an ideal candidate to become the first to be carbon neutral island in Thailand.

When the figures for Carbon emissions by residents and visitors were measured against the amount of Carbon absorbed the the island’s vegetation it was clear that some adjustments to the status quo would have to be made to ensure that the island met the Carbon Neutral goal. With this in mind three new development projects were announced, designed to redress the imbalance.

The Klong Son drag strip and the Dan Mai coal fired oil refinery and the Bangbao iron ore smelting works. Explaining these drastic actions, the Head of the Island Administration stated “As soon as we saw the figures, it was clear that the amount of Carbon Dioxide being produced was well in excess of the amount being absorbed by all these trees.

Therefore drastic measures were called for to limit the amount if excess oxygen seeping, uncontrolled into the atmosphere above Koh Chang. Without countering this excess oxygen production, we would never achieve Carbon Neutral status. And the Drag Strip speaks for itself, drag cars burn 30 litres of fuel a minute plus it’s a funs spectator sport for all the family. Imagine the reduction in oxygen levels from this alone. However, the real savings in oxygen reduction will be seen in the new refinery and smelting works plus they’ll provide jobs for an estimated 6,000 Cambodian labourers too – thus boosting the population of the island. Whilst we know these changes wont be welcomed by everyone, the alternative would have been to destroy thousands of acres of rainforest, which is unacceptable to anyone who loves Koh Chang’s potential to attract Chinese industrialists as much as we do.”

“Meet me at Breezes!” I never thought I’d be saying that – but residents of Koh Chang can now sign up at the Amari Emerald Cove Resort to become members of the island’s first Members Only Club. A club so exclusive that membership is limited to anyone, Thai or Foreign, spending 6 months/year or more on the island. Linen suit and pastel shirt are optional, but personally, I like to make the effort to dress to impress when I go out. Whilst you might not be popping round for a meal at Sassi or Just Thai every night of the week, membership is 100% free and the benefits are pretty good – especially if you need a place to meet/impress guests, clients, customers etc. On offer are:
Special events
15% discount in all hotel restaurants – including alcohol and beverages
Breezes Bar Member Card (All Day – buy 1, get 1 free)
1 free glass of wine per person/meal
Complimentary Birthday cake for dinners with a birthday celebration
Special room-rates
Gym and Spa memberships

For more info call the Amari on 039.552.000 or call round and speak to Martin who’ll sign you up. And for those of you who don’t live on Koh Chang, but are just planning a holiday here, there’s some free wine sitting in a temperature controlled cellar at the Amari waiting for you. I’ll add some details about how you can get your hands on it in the next update.

According to Travel + Leisure Magazine’s readers’ survey, Bangkok has been named the World’s Third Best City. However, the headline in The Nation newspaper was probably more accurate: ‘Bangkok is ranked the third World’s Best City’.

Discounts at Koh Mak resorts. In case you didn’t know, and you probably didn’t, several of the better Koh Mak resorts have got together to offer very good value low season promotions for anyone wanting a short break on the island between now and October 15th. More info here or on KohMak.com.

23 July – This week’s photo essay highlights the groundbreaking modern architecture that can be found at the new checkpoint/visitors area on the main road heading into Trat and shows that when it comes to dubious taste in building design, anything Koh Chang can do, the mainland planning department can do worse.

At present all vehicles heading to or from Trat and Koh Chang will pass through a combined army & police checkpoint where shelter is in the form of a makeshift shack and bollards and barriers are the means of directing and slowing traffic. The check is mainly for catching vehicles not displaying tax discs and illegal immigrants or lumber etc that may be entering the country during working hours. The thinking is that anyone with illegal intentions won’t have the foresight to plan to pass the checkpoint outside the hours of 8.30am – 5.30pm, Monday-Saturday, or when it’s raining.

However a state of the art visitor centre – complete with flat screen computers no less, and checkpoint is almost completed. The architects have combined local elements with a bit of the future to produce something that can truly be called ‘unique’, if you’re being kind.

The shadow cast by a mock-up of Star Trek’s Enterprise will serve as a shady place for the police to stand and stop motorists for no apparent reason. Whilst your driver will be counting out 20 baht notes, you’ll be free to pop into the visitors centre – the glass fronted building decorated with octagonal blocks on the roof which I guess represent something or other where you’ll be able to chat to a student doing work experience for the TAT who, despite never having set foot on Koh Chang, will be pleased to sell you a hotel room with a smile on her face.

A 100 metre long concrete submarine sits on the opposite side of the road. Why a submarine? No idea, as the Thai Navy doesn’t have any, so maybe it’s wishful thinking. Or maybe it will be used for target practice by the Navy’s anti-sub helicopters.

The toilet block took me a while to figure out, then it clicked – it’s covered in concrete representations of rubber mats hanging to dry. That could have been a nice effect, as it is it looks like something you’d find in al 1960s ‘new town’.

Information and plans for the new luxury villas on Koh Mak added. Introductory prices for the first couple of buyers of around 200,000 Euros. Also more construction photos for the teak villas being built there.

If you still haven’t booked your low season hotel on KC and are looking for a bit of luxury plus peace and quiet the 4-star  Aana Resort & Spa, Klong Prao has just reduced its low season rates by an additional 20%+ per night. As of today, Deluxe rooms from 2,100 baht night, Grand Deluxe for 2,600 baht/night and rather fancy villas for 4,400 baht/night. There are a couple of good seafood restaurants close by and a free boat service to a private beach – a nice place for a short break.

If the idea of a little place of your own on the occasionally sun kissed island of Koh Chang appeals to you. But your budget is nearer 200,000 baht than 200,000 Euros there is a solution . . .. the new Island Holiday Homes at Island Lodge, White Sand Beach. Small plots of land are available for long-term rent only 250 metres from the beach. The owner will also help build a small bungalow for you. And if you aren’t using it, a rental program means you can earn income from renting your bungalow to tourists without worrying about finding guests, keeping your mini-home clean and maintained in your absence.

2 August – Billed as ‘Redefining the paradigm by which chic contemporary urban living has to date been judged’ the Klong Prao Newtown project is squarely aimed at people who don’t have a clue what this means but like the way the words convey the impression of something exclusive and therefore out of the reach of mere mortals.

Modelled on some of the most dynamic architecture currently on view in downtown Phnom Penh, designed with an apparent abandonment of all aesthetic considerations and equipped with energy saving features such as small blacked out windows; Klong Prao Newtown is a yet another addition to the sea of mediocrity currently flooding Koh Chang.

Conveniently located around the back of the village temple and near the entrance to the local school, the builders really have thought of everything. All Phase 1 units come with uninterrupted views of the temple’s crematorium, a mere stone’s throw away on the opposite side of the road. “Smells good, the monks must be BBQing again.” So, no expensive morgue fees if you have terminally ill family members, just drag Grandma’s corpse across the street and pop 100 baht in the donation box.

The added bonus of living under 100 metres from the school means that these units afford budding entrepreneurs one of the best opportunities on Koh Chang to exploit the spending power of local kids of all ages. Add to this the tempting E-Z payment terms of 150,000 baht down-payment plus 14,500 baht payable monthly until the purchase price is met or the building collapses, whichever is sooner; and it’s not surprising some on-site labourers are calling this ‘The Investment Opportunity of Lifetime’.

Any English teachers looking for a good job at Koh Chang’s best hotel – the 5 star Amari Emerald Cove? On offer:
Work Permit
Free Shared Accommodation
Food Allowance
Salary Commensurate with Experience & Qualifications

Applicants should:
Be Native English Speakers
Have a decent knowledge of Thai language
Be flexible, patient, dedicated, reliable and possess very good people/motivational skills
Immediate start for the right person. Some experience of the language requirements of hotel staff is also useful. Interested?

Peter & Babs from Scandinavian Chang Dive Centre, offices opposite Klong Prao Resort & opposite Chang Park Resort, would like you to know they are open for business during the ‘Green’ season and that the conditions for diving are pretty good right now, you’ll have dive sites to yourself and the visibility is around 15 metres now.

Also, at their dive centre you can be assured of quality, safety, the best service and you will be happy customers. Good to know they won’t rip you off and then abandon you to the sharks half way through your PADI course, which is a common complaint here in Thailand.

A while ago I mentioned I had some t-shirts from KohMak.com and also GoodTime Resort, Koh Mak to give away. I forgot about them until yesterday when I found them gathering mildew in the bottom of my wardrobe. Therefore, it’s time to get rid of them. There are three ‘KohMak.com’ and three ‘GoodTime Resort’ t-shirts to give away. They are all ‘Freesize’ which is a Thai word meaning they won’t fit anyone correctly but look OK on a large dog. However, if you’re ‘big boned’, ‘well-built’ or simply ‘large’, then you’ve got no chance of fitting into one. They fit me OK – 175cm & 75kg and that’s all I really care about.

So a t-shirt to anyone who can complete this sentence in a grammatically correct fashion “I’d like a t-shirt because . . . ” and manage to email it to me. If you’re not visiting KC for a few months, no problem I’ll keep your valued prize for you.

12 August – Birthday greetings to HM The Queen of Thailand, unlikely that she’s reading this but you never know.

Whilst Koh Chang maybe deader than the Yangtzee Dolphin at this time of year, the reward for people who do make it here at this time of year is having the beach to yourself when the sun comes out. In addition, when the clouds clear the visibility is much better than in the high season. A good time for anyone into photography to visit.

4 Rai (6,400sqm) of sea front land for sale, stony beach, midway between White Sand Beach and Klong Prao Beach is for sale. The owner has also had plans drawn up for a small housing development of villas and low rise condos on this site.
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Stars on Koh Chang . . . I just found out that one of celebrity chef Jamie Oliver’s best mates spent two nights on the island a few months ago. And if KC is good enough for friends of quite well known TV cooks, it’s got to be on your ‘must visit’ list of islands, hasn’t it?

Stay out of the water if there are strong winds & white capped waves. The story of a young child who came very close to drowning on White Sand beach last week reminded me of the parable of the distracted parent and the cocaine stash in the sugar bowl. Or was it just a reminder that some people have no common sense, I forget which. But contrary to popular belief the red flags that are flying outside resorts aren’t just for decoration, unlike the blue, green, yellow and multi-coloured ones that you may see flying which are obviously for decoration.

Info on Tranquillity Bay Residence updated, Is this the nicest luxury villa for sale Koh Chang?
My main regret this past week was the removal of an official looking roadside sign that simply said ‘Do Not Ocean’ before I got round to taking a photo of it. It’s no fun, if the powers that be remove signs before I can take the piss out of them.

The Amari Emerald Cove have launched a new promotion for anyone visiting Koh Chang i.e. YOU!
Many people who visit the island want to splash out on a really good meal, the problem is that finding any restaurant that offers excellent food, 5-star service and an ambience to match isn’t easy. Regardless of where you are staying on Koh Chang, you’re welcome to dine at one of the Amari’s F&B outlets.

As an added incentive, free transport between your resort and the Amari is provided as is a free glass of wine for each diner.

The ex-boss of DASTA, the organisation responsible for the development of Koh Chang, K. Plodprasop, has just been found guilty of being illegally involved in the exporting over 100 tigers to a restaurant zoo in China a couple of years ago following a second inquiry. Something that came as a bit of a shock to him, but to no-one else who’s followed his activities over the years; especially as the first inquiry, conducted by his friends an independent panel, found him not guilty of any wrongdoing.

30 August – For a certain landowner who asked that a recent mention of his small plots of land for sale to be removed. It has been taken off now.

For anyone wishing to buy any small plots of land anywhere on Koh Chang you could do well to familiarize yourself with the problems faced by buyers on Samui in the past where land had been split up and sold on but not in accordance with the Land Allocation Laws which govern the subdivision of land for residential purposes in Thailand. Especially as Koh Chang now seems to be following with the same ‘get rich quick’ schemes as far as land sales go, which is sad to see. Also read the sales contract carefully and see if it is fair to both parties . . . or not. “All that glitters . . . ” as they say.

The scene was one of of back slapping, Johnny Walker Red Label being poured, cigars being passed out and cries of “Yo, Stud” in Plai Buaban’s home in the north of Thailand this month after he learned of fathering three kids by three different mommas.

Two years after enjoying a three month long, all expenses paid shagtastic vacation on the fertile island of Koh Chang, two-ton love machine, Plai Buaban’s humpathon on behalf of the owners of Baan Chang Thai elephant camp has resulted in the birth of three calves – a male and two females.

Malai gave birth to the first baby on 6th August, the second was born on 12th August to Sai and then, in the early hours of 23rd August, Pimpa gave birth. Each of the newborn calves weighed in at over 70 kilos at birth and all are in good health. Although Malai’s baby was clinically dead when it was born, after she was in labour for 36 hours and it took 5 minutes of massaging and CPR by mahouts to bring it to life again. The birth and almost biblical resurrection were filmed and a VCD is available to buy.

The mothers and their offspring now live in a purpose built shelter where they are under the constant supervision of their mahouts 24 hours a day. The Mums are dieting and working hard to get their svelte XXXXXXXXXXXXXL figures back, but are slowly coming to terms with that fact that that last 200 kilos is the hardest to shed after giving birth, and those stretch marks won’t be disappearing any time soon. None of the calves have been named yet. The owner and mahouts are still trying to come up with suitable names. Wayne, Jade, Osama and Shakira are just a handful of names that have been mulled but discarded.

Visitors to Koh Chang are welcome to come and see the new arrivals as having three elephants born in a single camp within such a short period of time is pretty rare. However, whilst the births have been celebrated at the camp they do mean that the mothers are unable to work for the remainder of the year.
Please visit the camp and meet the elephants not simply to take photos of the calves, but to learn more about them and watch the interaction between a new mother and her offspring. If you enjoy this unique experience, remember to make a contribution to their upkeep so that the breeding program can continue to be successful.

Baan Chang Thai Elephant Camp is located roadside about 400 metres south of Klong Plu waterfall junction, Klong Prao.

In other animal related news – Khun Tongdaeng, the King of Thailand’s favourite dog, isn’t dead, so a group of senior bankers and representatives of business associations were informed during a private audience.   own after being born.

24 August – Related to Koh Chang only in that the owners have visited the island and met me. . . . Tom & Jiap have opened a small homestay with a twist in Bangkok. A condominium homestay, like like a Bangkokian in a city centre condo, near the sytrain for 1500 baht/night. A nice alternative for anyone who doesn’t want to stay in a tourist ghetto whilst visiting the ‘Big Mango’ as authors of travel related articles like to refer to the city.

Koh Chang’s mini-drought is over – we just had a week with no rain which whilst not in the same league as the high plains of Chile in terms of records for lack of rainfall is nevertheless a bit odd for this time of year.

Last update I mentioned that a sign I wanted to mention had been removed before I had the chance to take a photo of it. Fortunately an eagle eyed visitor, also with an penchant for crap signs sent a photo of the sign, which he found at Klong Prao Resort, to me.

Anyone wishing to buy any small plots of land anywhere on Koh Chang – especially Klong Son area might do well to familiarize themselves with the Land Allocation laws which govern the sub-division of plots of land in Thailand; the laws which state which types of land can legally be sold (or not); read up on the problems faced by land owners on Samui where similar things occurred a decade ago with the usual regulations being bypassed.

And also remember not to sign anything unless a good lawyer checks it first. There might not be any problems initially, but I’m betting that a few years down the line there are going to be a lot of people with serious headaches when they discover that their title deeds weren’t obtained properly and so can be declared invalid at any time.

Time for a role playing game. Pretend you are in charge of providing facilities for tourists at this viewpoint. You have two options when it comes to the placement of a couple of rather nice new benches. Do you a) place them so visitors can enjoy a panoramic ocean & island view or b) place them so visitors can enjoy a panoramic view of the car park. Anyone choosing a) has no chance of getting a job with the National Park on Koh Chang.

The new uniquely styled Dewa Resort (below) will finally open on 1 September. The owners kindly invited me to have a look around, so some photos and info can be found in the Photo Gallery.

11 September – Been a while since my last update as I’ve been on holiday again and then had my laptop die roughly 5 minutes after the warranty period expired. So whilst that’s being fixed here’s a travelogue and a few holiday snaps.

Finding a place quieter than Koh Chang in the (not very) rainy season isn’t easy to do. But for anyone wanting to really get away from it all you’ll be pleased to learn that there is an area of Thailand that can be easily reached from Bangkok by car, or bus if you have a thing for public transport, and where you are over 200 km from the nearest 7-eleven mini-mart.

Sangkhlaburi – near the Thai-Burma border was our destination. Just over 220km east of Kanchanburi which was the starting point for our trip. Kanchanaburi is famous for having a bridge which people walk over with contemplative expressions on their faces. But at the end of the day it’s just an iron and concrete bridge that happens to be built near the site of another bridge that was destroyed in WW2 and so is historical only in a round about way. So we moved swiftly on.

Not too far away is Muang Singh (Lion City), which is a far more interesting and far less visited tourist attraction. It’s a very well maintained Khmer ruin, a mini Siem Reap, and one of the 27 ancient cities of the old Khmer empire. 10 Baht entry for Thais, 40 Baht for fat-walleted foreigners for whom money is no object. Not a great deal to see but well worth a stop if you’re in the area.

After the obligatory clambering over temple walls it was back in the car and on to Saiyoke Noi waterfall. (There is another much larger waterfall Saiyoke Yai – but you have to pay 400 baht to get into that and it falls into the category of ‘waterfalls that aren’t worth paying 100 baht, let alone 400 baht, to see’.) Saiyoke Noi is a small, free, roadside waterfall which is a popular spot for picnickers and where you can swim in a couple of pools.

Not far from here is Hindad Hot Springs which despite being well-away from civilization has now been discovered by Russian tour groups. There are a couple of large public pools where you can swap communicable water-born diseases with strangers and several private cabins where you can get your kit off and bathe away from the monks’ prying eyes. Can’t remember the entrance fee but it was around 20 baht for Thais and more than that for me.

Another couple of hours drive through scenery of farmland and limestone hills, very reminiscent of the Ao Nang area of Krabi and and we got to Sangkhlaburi. A town made significantly more interesting following the building of a dam which causes the valley to flood and therefore look picturesque. The town’s only attraction of any kind, aside from a couple of temples and the fact it’s quiet and full of nature, is the 800 metre long wooden bridge that stretches from one side of the valley to the other.

This was built by the ‘Mon’ people who inhabit the western bank of the river to allow them to reach the Thai, eastern side. Interesting to note that the inhabitants of the eastern side were seemingly in no hurry to find away to reach the wooden shanty town on the opposite bank.

The locals around here comprise Mon & Karen tribes. The Karen tend to live in the jungle and are the type of folks you want to run into if your plane crash lands in a remote mountain area as they know more about living off the land than any TV survival expert. The Mon make very cheap teak wood souvenirs and sell them along with imported Burmese items such soap, quarter size guitars and semi-precious glass beads and so have integrated well into Thai society.

We had a couple of nights in Sangklaburi, one in the finest hotel by the lake, the 2 star Pornpailin Resort, where an AC room complete with TV, fridge, 2 double beds, ABF and about a metre away from the water goes for 1,300 baht/night. The second night we headed to P.Guesthouse which is probably the best known of all the places to stay. here we splashed out 600 baht on the best room in the place, (Room 17) which has an uninterrupted view across the lake. Another 800 baht/head went on a day of elephant trekking, rafting and travelling around by longtail boat. At this time of year the boat can head up the Runtee river to the elephant camp which is an amazingly scenic trip.

Heading back towards Kanchanaburi we did a quick detour up to Burma border at Three Pagodas Pass to see if the three pagodas were really as insignificant as they are made out to be, they are. Absolutely no reason to go here at all unless you are in the market for teak furniture. Way cheaper than in Bangkok and all the shops will send large items on a truck to Bangkok for a few hundred baht.

19 September – Koh Mak related stuff in this update as that’s where I just spent a couple of days. The speedboat service is currently running three times a week from Laem Ngop – Dan Mai (Koh Chang) – Koh Mak. Within a month or so the service will revert to it’s daily high season schedule.

The island leaves Koh Chang well behind when it comes to getting things done. The most recent example are the new mountain bike trails that cover Koh Mak. Also coming soon are public tennis courts, a high speed passenger catamaran service and a western standard kindergarten for local kids where holidaying parents will also be able to take their children to play and leave them safely if they want to escape the clutches of their little darlings for a couple of hours.

The Kindergarten renovation is part of a project that has just been launched to provide kids on the island with the best standard of education that is possible. This starts with the kindergarten and then will progress to improving the classrooms and facilities for school age children.

The developer of GoodTime Resort provided the initial funds to start renovation of the 25 year old kindergarten building and now other local resort owners and expat home-buyers on Koh Mak are also chipping in and offering to provide funds to buy uniforms, desks, chairs, classroom equipment, books, toys etc for the kids as well as providing them all with a healthy meal at lunchtime. At present this consists of chicken & rice plus a carbonated soft drink five days a week, no milk, fresh fruit or vegetables.

The plan is for the kindergarten to re-open in late October. Work has already begun, but as the two photos below of the dining area and toilet show, there’s still a lot of work required.

The local government can only provide one teacher to look after all the kids, so money raised will also be used to pay for assistants to help take care of the children. A play area will also be set up. Every afternoon this will be where families visiting Koh Mak will be encouraged to bring their children to play with the local kids.

In return the families of local children will provide Thai language lessons, cookery classes, Thai dance displays etc for visitors and to those who donate to the project.

If you plan on visiting Koh Mak and would like to make a donation, or would like to offer any help whilst on the island, please contact Kerstin. She will be back in Thailand from October 4th onwards.

There’s not much in the way of original work produced by local artists on the outlying islands . . . and for good reason. The photo below illustrates what can happen when you ask someone who has been living alone on a small island for the past couple of months to paint a picture to hang in your Spa.

As the resort owner said when he saw the painting “I told him, not too many tits.” (If anyone wants to buy this painting, offers are being accepted and the money will go direct to the obviously struggling artist.)

Informative signs have widely been regarded as one of the best types of sign to have and that’s just the type of sign that has been erected around Koh Mak. These signs mark three mountain bike routes of varying distances which cover the length and breadth of the island. They also provide riders with details of the various historical, local and natural sights they see en route. A printed pocket guide to the bicycle route is also available. For more info contact ‘Ball’ at Ball Internet Cafe, Ao Nid Pier, Koh Mak, he’s a nice guy who put a lot of time & effort into getting the bike trail up and running.

The main reason for visiting Koh Mak was to take a couple of people over to check out how construction on several villas was going. This is the bathroom of one villa. More photos of what around 150,000 Euros can buy you on Koh Mak will be added in the next couple of days.