For 2008

July – September 2008

koh-mak-car17 July – Last update for a month or so as I’ll be away on holiday. The photo above was taken yesterday when we decided that, as there hasn’t been much rain recently, it’d be good fun to trek up 45-degree slopes to the top of Khao Jom, the peak that overlooks White Sand Beach. There are two routes up, one from WSB and another which goes up from Klong Son Valley and which entails climbing up a smaller hill, Khao Chedi, first than then up to Khao Jom. That’s the one we took, starting to walk at about 9am and getting back to the car at about 6.30pm. Today I can’t feel my legs.

Good Place, Good Friends, Good Food, Good Bye. After around 15 years in business Thalé Bungalows, one of the last ‘old skool’ backpacker hang outs on Klong Prao beach and one with a name people are never sure how to pronounce – it’s ‘Talay’; waved a fond farewell to their final customer early last week. The owner of the land will build new, more upmarket accommodation on what is one of the best sites for a resort anywhere on the island.

When will Koh Chang be finished? Is one of the stranger questions I was asked by email this week. After checking with the sender, he wanted to know when “the construction” will be finished. I reckon about lunchtime on 16 May 2025.

Shhhh! It’s amazing how quiet Koh Chang is now. Seems much quieter than the same time last year. The only good business to be in is building shop units and shophouses as, for some reason, pretty much regardless of location, you can always find someone to rent them at a comparatively high price. And no-one, since man first crawled out of a cave and discovered the brick, has ever sat down, designed their dream house and had the end result look like a shophouse. “One day I wish I could own an absurdly narrow three floor house on top of an internet cafe, with no garden and frontage onto a busy main road.” Ever said that to yourself? Nope, me neither. Some Thais complain that foreigners are pushing the rental or sales prices up by agreeing to pay these prices. But in virtually all cases the high asking prices are set by the owner of the units who is Thai.

And how many of the small shops are run as real businesses? I.e. they are run to make a profit, and if they don’t make a profit they have to close as the owner’s kids can’t afford to eat. There’s a hell of a lot of shops, beauty salons, small restaurants, out of the way bungalow resorts etc, that only exist because the person who runs it doesn’t have to make money, they have access to a pension or other funds to live on and subsidise their ‘living the dream’*; or have a significant other who will be on hand to provide cash when the grey clouds of insolvency are hanging over their ‘investment in paradise’*. So, if you are thinking of running a business here, think about how important making a good profit is. If it is just as a hobby, then go for it. But if you need the money to live, think again.

The vast majority of the foreigners you see, not only on Koh Chang but anywhere in Thailand, driving nice cars or running big businesses made their money abroad first and choose to spend it here – rather than starting with virtually nothing and building a business up.

* The terms ‘living the dream’ and ‘investment in paradise’ are copyrighted and used courtesy of the Koh Chang Department of Public Relations.

So, what you are looking for in a small business is one that has been established a while, is easy to run, has various revenue sources, low land rent and a long contract to enable you to plan for the future and make a good return on your investment. Maybe something like this:

Small west coast resort for sale. Ideal for couple to manage. Four bungalows, restaurant, 2 bed owner accommodation and 4 room apartment block for longstay guests. Long lease – over 16 years remaining. Cheap land rent, no rent to pay until after next high season. Thai registered company with Work Permit provided for foreign owner, so easy to live & work legally in Thailand. Quiet spot only 200 metres from the main road & under 5 minutes to White Sand & Klong Prao beaches.

Get a (second) life. I saw this property advertised For Rent on Koh Chang . . . The blurb “What a wonderful place for holidays :-) Quiet, nice lake to sail on, furnished, and only for 1200 $L / week with 160 prims available” But wait . . . a computer generated image, ‘a nice lake to sail on? ‘$L’, ‘prims’ . . . WTF? Doesn’t sound like the Koh Chang I know. And that’s because it isn’t. This is a rental on the Koh Chang in ‘Second Life’ which, for those of you who don’t spend all day online, is a virtual world where people who don’t have much of a first life can create their own virtual second life to compensate.

They can even use real money to buy virtual things. Cool idea and it isnt surprising to learn that the creators of Second Life are now real life billionaires. Some of the online participants are billionaires too – only their net worth is virtual money, as in real life they’re still living in their parent’s spare room, a place they haven’t left since the invention of the internet.

In the News.   The glossy ‘Travel + Leisure Southeast Asia’ from American Express Publishing, has an article in the July issue about luxury developments on Thailand’s Koh Chang and Koh Kood. The article isn’t online, so you’ll have to buy a copy to see if it contains anything of interest, but it’s entitled “Sea Change,” and it starts on page 79. All this according to the authors blog. (This magazine also recently ranked Thai Airways as the world’s third best airline for some bizarre incomprehensible reason. Make of that what you will.)

The owner of Alina Resort, Koh Chang was featured in a Bangkok Post story on the reversal of fortunes of a top Thai boxer who has been training with him on Koh Chang recently. The moral of the very interesting article is along the lines of ‘Don’t get your wedding tackle out for a photo shoot and then be surprised to see the pics in a gay magazine as it could ruin your career.’

Distinctively Different Competition Time.   The ‘Distinctively Different’ tagline is used by the 5 star The Dewa resort on Koh Chang (above) in their advertising as a way of summing up it’s unique architecture and design. But it could equally well apply to this rather awful plastic plate that was a free gift when we bought a couple of hundred baht’s worth of groceries from the Co-op in Trat last week.

“What is the connection between the two?”, you may well be rhetorically asking. The answer is simple, they are both prizes you could win in an easy to enter, ‘Distinctively Different’ competition with a couple of very nice prizes from The Dewa up for grabs.

Obviously, I cant give away the entire Dewa Resort, I asked but the owners thought that might be just a bit too generous. However as a compromise I have got a couple of vouchers that can be used for one free night’s stay at any time from now until 30 June 2009. (The only restrictions are that it must be booked at least 7 days in advance and that it can’t be used between Dec 24 ’08 – January 10 ’09.) Any other night is fine if the hotel has a room available. A free buffet breakfast for two is also included.

The voucher is for a Deluxe Room, 54sqm, twin or king size bed, like the ones below. The curtains open onto a glass walled bathroom. Very romantic if you’re here with a loved one, less enticing if you have to share with your best mate who goes by the nickname ‘Fat Bob’ and who enjoys nothing more than watching daytime TV from the comfort of the toilet.

Runner-up prize is the gaily decorated plastic plate. (Update: Since writing this article the plate has been thrown out, therefore no runner prize will be offered.)

These rooms go for around 7,000 baht/night walk-in rate or around 5,000 baht or more if you book online in high season.

How to enter . . . two ways:

1) Email me with your life story explaining how you have recently battled against financial hardship, leukaemia, death of a loved one etc and going on to add how a night in a fancy hotel is what you really need to get your life back on track. You’ll probably also be wanting a ‘Queer Eye for the Straight Guy’ / ‘Gok Wan’ type of makeover too, but you can’t have everything and, trust me, you really wouldn’t want my advice on fashion, or anything else for that matter.

2) Email me and ask if you can have a voucher.

The process of choosing the winner isn’t open to scrutiny and probably won’t be very fair or impartial either, but the offer is genuine and a couple of people will get the vouchers. All the entries will be put in a virtual hat and the winner virtually drawn when I get back from my all too real holidays.

Big thanks to K. Moo & K. Kwang at The Dewa for the vouchers. See The Dewa in all it’s glory at thedewakohchang.com

July 19 – Competition update – entries so far include one from someone claiming to have a terminal disease and who’s dying wish it is to stay at The Dewa. This gets a high sympathy score but low on credibility as I know the sender. Someone else who met their future spouse on Koh Chang and for whom the island holds special memories. But should love triumph over tragedy? Another who already has a holiday booked at The Dewa and maybe deserve an extra night, or should someone less well off benefit. Plus a few just asking for a voucher and naively expecting that to be enough to win. Decisions, decisions. It’s not easy being a judge in this competition.

23 July – Beer Bar for sale, Klong Prao area. Established 4 years ago, easily run by a couple. Nothing fancy but has the right mix of cheap beer, sports on TV, pool table & ‘friendly’ girls (if you know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more) Yours for 700,000 Baht Info

Koh Chang’s pool of luxury villas for rent has just doubled, with the addition of a new 4 bedroom property on Chang Noi beach that’s available to rent as individual ensuite rooms or as a whole. You’ll have 1km of beach to yourself and use of swimming pool for a mere 10,000 Baht/night. All bedrooms are ensuite, have AC, LCD TV etc.

22 Aug – Back from our European adventure which mainly took in Netherlands, with a road trip to Czech Republic. In brief:

We saw gay guys on boats, lots of them.

We depressed ourselves.

We ogled some East European babes.

We saw a large plastic dog that passes for art.

We sampled the local beverages.

But most of all we had our photo taken standing infront of he types of buildings, signs and posters you just don’t see in Thailand.

Tragedy x 2 Two deaths on Koh Chang while I was away. These occurred within a few days of each other. One a brutal murder, the other an accidental drowning. One concerned a member of a well known local family, the other some Chinese guy who was here on holiday and obviously thought that red flags flying on the beach were a tribute to the Beijing Games rather than warning signs.

Put yourself in the shoes of a journalist and decide which story would be of most interest to readers and should make it into your newspaper. If you guessed the murder, you don’t work for the Bangkok Post. Chinese tourist drowns off Lonely Beach story.

The far more interesting story concerned the murder of a middle aged woman by one of her Cambodian workers, whom she had known for several years. She was bludgeoned to death and her body dumped in undergrowth behind her house. The killer emptied the house of valuables and made his getaway to the Cambodian border using her car, which was found abandoned at the Hat Lek border crossing. Anyone wanting to profit from the death should note that the victim’s brother has offered a bounty of 500,000 baht for anyone who can get their hands on the murderer.

On a more cheerful note . . . Koh Chang and Koh Mak were featured in an article recommending winter getaways for Singaporeans that appeared a few days ago in the Straits Times newspaper. The article is only available online to subscribers – so no link the the story I helped write whilst on holiday.

We’ve also got a TV crew from New Zealand visiting the island next week to film a cookery show. I’ll have some photos and more info on the filming in the next update.

The Dewa Competition. A surprisingly large number of people entered the competition to win one of the vouchers for a free night at the luxury ‘The Dewa’ resort on Koh Chang.   The Winners, who get to steal the toiletries from a room like this are . . .

The two lucky winners are: Karen & Pim, regular visitors to KC who can never afford anything other than a hut to stay in. And, Helena and her son, from somewhere in Scandinavia I think, (They have both already received their vouchers by email. ) Thanks again to K. Moo & K. Kwang at The Dewa for the vouchers. Visit The Dewa online at thedewakohchang.com

No-one else has given me anything free so no more thinly disguised adverts for resorts during this update.

However, the new ‘The Chill’ resort in Kai Bae is scheduled to open later this year but at present is still a large construction site. From the graphics on the resort website it looks like it will be a very nice boutique resort for those looking to get away from it all. Walk-in guests won’t be tolerated, it’s advance bookings only at this high end resort that is owned by one of the partners in the nearby Chang Park Resort. It won’t be a place suited to large families or anyone who likes spacious gardens and long beaches to stroll on. The Chill website claims the resort will set new standards for luxury, not sure about that, but I know that it’s set new standards for meaningless waffling.

For example, I could take the piss out of the following 55 word sentence, but I wouldn’t know where to start. It’s as though Earl, Koh Chang’s coconut picking monkey, was let loose to rummage through a mixed bag of words. The end result:

In the attractive style of Fushion Art to every villa, specially designed for most outstanding colored-whitish habitats to match with Nature’s powerfully-beautiful generation of the most harmonizing creations there is a beautiful large pool to service, only one step between your room and the nature, you’ll enjoy sight-seeing of abundant green atmosphere.

Ride Share. If you’re planning to travel from Bangkok to Koh Chang on 31 October and/or from KC to Bkk on 7 November and are thinking of a private transfer then this might be of interest. Stu has a private transfer booked and is happy to share the ride. If you’re interested, email him

Plant a Tree for Free. Do something to offset the huge amount of C02 you contributed to dumping in the atmosphere by visiting Thailand and plant a tree for free. Needless to say this Green initiative isn’t happening on Koh Chang, as there’s no quick profit in it. So head to Koh Mak, speak to Ball at Ball Cafe, Ao Nid Pier, and tell him you want to plant a tree. He’ll sort you out with one from the island’s nursery and help you plant it. You can also have your name on the tree, although not carved in the bark with a penknife.

New Villa Development on Koh Mak.

A maximum of six luxury pool villas built on over 3000sqm of land. Each villa can be sold as a two floor home or as two single floor apartments – ideal for people wanting to earn a rental return from their second home. Quiet hillside location, 5 minutes walk to the beach, with sea views towards Koh Kood. Sold part furnished on a 90 year lease for foreign buyers. Priced from 6 million baht. Under construction now, on site facilities will include landscaped gardens, communal pool and spa.

Also on Koh Mak, yacht owners are respectfully asked not to anchor right on top of the coral nursery that lies off Cococape Resort, something that has now happened twice, as having 30kg of steel landing on top of the tiny polyps stunts their growth.

It’s a car. It’s made from wood. It really does work. It was built by Lung Nor, who collects & recycles garbage on Koh Mak.

Do you own land on KC? How legit is your title deed? In late July there was an article in the Bangkok Post regarding the revoking of title deeds that have been issued illegally in Phuket, Phang-Nga and Samui. Hundreds of title deeds that have been issued for what plots that should only be forest/jungle land have now been declared invalid (i.e. worthless). As a side note, that may be of interest to those on Koh Chang, the article also quoted the head of the Land Department as saying: “Investigations into unlawfully issued land deeds across the country, including on Koh Chang in Trat province are under way” This type of thing has been in the news before, with no obvious action being taken against encroachers. Root through the News section and you’ll find half a dozen stories on the subject.

2 Sep – Angry mobs on the streets of Koh Chang? Or not? All you need to know about the how the current political tensions are affecting life on Koh Chang is that they aren’t at all. If you don’t fancy being caught up in city centre riots then simply skip Bangkok and head straight to Koh Chang where resort owners will be more than happy to see you. (Interesting statistic of the day: 1,558 = the number of golf clubs, whether they are drivers or putters isn’t specified, that have been seized from the protestors by police. There’s obviously a lot of pent up anger in the Thai golfing fraternity. )

Here comes the sun. The past week has been one of the nicest weather-wise for a long time, just a pity there was only 26 tourists on the island to enjoy it. The photo below was taken at around 10am on White Sand beach a few days ago.

The latter part of the rainy season also heralds the start of the mini-shrimp fishing season, a few weeks during which all male inhabitants who have time on their hands and a fishing net i.e. just about everyone, gets into a boat or wades waist deep through the water catching inch long shrimps. Most are then sun dried and used to make ‘Nam Prik Kapi’ a purpley-brown coloured, shrimp & chilli dip that is very much an acquired taste. If you aren’t Thai you probably won’t acquire it.

Koh Chang on TV. Koh Chang will feature in a new, 10 part, cookery series called ‘World Kitchen’, produced by Zoomslide that will air in New Zealand in the coming months. The film crew travelled to Europe and then Hanoi, Bangkok, Koh Chang and Bali to film one 30 minute program in each location. In the show the presenter is seen meeting locals and cooking typical dishes which she then replicates in a studio setting back in NZ.

For the Koh Chang program the guys wanted to film mainly away from the touristy areas so we ended up using a local’s house in Dan Mai as the setting and having ‘Ya’, the owner of Blue Lagoon Bungalows in Klong Prao as the co-presenter / cook who took Nici, the presenter, shopping for ingredients before teaching her how to cook a couple of Thai dishes. If you watch the show you’ll probably also see also a little feature on roti making on White Sand Beach and some of the more scenic views around Klong Prao, Kai Bae and Bangbao.

Cosy Beach Bungalow For Sale. Brand new. 1 bedroom bungalow sitting on 150sqm of ‘Chanote’ titled land on Koh Chang. This is a nice little holiday home for anyone wanting to spend extended periods on the island without spending their life savings.

Built to western standards with tiled roof, aluminium door & windows, concealed wiring, AC etc. includes bed/living room, kitchen, bathroom & terrace. The loft can easily be converted to make additional living space. (An example of how this can be done can be seen at another house nearby.) The selling price includes all furniture, fixtures and fittings.

Sea views, private beach and a slipway for small boats. Can be sold leasehold to a foreign buyer. Price: 2,500,000 Baht

Fat Local Pigs. If you see a dish on the menu that’s described as being made from jungle pork or wild pig, it isn’t the chef’s overactive imagination. The meat comes from one of these animals. Quite a few locals now catch them in the jungle and then breed them in captivity. This one lives, or more likely ‘lived’, at a small wild boar farm on the island.

Batik Co-operative. In Dan Mai on the east coast there’s a group of locals who make their own batik t-shirts to sell. The price, if you buy from them is about 250 baht for a t-shirt. Various designs or, if you have a business here, you can have them make t-shirts with your own design on them to give (or sell) to your guests. To find the shop, opposite the police station on the main road, take the left hand turn i.e. head towards the sea. Go past the temple on your right. You’ll see a small crossroads. The white house / shop on the right hand side makes & sells the t-shirts. They aren’t on display but are in plastic boxes.

I’m a media whore. Yet again I make the front page of a leading European newspaper. Thanks to Risto for letting me know: “Ian, congratulations! You have been on the cover of our local newspaper “Valkeakosken Sanomat” (“Valkeakoski Post”) this month. It was a picture taken in Barracuda restaurant, when we were there last time. The picture was anyhow so little, that only our son is recognisable.

11 Sep – Very wet today. Probably the wettest 24 hours of the rainy season so far. That plus rough seas mean you might want to look for somewhere drier over the next few days.

The latest on the current political situation. With the old, disqualified, Thai Prime Minister shortly to be replaced by a new Prime Minister, who also happens to be the old Prime Minister, I’ll be keeping you updated should any of the utter nonsense going on in the halls of power affect Koh Chang in the slightest. So far it hasn’t as no-one here really gives a rat’s ass as to which Thai-Chinese clique is in power so long as tourists continue to visit. But that’s not to say that election fever hasn’t gripped the island.

Soon there will be voting for the equivalent of the island’s local council. In most elections you might think that you try to vote for upstanding citizens that will do the right thing for your community. And it’s no different here, with the exception that you vote for upstanding citizens who will do the right thing for you, for a small, under the table, fee. Voters have to choose who is the most likely to take a bit of ‘tea money’ in order to get things done with the minimum of hassle. Not always an easy choice when all candidates have to outwardly appear unscrupulous. So you get conversations between voters and candidates spouses along the lines of “So, what are your husband’s views on drilling for Uranium in the National Park?”

Poster Boys. More Henman than Nadal, but a fist pump is a fist pump no matter how reserved. The patriotic yellow jacket and lack of formal tie indicate this guy doesn’t mind mucking in and is going to get things done, pausing only briefly during the playing of the National Anthem at 8am and 6pm daily. He is one of you – a normal person, only he can afford better dental care. Go get ’em Tiger.

Golf in Chantaburi, karaoke in Trat, seafood dinner in Salakphet, brokering a land deal in Kai Bae and a fact finding junket to the Maldives. A local politician can’t attend all those official functions simultaneously . . . or can he? What’s more democratic than voting for five guys to do the job of one? It’s no fun sitting in an office on your own, far better if you can share the experience, and perks, with a group of friends. It also means that you get 4 days off a week – so everyone’s a winner. (Yes, there are six, not five, people in the picture below. So which one do you think will have an ‘accident’ just after polling day? If I were an insurance salesman, I’d be visiting the family of the guy third from the left.)

Khun Somchai stood for election to Ye Olde Grande Council of Koh Chang in 1927, as this campaign poster from the time shows:

Following his untimely death in 1928, Somchai was cryogenically frozen, his body kept in a cold storage facility at the family seafood wholesalers in Bangbao. Finally, 80 years later, with the country in turmoil, Somchai has been defrosted and will return the electoral battleground, campaigning on a platform of populist polices such as “One man, one coconut palm” and a promise to reduce the number of working hours for women, with five or more children, to 20 per day. “They’ll be wanting the vote next.” quipped Somchai, whilst taking a well earned rest after servicing his concubines.

Land with a sunset, sea view a real title deed and an affordable price, surely not?

‘Yes, not’, or should that be ‘No, not’, as it’s a double negative. Either way, there is a 3 Rai plot of land for sale in Bailan, just off the main road and only 50 metres to the sea. It is sloping gently and so would be easy to build a house or several houses / bungalows etc with sea views. For five years I thought this land was owned by a guy who’s name has long been a byword on the island for the term ‘well dodgy’. He even offered the land to us for rent years ago, at three times the rent of the adjacent plot. He likes to claim it is his land and he is currently trying to sell it for 7 million baht/rai. I found that the real owner, who lives on the mainland wants just over 5 million/rai. A nice mark up. But this is the only small plot I know of with a sensible price, title deed and sea views on the west coast of the island, so if you’re interested and want o pay the real price- let me know. Far better to buy this to build a resort or few houses than rent land to do it.

Emergency 711.   In a country where a Prime Minister can lose his job for demonstrating how to prepare pork leg boiled in Coca-cola on daytime TV, it isn’t surprising to learn that a new initiative to help tourists involves them reporting crimes to the till monkeys at the nearest 7-eleven minimart. Last Tuesday the Mayor of Pattaya rolled out a scheme whereby staff in 7-eleven stores in Pattaya, and also in pilot schemes in Bangkok and Koh Chang, will be trained to contact the relevant authorities should a tourist present themselves at the store with a problem. The reasoning of the backers of this scheme is that tourists can always find a 7-Eleven store but may find it harder to find a Police Station should they have a problem.

As a side note I should mention it took three staff about 10 minutes to figure out what to do with a phone bill that I wanted to pay at the 7-eleven in Kai Bae last week. So how long it will take for them to figure out what to do to help you file an insurance claim for your missing Ipod is anyone’s guess.

Reinventing Invito. I’ve mentioned Invito Italian restaurant quite a few times. The food was always very good but the location was pretty crap – right next to a dozen beer bars. Almost a year ago they announced they were moving, this has finally happened and I’m happy to announce that the new restaurant is a lovely place and a huge improvement. It’s located up the hill at the southern end of White Sand beach, so is a bit of a trek, I cant imagine many people staying on the beach actually making the effort to walk up there. But if you do you will be rewarded with what is the nicest stand alone restaurant on the island, without a doubt. It looks the way you expect an informal but classy restaurant to look.

Outdoors is a large terrace, which, when the rain stops, will be a great spot for a meal under the stars. Indoors the decor is stylish and modern with a few tradition Thai hints. However, the one downside is that for some reason, the food wasn’t as good as I remembered. Can’t be because the chef was busy – as there were only 3 tables occupied when we were there. The dishes were nice enough, the mussel terrine in particular was excellent, and we stuffed our faces. But, sadly, the tiramisu that rounded off the meal, whilst tasty, definitely wasn’t the tiramisu of old and stood no comparison to that at the Amari Emerald Cove – which was a bit of a downer. So, all in all, the restaurant you’ll love, the food you’ll like.

Burnt Crust. (Edit on 15 Sept)   The best bakery on the island ‘Crust’ looks like it has fallen victim to the common problem of having a business where one person has the skills and knowledge but has a lack of start up money. After, hearing different sides of the story the main thing to come out of it is any partnership really needs an accountant to be involved somewhere to keep track of the cash. If YOU want to run a small business with an emphasis on quality at an affordable price on Koh Chang, keep it small, easily manageable and don’t feel in a hurry to expand – you’ll probably succeed. But when things start to go awry, customers do notice the slow motion car crash that envelops the business well before the owners do.

Room Booking Bingo.   This resort’s website has rates applicable from 1 October, other online booking sites have rooms available from 1 November onwards. The photo below is of the resort as of yesterday. Using your knowledge of Thai construction practices try to predict when it will be completed and also how many guests will end up camping rather than staying in six star luxury.

Strangely, given the absolute monstrosity of a edifice that is the sky blue meeting room, KC Grande Resort’s new hotel rooms appear uncharacteristically stylish. From initial appearances, it will be ready for high season and is surprisingly tastefully designed. If large resorts are your thing then this is worth looking at for 2009.

22 Sep – The rain has now gone, Sept 16th was a seriously wet day in Trat province with over 300mm falling in a day.

Local Politics (again). It all appeared relatively simple, candidates are assigned a number, voters then put a ‘X’ next to the number of their candidate on election day. How could anyone find that confusing?

But whilst there are still 4 weeks until Koh Chang’s local elections, voters on Koh Mak got in early and to no-one’s surprise re-elected the previous Governor. It’s not easy to capture the excitement and atmosphere on polling day, but hopefully the photos below will provide a sense of the occasion.

The polling stations were a hive of activity with most of the island’s population turning out to man them. Meanwhile, the police were on hand to ensure that should any vote buying occur, the correct change was given.

Road rules. A couple of weeks ago there was an accident involving two motorbikes in Chai Chet, a German guy and a Thai couple, all were killed. So it’s now time to promote road safety on Koh Chang. But as the issue of road safety is pretty dull, I’ll instead focus on hazards that may well cause the demise of noobie boy racers. Here you have to figure out which line indicates the division between the two lanes of road on Koh Chang. Is it the double yellow or is it the single yellow or is it a combination of both. The stakes are high though, get it wrong and you shouldn’t be surprised to find yourself face to face with an oncoming pick-up truck. There again, get it right and don’t be surprised to find yourself in the same situation. But once you are in the habit of disregarding the dashed or solid yellow lines as simply decoration, a means of breaking up the monotony of an expanse of grey tarmac, you should be safe enough.

Luxury living. Beautiful Beachfront Villa. Built by British owner. The property was built to UK standards with tiled roof, insulated walls, concealed wiring, concealed AC, custom made built-in wooden cupboards, wall units, wardrobes etc. All furniture and electrical equipment such as Fridge/freezer, Oven, LCD TVs is included in the asking price. Everything is brand new, the house hasn’t been lived in.

Also includes beachfront garden, jacuzzi plunge pool & use of a slipway, 100 metres from the property, where a small speedboat can easily be put into the water. Price: 18,000,000 Baht

Shops you won’t visit whilst on Koh Chang. Number 1 in a new series. Nothing says ‘Koh Chang’ like farm fresh rubber, the perfect souvenir for friends and family back home.

Eat like a cowboy. For this week’s venture into restaurantland we decided to forgo local food and eat some exotic foreign cuisine. After a roll of the dice as to which farang food emporium we should visit, Buffalo Bill’s on White Sand Beach won.

First thing I noticed was they probably have the cheapest Happy Hour on Koh Chang with draught beer at 25 baht from 2-6pm, but what with it being about 7pm and me not being an alcoholic it was pretty irrelevant. I only mention it in case anyone is looking for a good place to hide from the rain. It is a nicely laid out restaurant featuring a mechanical bull, cowhide seats and good ol’ country tunes playing not too quietly in the background. The food – big portions which is good to see, but don’t expect any true culinary delights. The Caesar Salad I love, the burger was great too. But the marinade used on the ribs was a bit overpowering and the Apple Crumble was like none I’d ever seen or tasted before. Dark brown throughout and tasted like Christmas pudding. The staff were good though, especially the waitress who kindly replaced the ‘Around the World’ cocktail that should have contained several spirits but tasted for all the world like nothing more than cheap Mekhong whiskey and soda, with one that included the correct ingredients. Would I go back? Yes, for the salad, a burger and a beer but nothing more adventurous than that. If you want to stuff your face with food you recognise, have unadventurous kids to feed or feel no meal is complete without the opportunity to hear a couple of Credence Clearwater Revival cover versions, then check it out.

Affordable Houses. Several new two bedroom homes priced from 2.6 million are almost complete in Kai Bae. In a quiet area but only 5 minutes walk to the main road and due for completion within the next month. I’ll have some photos when they are completed, but the first has already been sold to the owner of a spa business on the island.

Elsewhere . . Coming soon . . ‘The Bay’ will set standards in the construction of ecological friendly buildings and the use of renewable energy. Solar energy, water treatment plants and the employment of modern insulation techniques will be employed. Each three floor house will house five units, two units are on the ground floor and on the first floor. A penthouse unit is in the attic.

Last update for a couple of weeks as we’re off to Singapore to watch millionaires drive advertising hoardings around at night.