For 2009

April 9

9 April – Guess who has a new toy?

Just Like Baywatch

Just Like Baywatch

With a top speed of 40km/h the Tourist Police can now give chase to slow moving criminals who are fleeing the scene on foot or by bicycle. That is, providing they don’t go onto the beach as this Chinese made ATV will corrode on impact with sea air. On the plus side, it’s greener than driving the car and it impresses the chicks – Hasselhoff style.

And if you still aren’t feeling safe enough you’ll be pleased to note that according to the National News Bureau of Thailand:

Trat creates safety standards plan for Koh Chang
Trat province has created a safety plan to elevate precautions on the tourist island of Koh Chang in efforts to create confidence amongst travelers.
Deputy Governor of Trat Chalor Baicharoen stated during a meeting of the Koh Chang Tourism Safety Commission that accidents statistics on the island, despite being relatively low, had an adverse impact on the tourism industry of the destination.
In an effort to improve the island’s image in the coming fiscal year, the commission has created a safety standards plan that will be handed out to security volunteers operating on Koh Chang.
The plan includes improvements of tourist facilities as well as the establishment of aid centers. Officials hope to see a drop in accident figures once the plan is up and running.

Not sure how accidents and fatalities, which almost always involve vehicles or the sea, are prevented by having ‘improved facilities’ and ‘aid centers’ but if I ever stumble across a ‘security volunteer’ I’m sure they’ll be happy to inform me and my confidence will be created.

The Greening of Bangbao

Should The Water Really Be Green?

Should The Water Really Be Green?

Bangbao is now officially an environmentally aware beacon casting a bright guiding light over the toxic time-bomb that is the rest of Koh Chang. Until recently, last week in fact, most people would have considered Bangbao to be one of the most polluted places on Koh Chang – what with oil from fishing boats, garbage from restaurants and sewage from toilets all empting into the sea under the stilt village. However, in a pilot project that no doubt other areas if the island will soon copy, Bangbao has been ‘greened’.

After consultations with local officials and business owners a plan was set in place to achieve ‘Green’ status whilst having no detrimental impact on the livelihood of the local community who make their living from fishing, restaurants and boat tours. This green revolution was achieved by first explaining and outlining the rationale behind the program to the locals. This is simply that you can always charge tourists more for goods or services if they think they are saving the planet. Once the penny dropped, implementation of the scheme utilising a pioneering three step process began.

Initially a brainstorming session concluded that a logo should be designed which would include as much symbolism as possible. For example: rainbows, hearts, holding hands, lighthouse/beacon, the colour green. Then, having thrown all the key elements together and the spelling having been checked, this logo was printed onto large stickers. Finally, in the crucial third step, these stickers were slapped on every available surface in Bangbao.

Of course this was only the first phase, as effecting profit making change is never a simple, quick process. In Phase 2 a large roadside banner is planned with photos of smiling local kids leaping into the crystal clear waters overlaid with a ‘We (heart) Bangbao.’ slogan.    If that doesn’t convince the sceptics, nothing will.

This is what I call an impressive restaurant

Part Barn / Part Restaurant

Part Barn / Part Restaurant

It isn’t on Koh Chang, as very few people here would bother to build something as grandiose as this when some asbestos roofing, bamboo poles and a few blue plastic tables and chairs would do the job equally as well.

This is the restaurant at the new luxury Cinnamon Art Resort on Koh Mak which had it’s soft opening a week or so ago. Rooms are from 5,500 Baht – 12,000 Baht. Had dinner there last weekend and the food and service really were good too. So who has the money to be able to afford to build this resort on over 100 Rai of land? Turns out the owner is the Chief of Trat Police Dept. But can anyone spot why this design might not be ideal during the rainy season? Flash it may well be, but when it comes to practicality, the asbestos roof, bamboo poles and blue plastic tables and chairs win.

Adventures by bus
It’s not the destination, it’s the journey. Dan’s account of what should have been a routine bus ride from Koh Chang Ferry pier to Ekkamai Bus Station Bangkok.

‘The air-con was almost non-existent and the bus driver went the 80 kph speed limit all the way and it took him about 4 minutes to get up to that speed. We then stopped 3 times about 40 km from Bangkok. First time was at a car parts place for 3 minutes, second was at a used tire place about 500 meters from the other place for a few minutes, and then at a food area/convenience store about 1 km past the second stop for 30 minutes. We then had to drive back to the motorway because he had gone in the wrong direction to make the stops. Then he drove right by the bus station in Bangkok and someone from the back of the bus ran up to the front to inform him, so he pulled over and let us off about 400 meters down the road.’

One more for the tree huggers
Ever wondered where the increasing amount of water that is required for use at new, larger resorts comes from? Most comes from large holes in the ground in inland areas . . . . like this new hole I found recently.

You Could Sail Here in Rainy Season

You Could Learn to Sail Here in Rainy Season

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