Thought I might as well do a quick update now rather than wait until next week. If you’re in Bangkok from today until the 6th and are looking for cheap deals on rooms in Koh Chang, Koh Mak, Koh Kood or anywhere in Thailand then the Queen Sirikit Convention Centre, on the subway line in the city centre, is the place to be. Over 750 hotels and tour companies will be present and you should be able to get some cut price deals for the remainder of the rainy season and on early bookings for the High Season.
Something missing from this photo
This pile of debris is what is left of Barracuda Beach Bar, one of the most popular ‘old skool’ beach bars/restaurants on the island. No frills, no loud music, no backpackers, just a laid back place with excellent food and cold beer on a quiet stretch of Klong Prao beach. Sadly gone now as the rental contract wasn’t renewed.
A bridge too far?
I checked and it isn’t 1 April, not even on the Thai calendar. So what’s to be made of the serious and currently under discussion proposal to build a 200 metre long footbridge to link the Klong Son peninsula to the small island of Koh Mapring, as seen in the Googlemap below. Any access to the bridge would have to go through National Park land, the obvious route would be via Aiyapura Resort which itself was ‘accidentally’ built partly on National Park land, if the newspaper reports from 2002 ( Here and Here ) are correct. The idea seems to be being pushed by Aiyapura and Grand Orchid Resorts in Klong Son, possibly as a way to get people to stop there rather than simply drive through the village, pausing only to stock up on snacks at the 7-eleven, as they do now. If only the 7-eleven could be relocated to the small island then everyone would be happy.
Spot the difference?
On the left is a photo of one of the swish, new pool villas at Paradise Resort on Klong Prao Beach. The photo on the right is currently being used to advertise a house for sale on Koh Chang.
The pic was sent to me by someone who was searching for a cheap house to buy on the island and wanted to know what I thought of this rather nice little bungalow with pool, for sale for a mere 45,000 Euro and apparently located in Bangbao. ‘ Caveat Emptor’ springs to mind, as does that in the real estate world it is possible to fool some of the people some of the time and that’s what some people count on in order to make money in Thailand. This place is getting more like Samui every year. ( Advert for the 3 Bed Villa in Bangbao )
Resort owners in Koh Chang have been getting their hands on emergency loans designed to help those affected by the drop in tourism numbers. Interest is MLR-3% with no capital to repay, only interest, for the first 12 months. So not that surprising that more than one hotelier has taken their 5 million baht loan and invested in shares or bought gold with it – betting that it will rise in value by over 3-4% PA during the next few years, or invested in a nice luxury motor, as repayments are cheaper than your average car loan. Even if you don’t have a proper registered business, you can apply for a ‘Fast Track’ loan of up to 500,000 Baht – very little documentation required, basically just a Thai guarantor. Details on the SME Bank website
Things to do, which you won’t do
If you’re into your Thai history then you might be interested in following in the footsteps of King Rama V by joining this activity on September 5th to mark the 136th anniversary of his visit to Koh Chang. Was it really that long ago? Seems only yesterday. On the plus side the boat trip and tour are free, on the down side you have to be up at the crack of dawn and at Laem Ngop pier on the mainland at 6am. There’s always the 137th anniversary if you cant make this one.