A few obligatory Loy Krathong photos from the temple and last night below. This year things seemed to be a bit subdued, not as many people out celebrating, no good fireworks and a lot of unsold krathongs at the end of the night. The temple fair was where anyone who is anyone, who had nothing better to do with their time, headed to. Loads of market stalls and real life monks on show. Donations for building work were also being solicited, in return for a few baht you could write your name on a brick. Loy Krathong is all about floating your pimped out, banana leaf ‘krathong’ down the river , or out to sea, and seeing it take all your woes and worries with it. In effect giving you carte blanche to start screwing your life up afresh by continuing to do exactly the same things as you have been doing for the previous 12 months One thing I always like to ask but never get an answer to is ‘So, what does it mean if the tide or current brings your krathong back to you?’ Loy Krathong is really a single day celebration but it has now morphed into a drawn out multi-day affair, usually centred around buying aforementioned crap at stalls in temple grounds but it also features a bit of Guy Fawkes night (loads of fireworks) with a bit of Valentine’s Day (teenagers shagging) and buried somewhere under this the well-worn veneer of tradition.
This week there was another meeting last week regarding the proposed reservoir which will be built in Klong Prao. I’m only mentioning it as if it goes ahead then I’ll have to change the directions of a nice little walk I put together to include scaling the walls of a dam.
You’ll find a variety of jungle trekking options on offer on Koh Chang, these will take you to the top of peaks and make for a great, if strenuous, day out. But what you won’t find are any easy to follow trails for people who just fancy a nice walk. Without any local knowledge you’re pretty much limited to just wandering along the main road. This makes for a hot day out.and one where you don’t see anything that you wouldn’t see from a scooter or the back of a pick-up truck taxi. Or you could go to the Klong Plu waterfall . But in High Season that gets pretty crowded too, as it’s where everyone who doesn’t want to just walk along the main road heads.
So, here’s something for anyone interested in a bit of easy hiking. A 9km loop around the Klong Prao area. It’ll take you from the quietest stretch of beach on the west coast to the border of the National Park. You’ll see plenty of elephants and some good views, have a couple of spots to swim, might see a bit of wildlife, will take you across the river by wooden gondola and even give you the chance to buy a stuffed baby crocodile en-route. What more could you want? There’s a Googlemap, annotated photos and a printable PDF of the route and directions. Hopefully, that’s all the bases covered it an attempt to make the route as easy as possible to follow without me having to spray paint a line on the ground. In truth, there are only a couple of areas where it isn’t obvious where to walk. (And as this was the single most time consuming page I’ve put together for this site, I hope you make the effort to read it.)
The French text from 1865, at the top of the page, was something I found online. French missionaries visited Koh Kood and Koh Mak and sailed to Koh Chang but decided to give it a miss, as, for some reason, they thought the island was inhabited by tigers . This intrigued me and so I set about finding what evidence the missionaries had for this. Despite Googling ‘les tigres de koh chang’ and even going as far as to add a Gallic emoticon shrug ¯\( © ¿ ©)/ ¯ to the search term, there was nothing definitive to be found. The most feasible explanation I could find was:
Pendant ce temps sur l’Ã®le de Koh Chang. Les populations locales sont inquiÃ¨tes.
Somchai: “Plus les marins franÃ§ais sont ici. Ils ne parle anglais et nous n’avons plus de baguettes. Que devrions-nous faire?”
Wiboon: “Ne vous inquiÃ©tez pas, j’ai un plan. Connaissez-vous le code Morse pour ‘Bienvenue Ã Koh Chang, attention pour les tigres.”?
(Blame Google Translate, not me, as in my defence, ‘O’ Level French doesn’t cover this kind of thing.)
Back in the real world on the young people’s party scene, December 5th sees a new indoor nightclub opening at Siam Beach Resort on Lonely Beach. This aims to emulate the success of ‘Sabuy Bar’ on White Sand Beach, so expect live music, DJs, icy cold airconditioning, pricey cocktails and most likely freelance ladyboy hookers.
And as if that weren’t excitement on December 11th Lonely Beach hosts an all night party on the beach with DJs from around the world. Organised by Siam Sound System and featuring DJs from around the world – headlined by ‘2 Good Souls’ from the Ministry of Sound.
Free taxis will be running and the event, which is on from 6pm to sunrise, is organised by Matt and the guys at Siam Sound System and sponsored by Singha Beer – ‘The beer for responsible adults who want listen to people playing records and dance on a beach all night’. And it’s free – the event that is, not the beer. Profits, and a large collection of bottletops no doubt, go to help Koh Chang’s schools, so drink lots of Singha Beer ‘The beer that learns Thai kids to read good.’
Down near the Cambodian border the shoreline is fringed with a white sand beach that stretches for as far as the eye can see. Some sections of beach have resorts, catering almost exclusively to weekending Thais, but there are still huge swathes of coastline that are totally undeveloped. If you head off the main road and onto the potholed coast road then you can head down tracks and find views like the ones below. The only people on the beach being the fishermen fixing nets or sorting their catches.
And in Cambo maid related activities, she was showing us a few photos of her home, which even now has no electricity, and lies near the Vietnam border. She wanted to know if I knew where ‘Kampot’ , the nearest city, was. I do, so I opened Google Maps and found the area to show her. Most is in low resolution but close to the border is high res., so we found the nearby village, and the market place, from there navigated a couple of km south to a large temple, then after more instructions, east a kilometre on a dirt road and finally north a few hundred metres along a path and we found her house. I had to explain that this wasn’t a live satellite feed and she couldn’t phone friends to run round to tell Mum to come outside and wave at her. But nevertheless, being able to see her family’s house whilst she was here on Koh Chang left her smiling for the rest of the day. For anyone who’s interested.