I had a couple of days down on Koh Mak to see what was new and exciting for the upcoming high season. Koh Kham looks a real mess due to the construction of luxury homes – which at present resemble large rabbit hutches. But if you want to get away from everyone then why not try ‘Deer Island’, Koh Kradad, the rarely visited private island off the north east coast of Koh Mak? Some photos below and more plus some addition information on this Koh Kradad page. (You’ll have to trust me that the water really is as clear as it looks.)
The 12 room, Rayang Phurin Resort (formerly Rayang Island Resort), on the ‘Robinson Crusoe-esque’ Koh Rayang, just off the south west of Koh Mak is also under new management. The bungalows and restaurant are currently being refurbished and it will be open properly from mid-December onwards. Lovely, peaceful place to stay. Simple, en-suite bungalows from 1,700 Baht/night in High Season. Email Jeab at < firstname.lastname@example.org > for more details.
On the island there are a few more places to eat and drink. The standout being ‘LandMak‘ Koh Mak’s first ‘Vintage eco-friendly pub and restaurant’ It’s an interesting place run by K. Sutee, who in a previous life ran a couple of restaurants and a recording studio in Bangkok. Located on the headland not far from Pano Resort. Regular parties and live music nights are planned with free transport laid on. At the moment Monkey Island is the only late night venue so this new venture should provide an alternative to anyone who doesn’t want to listen to reggae music every night. But it isn’t just a late night spot, during the day the restaurant is open and you can swim, feed the fish and, in early evening, enjoy the best sunset views on Koh Mak.
Meanwhile, back on the big island these seems to be an impromptu ‘Worst Motorcyclist of the Year’ competition going on. There have been loads of accidents recently. So many that I’m beginning to think that the International Clinic has offered a bounty on tourists with good insurance policies. I met up with a friend who has a condo at Tranquility Bay and he had seen half a dozen accidents in the previous week during his daily rides up to Lonely Beach. And a poster on one of the travel discussion boards had an accident and commented on the number of people he had met who had also had similar scooter accidents. And then I got first hand experience as to why so many accidents might be occurring. Most accidents seem to be caused by people who really shouldn’t be let anywhere near a motorised vehicle.
First I had to slam the brakes on when a guy decided to ride towards me on the wrong side of the road in Lonely beach, after I braked, flashed my lights and hit the horn hard, he woke up, waved apologetically before swerving over onto the correct side of the road. Then on White Sand beach a couple of days a balding, middle aged guy decided he felt like doing a U-turn and pulled out right in front of me without signalling. At least I know that my ABS works, luckily for him. I honestly think visitors to Koh Chang are getting more retarded each year. Probably the Samui Effect which states that the popularity of an island is inversely proportional to the average IQ of its visitors. ( Obvious exceptions being the people reading this, you’re all up there with Stephen Hawking in my book. Unless of course you were the guy on Lonely beach or the other fuckwit on White Sands.)
If you don’t like the sight of a baby elephant tied up by the road just so it can be photographed by tourists then you might want to avoid the centre of Kai Bae, which is where you can see the one in the photo at the top of the page. And given that there are a few elephant camps, knowing that this baby comes from ‘Klong Plu Ban Chang’, the elephant camp near the waterfall, will hopefully influence which camp you give your custom to.
Coming soon . . . in the next week or so when I have time to write it all up . . . Hot on the heels of my attempt to get people to make an effort and see some of the Klong Prao area on foot I decided to see if I could find something similar for those of you staying in Kai Bae. And I’ve come up with a circular route that takes you from the beach, over a hill, through the jungle,and down an overgrown river bed all the way to the top of Kai Bae waterfall. (Traditionally a ‘secret’ waterfall, which isn’t on any maps, and which very, very few people ever bother go to.) In keeping with the first walk in Klong Prao, I also did this one wearing flip flops and with just a camera and couple of bottles of water as ‘equipment’. So there’s no excuses for anyone not to do it simply because they aren’t clad and shod in North Face gear.
Whilst most of the walk isn’t difficult, getting down from the top of the waterfall to the pool about 20 metres below does requires a bit of effort and faith that you are heading in the right direction – as when you find yourself maneuvering under fallen trees and grabbing a vine to lower yourself down a few metres of vertical rock, you may have your doubts. From the waterfall it’s then just a matter of following a trail along side the river and out of the jungle and into the fruit farms in Kai Bae valley. A couple of photos to whet your appetite below.
Update 12 December: Kai Bae Waterfall Walk Map, Photos, PDF now online