A couple of weeks ago kids across Thailand celebrated ‘Children’s Day’. Here on Koh Chang there were various events at the local temples where the little darlings were allowed to run wild and overdose on brightly coloured soft drinks. ( So, not much different from a normal day for most of them.) However, discerning parents took their kids to the main Children’s Day celebrations on the island over in Dan Mai, on the east coast, where the football pitch at the local government offices (a.k.a. Municipal Outdoor Event and Conference Centre’ ) was the scene of fun activities for kids of all ages.
There were balloons, a couple of fire trucks to clamber on and a huge inflatable, a parachutist but the main highlight was the large collection of guns of all types for kids to play with – some real and some merely replicas. The real ones were brought along by the army who gave a demonstration on how to secure a terrorist held bouncy castle that involved smoke bombs and a lot of rolling around on the ground.
Also a couple of weeks ago Tranquility Bay residence had their second belated New Year bash for residents. This featured live music from Roddie Lorrimer, who you haven’t heard of but who has played trumpet with the Rolling Stones, the Who, Eric Clapton and the Spice Girls. You’re probably still think where he fitted in on recordings by these artists, but if you know he did the cracking trumpet solo on ‘Whole of the Moon’ by The Waterboys that should give you an indication of his quality. Pictured below are TBR Directors (and style icons) Nat, Simon & Pep and Roddie with his trumpet.
Koh Kood got a mention in The New York Times as an ‘Up & Coming’ destinations for 2010, Koh Chang didn’t.
AFTER six years of visits to Hua Hin for Christmas, we decided to spend this Christmas on Ko Chang, to which I am a recent convert. We appreciated actually going into the water and swimming on Ko Chang, especially on Christmas Day, because we never do that in Hua Hin, as the water there feels colder than Pattayaâ€™s, and the beach is too packed.
We were also struck by the age range of Ko Chang tourists, who were much younger than Hua Hinâ€™s, and much more casual. We also appreciated the total absence of jet skis, which we hear all day in Jomtien. I think they are banned on Ko Chang, which is excellent.
There was only one small downside, but this was so astonishing I have to write about it. Nursing a hangover, I went out for a blister pack of 10, 600mg Ibuprofen. In pharmacies on White Sands Beach I was quoted 200 Baht, 350 Baht and finally, and incredibly, 450 Baht for them. I eventually bought them for 100 Baht in the fourth pharmacy I tried.
When I got back to Pattaya I asked my regular pharmacist how much he sold them for and he said â€œ30 Bahtâ€. Identical tablets. I never particularly think of Pattaya as being reasonably priced until I fall into a self-styled â€œhigh endâ€ tourist trap. That description is very accurate when it comes to prices on Ko Chang.
Pharmacies are one of the places you don’t really think of when it comes to being ripped off. But as the writer above noted, the prices can be crazy. If you don’t know the real prices you’ll often be paying double the price you’d pay in, say, Boots, or any other pharmacy in Bangkok.
A Thai friend from Bangkok experienced the double pricing when she bought some cream for a skin condition here. She knew the real price and saw that the price stamped on the container had been covered by a label showing a markup of over 100%. She peeled the label off, handed over the cream and the correct money and gave the girl behind the counter a lecture on why it was not a good idea to piss her off by insisting she paid the price on the sticky label. That was also at a pharmacy in the centre of White Sand Beach.
And finally, a new coffeeshop opened recently opposite Remark Cottage on Pearl Beach. Nice place called ‘Kawah kawah’ which is either the first place where coffee was cultivated in Africa or just the noise a duck with a cleft palate makes. But they use Doi Chaang coffee beans from the Royal Projects in the north of Thailand and these make for some excellent coffee. Nice place to stop if you happen to be passing and it has some pretty eclectic decor, all of which is for sale.
Elsewhere in Koh Chang’s culinary universe, I had a very delicious Greek Salad at Kai Bae Marina. For some reason we were starving and needed a fix of farang food so headed there with the plan to eat pizza. That was scrapped in favour of Fish & Chips and a Roast Pork ‘Special of the Day’. The standout though was the huge bowl of feta cheese salad that we ordered as a starter. Not sure what dressing was used, but it tasted as good as any I’ve had anywhere.