Where’s Ernie? I just added a photo gallery of pictures from Klong Kloi Beach (above), located 1km east of Bangbao. A few years ago this stretch of sand was deserted, now it is home to several bars, restaurants, massage shops plus a couple of places to stay and also a very nice little beach bar, intriguingly called ‘Ernie Barnes’, more so as it’s owned by an English guy called Phil. Well worth a stop if you are down that way. If you’re staying at Koh Chang Sea Huts in Bangbao, their free boat service boat will drop you off right outside the bar. A couple of photos below – but more from the beach, including the very nice new bungalows at ‘Tropical Beach Resort’ in the Photo Gallery.
Men’s Health. ( Women, as this doesn’t concern you. Here’s a link to some traditional Thai fruit carving that you may find interesting.) Now they are gone, we can get back to the topic in hand. This is a serious subject and when us blokes aren’t busy examining ourselves for signs of testicular cancer it’s nice to have someone else do it. I don’t mean an old bloke with rubber gloves and a consulting room wall full of medical qualifications but someone young, female and Thai who barely speaks a word of English. As you’ve been planning your holiday to Koh Chang and Googling away merrily, you’ve probably discovered that there are a multitude of different forms of Thai massage available. Some therapeutic and some less so, but far more enjoyable. During this learning process you’ve probably also memorised all the shortcuts that enable Internet Explorer’s ‘Privacy Mode’ and delete cached pages in your browser. (Haven’t you? )
But once you’re on Koh Chang, how do you know where to go to get what you want? Beach massages are out as, to paraphrase the old adage, ‘What happens in your shorts, stays in your shorts‘ whilst in an un-walled shack on a beach, mainly as sand and oil aren’t a soothing combination for sensitive areas. Likewise, hotel spas are also out as booking yourself in for a 2,000 Baht/hour Honey, Sesame and Aloe Vera Moisturizing Scrub and Massage combo isn’t going to result in the therapist paying any extra attention to your nether regions, regardless of any less-than-subtle signs of life emanating from under your towel.
All this leaves you with one option, the roadside massage shop. As a rule of thumb, you aren’t going to be getting a happy ending with half a dozen sunburt Russians getting foot massages out front and a makeshift kindergarten in the corner of the room. So, you’ll need to train yourself to quickly scan the signboards outside massage shops for any hints that they can provide extra services above and beyond the call of duty, and also so you know what to ask for upon entering. Due to the subtleties and intricacies of Thai culture a straightforward “I’d like 45 minutes of below average massage followed by 15 minutes of my todger being clumsily caressed to a climax by a doe eyed girl who’ll will be overawed by my virility.” usually results in blank stares and several neighbouring shopkeepers being called over to help with translation. Before long, you’re being forced into slowly repeating your request word by word in front of an increasing crowd of all ages who have gathered to see what the fuss is about. Recognising several of them as fellow guests in your hotel, you now have no other choice than to fake an Epileptic Fit or Heart Attack as a means to extricate yourself from this potentially embarrassing situation. Lesson learned.
You’ll also need to practice your signboard scanning as you won’t want to make your sudden, new found interest in massage too obvious to your better half. And, at the right time, you want to be able to nonchalantly say “You know what dear. My shoulder’s playing up again. I think I’ll try one of those Thai massages. Oh, this place looks OK.” within 5 seconds of spotting somewhere that’s fit for purpose. Use the sign below as a training tool. You have 5 seconds starting from the time you finish reading this sentence to decide a) if this shop is for you or not and b) what type of massage you will ask for when you walk in the door.
Youth Employment. Your trip to Thailand wouldn’t be complete without some form of child labour being evident. and if you decide to skip Bangkok and head straight to Koh Chang the odds of getting any street urchin snaps are slim. However, all is not lost. This boy’s siblings are probably selling flowers or trinkets on the beach or doing a bit of washing up in the family restaurant . . . whereas he’s juggling with fire.
Some restaurants might not fancy using a small child juggling fire to entertain tourists on the grounds of it being, well, a small child juggling with fire who’s being used to entertain tourists. But thankfully, the management of the Pirates Pub in Kai Bae have no such qualms and encourage youngsters to enjoy freedoms, such as playing with hot, fiery, life endangering objects, that they wouldn’t have in the West.
Jellyfish Hunt. Down on Koh Mak a team from the Ministry of Public Health in Bangkok and Marine Biologists from Rayong have been trying to ascertain what types of dangerous jellyfish are lurking in the waters off the island . This following on from the young Swedish girl who almost died as a result of a jellyfish sting earlier this month. A story that hasn’t made it into the Thai newspapers but was big news in Scandinavian countries. Nothing has been found yet. But signs and first aid boxes with copious amounts of vinegar in them will be placed on the island main beaches. Thanks to Ball from Kohmak.com for the photos.
Personal Safety on Koh Chang. In the previous two updates I have mentioned the dangers that lurk behind every corner on Koh Chang. This obviously worried one recent visitor, and entourage, who felt it necessary to have three Thai naval ships anchor offshore, forming an exclusion zone, with guns trained on the beach near the resort in which they were staying. Whilst some might see that as overkill, it does make things simpler. For example, any disputes with a waiter over an erroneous plate of Prawn Tempura that makes it’s way onto your bill and with a quick phone call you can have the waiter, and the entire restaurant, taken out in a precision laser targeted strike.
In between being ‘Shooed’ away from naval vessels by sailors who assumed my kayak posed a clear and present danger to the VIP, I also took this photo which I think is rather nice and not a view I get tired of seeing. Click the pic for the full size image.