New coffeeshop in Klong Prao. The ‘Sea of Love’ just opened a few days ago, so too early to say if it will be any good or not – but you can’t miss the roadside marker.
Cambodia School. It’s been all fun and games in ‘Little Phnom Penh’ for the organisers of the Positively Open Minded / Study Buddies school set up to help the poorest Cambodian kids get a basic education. Things kicked off a couple of weeks ago with officials seemingly convinced that the school was either a front for a terrorist training camp or was in the child trafficking business. However, after Ben the founder flew here, from the Netherlands, to meet with pretty much the entire top brass of the police, army, navy, local government & immigration in Trat province the misunderstandings have thankfully been resolved and it looks like the school will remain open with a new school for underprivileged Thai kids being set up in Bangkok and also a new ‘Music Buddies’ project being started on Koh Chang in the very near future.
Based at Jane Chalet, Pearl Beach, ‘Music Buddies’ will provide free musical training in a variety of instruments for kids on the island. Teaching will be by volunteers. More formal, paid lessons will also be available for older kids and adults. So if you’re musically minded and would like to spend a hour or two teaching kids the riff from ‘Smoke on the Water’ during your holiday, let me know and I’ll pass on more details when I get them.
Read about Ben’s eye-opening experiences this week on the Proudly Open Minded Facebook page.
Busy Backpacker Resort Needs Buyer Quickly.
For personal reasons the owners of this 12 bungalow backpacker resort in Lonely Beach need to find a buyer as soon as possible. The resort was established 3 years ago and is listed in all guidebooks and travel websites. Many repeat customers and it is virtually full for 6 months a year with no advertising/promotion required. Word of mouth and reviews from guests do the trick. The bungalows are all in very good condition, no renovation or maintenance required and sit in a tranquil landscaped garden. Permission to build 8 more bungalows on the 2 Rai plot of land is already granted. Owner accommodation is on site. Original asking price 3,500,000 Baht, now, no sensible offer refused. 12 years remaining on land lease. A new lease can be signed with the landlord for up to 30 years. Annual rent 240,000 Baht. Email me for more photos or for a viewing
Elyas Eyob. The name won’t mean anything to you but he is a 25 year old Swede who died in mysterious circumstances on Koh Chang in December but it took 2 months to positively identify his body. He had checked into his hotel and when he wasn’t seen the following day the staff contacted the police and his body was found shortly after on the beach. Identification had to be made by DNA and dental records. No foul play was suspected by the police, but you do wonder what happened to him that left his body totally unidentifiable after only being missing for 24-36 hours. Translated report from a Swedish newspaper.
Looks like word of Koh Chang being an unsafe place is spreading, there are even warnings at the ferry pier now.
Cheap Rooms. I noticed a few signs going up for very cheap AC rooms recently. It’s been a strange High Season, many resorts have been packed out but roadside restaurants and bars often seem eerily quiet in the evening. So, no specific recommendations but here are three places in Kai Bae & Klong Prao with good value AC rooms. Ideal if you just need a place to sleep and don’t have to be right by the beach.
Big Bikes. One of the Thai motorbike Clubs will have a ride down to Koh Chang this coming weekend. Around 30 people have signed up so far, most seem to be on BMW R1200GS’s. They’ll be staying a night in Salakphet but if you see a convoy of Thai bikers you’ll know who they are. Info from Thai bike site
Kudos for Cliff Cottage. Cliff Cottage in Bangbao has just been voted second in Asia for ‘Best Atmosphere’ in the inaugural Hostelbookers.com Awards for Excellence. Congratulations to Euan & Ging on the award that is based on feedback from guests during 2009. So if you’re looking for a place to stay where you’re guaranteed a welcoming atmosphere, you know where to go. See the full list of awards and winners at Hostelbookers.com: Top Hostels Worldwide
Don’t be a Dummy. Kind of ironic that this is probably the only ‘person’ you’ll see on Koh Chang wearing a good quality helmet whilst riding a motorbike.
Rooms with a View. If you are down in Salakphet and have 150-200 Baht/night to spend on accommodation , take a look at Sawang Homestay run by a friendly local family. It’s pretty basic – a mattress on the polished wood floor in the communal living space. But if you want to get to know a different side of Koh Chang and meet the locals, then check it out.
Your Investment Guide to Thailand. Longtime expat and infrequent iamkohchang.com site reader, Bruce from Chiang Mai has written a book with this title that has garnered some very positive reviews from the heavyweights of the Asian financial world. It even comes with a Foreword from Korn Chatikavanij, Finance Minister of Thailand. If you want to know why â€˜shrewdâ€™ in Sydney or San Francisco does not necessarily mean â€˜shrewdâ€™ in Thailand, order your copy now or buy a ‘great value’ small business on Koh Chang and find out quickly for yourself.
Keep Fit on Koh Mak. Koh Mak’s first gym opened recently at ‘Swiss Sawasdee’. Located on the roadside close to Island Hut in the southwest of the island. Have a workout and then eat in their restaurant.