It has been a while since the last update as I was on holiday. My parents were here so we went up north for a couple of weeks. Not sure of what, if anything, I missed happening on Koh Chang but not too much has changed during my brief absence.
Before I went away I updated the Koh Chang Trips & Tours Guide. A 10 page PDF that I made in conjunction with Colin from Coco Dee Bo Tours in Chai Chet. Basically it is just a handy, concise guide of things to do whilst on the island, stripped of any waffle and incoherent ramblings. Easy to read online or download and print off and it also gives you all need to know about getting off Koh Chang once you hare here either back to Bangkok or on to the outlying islands.
On Koh Mak a new group, Eco-Mak, comprising expats,regular visitors, business owners and operating with the support of the governor of the island is trying to make a difference and protect the environment on the island. Various clean-ups of beaches and underwater have been organised already and new garbage and recycling bins for batteries will be introduced. For more information, check out Eco-Mak on Facebook
Koh Mak has seen a few projects similar to this come and go, hopefully this one will have some legs. Down on the small island, environmental projects do at least get consideration, a little bit different to Koh Chang. I have been getting quite a few emails about the amount of garbage by the roadsides in certain places on Koh Chang and people asking if it is always like this. It does seem worse than normal, but why I am not sure.
However, naysayers will be pleased to note that problems such as garbage are in fact an illusion as Koh Chang is now a green tourism destination and is being promoted as such right now.
Due to an increasing demand of green tourism destinations in the German market, ITB Berlin is a good opportunity for Mu Koh Chang to introduce itself as a green tourism destination on the world tourist map and promote itself and eco package tours in the global market. The islands of Chang have implemented several measures to become a more climate friendly destination such as on energy and resource efficiency, community-based solid waste management, or organic production.
There’s more waffle about Climate Friendly Islands in the official TAT press release, the author of which is no doubt immune to the irony of promoting climate friendliness by encouraging people to fly half way round the world to experience it. Whilst it is true that various initiatives have taken place on Koh Chang, they all seem to be concentrated in the east and south-east of the island, where locals live but very few tourists stay. On the whole, there doesn’t seem to be too much eco warrior action supported by the resort owners and landlords on the west coast.
So before Koh Chang can truly claim to be a green tourism destination it’d be really nice if the powers that be could organise a few litter bins* and, rather than send representatives over to Germany on a junket, use the money to pay for a few more garbage collectors. *There are large wheelie bins by the roadsides, but these are usually surrounded by a small sea of old,decomposing garbage and the tops are swarming with flies. Why not have some nice, obvious, public bins with a stencilled ‘Keep Koh Chang Clean’ logo on the side. Hotels could sponsor a few, it would be good, cheap publicity for them, then all the local council has to do is make sure they are emptied 3 times a week. )
For anyone wanting a hotel with green credentials, there are the Green Leaf Awards, given by the Green Leaf Foundation (http://www.greenleafthai.org), for Thai hotels. These were established in 1998 and created to certify hotels according to the level of their efficiency in managing energy, environment and other natural resources. There are currently over 700 member hotels in Thailand. Koh Chang has 4. These are Panviman Resort, Amari Emerald Cove, The Spa Koh Chang and Aiyapura Resort, so hats off to the management and owners of those resorts.
Also, on a climate related theme. If you are planning to go diving or snorkelling around the small islands of Koh Thong Lang, Koh Kra and Koh Tien, near Koh Rang then you shouldn’t be, as they were ordered to be closed, and as such off limits to fishing boats, divers and tour boats; by the Department of National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation in late February. This is in order to allow corals to regenerate. Full Story.
Things not to do in the dry season. . . visit a small waterfall. A friend from Bangkok was here last month and we visited Klong Nonsi waterfall on the East coast of the island. For no other reason as it had been ages since I was last there. It’s a pleasant enough place even with very little water. Unfortunately there isn’t really enough to swim in at present and the semi-stagnant pools that are there don’t look particularly inviting, but from May to November, it is worth a visit if you are round that side of the island and want to cool off.
There again, since I took those pics there has been an unseasonably large amount of rain here. Not just on Koh Chang but elsewhere in Central and Eastern Thailand too.