Although there is a month to go, I thought I would add some info about Koh Changs Songkran Parade for 2011. This takes place the week after the regular Songkran holiday – to allow the locals and hotel staff who will be busy during the public holiday a chance to celebrate the New Year. A rare exception for Koh Chang, it is a well organised event that is worth coming to the island to see. Parade, water throwing, music and even a few old traditions all in a day. Some info and photos from last year. This is the sort of event that tourism bosses should be trying to promote . . . .
. . . . but they aren’t as they are busy turning Koh Chang into low carbon destination. Last update I mentioned Koh Chang’s debut at a German travel fair as Thailand’s new island of choice for tree huggers. Koh Chang tourism authorities have now swung into action and implemented a raft of measures aimed at turning Koh Chang well and truly into a nature lover’s paradise. These include putting up posters proclaiming Koh Chang is a green tourism destination and telling as many people as possible that Koh Chang is a green tourism destination. Job done.
In addition to the colour green, the ‘eco-‘ prefix will be applied liberally and will play a key role in the marketing paradigm shift that is set to redefine the true meaning of climate friendly eco-tourism on Koh Chang. From now on, after disembarking from their 40 minute eco-flight to Trat from Bangkok, ozone loving visitors will take an eco-car ferry from the mainland where they can hop in a private eco-van laid on specially to whisk them to their eco-award winning, eco-resort. So, a totally different holiday experience from any other island anywhere. Job done.
I am also reliably informed that all the plastic bags that litter the roadside, more this year than in previous years, now represent an opportunity and not a problem for the island. As, without garbage there would be no proposed recycling projects, and without plans for recycling projects Koh Chang couldn’t be considered a green, eco-island. Perversely, the more garbage people throw on the beaches and by the roadside, the more chance there is of a coherent, progressive waste disposal and recycling policy being implemented.
Today’s interesting fact. 23 March was the 105th Anniversary of Trat province being given back to Thailand by the French who borrowed it and used it as their plaything for a few years. During the early 20th century this part of Siam was known for its leafy, cafe lined boulevards where, after a day spent playing boules on a topless beach, villagers would down a bottle of wine and then hop on their bicycles to joust with freshly baked baguettes. Traditions that are now sadly consigned to the history books.
I added some photos of the new Resolution Resort in Bangbao that looks like it is getting ready to open soon. May well be a nice little resort for people who want to get away from it all. Also near Bangbao, down on Klong Kloi beach, what used to be – until around 3 years ago – a very quiet little place, is now rapidly being buried under deckchairs and large eastern Europeans. Still some great views and it is a nice place to spend a day but no longer a beach to get away from it all unfortunately.
Eco-news. Last month top scientists tested the air quality in Kai Bae and found it to be not bad. On the Air Quality Index it scored 72 points. (To put this in perspective, under 50 is a spring morning in the Scottish Highlands, over 100 is harmful and 300+ is downtown Fukushima.) The government news bureau report then went onto waffle about how having medium quality air would help attract tourists to the island.
Also making the local news was a story about a license being given for metered taxis to operate on Koh Chang and in Trat province. Fares will be set by the Ministry of Transport so will be a standard 30 Baht for first two kilometres plus 4 Baht per km after that. Apparently this too will encourage tourists to visit the island. And finally, a man in Bangbao died from knife wounds. 7 holes in his chest and 8 in the back. Police now face a quandry, it would be easy to write this off as just another bizarre suicide, the type Thailand is famous for. But there is another possibility, the unfortunate victim may have simply slipped and rolled around repeatedly on a discarded 6 inch blade. The report didn’t mention if this mysterious death would encourage tourists to visit or not.
Little Quiz: Which island has the only coffee plantation in the area? More info about this island in the next update.
Finally, down on Koh Mak, after lick of paint and some more extensive refurbishments, the old Chailay Resort has been reopened under the name Bene Resort. Good new option for people who just want a cosy room smack on the beach. More Photos. And if you are looking for an exceptionally spacious holiday home, this Finnish owned teak villa would be ideal for a few days of peace and quiet with your family.