Today I went for a little walk. One I have been wanting to do for a long time and one that you should do too if you are the type of visitor who doesn’t plan on spending their time sitting in a bar all day and prefers to do something a little more active & interesting. There are quite a few possibilities for guided jungle treks on Koh Chang and many will take you up to the top of peaks from where you get some great views. The hills aren’t so tall but the heat, humidity and steep gradients make for some pretty tiring walks. However, it is hard to show people on a map where you went, other than gesturing roughly to an area in the north of south of the island and even harder for them to visualise the achievement that you are so proud of.
So, for a real sense of achievement there is only one day trek worth doing – crossing the island, west coast to east coast in a day. ( And thanks to Colin from Coco Dee Bo Tour in Chai Chet for letting me know about it.)
In the past treks with an overnight camping stop were possible but now one of the local trekking companies ‘Jungle Fever’ has started running the cross island trek from Klong Plu waterfall on the west coat to Than Mayom on the east as a very long day trek. We, myself, guide and a German couple, started walking at 8am and got to the other side at around 5pm. Part of the trail is very easy to follow, other parts and you are very glad that the guide has a GPS as you are going up and down paths you would never know were there unless there was a guide with you. Definitely not the sort of trek you would ever think of trying on your own.
One photo I didn’t get was of the King Cobra that went for the guide. We were walking by the river, guide at the front and I was a couple of metres behind. Next thing I know, the guide throws himself to the right and into the river as a 4 metre long King Cobra shot out of the rocks and straight for him. Both ended up in the water and the snake was pretty much on top of the guide who was thrashing around a bit, then the snake swam off leaving a shocked and stunned guide. I pulled him out and quickly checked he wasn’t bitten. Which was a bit of luck as if he had been then he would have died today. We were about 3 hours walk from the nearest other people and the only place with King Cobra serum in the vicinity is Trat Hospital, on the mainland, there’s none on Koh Chang. I have never seen a snake move like that before and hope to never see it again. It really was just a matter of split second or a few centimetres, the guide’s amulets worked on this occasion. Some pics below and I will add a full photo gallery and info in a day or two.
For slightly less strenuous, and probably far safer, exercise you could do a lot worse that head down to Koh Chang’s newest attraction, Siam Royal View’s 9 Hole pitch & putt course. Built to competition standards, the 9 hole course features a multitude of water hazards and will provide both fun for the family and a test of skill for any golfer. It has been designed to be playable in reverse, so you can complete a full 18 holes in a day. A 9 hole round will take around an hour and a half. Green fees are a very reasonable 300 Baht, 150 Baht for Under 12’s and club hire is 150 Baht per person – for a three club set, putter, pitching iron & sand wedge. With all the water around a fishing net might be a useful addition. a couple of pics of this lovely little course below and more on the Koh Chang Golf page.
Down on Koh Mak, a couple of expats have got together and opened what looks like it will be a very nice bakery / coffeeshop / restaurant in the centre of the island, opposite the school and close to the turning for Ao Kao Resort. Open daily from breakfast until late night. Free transport provided for customers. Info and a couple pics of ‘Mama Mia’ below.
Also Koh Mak Vista, which was recently taken over by Allen & Kat are having their ‘soft opening’. KMV is a very nice guesthouse built atop a ridge. I have stayed there numerous times before and never get tired of photographing the view which is one of he best anywhere in this part of Thailand. You too can enjoy the view and Allen & Kat’s hospitality for 500 Baht or 750 Baht/night depending if you want a fan or AC room. They are still getting everything organised and so the input and suggestions from guests during the next couple of months will be of great help to them. Website is on the way but for the moment Allen can be contacted at < email@example.com >
There was an interesting story on a Thai news website this week about a mysterious night ferry used only to transport garbage off the island. Never knew they had that before. But makes sense if you go to see the waste management centre in Chai Chet which is a bit of a joke. ( Some pics I took late last year )
Klong Prao Temple had their Loy Krathong Festival fair last week. Couple of pics of the highlights below but you can relive it in all it’s glory here. ( Get your Ipod out and play loud distorted crap Thai pop music if you want a multimedia effect.)
A few photos from Salakphet – go & take a look if you want to see a real fishing community on Koh Chang. More pics & directions in this gallery
Will Koh Chang have a 28 metre high golden Buddha statue in the not too distant future? Yes, if the local authority has it’s way. The plan is to have it on the hillside overlooking Ao Sapporot Bay, so that visitors to the island will see it when they first arrive. Most islands have one and they do attract visitors in droves to make donations and take photos, so it makes sense from a financial as well as spiritual point of view. Plus it will be very shiny – and that’s always a good thing.