For 2011

November 2

If you are coming to Koh Chang this coming week, then the place to be seen is Klong Prao temple as this year’s Loy Krathong celebrations will be in full swing nightly from 6 to 10 November.   On the night of the 10th many small shops and most hotels will have ‘krathongs’ for sale.   Buy one of these little floats, made from banana leaves, and set it adrift on the river or ocean. You say a little prayer and all your worries from the previous year are carried away on the tide. Not sure what you are supposed to do if the current brings your krathong back to you though. If that isn’t exciting enough for you there are also no health and safety regulations, cheap beer & shit loads of fireworks.

Many people head home after their holiday on Koh Chang with nothing but a tan, SD card full of over exposed beach photos and t-shirt with an outline of an elephants backside on it.   Nice, but wouldn’t it be great if you could visit Koh Chang on holiday and learn a new skill that may benefit you in the future?   One that isn’t taught widely in Western countries.   For example, what would you do in the event of say, food riots, a terrorist attack or a zombie rampage?   Probably you’d either run or curl up in a ball and hide under a table.   Or maybe your boss pisses you off, you go postal, grab a rifle,climb a tall building and open fire.   And miss every single target. Imagine the embarrassment that would cause.You’d be ridiculed by the tabloid press worldwide.

When this happens you are going to wish, that when you were on Koh Chang, you had signed up for a week’s sniper training, an advanced handgun course or become proficient in the use of an assault rifle.

And now you can.

Baan Look Chang Shooting range, on the east coast, has expanded the amount of weaponry anyone can try their hand at using. Packages start from 1,250 Baht for an AK-47 or M4 plus live rounds. Training courses covering the use of handguns, shotguns and assault rifles, plus the aforementioned sniper training are available for around 10,000 Baht. Night shooting is also on offer, a great way to let off steam after a hard day spent propping up   a beach bar. ( This isn’t Cambodia so don’t go expecting rocket launchers, it’s common or garden firearms only.)

Not one but two new ice cream gelato shops opening on Koh Chang in the coming weeks.   One in Kai Bae the other on White Sand beach.   There are a few very good   companies that make gelato and sell to franchises / shops around Thailand. So hopefully one of the shops will have my favourite Tiramisu flavour.

Twenty-one kids from schools in Trat have been enjoying free sailing lessons by instructors from the Royal Thai Yacht Club this week.   Not too much actual sailing going on when I took these pics.   But quite a lot of falling out of boats & swimming along side boats.   However, a couple of days later they seemed to be getting the hang of handling the small Optimist class dinghies off Klong Prao beach and some were sailing on their own.   The idea was to help promote sailing as a ‘low carbon’ activity – which is this High Season’s eco buzzword on Koh Chang. I’ve long thought it would be fun to have a small sailing school with a few Hobie cats somewhere on the west coast – just requires a hotel owner with some imagination and some instructors.   Right now, if you want to sail you have to hear right round to Salakphet Bay in the far south-east of the island which is too far for most people staying on the main tourist beaches.

There’s a new beach restaurant at the southern end of Klong Prao beach, adjacent to The Dewa and Amari Emerald Cove.   ‘Family Restaurant’ is run by members of the same extended family who already have beach restaurants on Klong Kloi beach and the north end of Klong Prao beach.   In the rainy season the guys who run it do building work for us.   Luckily for you, and unluckily for us, they are much better cooks than they are builders.   Give it a try.

In the same stretch of beachfront you will find the much larger Mandalay Restaurant and Pilot Bar. All three places have a different atmosphere. So for guests staying down that end of the beach, you should be able to find one that suits your tastes.

After a slight mishap with a few rocks in a storm last year, the Koh Mak Catamaran is now back better than ever – as seen in one of the pics at the top of the page.   Day trips on the only cat of it’s type in this part of Thailand will start running in the near future from Koh Mak to Koh Kood.   The boat can also be chartered for special occasions.   For more info Ball, ‘Mr Kohmak.com‘ is the guy to contact. A booking office will be set up on Koh Mak soon but all hotels and tour agents will be able to book trips for you.   Also, Koh Mak related, Ao Kao Resort will have 10 bicycles for hire for free for visitors to Koh Mak.   If you want to borrow one for a day then just go along and ask nicely.   This is part of encouraging more people to ride bikes there.   New signs and maps for the cycle routes around the island have also been made.

Why you should tip a beach massage woman . . . If you can find a beach massage that is any good then give the masseuse a tip. Most aren’t great and many are more an excuse for divorced middle aged women to find a suitable guy for themselves or their daughter to hook up with.   Quite easy to start a conversation when you are straddling a guy who’s wearing just speedos and a nervous smile. (Not that I have ever tried.)

If the massage costs 250 Baht then the masseuse will get about 120 Baht.   If you go for a fancier oil massage for 400 Baht, she will still get 120 Baht.   If you decide to buy a bottle of massage oil for 300 Baht or so, she will get around 100 Baht. 60%+ is going to the person who controls her spot on the beach.   I know a Thai guy who runs one of the small beach massage places and for 6 months a year he is in his hammock or chatting to friends in a nearby restaurant all day and coming out with 60-80,000 Baht/month with zero expenses and effort.   Next week, the age old question   “How can I become beach mafia too?

Below are a few photo that I have already posted on Facebook.   I like them so am reposting them here. I got a bit bored of taking the same old beach & sunset pics – even though they do look nice.   So, I got a US$30 Chinese lens from ebay, stuck it on my camera and played around. The lens is a CCTV, 35mm f1.7 I can definitely recommend getting one.

Finally, it seems as though some people still have money. I’ve been asking around for hotels for sale for two groups of investors from overseas who are looking at taking over resorts on Koh Chang. If you have cash sloshing around in a Swiss bank earning 0.1% interest or just need to launder proceeds from a boiler room operation, there are some pretty good deals to be had eg:

Klong Prao beach, 4 star resort, 13 Rai land, 40 bungalows/villas.   400,000,000 Baht Freehold White Sand beach, 11 rooms. 30,000,000 Baht Freehold White Sand beach, 30 rooms plus large adjacent bar/restaurant. 45,000,000 Baht Freehold White Sand Beach, 50 rooms, 9 Rai land, 300,000,000 Baht Freehold

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