I wasn’t planning to do this update for another couple of days, a bit rushed as apparently flood water is heading to the north eastern suburbs of Bangkok which is where we have a house, so going back and moving stuff upstairs takes precedence over messing about on this site. But here on Koh Chang, still no flood related excitement to report. Lots of sunshine and just a few showers this past week. Although there was a thunderstorm earlier tonight
A real pot pourri, as the pictures above show. The island with the kayaks on the beach is Koh Yuak, a nice kayak paddle off the west coast of Koh Chang. I added some pics to a photo gallery here a few days ago.
The hole in the road is on the way to Long beach, in the far south east of Koh Chang. You can actually ride your scooter around the ho without too much difficulty. Treehouse on Long Beach looked a bit deserted and in need of repairs, damaged bungalows and walkway in front of the restaurant. There were a couple of staff but no other signs of life and no guests. With Zion Bungalows now demolished, the beach is quieter than it has been for a few years. (You could still drive a car / pick up down there but would have to go a back way to the road via Karang Bayview Resort, which then joins the Long Beach road about 50 metres after the large hole.)
I’ve been asked to give a blatant plug to a new restaurant, which I think is called ‘Moons’ and I was all to happy to oblige. ( Even more so as I’ll get a free meal out of doing so.) Visitors to Koh Chang who know good Thai food will have no doubt visited Strawberry Moons at the north end of Klong Prao beach in the past. This was rated as the best on the island, and also in SE Asia, by Tripadvisor, whilst that’s maybe a bit OTT it definitely was one of my Top 3 here. It closed a few months ago but has now been re-incarnated 100 metres away in VJ Plaza – the one with the concrete elephants at the entrance. From the main road, head into the plaza about 50 metres and you will see it on your right. Look for the sign that at present says ‘Moons’ or just look for the orange restaurant that isn’t orange, it’s terracotta, and definitely isn’t Dutch. The same great food cooked by Ratt, and Ross will be there too.
There was a story on one of the Thai news websites about how the numbers of visitors to Koh Chang is down due to the global economic crisis and that more foreign visitors were opting to stay in cheaper hotels. The photo that accompanies the article is one I have seen before, a group of tourists walking along a white sand beach with wooden longtail boat to one side and a spectacular limestone karst rising out of the sea as a backdrop. Looks like the perfect beach. But unfortunately this isn’t a pic of Koh Chang – not a lot of limestone here. It is somewhere in the south of Thailand, in the Phang Nga Bay area I guess.
So why use it to accompany the article? It would be easy to say that this was just a one off, but I have seen the same pic before on articles about Koh Chang. ( Here for example ) The answer is that the government organisation, DASTA, that is supposedly in charge of developing the island uses this photo to promote Koh Chang to visitors. Check out the home page of their website. It is all in Thai but you will see the pic and it links to their pages on Koh Chang. If they don’t even know what the island looks like, can they really be trusted to develop it properly?
I had time for a bit more exploring, that sounds better than ‘wandering aimlessly up river beds knee deep in water’, and found what I think is Klong Prao waterfall. Multiple levels, nothing spectacular but several pools you can cool off in. A few pics below. From where Baan Camp Chang bathe their elephants it is about 20-30 minutes walk. Head upstream and then take the first tributary on the left.
More blatant plugs. The Pattaya-ification of Koh Chang is underway. I know this as a sure sign that there are too many business owners with too much money and too few braincells is when companies spring up looking to exploit these two traits. Ask yourself: Do you have a Social Media? Do you Twitter your Facebook? Do you realise those last two sentences are nonsense? Do you long to connect with your customers but just can’t be arsed figuring out how to use websites that most 8 year olds know their way around? Fortunately, for a few thousand Baht a month, you can get someone else to do all that annoying interacting with members of the public online stuff on your behalf. Contact either “Koh Chang’s Social Media Guru” or “Thailand’s No 1 Web Design company”.
The irony is that if you Google ‘Koh Chang Web Design’ you get a page from my site as the first result. Send me money and I will have you good to go on Myspace & Geocities within a week. We can even have meetings like this
Someone emailed and asked why I had been going on about waterfalls and posting pics but hadn’t mentioned Than Mayom at all, as it is in all the guide books. Simple reason, it isn’t worth bothering with. Sure you can swim there and it’s where two Thai Kings carved their initials in the rock over 100 years ago. But for 200 Baht entrance fee you are left with a serious “Is that it?” feeling. The royal connection, plus it being well under 200 metres walk from a restaurant and car park account for the popularity with Thai visitors. Visit the nearby Klong Nonsi waterfall instead, it will save you 190 Baht ( You pay 10 baht scooter parking fee into an honesty box) and although it is an easy walk to the waterfall, through fruit and rubber plantations, it does have a much more adventurous feel to it.
Last update I mentioned the new ‘Island Life’ condos in Kai Bae. And I am doing the same this update. Why? Because they are selling like proverbial hot cakes. The website isn’t 100% complete; the show unit has just been open a month; there are no paid ads in the printed guides to the island or expensive billboards plastered everywhere; there are very few tourists here . . . . and yet 40% the units have already been sold. Not thanks to any fancy social media tosh or trendy sales techniques, simply because they offer old fashioned value for money in a location that makes them unbeatable on he island as rental properties. Sure they probably aren’t anyone’s “Dream home in paradise” , but for people who like Koh Chang and who are thinking with their head rather than their heart, they appear to be a sensible, practical investment. There are a couple of top floor units available for around 70,000 Euros. More info including availability, floor plans, pricing etc
A real life pop ‘star’ ( Over 1.2 million fans on Facebook – so pretty popular ) stayed at Aana Resort on Koh Chang last week. Here’s one of her better known songsis.
Other news . . .Trat Tourist Association is to coordinate a project to put electricity cables underground on the island – in order to beautify it for visitors. A new speedboat service will run from the mainland to Dan Mai pier on the east coast. Ticket price 180 Baht. will take only 10 minutes to the island. It might work but only if public transport to/from Dan Mai is made easy – as there isnt any at the moment.
If you are looking for a good coffee shop on White Sand beach you could do a lot worse that Marin Coffee, at the southern end of the beach near Grand View resort. The shop opened last year as a tiny place with barely room to more inside. This year it has expanded somewhat. Good coffee and homemade cakes. Like the chocolate toffee cake pictured above. Slightly Bangkokian prices at 60-80 Baht for most coffees, smoothies etc and cakes around the same, but there again tourists are the main clientele and the staf do know how to use the machines. Worth trying if you are in the area. ( No freebies from them unfortunately, the staff will have thought I was just another unshaven, sweaty, shabbily dressed visitor as I stopped off on my way back home after spending a couple of hours doing some walking the other day. )
A monkey photo to end with as everyone loves to see these vicious, but cute, little rabies carrying creatures. I took the photos at the small shrine at the top of the hill between White Sand beach and Klong Son. The monkeys were helping themselves to the food left out for the spirits.