A few people have asked where the update was, I had planned to do one a few days ago but the weather this past week has been so good that it was a shame to waste it sitting in front of a computer. In addition, this is the time of year where I like to have some holidays and not be tied down to the computer all the time, so have been away for a while too.
A sunny day during the rainy season is the best time to visit the island’s waterfalls. There are two waterfalls for which the National Park collect entrance fees – 200 baht/adult & 100 Baht/child for foreign visitors. These are Than Mayom on the east and Klong Plu on the west. However there are other waterfalls that are free or cost 10 or 20 Baht to visit. Perversely, most people don;t visit them, they visit the expensive waterfalls instead. Let’s see if I can change your mind about doing that.
Last update I mentioned Kai Bae waterfall, which is free & relatively easy to visit, smack in the middle of the west coast but not listed in any guidebooks or on maps. If you want to visit Kai Bae waterfall, check out directions & photos here.
I also revisited Klong Nonsi waterfall recently,which is worth a stop if you are heading round to the east of island. Apart from the 10 Baht cost of parking your scooter outside a local’s house, it is free to visit and very easy to do so. Just a matter of following a well worn path. Keerephet Waterfall, near Salakphet in the south-east is a similar type of waterfall. An easy 15 minute walk to a small pool where you can swim. This is also free.
Getting a bit more adventurous I decided to see how far I could get up Klong Jow Laem waterfall – a.k.a Klong Son waterfall. After a bit of scrambling over rocks I lost count at around 9 or 10 levels, most of which have a nice pool where you could easily swim with nothing but the sounds of the jungle for company. This is a bit more of an adventure than the previous two as, although there are small signs at some levels and getting to the first few are pretty easy, after that the path isn’t immediately obvious in many places. So it is much easier to just clamber over rocks and up the river bed in some places. The price to visit this waterfall is a princely 20 Baht.
True, Robomonk doesn’t have anything to do with waterfalls, but you can find him, plus alcoholic dog statues, a museum,a ‘seeing tower’ and a nice chedi collection at Wat Buppharam near Trat.
Back to the waterfalls, finally, it was time to go down to the south east of Koh Chang to go and find Koh Chang’s tallest and least visited waterfall. Klong Neung.
I hadn’t been there for a couple of years and last time I followed a trail by the river until it just disappeared and then had to backtrack, never having got to the falls. This time I couldn’t even find the start of a trail and so taking th e direct route up the river was the only way. Some effort is needed as there are some deep pools and some large rocks that need to be negotiated, so zig-zagging across the river is required. But once you reach the waterfall itself it is a beautiful sight. It is very rare that people come up here. It is easy to tell this by the total lack of any kind of garbage on the way – not a bottle, cigarette butt or plastic bag in sight. Most descriptions of getting to the falls* mention having to climb over a huge boulder just prior to reaching them. However, I found that simply going around this rock was far easier and, to my mind, a far more sensible option. (*More likely one incorrect description that has been copied / reproduced.) The Klong Neung page will be up soon. A couple of photos below.
For Sale: Tidy little roadside bar in the centre of Kai Bae, so plenty of foot traffic. A bit classier than your usual hole in the wall bar and all fixtures & fittings included in the 470,000 Baht asking price. Also included is a Thai registered company with Work Permit for the foreign owner. Photos & Info
Spot the Tourist: These photos were taken mid afternoon on glorious sunny days last week. You take a gamble wth the weather if you visit Koh Chang during the rainy season, but when the sun does come out you will have the beach pretty much to yourself anytime from now until October. However, the sea can still be pretty rough off the west coast beaches, so if you want a more sheltered beach, head 1km past Bangbao village to Klong Kloi Beach where the south facing beach has far calmer waters.
Changes: Say “Hello” to the Mercure Hideaway and Furama Xclusive and “Goodbye” to the Dusit Princess Bailan and Aiyapura Resort. These resorts haven’t changed owners, merely changed management companies. Their new advertising hoardings are already cluttering up the roadside. Furama and Mercure are two major hotel brands which bodes well for attracting Mr Hilton, Marriott & Sheraton in the future. In a similar vein, I noticed from my emails that far more people seem to be booking for next February / March than normal. Usually people book well in advance for Christmas & New year but not so much for March. However, my feeling that next year looks set to be a very good High Season were echoed by a Scandinavian tour agent who confirmed that they have already seen a big increase in bookings for Thailand for next winter. It seems that after two consecutive bad winters people want to plan their winter getaway well in advance.
Clean Up: Kai Bae will be cleaned up on 23 & 24 July. So if you have any garbage you want disposed off, dump it somewhere in the village on the night of the 22nd as volunteers will clean the roadside and beach the following day after the obligatory ‘Opening Ceremony’ has taken place. Then on the 24th they have a quick whip round underwater and pick up bottles, nets, bodies etc before taking part in a ‘Closing Ceremony’. 48 Hours later no-one will know a clean up ever took place, but that doesn’t matter because a couple of dozen volunteers will always have a commemorative t-shirt that proves otherwise.