I had planned an update prior to New Year but was too busy (and another couple of days back on Koh Kood just prior to a hectic New Year didn’t add to my productivity at all.) So Happy New Year everyone and many thanks to the numerous people who have stopped me to talk on the beach this week or called round to the house to say Hi or took time to email me from their hotel on Koh Chang to say Happy New Year etc.
Here’s a lovely spot to escape the crowds over the busy holiday period. This is the small beach at Karang Bay View Resort, way down at the end of the road on the eastern side of Salakphet Bay. If you are heading around there and want to go to a good beach with clear water but don’t want to drive all the way down to Long Beach then this is a pleasant alternative. Nice little restaurant on site too. The road to Long Beach is now passable by vehicles again, after some repairs were made. See the photo at the end of this update.
Sedate watersports that provide a fun few hours and a bit of exercise are beginning to catch on here. The latest is Stand Up Paddling, which as the name suggests involves standing up and paddling on a surfboard type of thing. The lessons take place at the new ‘In Zone’ watersports centre at Siam Royal View, in Klong Son. Lessons consist of 1.5 hours tuition and then 1.5 hours to go and explore either the islands or the river nearby. Lessons for 2 people are 1,750 Baht per person. Groups over this will be 1,400 Baht per person. This includes the latest stand up paddle boards, paddles, and a snug life jacket. The price includes transportation from your hotel and a few soft drinks. There are two sessions daily at 0900 and 130 , both for 3 hours. SUP’ ing is very child friendly too, anyone can learn to do it and lessons take place in a sheltered shallow bay. Call Matt on 081-832-3282 for more info and booking.
Christmas Day bought a freak high tide to this area of Thailand. Around 15-20cm higher than the tide tables predicted, and the highest I have seen in my 8 years here. This led to bungalows and beachfront restaurants being flooded for a few hours between mid-morning & mid-afternoon. The decks at our house, shown in the photos below have never been under water before. The kids staying seemed to like our temporary infinity pool.
New resorts. On Koh Chang the owner of Nature Beach Resort has done a deal with the owner of the land next to Koh Chang Resort to allow them to build 40 bungalows on this great stretch of beach. The land has been cleared and looks like construction will begin soon. I’d guess flashpacker wooden huts rather than anything concrete. Meanwhile, on Koh Mak, a member of one of the local families has just started construction of a new resort on Suan Yai beach, to the east of Suchanaree Bungalows.
Also on Koh Mak, some good news . . .the first bio-gas tanks were installed recently at Koh Mak Resort and Koh Mak Seafood. These have already been promoted on Koh Chang and are in use in the kitchens at some restaurants and resorts as a way of recycling organic waste. But some not so good news . . . box jellyfish were seen again last week off one beach. Strong winds in late December seem to bring them up the gulf, happened last year too at around this time of year. Most resorts haven’t bothered to put up warning signs, so it is nice to see the owners of Ao Kao Resort taking the sensible option and not only putting up signs but also putting up underwater nets to ensure the safety of their guests.
Ice Cream. Or more accurately, gelato, has arrived on White Sand beach in the shape of a new ice cream parlour that could have come straight out of a shopping mall in Bangkok – only the size of the outlet has been shrunk and prices increased. Still, Dream Cones, are a very popular Thai brand of Gelato and so it’s worth trying if you want some fancy ice cream in airconditioned comfort. It’s located in the new AP Shopping Plaza, notably only as the home to Koh Chang’s only escalator, which isn’t in use as no-one has rented units on the upper floor.
Back to Koh Kood. Less than 10 days after my last visit I was back on Koh Kood again to meet a friend and do a bit more exploring around the island. I already added some Koh Kood info and photo galleries from the first visit. But a few more photos taken last week below. This time I stayed at Mangrove Bungalows, on the river in Klong Chao. 800 Baht/night for a large fan hut with lovely views. No noise. Free kayaks. Paddle or walk to the beach. Friendly local owners. Definitely recommended and they even have a website in English & Thai – kohkood-mangrove.com. If you are coming from Koh Chang, Bangbao Boat will drop you off & pick you up at their jetty.
Cocktails. Over the New Year I had to sample a few cocktails in various places around the island and the one thing that struck me was that in every place where we sat at the bar, the staff spent virtually all their time with their backs turned to the customers when making them. If you are in Starbucks, for example, you’ll notice the barista never turns their back on the customer, all drinks are prepared with them facing the customers as this adds some interaction. Same should apply for making a cocktail.
Road repairs: A section of the road leading to Long Beach was washed away in October. Repairs have now been made and it is pretty much as good as new. Logic says that if you build a bridge wide enough for a pick-up to use then it should be able to hold the weight of one, but there is always a nagging doubt as you inch your vehicle over the coconut wood bridge, and it starts creaking, as to whether it will hold or not. Give it a try, I did. ( But it wasn’t me who took a pen to the sign.)