For 2012

January 27

The Souk.   I was round on the east coast the other day and realised I hadn’t been in to see Ed, the Thai owner of The Souk for a long time. He’s a nice guy and runs a very good value small resort that has been in business for years. You don’t see much advertising for it and he relies mainly on word of mouth and recommendations from previous guests. But if you want a few days away from it all then it’s as good a spot as any.   Ensuite, stylish fan bungalows by the small beach are just 700 Baht / night.   Located a couple of minutes drive south of Centrepoint Ferry pier,adjacent to Amber Sands.

Carbon Replenishment.   There’s more to turning Koh Chang into an eco-friendly, tourist destination than just putting up a few posters. It’s actions, not words that are really required.   There is a lot of talk nowadays about reducing CO2 emissions in order to help the environment. This is great in places such as Europe and developed countries where the majority of people live in suburban areas and fields are full of farting cattle.   However, problems arise when plants and trees, that actually need CO2 don’t get enough of the stuff.   This isn’t really an issue in many countries where anything green has long been chopped down or concreted over. But here on pristine, jungle clad, Koh Chang, there are problems with a lack of CO2 in the atmosphere. There are comparatively few visitors to the island and 75% of it is a National Park.   This absorbs,   in layman’s terms “a lot” of Carbon Dioxide.   Thankfully, some far sighted resort owners here have now taken it upon themselves to artificially replenish the island’s carbon supply.   It is a simple scheme that involves releasing Carbon particles into the atmosphere where they bond with a couple of Oxygens and then drift back to earth to be absorbed by nature.   Best of all, this scheme is reliant on recycling hotel waste, thus reducing both the cost of garbage collection and the amount of landfill waste on the island.   It’s a win-win situation.   The photo below shows one of several carbon replenishment schemes, and not as some misguided, ill-informed, visitors may assume, large, foul smelling bonfires, operating on the island.

Buring garbage

Traffic.   Meetings have been going on to find ways to alleviate traffic problems on the island during the Songkran ( Thai New Year ) holiday in mid April. At present the plan involves convincing Thai drivers to park their cars on the mainland, then take the ferry and then rely on Koh Chang’s excellent public transport service whilst on the island. All it needs now is the promise of free bicycles for visitors. I have a feeling this idea may have been championed by the local taxi mafia co-operative. But it should be fun to see Bangkokians suffering alongside their western counterparts. Another idea is to stagger check out times at resorts, so people don’t all leave at the same time.   So if you had a choice of a hotel where you had to leave at1000 or one where you could leave at 1400, which would you choose?

Water: A meeting was held the other day to discuss the options for improving the water supply on Koh Chang.   Seven options were tabled, ranging from digging lots of deep wells to building a reservoir. The reservoir, with a capacity of 1,000,000 m3 was chosen as the preferred option.   Doesn’t mean anything will happen in the near future though as this ties in with the meetings held in August 2009 about building a reservoir near the south of Klong Prao village.   Plans were put on display in the temple and people told that within 3 years it would be completed. Only sign of action were surveyors marking out where water pipes would go in the future.

Hanuman Villa. Some excellent low & mid season prices for anyone planning a family holiday later this year. Hanuman Villa, on Koh Mak, can

sleep 6 to 8 people and is available from just 180 Euros per week. Less that 5 minutes walk to the beach and nearby resorts, eco-friendly with solar hot water system, and designed for families with children ( the expat owner has two young kids )     Photos and information

Can someone explain what a ‘lounge bar’ is? Every little roadside shack that is run by a middle aged expat owner who spends the day mooching around shirtless, dripping sweat over the soft furnishings, is now a ‘lounge’ of some variety. Fair enough, some have a vinyl covered sofa sitting outside which I could see myself sprawling on with a bottle of Chang in one hand, bowl of peanuts in the other whilst watching the new series of Top Gear but I doubt that is the aim or reasoning behind the ‘lounge’ concept.   No doubt there is a huge difference between sitting in a run of the mill bar nursing a 60 Baht beer   and putting the world to rights with fellow barflies and doing the same in a lounge bar. But as I am not much of a nightlife connoisseur, the subtle differences and intricacies are lost on me.   Explain please. Ideally, in a sentence or less.

For Sale.   Also on Koh Mak, the island’s only pool villa is now for sale at a heavily discounted price. Just 8,000,000 Baht gets you 150sqm+ of living space on two floors with sea views, 200 metres to the beach and 1600sqm of garden.   Chanote land title.   Details Here. Meanwhile on Koh Chang, a recently completed, but never occupied, 2 bedroom house at the island’s largest housing development and with views of the golf course and beach is for sale for 8,400,000 Baht.   Couple of pics below, will add more info in a few days.

Valentine’s Day. There will be some kind of mass wedding on Koh Chang with couples decked out in Rama V era traditional wedding outfits. Not a lot of info available at the moment and what there is is in Thai, and vague, so anyone reading this probably isn’t invited to participate anyway. But no doubt the island’s PR machine will have full details available by February 15th.

Coming Soon . . . About a year ago when I mentioned I had an idea to get to all the islands around Koh Chang by kayak. How hard could that be? Quite, as it turned out.   Mainly because it isn’t always easy to find the time to do it, as it is a bit of an effort, and in addition to free time I need a calm sea and no dodgy elbow or shoulder as I’m not getting any younger.   But I’m getting closer and hope to have a new ‘Islands’ section on the site before too long.   Also, just done some stuff for Singapore’s largest travel community site, the first articles & photos should be online in the next week or so. Hopefully that might get more Singaporeans to visit this part of Thailand.   In the pipeline, maybe, is an Iphone app for people to use when they are on the island, which would be produced in conjunction with an American software company that specialises in these things as there is no point me trying to do it myself.   But would be a rainy season project and ready for next High Season. Kind of depends if they can see a way to make money from it as Koh Chang isn’t a major travel destination.

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