The photo that probably caught your eye the most of those above was the pickled Red Muntjac deer, as it isn’t often that someone has the idea of shoehorning a forest mammal into a large jam jar and then putting it on display. The National Park are taking their remit to preserve the island’s wildlife a bit too literally for my liking. Fortunately they haven’t found a jar large enough for an elephant yet.
Baywatch. It has taken a bit of time, as drownings off Koh Chang’s beaches during the rainy season are an annual occurrence. But the volunteer Koh Chang Rescue organisation has just put up signs on the busiest stretches of beaches with a number to call if you see anyone drowning. The signs are all in Thai, as no-one at the rescue organisation speaks good enough English to understand a hysterical Russian trying to explain that their wife and child have just been swept out to sea. So, if you do see anyone drowning, ask a Thai to call for you. Kacha Resort have also
jumped on the safety bandwagon gone out of their way to show they care about their guests by putting up some much more informative signs and also throwing in a red flag and lifejacket into the mix too, thereby setting the standard by which all other resorts will from now on be judged. Does your resort provide a free lifejacket for anyone wanting to go into the sea to try to save someone who has been swept out in a rip? Probably not.
( Update: Now 9pm on 28 May and I just saw a report of a drowning on White Sand beach late this morning. ( Photos here ) A Russian guy. So much for the warning signs, flags and emergency hotline. Not a lot you can do to prevent people going in rough seas when on holiday. Maybe just leaving the bodies on the beach would do the trick?
Another Update – 30 May – Thanks to Mark for this link, definitely worth a read ‘Drowning doesn’t look like drowning‘)
Koh Chang will soon have it’s very own wreck. If all goes to plan the former USS Lincoln Country, current HTMS Chang, a 70 year old tank landing vessel will be sunk off the south west of the island in 30 metre deep seas in order to provide a new underwater attraction for divers. August 12th, the Queen of Thailand’s birthday, is the auspicious date chosen for the 100 metre long ship to be sunk.
Recognition for Koh Mak‘s efforts to alert visitors to the ptential dangers of jellyfish stings from Phuket, which suffers from a major jellyfish problem of it’s own. This quote from a news report. Resort owners are showing more interest but some still refuse to participate or even allow to have the simple, but effective, ‘Vinegar Stations’ on the beach outside their property. Background in the last update and on Facebook.com/BallKohMak
After much research and public education from the Ministry of Public Health’s Bureau of Epidemiology, the small island of Koh Mak in Trat province, south of Phuket, recently became the first resort area in Thailand – if not in all of South-East Asia – to install life-saving first aid stations across all beaches in a bid to save the lives of anyone stung by box jellyfish.
Local People. It isn’t always easy to find local people doing local things, especially when it comes to fishermen. but if you head to the small inlet near Chai Chet Resort at the north end of Klong Praobeach you’ll see some of them sorting their day’s catch. You won’t see this during High Season, as they will all be busy with tourist related jobs. But from now until October the local guys will be out in small longtail boats doing a bit of fishing when weather allows. You can buy extremely fresh fish and crabs here and you should be able to find a restaurant who will cook them up for you for a nominal charge if you are also buying a few drinks off them.
Klong Plu waterfall, the busiest of Koh Chang’s many waterfalls, is one of the places that is best visited on a sunny day during the rainy season. For obvious reasons, the waterfalls are always best seen with water in them. Most visitors content themselves with wandering along the riverside path to the falls, having a quick swim and then heading back again by the same route. But for the more adventurous the new Nature Trail, which takes walkers on a 1.5Km alternative route back to the entrance is most definitely worth checking out. The path has existed for a long time but was always off limits to visitors. However, guide ropes have now been put up on the steeper sections and anyone who enjoys a bit of clambering uphill and doesn’t mind encountering a few bugs, spiders and getting very sweaty in the process can now enjoy it. But if, like me, you’ve always wondered what the view from the top of Klong Plu waterfall looking down is like, then thanks to the Nature Trail, there is an easy way to do this too. This isn’t a marked trail, as I doubt the National Park want the hassle of dealing with the problems caused by having tourists slip over the edge and fall to their death, but for anyone reasonably sensible & careful you can get an excellent view by taking a slight detour. You can even see the sea from up there. :-) A few pics below and all you need to know about the Nature Trail and finding the top of the waterfall here.
Finally, if you are going to break any rules in the National Park, it’s better to do something prohibited such as carrying a gun or explosives rather than carrying any type of polyethylene container – as the fine for the latter is double the fines fr being caught in possession of the other two. ( 1000 Baht for a water bottle, 500 baht for a pistol or bomb ). A tad ironic given the sign listing the fines is 20 metres from a stall selling drinks that come in banned bottles.
Last update for a while as it is now time for a holiday at chez Iamkohchang.