For 2013

July 28

 

As High Season comes to an end, landlords thoughts turn to putting up as much concrete as as quickly as possible in order to have shiny new bungalows & shophouses ready by November for the next influx of visitors to Paradise Island (© Trat Tourism Authority ) . This allows tourists who arrive on the island between June and October to experience delights that that are hidden from those arriving outside Green Rainy Low Building season.

For example, if you have kids who are interested in heavy machinery or you have never experienced the good vibrations caused by hammering pilings into the ground, then a stay at The Chill in Kai Bae would be an ideal spot for you as next door construction has just begun on foundations for a new resort.  Or if you’re on a budget and your kids love fireworks, take them for a walk along Bangbao pier where they can see builders using arc welders and angle grinders so close you can almost feel the sparks hit you. ( Actually they do if you get your timing wrong when you try to get past them. )

Top 4 Construction sites.  It should be pointed out that all buildings are built to international standards – as the majority of workers come from Cambodia.

On the left, below, we’ve got the centre of Kai Bae well represented as two new beachfront resorts are going up. One from the owners of the nearby Gajapuri Resort and the other from the owners of Ramayana Resort.  The photo is of the new Gajapuri site.  In the centre, there’s Klong Prao’s entry – under construction, on and mostly off, for over  a decade.  This hotel is almost complete  & looks pretty good for a concrete block,  the glass lift is a nice touch.  On the right, White Sands beach is represented by what I presume will be a new resort adjacent between Koh Chang Hut & Top Resort, plus new shophouses roadside in the centre of the beach and, pictured, by the replacement for the beachfront Baan Thai Resort.

But the winner of the Koh Chang’s 2013 ‘Price of Progress’ award is

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< drum roll >

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the fishing village of Bangbao, which is being re-roofed.  Not just  a house but the entire village.  The walkway between the houses is being covered as is most of the new pier.  Actually, I think the roof on the new pier will be an improvement for people catching boats.  However, the metal framed roof that runs for 350 metres along the old pier is a bit worrying.  I presume it’s designed to keep both sun & rain off visitors. This will entail having to close off the sides of the roof too.  So you’re left with a long, humid tunnel with no airflow and lots of sweaty visitors.  Who doesn’t love a sauna?

Delicious

Immigration.  The Immigration service will open a new office in what looks like a lock up garage by the roadside in Klong Prao.  This will be for dishing out visa information to tourists rather than handling any paperwork for long term visitors or expats.

Thoughts on Koh Samet. A week or so ago it looked like bad weather was heading for Koh Chang so the time seemed right for a quick trip to the rival island of  Koh Samet – located halfway between Bangkok & Koh Chang.  In brief, some cracking beaches with soft, white sand but sadly it’s well on the way to being trashed. The entire island is technically a National Park, protected from over development, but you’d never guess this if it wasn’t for the half hearted attempts from the park officials to extract entrance fees from visitors.  All beaches have jetskis and banana boats for rent which doesn’t really lend an air of calm to the place and the main activity for visitors seems to be lazing in a deck chair with a beer, walking to the sea for a 10 minute swim then back to the deckchair.  Which I enjoy too – but after an hour or so the novelty wears off.  On the plus side, it’s a good place for a short break, a meal on the beach and a few beers and probably heaven for those people who have only experienced Pattaya.  Another big plus is the weather as it’s  one of the driest islands in the country, whereas Koh Chang is one of the wettest.  And although the  only public transport are songthaews ( pick up truck taxis) on Koh Samet which is the same as on Koh Chang, unlike Koh Chang,  prices are clearly marked and there’s no need to haggle with drivers.

Missing guy memory test.  An Englishman, Paul Hamilton-Ritchie went missing, last known location was on Lonely Beach, Koh Chang back in October 2012.  His family recently visited the island and also contacted various websites in order to spread the word of his disappearance.  See  for photos of him and see if it rings any bells. I’m mentioning this for two reasons, firstly in the hope it triggers someone’s dim & distant memory and they can provide info for his family & secondly, in case my parents are reading this, if I disappear off the grid please don’t leave it 9 months before trying to find me.  Thanks.

Finally, if you are reading this site on a mobile phone or tablet as an increasing number of people do, it should look much better now as I’ve tweaked it to make it ‘responsive’ – which is a nerdy way of saying, not look crap on a small screen. Couple of small things still need to be fixed, so if anything doesn’t work as it should let me know.

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