Another delayed update. The period over New Year is the busiest time for everyone on the island and when you also have a constant daily barrage of emails from people who have forgotten to book accommodation or transport to get to the island, replying to them leaves little time for anything else.
Just before Xmas I headed off to take some photos of a beach or two and ended up aboard a Navy boat watching their experimental seaplane land for the first time in Salakphet Bay. A few pics of that below:
About 4 weeks ago the navy sank another wreck off Koh Chang, near Koh Khlum a few kilometres south of Bangbao. Unlike the last wreck to be sunk, which was done so with a big fanfare and lots of support from the local government, this wreck was sunk without any real advance notice or publicity. It appears that some people don’t want more wrecks to be sunk. However, the Navy and some of those involved in attempting to promote tourism on the island do. So in 2014 we can expect to see more new wrecks, possibly three of them, all in the same area which will be off limits to fishing vessels. The aim is to create an underwater ‘wreck park’ that attracts a wide variety of marine life and will make Koh Chang a leading wreck dive destination in Thailand.
A few pics below of Koh Kood – even now, at the busiest time of year it’s still a quiet island once you get away from the main beach areas. The vast majority of visitors don’t seem to leave the beach where their resort is located. So if you can get out and a bout by scooter then it’s a great island to explore. The beach bar at Peter Pan Resort is a must visit and, after a December of disappointing cocktails by the beach on Koh Chang, it was a pleasure to find a guy who knows his stuff. Go there and you’ll be very glad you did. Likewise if alcoholic sundowners aren’t your thing and you are missing great coffee, smoothies & homemade cake, then the Viewpoint Cafe, on Klong Chao river estuary is the place to visit.
We also stopped off on Koh Mak and Koh Kradat. Despite only being a 10 minute boat ride from Koh Mak, Koh Kradat is rarely visited by foreign tourists. But it’s a very nice place. It’s a working island which is well known for the herds of deer that wander the flat grassland. There is a small resort and a makeshift restaurant with no real menu that will make basic, but delicious Thai food, on request. People come here to feed the tame deer, take a tractor tour around the island to see the wild ones and then enjoy a few kilometres of unspoilt white sand beach.
On Koh Mak it was life as normal, the resort we stayed in had their staff party – pretty rare for early January. They were able to do this as the resort only had 3 or 4 rooms occupied. This was Cinnamon Resort, which doesn’t get great reviews but the room was good, staff were excellent and the pool is probably the best on the island. Having it all to ourselves was an added bonus. Elsewhere on the island many other resorts looked pretty quiet too – especially when compared to Koh Kood which for whatever reason, has left Koh Mak trailing in its wake. A pity because Koh Mak has a lot to offer, unfortunately the people who run the island don’t appear able to co-operate with each other when it comes to not simply promoting it but also spending money on a couple of simple to accomplish , very basic, deeply uninteresting tasks that would do wonders to attract tourists. Namely, picking up garbage and raking the beaches in areas away from resorts in order to kill sandfly eggs. In the past couple of years around 25 Million baht has been spent on underwater elephant statues – which no one can see & which isn’t promoted and have all but been forgotten about and an ‘Energy Park’ that was designed to produce gas from hotel and household waste but has never been switched on and so mainly consists of a plastic and glass sorting / recycling area – i.e. just what people have been doing for years on the island anyway. The same amount of money spent doing the basics right first would have done wonders for the island’s image.
If you are into saving sharks then ‘Fin Free Thailand’ are having a Just Say No to Shark Fin Soup awareness / fundraising day on the 18 January on the beach at 15 Palms restaurant on White Sand beach. Worth going along to, especially if you’ve ever been tempted to order a bowl of shark soup but aren’t yet aware that the animal has to be killed for you to enjoy it.
Some orchids. We don’t have a garden as the grass would get wet at high tide, but we do have a nice orchid collection & many of them are flowering now.