For 2014

30 October

Cookies Koh Chang

New on Koh Chang.   Although many business owners are saying the island is quieter than normal for this time of year, that hasn’t meant any cease in the push to develop the island and build more and larger resorts.  Two large resorts opening up are the all new Awa on Kai Bae beach, from the same owners as Ramayana resort and The Dewa.  The Dewa lived up to it’s tagline of being ‘distinctively different’ when it opened and Awa looks to be in the same vein.  It’s a large concrete block but , going off what you can see from the roadside and the mock-ups is a pretty interesting design.  Meanwhile on White Sand beach, Kacha Resort’s new beachfront blocks are coming on apace.  It’s amazing how fast buildings go up when you throw an unlimited number of Cambodian labourers onto the job.  Design wise, it’s nothing interesting – a generic hotel block in virtually the same style as the existing rooms.  At the south end of White Sand beach two old bungalow resorts, Bamboo & Apple are in the process of being transformed into compact U-shaped resorts complete with hotel style rooms and small pools.  Close by,  construction has finished on a new place, which is , surprise surprise, a concrete hotel block, ‘DuTalay’, on the site of the old Baan Thai resort. More new stuff in the next update.  Pics below from White Sand beach.

Cookies Hotel got a facelift and the owners have obviously decided that the market they’re after is  Hello Kitty fans and families with 6 years olds who are into Barbie.  Bring your  sunglasses  to prevent your retinas from being singed through repeat exposure.

Cookies Hotel Koh Chang

 

It definitely adds something to a guest’s experience when a resort labels the signs of the various tropical plants.  It’s always nice to know what flower, plant or tree you are looking at or your child has just pulled the leaves off.  Typically these signs are in Thai and also Latin, as the scientific Latin name is used everywhere.  Resorts here have been doing this for a while.  The National Park has done this and now the Thai Navy has had a go at doing it too at their naval resort near White Sand beach.  However, you get the impression that the guy who did the signs for the Navy just couldn’t be arsed  . . .

Glamping. i.e. ‘Glamourous camping’ which in turn means camping but with a real bed, a fan and soft furnishings, is now available on Koh Chang.  Cliff Cottage has taken down their old fan huts and replaced them with tents.  Some for 1-2 people, others large enough for a family.  If you’re on a budget and are looking for great sunset views, peace and quiet, fresh air and some pretty good snorkelling 100 metres away, then these might be for you.  They’ve only just been built so there’s still availability during Peak Season.

Mini Adventure. Koh Chang’s tallest waterfall.  Klong Neung waterfall on Koh Chang is also by far the east visited of the named waterfalls ( There are numerous small unnamed waterfalls hidden in the jungle which you can visit whilst on a jungle trek )  I was in the south-east of Koh Chang a couple of days ago and realised I hadn’t been there for 2-3 years.  So I decided to go and find it again.  There is a signposted, paved road leading up to a small parking area at the start of the walk to the waterfall.  However, the reason most people don’t visit is that getting there requires walking up the river bed and scrambling over and around some large boulders.  There is no footpath.  You’ll be scrambling up the riverbed and obstacles such as fallen trees and small waterfalls and  you’ll need to pull yourself up and lower yourself down large rocks in a couple of places.  Ideally take a backpack, so your hands are free ( But I didn’t) and wear walking sandals rather than flip-flops (But I didn’t ) It’s a great time to visit now.  I’ll add a page with more photos and info later.

Good news for motorists.  For years people have been saying that there should be some free public parking available on the island – apart from by the busy roadside.  Now, the organisation know as DASTA – Designated Area for Sustainable tourism Administration, has built a free car park for people visiting Koh Chang.  However rather than build it close to a beach area, they built it in Klong Son, about 400 metres from the main ferry pier.  To be honest it isn’t often that people decide to get in their car, leave Bangkok, drive 300Km, take the ferry, get off the ferry and then think to themselves “Let’s take a break now – it’s another 15 minutes drive to our hotel.”  And likewise, at the end of your holiday, it’s time to drive home.  You leave you’re hotel, head to the pier and 30 seconds before you reach it, think ” I really need to stop and stretch my legs.”  But it’s not my job to question their wisdom, or the decision making process that goes into budget allocation.

Next week, from 2 – 6 November one of the highlights of Koh Chang’s social calendar takes place.  The Loy Krathong Festival at Klong Prao temple.  Worth going to.  Especially on the night of the 6th which is the night when people will buy ‘krathongs’ and float them in rivers and the ocean in order to thank the water spirits and wash away their sins from the past year ( or something along those lines)  Regardless, they’ll be fun & games, cheap food, market stalls, music, fireworks, beer,  and lots of people – so check it out.  This is what I wrote about the Loy Krathong celebrations way back in 2005, nothing’s changed since.

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