Been a bit busy recently as mid-December to mid-January is the busiest time of year on the island. So aside from the guesthouse, we had a couple of trips elsewhere, the busiest month ever for transfer bookings and our new holiday home to deal with. So not a lot of time for doing website stuff.
We did a quick trip down to Koh Kood recently. A cracking island. As I’ve mentioned previously, probably the best in Thailand for riding a scooter around. An undersea electricity cable will soon be switched on which will the the catalyst for big changes. Once electricity from the national power grid reaches the island, ATMs and 7-elevens will follow. Unlike Koh Chang, Koh Kood isn’t National Park and so come the next economic boom, Koh Kood will be ripe for development. If I was thinking of starting a small guesthouse or business now, I’d be looking there rather than Koh Chang. All you need to know about Koh Kood can be found at Destination Koh Kood
Chantaburi is the province neighbouring Trat and one that is overlooked by most visitors to this part of Thailand. But it’s got a lot of potential. There’s a Thai guy on Facebook who is doing a great job of promoting the province and taking people who find themselves in Chantaburi on some great adventures. See: Love Chantaburi The photo below is one of his. It is of one of the two herds of wild elephants that live in the hills in the northwest of Chantaburi province. At this time of year they come out of the hills and head towards farms to look for food. In total, there are only around 70 wild elephants in the province.
The Trat Sailing Fest!
Of course you haven’t heard of it, that’s because the Tourism Association of Thailand are ‘promoting’ it. But it does sound very interesting. How does 3 days cruising around the islands south of Koh Chang, in a private cabin, for only 5,000 Baht sound? Gulf Charters are organising a trip, under the banner ‘Trat Sailing Fest’ to promote sailing in the archipelago. This runs from 23 – 26 January. Spaces are limited as there are just four catamarans and one monohull taking part. For more information or to reserve your cabin email: firstname.lastname@example.org
After Koh Kood it was time for a quick trip to Siem Reap. Combining Koh Chang and Siem Reap in a two week holiday is increasingly popular and it’s a great combination. Fly into Bangkok, head to Siem Reap for a few days of temples, great hospitality and food and then down to Koh Chang for some beach life with a couple of nights in Bangkok for a bit of shopping before heading home. You can’t really go wrong. I skipped the main temples this time as I’ve seen them a few times, my first trip there was back in 1997, and to be honest they don’t change much from year to year. So this visit’s highlight was a bit of cycling on Kulen mountain – north of Siem Reap which is where the Khmer empire was founded.
Meanwhile on Koh Chang work was still continuing on rebuilding a bridge over a small stream in the centre of Kai Bae. For some reason the work had to be done over Christmas and New Year – the busiest time of year on the island. Forcing anyone wanting to get to the southern part of Koh Chang to take a detour on dirt roads around the back of the village. It wasn’t surprising that many visitors ( along with local business owners ) weren’t too happy about this. The disappointing aspect was that the local authorities made no effort at all to inform visitors of the work; explain why it was necessary or apologize for the inconvenience. There was a single sign in Thai at each end of the detour and that was it. Nothing in English, or Russian, at all. The end result is that a lot of visitors were far more pissed off than they would of been had the authorities shown that they cared or were interested in informing people of what was going on and why. It was as though tourists were being taken for granted and the impression many got was that those responsible for running the island weren’t interested in basic courtesy to visitors. With the number of visitors, especially Russian, down on last year, this isn’t the right time to be alienating the people who do visit the island.
It rained on Koh Chang. For a couple of hours. It was chaos. After no rain for a few weeks the roads, especially on the hills, turned into ice rinks. Cars couldn’t get up them and those on scooters dismounted and walked their bikes downhill rather than risk riding them. If it does rain, which is unlikely at this time of year then you need to take a lot of care. it wont ast long and it;s better to wait for the roads to dry out. These photos from Facebook, are of the hill between Kai Bae and Lonely beach.