For 2015

11 March

Chinese tourist drive into the sea on Koh Chang

Back on Koh Chang after a well deserved holiday in The Maldives.  This was a tax-deductible fact finding mission to determine how the Koh Chang archipelago, described by some attention seeking politicians and the TAT as the ‘Maldives of Thailand’ compared to the real thing. Needless to say the real thing is far more expensive but also a few steps up in quality from anything on offer here.  These photos are from the real Maldives.  The Maldives of Thailand is “Same same but different” 

The mangrove walkway in Salakphet, which was only re-built a couple of years ago is already falling apart.  However, in an especially sad attempt to make the entrance more attractive a new sign has been erected.  It’s a sign warning of the fines for damaging coral.  Why? Probably because someone had a budget for these signs and then had to place them somewhere, regardless of how inappropriate or pointless they were.   But the views from the walkway are as spectacular as ever.  It’s a very scenic stroll to the head of the bay.  But please remember not to touch or chase any coral reef creatures that you way see during your walk.

The Russian Orthodox Church has completed it’s franchise on Koh Chang – built in the name of St. Sergius of Radonezh.  The church was consecrated last month and may well be open now.  It’s hard to tell.  There’s no sign up yet but the door was open so I wandered in.  Sadly, no information in English.  Located in Klong Son valley in the northwest of the island.

An increasing number of Chinese visitors are driving to Koh Chang.  Chinese plated vehicles are now pretty common sight during February, usually the month for Chinese New Year.  Most seem pretty sensible drivers, as you’d expect seeing as they’ve managed to get here by driving through China, Laos and the length of Thailand. But one guy tried to go off-roading on Pearl Beach.  He ended up getting stuck for several hours until his car was dragged out of the sea by the rescue guys.

Chinese driving

Meanwhile, Thailand’s still operating under military rule and lest anyone forget that, the army on Koh Chang are continuing their program of ‘Zero Tolerance of Minor Niggles & Annoyances’.  The recent successful raid on an illegal ‘casino’ i.e. a card school for several local housewives, was followed up by a crackdown of scooter rental companies parking scooters on the main road.  They also helped pick up some litter from the roadside.

Army on patrol

Koh Mak made the international news when a rather optimistic article on how it was ‘Old Thailand’ was published last week in the New York Times.  This portrayed an idyllic, laid back lifestyle a world away from the package tourists, noise & crass commercialisation of other islands.  Apparently, the locals understand sustainable development and don’t want to see the island go the way of islands in the south of Thailand.

It’s probably good luck that the reporter has already left, as Koh Mak is the place to rave from now until 21 March as the annual multi-day German techno party scene hits the island.  This 10 Day event has helped establish Koh Mak as a premier party island –  that is, if you’re German and on an expensive techno dancing package tour. Thai Break on FB

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