Those of you that braved last Friday's looming clouds and headed down to Koh Chang for this long Mother's Day public holiday have been rewarded by two absolutely glorious sunny days. Koh Chang is rarely lovelier than during these sunny spells at this time of year. The Chinese Temple in Klong Son looked great yesterday.
But what's been happening on the island? – let's give you an update – particularly for Carl – who asked nicely.
Some road work is happening on the big evil hill out of White Sand Beach to deepen and improve the drainage ditches. Good idea – but digging the trench – during the monsoon – several weeks before cladding it with concrete is a great recipe for soil erosion.
The National Park has started to enforce the removal of several buildings in Bang Bao that have encroached too far into the bay. This new hard-line approach to building transgressions is rumoured to be soon to affect a couple of the island's larger resorts as well. Guess they should have followed the rules shouldn't they?
Following on from our previous article about new strict rules on tourist visas there have been a couple more developments – one good, one bad from a visitor's viewpoint. The bad news concerns new and strict rules regarding overstays of tourist visas.
Overstay Rules: Harsh new penalties are in now place for people who overstay their visa. If you overstay by more than thirty days then you will be banned from visting Thailand for a year. If you have overstayed by just one day and your passport is checked somewhere other than an immigration office (in other words if you are "apprehended" rather "surrendering yourself") you can – in theory – also be banned from Thailand for a year. In this instance you would hope that common sense would prevail – but you never know do you? Our advice is do not, under any circumstances, overstay your tourist visa.
Tourist Visa Extension: A positive development is that from the 29th of this month you will be able to extend a 30 day tourist visa by another 30 days at an immigration office. This is much more generous than the previous, rather stingy, seven days. This makes sense since it allows people who wish to have a holiday of up to 60 days in Thailand to arrange this fairly easily – thus reducing the temptation to overstay. And if you plan to stay longer than this you can apply to your local Thai embassy or consulate before you leave home to get a relevant visa.
Keep Koh Chang Clean continue to do a roadside litter clean-up every two weeks. get involved. A local group from Kai Bae/Klong Prao also organised a well-attended clean-up last Friday from the Klong Plu Waterfall road to Kai Bae village. Good on them.
And that's about it. We just listed an interesting new business for sale on Koh Chang that we think is a great opportunity. We're also working on three new issues of the guide as well as some website and online publishing improvements that will make our guides more easily available online and more interactive so get ready for all of that in the next few weeks.
Oh, and if you're a mum then have a happy mother's day!