Koh Chang News

April Koh Chang Guide Issues Now Available

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on April Koh Chang Guide Issues Now Available

We’re now in the process of taking delivery of our new printed guides – but you tech-savvy devils can read them online right now. There’s a bumper crop this time since we have brand new issues of the Koh Chang Guide, Koh Chang Restaurants and Bars and also of our Koh Chang Treasure Map. You will notice that with this issue we’re celebrating 50 Issues of the Koh Chang Guide. You can view the new publications in our Guides section here or simply scroll down the page to see them nestled snugly down at the bottom there.

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The Tides of March

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on The Tides of March

The Tides of March

sunset at kai bae on koh changIf you are interested to find out about high and low tide information in March, or in any other month for that matter then check out this useful site. The closest information to Koh Chang is Koh Mak but that’s close enough to help you to plan any tide related activities (in this case today’s 4pm game of beach cricket by Lay Lay Tong at Chai Chet beach – standards low, amusement high, all welcome).

Things have quietened down a little on Koh Chang over the last week or so and roads, beaches and resorts are slightly little less crowded than over the last few months. The weather is finally heating up with daily maximums of around 34-35 degrees. And it remains dry. The protests in Bangkok seem about as far away as those in Ukraine. The island will fill up again next month for the Songkran water festival.

wai chek beach on koh changHaving friends over to visit is always a good reason to do some proper touristy stuff. There are some good organised boat trips on the island but a bigger treat is to hire a speedboat for yourselves and do some island hopping at your own pace. It’s not quite as much of an indulgence as you might think. If you can get a group of 8-10 people it works out at about a thousand baht a head – a bit more for fuel if you want to explore the distant corners of the archipelago. Our recent trip took in a few of the nearer islands including deserted Koh Klum, Koh Wai with its great snorkelling and couple of little resorts and Koh Lao Ya with its stunning picture-postcard beach and strangely neglected resort. We also visited the isolated beach of Wai Chek in the south of Koh Chang. You used to be pretty much guaranteed this beach to yourselves since there no road access. But on this visit we encountered Chinese tourists on ATVs, Italians camping beside the lagoon and a few simple beach huts seem to have sprung up and then been immediately abandoned. But it’s still a beautiful and atmospheric little spot. You can hire speedboats from Nor Nou Kai Bae Speedboat in Kai Bae and from Bang Bao Boat in, you guessed it, Bang Bao.

koh wai islandHaving visitors over also gives you the (scarcely needed) excuse to eat out frequently and extravagantly. Recent dining  highlights have included the following: Max’s Place on the top of the hill leading to Chai Chet does an all-you-can-eat barbecue from 7pm on Fridays. For just 300 baht it is one the best bargains on the island. On offer are four kinds of roasted home-smoked meats and home-made sausages, home-made bread, soup, duck-liver-pate and salad. Make sure you’re hungry!
15 Palms in White Sand Beach have got some comfy new sofas and some pretty cool lights, their Pizzas are really good at the moment too.
Iyara Seafood in Klong Prao continues to be our go-to place for Thai seafood. The seafood is fresh and tasty and the lagoon setting is splendidly atmospheric.
Ciao Italian on the hill out of White Sands remains excellent, as does Marco and Jo’s in V.J. Plaza.
Bam and Tam in Klong Prao village does excellent roast ‘dancing’ chicken and Thai and Issaan food. Their Laap and sticky rice is a winner.
Paradise Resort in Chai Chet is worth a mention becuse after realising that their guests weren’t prepared to pay extravagant prices for meals they took the sensible step of dropping their prices and thereby re-filling their beach restaurant. The food’s pretty decent and the beachside location is, well, beachside.
The ever-popular Monkeys in White Sand Beach does a cracking burger as well as pages and pages of other stuff.
Barrio Bonito Mexican in Kai Bae are doing occasional Sunday afternoon buffets involving course after course of Mexican delights.
And if we haven’t mentioned your restaurant then our apologies – we’ll be round soon – after we drop a few kilos.

tesco lotus supermarket koh changYou realise that you might be living in something of a backwater, albeit a very beautiful one, when the biggest news on the island is the opening of a supermarket. But there was great excitement round the island as the doors of the new Tesco Lotus Supermarket opened in Hat Kai Mook a couple of minutes walk from our office. There’s not much else to say about it really. It’s large. it’s convenient. it can be a symbol of soulless corporate expansion into a tropical paradise if you’re that way minded. But it’s cheap. And it’s not going away. And they have Avocadoes!

We continue to hear about and list interesting land, properties and businesses for sale. Our latest listing is this large plot down in Chek Bae in the South-East of Koh Chang. There will be more stuff up there soon and some updated maps and new content on the site too. We’ll keep you posted.

 

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February and March on Koh Chang

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on February and March on Koh Chang

Oops! February was really busy for us as we completed three publications. Hence the lack of updates. On Koh Chang it was a bit like January really – only shorter. But March, oh, we’ll be letting you know all about March very soon. Don’t you worry.

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Protests. What protests?

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on Protests. What protests?

koh chang sunset jan 2014January on Koh Chang

Here we go again with our monthly update on what’s happening on Koh Chang – your favourite island paradise.
The visitor high season here is now well under way. Koh Chang was packed as always for the Christmas and new year celebrations and is still pretty busy despite all the stuff going on in parts of Bangkok. This isn’t the place (and life is too short) to go into detail about Thailand’s political situation. What you need to know is that everything in Koh Chang – and in 99.99% of the rest of Thailand is carrying on as normal. Wherever you are reading this is probably more dangerous than here.

koh chang shark sandcastleSo what’s been happening on Koh Chang? Building work – as always. This time large stretches of the island’s main road in Klong Prao village are being widened. No major complaints there – it is relatively undisruptive and will probably be an improvement when they finish.

Also approaching completion is the new Tesco Lotus supermarket in Pearl Beach, just a couple of minutes from our office. Is it bad for small local businesses? Probably. Will it be convenient for people visiting and living on Koh Chang. Hell yes!

koh chang shark race competitorsThe weather is terrific this year. There has been no rain at all for a looong time and the evenings have remained cool and breezy for about two months now. Remember that when we say cool we mean about 24 degrees. The days are hot and sunny – but not as humid as usual. What can we say – it’s almost perfect.

Yesterday saw a party and events based around the Fin Free campaign to cut out the fishing of shark’s for their fins – used in shark’s fin soup. This was held at 15 Palms on White Sand Beach. There was a shark sandcastle competition, an obstacle race and a DJ in the evening. Good fun in a good cause.

centerpoint ferry koh changHere’s a little transport tip for visitors to Koh Chang. The Centerpoint Ferry service is very good at the moment. The Ferry costs half as much as the competition and since it is less busy you can usually just drive straight onto the boats which leave punctually on the hour from the mainland or the half hour from Koh Chang. The boats now make the crossing faster – forty minutes each way when we travelled two days ago. And the staff smile which certainly doesn’t seem to happen on teh other ferry.
But don’t all start using them at once – especially on the days that we’re travelling.

 

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December 19th – Going Down

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on December 19th – Going Down

(Another) New Wreck for Koh Chang!second wreck dive on koh chang

There was great news for Koh Chang this Tuesday as the Thai Navy played Father Christmas and sank another decommissioned boat off the island as a new dive site. The boat was the USS PGM-71, renamed the T11 by Thailand’s Navy. Guess it’s the Koh Chang Wreck 2. It is a 30 metre long gunboat and has been sunk in shallower waters than the first wreck so it can be dived by divers with just an open water diving certificate. It’s another good reason to come and dive Koh Chang and offers a little consolation in what has been a poor month for tourism in Thailand.
The whole process happened very quickly and with little of the fanfare and long delays that accompanied the sinking of the first wreck last year.Thanks to B.B. Divers for the photo.

By the way let’s just point out again that the protests that are occurring in Bangkok are occurring Bangkok and not Koh Chang. Koh Chang is fine. Don’t worry. Despite some knee-trembling travel advisories from certain countries things here could not be more normal. Relax, the sun is shining.

thaidaho vista resort view koh makKoh Mak Map
We were on Koh Mak last week putting the final touches to our new Koh Mak Map which will be coming out in January. If you’ve never been there then it’s definitely worth considering a visit. It is much smaller and quieter than Koh Chang and makes a good choice if you’re looking for peace and tranquility over an activity based holiday. We often suggest that a trip to Koh Chang with a few days on Koh Mak as well gives you the best of both worlds. Be warned that there aren’t any banks or ATM’s though so make sure that you don’t arrive with no cash like our pal Andy who (he claims) forgot.
Here are a few recommendations from our visit. We stayed at Koh Mak Cococape Resort which has some nice bungalows beside the water and some perched on the hillside with great views. Thaidaho Vista Resort has the best view on Koh Mak – and possibly in all the local islands. They also make great coffee and their huevos rancheros is sensational. Cafe Del Mak is a nice place for a drink, as is Monkey Bar at Monkey Island Resort

No Swimming?
Below is the message that greets visitors arriving by ferry at Ao Thammachat from the new LED “information” box mounted on the hill.

“Welcome to Koh Chang” – Unoriginal but not too bad a start.
“A warm welcome to Koh Chang from Koh Chang Municipality” – Okay, so the government is saying hi too – that’s nice.
“This Season: Swimming is been prohibited” – WHAT! After much head-scratching the best we could figure out is that this message is intended to be displayed on the few occasions in the monsoon when the sea is too rough to be suitable for swimming. And it hasn’t been changed for this time of calm waters. Whatever the reason please ignore it. It is OK to swim – assuming that you can swim – of course. It is, however, clearly unsafe to trust all the signs you see in these parts.

We keep updating our Property section with new properties and businesses for sale. Go there if you want to live here.
And watch this space – our new guides will be up on the site sooner than Santa can stuff your stockings.

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Seasons of Your Day

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on Seasons of Your Day

A quick update before we get into the final push to get our January Koh Chang Guide and Treasure Map issues off to print in time. By the way – and with shameless self promotion – if you would like to run an ad in our January publications then please let us know as soon as possible – our deadline is next week.
You’ll be happy to know that we’re into the good weather. It’s sunny by day and hot, but not too hot and it’s breezy and cool at night. The sea is never more welcoming than at this time of year. The images left and right were taken from Klong Prao beach yesterday.

klong prao river meets the sea at koh changklong prao beach koh chang

 

barrio bonito mexican kai baeThis is the time of year when everyone on Koh Chang is putting the finishing touches on their business changes and improvements to be open and ready in time for the tourist rush. Anyone who hasn’t finished by now is running it a bit fine.
We were pleased to attend the re-opening last week of Barrio Bonito Mexican restaurant. They have just relocated from their old Lonely Beach location to the middle of Kai Bae village at the front of Garden Resort. The new place looks great – the food is excellent – and, from a  purely selfish viewpoint – it’s closer to us. It is well worth a visit.

The latest dubious public works project on Koh Chang has seen the filling up of all the drains in White Sand Beach with concrete. Again. These ditches were, admittedly, pretty poor but there is a pattern developing here. We’re getting deja vu – maybe even treja vu. Check out our November 11th 2010 post for the full saga on the creation and filling of drains. Here’s a radical plan for a two step drainage improvement program:-

1 – Make good drains.
2 – Leave them.

white sand beach drain filling 2013officials are working sign
This season local National Park representatives plan to start to charge visitors 200 Baht per person for visiting Koh Rang Island by boat. This has happened before and has proved very difficult to administer. The principal is the same as for Koh Samet Island where all foreign visitors have to pay 200 baht on arrival at the island. Koh Chang is also a Marine National Park so, in principle, a park entry fee should be paid on arrival to Koh Chang. Previous efforts to bring this in haven’t worked very well though so instead you are charged to visit areas like the main two waterfalls on the island. This is simple to do – someone walks up the waterfall path and they pay. Boat trips are much harder to police though. Previous efforts that involved park rangers speeding up to boats on Koh Rang and charging tourists directly were a little embarrassing for all concerned. If someone refuses to pay you can’t exactly throw them into the sea can you?
So another previous sytem of charging everyone who leaves Koh Chang from Bang Bao Pier is apparently to be used again. The many boats that visit Koh Rang after departing from other piers, locations and islands will again not be charged. It’s not really fair is it?

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The Calm Before the Storm

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on The Calm Before the Storm

kai bae viewpoint on koh chang islandKoh Chang’s tourist season is fast approaching. The weather is better (check out this photo of Kai Bae viewpoint a couple  of days ago if you don’t believe us) and an increasing number of visitors are arriving. At the moment there are quite a few Thai tourists due to the school holidays but the growing numbers of minibuses bursting forth from the ferries are crammed with visitors from all over the world. All the signs are that bookings are good for the coming season so, crossing our fingers and hoping for no sudden changes, all seems to be well on the rock.

 

koh chang immigration officeImmigration Office in Klong Prao Opens
Good news, particularly for long term visitors to Koh Chang, is that the immigration office in Klong Prao is now open. Before you get too excited be aware that most immigration tasks like visa extensions and applications still need to be performed at the main immigration office in Laem Ngop on the mainland.

However the new office can now process the 90 day reporting required of foreigners on one year visas saving you a trip off the island. And of course the immigration officers there are available to answer your queries.
And in a year or two, who knows?

Butchery!
Apologies beforehand to any vegetarians out there but it is great news to welcome the return of Butchery on Koh Chang. Ollie at Mitzgerei Baum is halfway up the road to Klong Plu waterfall in Klong Prao. They produce all kinds of German meats and sausages as well as ham and cold cuts and German salads and pickles – and all very tasty as our recent meat-fest proved. Max pf Max’s place in Pearl Beach is also in the process of opening a shop on the hill out of white sands selling all kinds of meat products.
While on the subject of shopping it seems that we are about to get another, bigger, Tesco Lotus supermarket close to our office in Pearl Beach. A large plot of land has been cleared and what was an attractive piece of grassy land just 40 metres from the shore is now a building site. Far from us to be hippocrites – the sudden rush of supermarkets are very handy indeed – but you have to wonder when will the island reach capacity? There are now eleven 7-Eleven stores and four Tesco Lotus shops. Where will it end?
group of different thai chillies
Anna Store and Sing Tong (We like them)
And let’s not forget some of Koh Chang’s oldest and longest established supermarkets. We were in Bangkok a coupel of weeks ago and noticed on visits to the Villa and Foodland supermarkets thatthe prices for most western goods that are available were generally more expensive than in Anna Store on White Sand Beach and Sing Tong on Klong Prao. So let’s give them a pat on the back. They both stock an impressive range of imported foods (a lot more than even the biggest of Thailand’s Tesco or Makro stores) and they don’t overcharge for them. They have served their customers pretty well over the years (unlike a certain competitor in Chai Chet) and so in our opinion have nothing to fear from the arrival of the big boys.
(Even Still More) Website improvements
Plenty more work has gone into this website over the last month. Our Restaurants, Bars & Nightlife section now contains lots of detailed pages on some of the better places on the island. We have also added lots more articles and features in our Features section. This has been divided up into Koh Chang & Thailand, Food and Drink and Recipes.
New properties and businesses for sale are being added all the time as well. This house on half a rai of chanote land in Klong Son is a good deal.

 

 

 

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Rumbles in the Jungle

by Dave in Koh Chang News, Koh Chang News 2013 Comments Off on Rumbles in the Jungle

thailand launches elite wildlife ranger teamThere are some interesting things happening in the Koh Chang jungle this week as the island is host to the trainees of Thailand’s new Elite Wildlife Ranger Team. This is part of a collaborative effort between the Thai Department of National Parks in collaboration with the United States sponsored ARREST program administered by the Freeland organisation (www.freeland.org). Nobody does acronyms like the US of A and this one represents “Asia’s Regional Response to Endangered Species Trafficking”, which means of course that it is a very worthwhile endeavour. Their press release which is well worth a read gives lots more information on the project but the extract below gives a quick summary.

“This training program, called “PROTECT”, will fill a significant void in the response capacity of Thai enforcement personnel to address immediate threats to its outstanding natural heritage and interdict wildlife trafficking. Wildlife crime in both Thailand’s terrestrial and marine areas, such as Siamese rosewood poaching and illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing can quickly overwhelm enforcement personnel in protected areas limited in both numbers and training. Facing increasingly violent criminals, 40 rangers have lost their lives and 49 have been injured, including 23 seriously injured, in the line of duty in Thailand’s protected areas in the past four years alone.”

That this program is taking place is good for Thailand as a whole and the fact that a lot of it is happening on Koh Chang is promising from a local viewpoint. It is well known that plenty of IUU goes on on Koh Chang (that’s Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing, remember?) and if the National Park staff are better trained, funded and supported in trying to limit it then that can’t be bad at all can it?

In other news there isn’t much other news. Since we’re into October already people are all eagerly preparing FARTS (For All Rain To Stop). The weather has cooled down and people are RATS (Realistically Awaiting Tourist Season). err This Is Thailand? Better sign off before the acronyms take over.

 

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New Guides Here

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on New Guides Here

koh chang guide cover quarter 4 2013You can now read the October issues of our Koh Chang Guide and Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars & Spas. They have all the useful up-to-date information on Koh Chang as well as features on living in Koh Chang, on Trat F.C. and, unusually, on bird’s nest soup. You can now read the guides by scrolling to the bottom of the website homepage or by following this link. Hope that you enjoy them.

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August (just!)

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on August (just!)

kong-goi-beach-koh-changSo as the 48th issue of the Koh Chang Guide goes off to our printer we breath a forty-eighth sigh of relief, pause for a moment – and then begin to catch up on all the other stuff that's been on hold while we made it. And a website update is our first step. It helps a little bit that, to be honest, not a huge amount of newsworthy stuff has happened on Koh Chang in the meantime. There's been some heavy rain, as you'd expect in the midst of a monsoon – but we are currently in one of the sunny intervals. So we can complain about it being too hot instead of too wet. As you can see Kong Goi beach in Bang Bao looks pretty inviting.

One thing that did happen was a wrestling match between a Python and a King Cobra that briefly put a stop to traffic in Lonely Beach the other day. Filmed and put on Facebook by San Smith of Koh Chang Himmel Bar you can see the initial fight here where the much smaller Python seems to be trying to choke the life out of the Cobra. The stalemate is broken in the second piece of footage here as the two snakes are separated by a Thai guy who is far braver than me. Fascinating stuff.

klong plu river valley koh chang

klong plu waterfall koh changWe visited the waterfall at Klong Plu a couple of weeks ago during one of the rainiest weeks we've had. The water level was very high and swimming up the channel to the waterfall itself was impossible due to the speed of the current. But the main pool is a lovely cool place for a swim – especially when the sea is too rough. There is also a short "jungle trek" that you can do as well. A path leads from across the road behind the buildings at the entrance to the national park up over the hill for a kilometre or so and takes you out onto the main path a short way from the waterfall itself. The path is good and whilst bits of the walk are pretty steep it's not too long. And it does take you into an isolated bit of jungle that very few visitors end up seeing. Dark, foresty and very atmospheric, it is worth the effort in our opinion.

bang bao pier roof koh changIn other news the new roof over Bang Bao pier approaches completion. It's not very ugly, it's not very beautiful – it's just a roof. If you walk down the pier in the rain you'll stay dry. Some decent seating areas have also been put in down  towards the end of the pier.

We've put up some new real estate and businesses for sale too:
There is a large backpacker bungalow resort for sale in Lonely Beach.
And a rare piece of beach land close to White Sand Beach together with a bungalow resort.
And a bargain restaurant & bar in Kai Bae for Just 300,000 Baht.

 

 
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Can You Tell What it is Yet?

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on Can You Tell What it is Yet?

So our new website is live. But you know this since you are reading this post on it aren't you? Anyway a browse around will reveal plenty of new stuff. We are throwing everything at it and eventually it will have nearly every article, feature and bit of information that we have ever written or gathered on Koh Chang.
Obviously this will take us quite a while – for now it is has all the basics that you need to know about Koh Chang but keep an eye out since, like a giant peach, it will be getting bigger and prettier day by day. And if there is anything (within reason!) that you would like to see on the site then tell us on the form at the bottom of this page and we'll see what we can do.

klong prao resort panorama

kai bae fish escape

The new site features lots of panorama shots like the one above taken at Kai Bae Beach the other day. There will be plenty more of these coming since a handy option on my camera allows me to make them automatically, saving the hours of painstaking Photoshop editing that this used to involve. This is obviously a very good thing as far as we're concerned.

Koh Chang is full of surprises. For example, driving into Kai Bae the other day we didn't expect to come across a road full of live fish conducting an escape from a fridge. Unfortunately it was a hot day and they didn't make it far which was a shame given the bravery and daring of their attempt.

As far as the weather goes we cannot tell a lie – it's been pretty lousy over the last couple of weeks. Lots of heavy rain and some impressive tropical thunderstorms. But then again it has been sunny for most of today. You just don't know what's coming next at this time of year. As Noah said.

An Immigration Office sign has recently appeared in Klong Prao. Don't get too excited since it is on a shuttered building, and it isn't the first time that this has happened without an office ever opening. But it is a positive sign and be sure that we'll let you know in the happy event that they open and save we foreigners from the requirement to go to the mainland for our Visas.

 

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New Guide and Map Arrive

by Dave in Koh Chang News Comments Off on New Guide and Map Arrive

koh chang guide issue 47Here we go again! Our new issue of the Koh Chang guide is now available for you to read online. There’s a new issue of the Koh Chang Treasure Map out as well so why not head over to our new guides and maps section to read it.
Amazingly we have the paper copies already as well – something of a record. Drop by our office to pick some up if you can’t contain your excitement or bear with us and we’ll be distributing them far and wide next week.

koh chang signAs you arrive at Koh Chang you will now be greeted by this new sign box that will provide you with some useful information such as wave height and wind direction – when it works.

The old traditional “Welcome to Koh Chang” sign had a kind of “Hollywood” sign iconic simplicity to it. Thes new box takes a little of that away but most importantly you can’t read the information in the box from the ferry since it is blocked by a palm tree. All will be sorted out soon no doubt.
paradise cottage koh changWe’re back to sunny spells and scattered showers after a few days of truly huge downpours. This pic was sunny paradise pic was taken yesterday, appropriately enough at Paradise Cottages in Lonely Beach. Let’s face it, it’s the monsoon. Visiting Koh Chang now you’ll probably get some rain and you’ll probably get some sun. It’s kind of a weather lottery. Buy a ticket.

Koh Chang now has a large jet-ski for use to rescue people who get into trouble in rough seas. This is a welcome development but a few little operational issues need to be sorted out. At the moment the jet-ski is being transported between beaches by a RDT (stands for Rapid Deployment Tractor). So if someone is unlucky enough to find themselves in trouble whilst swimming off White Sand Beach and the jet-ski is at Klong Prao then they are going to have to calmy tread water for the fifteen minutes or so it takes for the tractor to bring and deploy the jet-ski. We’re hoping that it will be decided to permanently base it on one of te beaches so that it can get into the sea fast and save lives. Even better would be a jet-ski for every beach. But let’s face it – it is a step in the right direction and any improvement in visitor safety provisions is welcomed.

We’ve just heard about a plot of land for sale close to Salak Phet in South-East of Koh Chang that will be of interest to anyone interested in building a private home with a huge garden or several homes for resale. The land is a peaceful and quiet spot beside a river. The land is Chanote titled and covers 1.5 Rai (2,500 sqm). The owner is keen to sell and so the price is really good at just 2.65 Million. Get in touch with us if you’d like to know more.

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2013 Posts

by Dave in Features and Archives, Koh Chang News Comments Off on 2013 Posts

 

Why not dig back in time through some of our posts from previous years to get an idea what Koh Chang was like back in the distant mists of time…

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2009 Posts

by Dave in Features and Archives, Koh Chang News Comments Off on 2009 Posts

December 15th: Wheear ‘as ta bin sin ah saw thee?

koh chang elephant trekkingThe globe has warmed and the sea level must have risen a couple of metres since we last wrote on here. But fear not, we endure. A bit like passing newborn twins to a midwife our new issues of our guide and map are now in the hands of our printers. So, tired and emotional we wait to see what they will be like when they grow up. The covers are below and you will be able to pick them up from January 1st. Amongst the highlights to look forward to Jon has provided us with some cracking new photos, we publish an 8 year old map of White Sands Beach and our double page photo gallery will give you nightmares for years to come.

Before all the thrills and spills of meeting our publishing deadlines we were able to be tourists for a while when we had friends over to visit. Highlights included Elephant Trekking in the Klong Son valley – wet Elephant smells exactly like bicycle shoes in case you wanted to know.
A visit to see the lagoonside fireflies in Klong Prao is also well worthwhile, especially in the next couple of weeks since their glowing colonies give a pretty reasonable Christmas tree effect. We went with Iyara Seafood, who do a pretty good seafood spread as well by the way.
The new entertainment offering on White Sand beach is K.C. Resort’s new bar and nightclub. It’s big and glass and loud and there’s a big party on tonight so this might be the time to give it a go. Reports are welcomed.

November 12th: Slapping Yourself in the Face

The island has been crackling with rumours this week about a proposed closure of the ferries, and hence the island, tomorrow. This has now been postponed according to an article in today’s Bangkok Post. So the ferries will run as normal tomorrow.

What’s it all about? The dispute is between a group of Koh Chang residents and the government. The residents are upset that the government isn’t doing more to improve visitor safety on the roads and beaches. They are taking a brave stand to make sure that visitors to the island have a safe and pleasant stay on Koh Chang. Only joking. It’s about land rights of course – the locals claim that the government is stealing land from them. The brilliant scheme to draw attention to this involves blocking the road thus preventing passengers and vehicles from reaching their Koh Chang destination. This would decimate the island’s tourist industry denying the islanders vital income at the outset of the brief high season. How it would affect the government is a little unclear since the tourists would presumably just go somewhere else. In the words of Blackadder, “A cunning plan, with just one minor flaw”.
A government spokesman has promised to resolve the issue by December 18th. If you’re planning on spending Christmas on the island then make sure you get your Turkey and Mince Pies delivered before then.

November 6th: Drive!

koh chang driving rangeWe tried Koh Chang’s new driving range the other day. Owned by Cookie’s Resort it is situated a couple of Kilometres up the Klong Son Valley. And it’s a pretty good place to spend a couple of relaxing hours taking out your frustrations by thrashing at knobbly spheres with metal sticks. Prices are very reasonable and the valley location is very attractive. And we can say with some authority that you don’t have to be any good at golf to enjoy yourself, although they do look at you a bit funny when you miss the ball and instead hurl the club for forty yards. At the moment they only offer drinks but they are in the process of constructing a restaurant.
Dry! Cross your fingers, touch wood and say to yourself quietly, very quietly, “The rain’s over”. No really it is. The winds have changed from onshore to the strong offshore blows that come at this time of year and mark the beginning of ‘winter’. Before you pack the snow shoes and huskies we should point out that winter in Koh Chang means days at about 30 degrees and nights at a marrow-chilling 20. It’s only cold when compared to things like branding irons or the surface of the sun. So now’s the time, pack your bags and get over!

News of the World: Are there any Murdoch-style media megalomaniacs in the making out there? If so you might be interested to know that the Koh Chang franchise of Newspapers Direct is for sale. Newspapers Direct are the enterprising organisation that make it possible to order and read your daily newspaper every day whilst you are on holiday. Hundreds of titles are available for download and they supply shops, restaurants and hotels on the island. It’s a business with promise and is available for 700,000 Baht. If you’re interested then contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the owners.

October 18th: Gently Down the Stream

kratong at koh changIt’s Loy Kratong again next tuesday. To the uninitiated this is a somewhat more restrained Thai water festival than Songkran – that’s the one where you get absolutely soaked. In Loy Kratong you float off a little decorated banana boat full of Joss-sticks, flowers and cold hard cash on the nearest available body of water. If this is the sea then wear shorts as your loved one drags you ever deeper to ensure that your kratong rides the waves like a schooner thus ensuring good luck and happiness for the next year. If it sinks… well if it’s wavy on Tuesday then our Kratong is going to float in a hotel swimming pool.

The good news here on Koh Chang is that Loy Kratong is the date of quite the biggest fair of the year, held at the Klong Prao Temple for an incredible five night run from the 29th to the 2nd. Featured events include a repeat of last year’s beauty contests. In a peculiar bow to political correctness there seems to be one for men this year as well as for the more traditional categories of kids, women and ladyboys. There promises to be live Thai country music this time. Line dancing will be phased in for the 2010 event. But it’s well worth a visit, everyone else on the island will be there and if that doesn’t excite you enough Jim from Slim Jim’s butchers just behind the temple promises to have a stand there selling burgers, sausages and other creations of meat-based wonder.

October 15th: Sweet Bird of Truth

hummingbird on koh changWe photographed this handsome little feller the other day during a stroll through the Dawes Botanical Gardens at Elephant and Castle in Pearl Beach. He looks like a Hummingbird but of course he can’t be unless he took a major wrong turn at the Andes. So if you’re a twitcher, a naturalist or even a naturist and you know what kind of bird he is then please let us know.

The new season got underway yesterday in the Koh Chang Pool League. White Sands Publications have dusted off our cues and thrown our lot in with Paddy’s Palms who triumphed in a tricky away fixture on the idiosyncratic table at Canuck’s in Kai Bae. We’ll publish results of all the matches and league tables as we get them.

Today is a Koh Chang island clean-up day. Hordes of people are out filling black bags with all manner of rubbish that has been thrown away on the side of the road. You can take two views on these events. People on the island pay tax and the local council really should make sure that the island is clean. Alternatively you can accept that we live in a far from perfect world and get stuck in in an “if you want something doing then do it yourself” approach. At least the island will look a little better.
While we’re on the subject how about a campaign to stop 7-Eleven giving you ten plastic bags, six straws and three plastic-sealed plastic spoons with every purchase?

Some of the farang residents of Trat town have prepared a pretty good Online map and Guide to the town at www.tratmap.com The map is based on an aerial photo and the whole site is pretty informative, so have a butcher’s if you want to find out about the hidden gems of “the best place in Thailand (and therefore – the world)”.

September 30th: Typhoonery

In a classic exercise in tempting fate let’s celebrate the fact that Koh Chang is relatively Typhoon free. This is because Vietnam and Cambodia bulge out very accommodatingly to the East and South-East sheltering our little island from the usual typhoon track. Typhoon Ketsana which is currently dying out over Laos is a good example of how typhoons can’t really be bothered any more and fade away when they make landfall. It has brought us some high seas and a bit more rain – as if we needed it – but compared to the flooded Philippines we’re very lucky. You could of course fly in the face of all logic and actually hunt down Typhoons like our slightly unbalanced friend James Reynolds. If you want to experience fierce weather from the safety of your armchair take a look at his excellent website www.typhoonfury.com.

Search our Listings: Actually don’t search our listings database if you want anything recent since we’re having technical problems with updating the contrary beast. This is so annoying that we are actually thinking of removing it from the site. If any of you like it and want us to keep it then let us know. Anyway our apologies to a couple of businesses who have been patiently waiting for inclusion. We’ll give them a mention here instead so if you fancy some tasty, authentic, home-cooked Italian food then why not try La Dolce Vita in White Sand Beach. Alternatively if you are in Trat town you should search out the newly relocated Joy’s Pizza which is serving great food opposite the main Post Office.

September 22nd: A Crack in the Clouds

This year the monsoon seems to have been almost endless, almost as long as an Old Trafford injury time. However there are the odd beautiful sunny days dotted here and there amidst the gloom so at least we can see the end in sight. Anyway we have taken the opportunity to update all of the maps on the site so all of our cartographic content is now bang up-to-date.

September 16th: Keep on Running

The 10th of October sees the annual Amari Watergate Hotel Midnight Run. The event is, of course, for charity and entrants have a choice of a 6km or a 12km course. As with previous years the Amari Emerald Cove Resort on Koh Chang are sending 20 entrants. If you’re a keen, or not so keen, runner who fancies doing something different and fun for charity and you would like to take part you can contact Mr. Alexandre Frenkel – the GM of Amari Emerald Cove to register. Call on 039-552-000.

Pool Kings: The Completion of Koh Chang’s inaugural Pool League season was celebrated with a big party. Northern Lights, as winners, hosted the event and a good time was had by all. Northern Lights will enter next season as reigning champions but will face a lot of competition from more teams in the new and expanded structure. The next season will start in early October. Ten of twelve team places have already been taken but there are lots of places on offer in existing teams as well as space for a couple more teams to enter. So if you want to take part then get in touch with Lee of Garden Resort on 085-439-6428.

Aug 13th: This week we have been mostly eating…

Pretty much everything actually. Since we had family and friends down for the grand auspicious opening of our new White Sands Publications global headquarters (next to the post office) we took the opportunity to eat out a bunch of times. And we are able therefore to bring you hot-from-the kitchen information on several local restaurants.
We tried, and were impressed by, the new Monkey’s next to Alina resort on White Sand beach. The Beef in Red Wine was rich and filling and we like their pool table.
Rollin’ rollin’ on through the one horse town that is White Sands we dismounted at Buffalo Bill Steakhouse for a feast. And feast we did. Make sure to remember that the portions on the side orders are massive so be careful in case you order way, way, too much and look like gluttons, as we of course did. And try the Desert Rose.
As our gastronomic tour gorged its way through Klong Prao we descended like locusts on Iyara Seafood. This place has a really great lagoon-side, sea view location. More importantly the food is excellent. The seafood was fresh and well-cooked, the White Snapper in Tamarind was fantastic.
Our next destination was India Hut in White sand Beach. Our theory on Indian restaurants is that the breads tell you if they are good or not. If you aren’t offered a large selection of unleavened loveliness by way of Naans, Chapatis etc. freshly cooked in a Tandoor then don’t bother. India Hut, thankfully, had lovely fluffy Keema, Garlic and Buttered Naans, as well as all the Indian classic dishes, all most tasty.
For a final chapter in this lexicon of largeness we lumbered across the road to that old favourite the Hungry Elephant in Pearl Beach. They continue to quietly go about their business of cooking excellent French-based cuisine. The French Onion Soup and Moules Marinieres never disappoint and we were very pleased that they agreed to make us a version of fish and chips that seemd to involve a whole shoal.
So there you have your eating update. The diet starts here. I hope you’re all happy, we only put ourselves through all this for you dear reader.

King of Snake! – July 20th

giant python on koh changThe fantastic beast pictured is a 7m long Reticulated Python that was photographed in the Klong Plu valley on Koh Chang. We know that it’s a jungle out there but you just don’t expect to run into a snake of that size on Koh Chang. We don’t really know the story about the capture and killing of the creature but it seems like a terrible shame. We just hope the snake had some babies that will hunt down the killers in an act of retribution of “Anacondas” style improbability.
The Koh Chang Pool League’s season rattles along. Northern lights are still in the lead with 10 points but Paddy’s Palms, Gecko Bar, Lonely Beach Resort and Happy Turtle are all breathing down their necks on 8 points whilst Garden Resort are propping the table up with 6 points. This week’s home venues on Wednesday night are Garden Resort, Gekko Bar and Lonely Beach Resort if you fancy going along.

Gimme Shelter – July 14th

big waves on koh changSome nasty weather blew in a couple of days ago. There has been a lot of rain, and the sea is as grim as a Ricky Ponting scowl as you can see from the photo we took down at Pearl Beach yesterday. But the weather forecasters tell us that it will only last a couple of days. After that it should be better so don’t delay, pack your bags and dash down to Koh Chang.
If you’re quick you can catch Wednesday night’s pool league fixtures. Top of the table Northern Lights are at home to Gecko Bar, Paddy’s Palms take on Lonely Beach Resort at Paddys and The Happy Turtle Plays host to Garden Resort.
If you find yourself in Bangkok there is an excellent photography exhibition on at the moment – not sure how long for – at the Siam Paragon Shopping Mall, 2nd floor. On display are the winners and runners up of the second annual “Photos of the Kingdom” competition in honour of the auspicious 81st anniversary of His Majesty the King. There are some great images and it’s well worth a visit.

Relaxing by the Pool – July 1st

It can get bit quiet on the island during the “Green Season”. generally what happens is that it rains for a few days and all the visitors leave the island seeking the elusive holy grail of a dry place in the monsoon. After they leave the weather becomes sunny and lovely, like today, and those who stayed here get the place to themselves.
But since it is so quiet island residents often find themselves at a loose end and looking for ways to pass the time. So let’s welcome the new Wednesday Night Pool League. Tonight sees the second match in the six team league organised by Lee from Garden Resort in Kai Bae.
The teams involved are Garden Resort – Kai Bae, Happy Turtle – Bailan Beach, Paddy’s Palms – White Sand Beach, Northern Lights – Hat Kai Mook, Lonely Beach Resort – er.. Lonely Beach and Gecko Bar – Chai Chet.
Tonights home games are at Paddy’s Palms, Lonely Beach Resort and Gecko Bar if you fancy going along. There are plans to expend the league for the next season in October so if you have a bar and want to join in then you can contact Lee on 085-439-6428.
The Sunday before last saw a day spent re-planting mangrove forest in Salak Phet. As we frequently complain little is done on the island in the way of ecological renewal and protection so this is a brilliant development. The day was organised by the government body DASTA and all manner of local people took part. We are working to get advance warning when events like this are going to take place so that we can inform you before it happens in a refreshing, pro-active, forward-looking fashion. Watch this space.

A New Home in the Sun – June 15th

Well, dear readers, if you’re still there, it’s been a while hasn’t it? You probably think that we’ve been idling around drinking beer and watching cricket and failing to update this site. And you’d be half right. But also in the astonishingly long time since we updated the site we moved our home and office. Back breaking work involving endless loading and unloading of the motorbike sidecar that represents the White Sand Publications corporate motor fleet. You can’t miss it, it’s next door to the Post Office at Hat Kai Mook or Pearl Beach. Our old office was originally the Post Office as well but we’re not stamp fetishists or anything.
So you know where we are, feel free to drop in. And if anyone has a good excuse for us to use for not updating the site for a month in a month’s time then please contact us and we’ll be happy to use it.

Ee by Gum! – May 6th

Even through a global recession and Thai political turmoil the resorts keep opening on Koh Chang. The latest new place is next to Paddy’s Palms on White Sand Beach. The owners are the same as of Koh Chang’s previous holder of the Overuse of the Letter E Award; Keereeta Resort. They have really excelled themselves this time and used more E’s than the Happy Mondays in their prime. Their new place is called Keereeele Resort.
While we’re on the topic of new names the owners of The Resort Previously Known As Funky Hut have just changed the name of the place to Amber Sands Beach Resort. They are on a pretty East Coast beach composed of, you guessed it, amber sand and well worth a visit. Check it out at www.ambersandsbeachresort.com.
More property sales. This time it’s a large house on Bang Bao pier that would be suitable for a luxurious private residence or would be ideal to turn into a guesthouse. It is down a small side pier and as you would expect has great views over the bay. There are six bedrooms and three bathrooms, a kitchen and a large deck area that could be used for a restaurant. The price is 8 million Baht. If you are interested then contact us and we’ll put you in touch with the owners.

The Bowler’s Holding, the batsman’s….

April 21st. Yeah, Yeah, we know, it’s been nearly a month without a post. Our excuse? We took ourselves off for a holiday in Scotland and were far too busy eating pork pies to update the site. We’re back now though. Has anyone ever noticed by the way that Koh Chang is really, really, really hot? It’s incisive observations like that that keep you coming back to this site isn’t it.

Passing through the tourist haven of Koh San Road on our return we were a little startled to see what the local police had chosen to display outside their station. Bear in mind that this area is the first place many visitors see when they arrive in Thailand. So what was it? An informative exhibition of Thailand’s rich and diverse cultural heritage? A helpful a handy guide to the sights of bustling Bangkok? What we saw outside the station was the bullet-riddled car that the lucky-to-be-alive leader of the “Yellow Shirt” movement Sondhi Limthongkul was travelling in when he was the victim of an attempted assassination the other day. What an unusual way to welcome visitors to the country.

Anyway Songkran has passed and Koh Chang is getting quieter, dragging its heels towards the Low, Green, Off, Rainy Season (select euphemism to taste). To us that means quieter beaches, less terrifying traffic and some delightful peace and quiet. Is boredom an issue? Well a little bit. And that’s where you come in. Beach cricket, half way down Chai Chet beach near Koh Chang Resort, every Sunday around 4pm. We need numbers for teams. If you haven’t played cricket in years don’t worry, we’re rubbish. If you’ve never played cricket and don’t really know what it is then pop down for a truly surreal experience. If you’re interested and need better directions then, as always, contact us.

On the property front there is newly built 30 room hotel/apartment complex approaching completion near V.J. Plaza in Chai Chet. It is available to buy fully furnished as a ready-to-run business. To find out more or arrange for a viewing then contact us

Go on punk, make my day!: March 24th

It’s eye-meltingly hot on the island – 37 degrees this afternoon. So we can start looking forward to the the icy-dousings of the Songkran Festival in three weeks time. If you’ve been here before you’ll know what to expect, if you haven’t then expect… water. You can read more about it in the Quarter Two issue of our Koh Chang guide which arrived yesterday and is now available on the island.

Where r u?: March 9th – Island maps have recently sprung up at all the beaches and viewpoints on the island. Which is useful and a pretty good idea. It’s nice to see the local authorities trying to do something to help visitors. They might have got someone to proof read the thing though. The White Sand Beach section begins, “This beach gas been a popula atteaction to foreing visitors for several years”. We are happy to offer our services to read over any other signs, maps etc. that the local tourist authority plan to erect. Just contact us and we’ll be amazed and pleased to help.

Klong Son land plots for Sale: March 9th

It’s rare that small plots of land with good Chanote title become available so you might be interested in this half rai plot available close to the river in Klong son. The land is available as a half rai or can be subdivided into two quarter rai plots ideal for building a house. The land has been filled and levelled and is walled off. There is both road and river access and a well has been dug. It is in a quiet location that is still close to Klong Son village on the ocean side of the road. The price is 2.2 Million for the full piece, half that for a quarter rai plot. If you’re interested call 081-919-8219 or contact us.

In it to win it: February 24th

The local government of Trat province recently held a raffle. The first prize was a top of the range Toyota Fortuner. You know how you expect these things to work out with the “lucky” winner being a suspiciously close relative of the organiser. Well not this time. Koh Chang residents Andy and Pom won the car and, not content with one stroke of freakish good fortune, they won a 28 inch TV for the third prize as well. We bought tickets as well, but we’re not jealous. Not at all. And least it might compensate Andy for his fantasy football misfortunes.

Office/House For Rent: February 17th

Yet again a couple of weeks flick past with no site updates. So much for new year resolutions. Perhaps an excuse would work? We’ve been pretty distracted with buying a new office/house next to the post office. So that’s where you’ll be able to find us in a couple of months in the unlikely event that our builders do what we ask when we ask – you can dream can’t you? That means that our existing place in White Sand Beach is available for rent. It’s on the right not far past Paddy’s Palms up the hill. There’s an office in front with two bedrooms, lounge, two toilets, kitchen and dining room behind. The rent is pretty reasonable for the location and we aren’t asking too much for taking over the lease (we would say that wouldn’t we?). If you’re interested call 081-919-8219 or contact us.

 

All done? The why not step into your time machines and move forward!

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2012 Posts

by Dave in Features and Archives, Koh Chang News Comments Off on 2012 Posts

December 27th- Read Our New Guides

koh chang guide issue 45 coverkoh chang treasure mapkoh chang treasure mapYou can now access our new issues of The Koh Chang Guide and the Koh Chang Treasure Map online. You can read both guides directly from this page – just scroll down or alternatively you can click here to get a PDF version of the Koh Chang Guide or here for the Koh Chang Treasure Map or here for the detailed beach maps.
The print copies will be arriving on Koh Chang tomorrow (as long as the delivery truck succesfully negotiates steep hills and insane traffic).

December 20th

sun over koh changSorry – we forgot to give you a weather update yesterday. Koh Chang is sunny and very hot. Unseasonably hot. This is usually the coolest time of year – sometimes laughably referred to as “winter”. Not this year though, temperatures are hitting the mid thirties and it is dry. That isn’t a star over a manger in the photo – it’s the sun here this morning.
We’re not sure why it is so hot. Could be just a common seasonal variation, could be the effects of Global Warming, could be the sun starting to expand, as predicted by the Mayans, as it swells into a huge evil fiery ball and consumes the planet. Not very likely though is it?

December 19th

post_office_illuminationsBarring any late and unlikely interventions by the Mayans and their ridiculous end of the world predictions it will be christmas next week. This is Koh Chang’s busiest week of the year so make sure you have a room already booked if you plan to come down here. It is always hard to get that snowy-Santa’s-sleigh kind of festive atmosphere on Koh Chang when it is boiling hot and there are palm trees everywhere but the Post Office have made a good effort with their lights pictured here.

National Park Staff are contributing to the season of goodwill by launching one of their periodic attempts to charge everyone for entering the waters of the Koh Chang Marine National Park. This began a couple of days ago and at the moment if you board a boat trip on Bang Bao Pier they will try and charge you 200 Baht (40 if you are Thai) for the privilige of “entering” the park. Since Koh Chang is in the park and you are on Koh Chang it is a little hard to understand how you can enter something you are already in. Stephen Hawking could probably figure it out but I can’t. Marine Park boats have also boarded a few tour boats and demanded payment from surprised passengers. Some people have paid, some people have refused and escaped punishment. If there was compelling evidence that the money was being to good use to protect Koh Chang’s marine environment then 200 Baht would be a very reasonable charge. As they often say in Thailand; “up to you.”

K.O. Koh Chang

muay thai on koh changIn a change to what was previously announced there will now be just one WBC Muay Thai Title Fight on Koh Chang on the 5th of January. If you want to see some real proper Muay Thai rather than the lame shows that are often rolled out for tourists then this event is well worth checking out. There is a long fight cards that leads up to a world title championship bout. It promises to offer plenty of people battering the bejesus out of one another and should be a lot of fun. The event is taking place at Klong Prao just South of Klong Prao Resort. You can find out more here or buy tickets from Filou Cocktail Lounge in Kai Bae (call 090-739-8133).

December 5th

It is with pleasure – and relief – that we announce that our new issues of the Koh Chang Guide and Koh Chang Treasure map are now out of our hands and with our printers. So now you can expect some more updates and new versions of our maps will go online in the next few days. No rest for the wicked.
And we’ve already set about adding a large backlog of land, houses, resorts and businesses for sale to our property listings. There’s loads of stuff of all descriptions up there with prices ranging from 450,000B to 44 Million.

November 23rd – Shipwreck! (thank god)

koh chang wreck diveFinally Koh Chang has a wreck on which to dive. Yesterday saw the succesful controlled sinking of the HTMS Chang just in time for the tourist high season on Koh Chang. The boat now lies offshore in 32 metres of water waiting for you to go out and explore it. This new dive is sure to attract lots of interest and will be suitable for divers with an advanced certification since the deck of the ship lies at a depth of about 22 metres. And as time passes it will become a better and better dive as the ship is gradually colonised by undersea beasts of all descriptions. Thanks to BB Divers for the photo.

And that’s not all. We’ve made some improvements to our property listings and we now feature individual pages for all of the businesses, land and houses that we have for sale. There’s lots more photos and detailed information.
Go on, take a look.
It seems like the island’s most intrusive building projects are now approaching conclusion although whether the work will proceed with quite as much vigour after the local Koh Chang Elections on November the 18th is a matter for debate. Here on Koh Chang the U.S. Presidential campaign is as nothing when compared to the competing motorised loudspeaker roadshows of the two main candidates which crawl tirelessly up and down the island’s roads trying to annoy people so much that they vote for the other side (we assume that’s what they are trying to do anyway). In fact you can draw a lot of parallels between the Koh Chang and U.S. election campaigns; they both cost a lot, involve all kinds of false promises and ultimately come down to the selection of the least worst.

Properties and Businesses for Sale

Our Property page listings are expanding fast and there are plenty of interesting listings for you to browse through. We have a house and also a business property in Koh Mak that are worth a look, Kai Bae’s new Condo development is very competitively priced and there are ready-to-run businesses such as bungalow resorts and restaurants and bars that are ideal if you are in a hurry to get things happening right away. And keep an eye out as we add more stuff as soon as we hear about it.

Now forgive us if there aren’t any updates for a while – we have some magazines to make!

November 9th

Koh Chang’s resorts are filling up and it seems like the season is well and truly underway already. The weather, apart from the occasional naughty little shower, seems to be behaving itself too – which is nice.
bang bao bay viewThis weird plant to the right will probably be as close as you’ll get to seeing a Christmas tree on Koh Chang this year, but that’s not why you come here anyway is it? Please take note of the sunny skies and flat blue ocean in the background. Need we say more?

chok dee resort koh changTentatively good news for those of you eager to hear about progress on the sinking of Koh Chang’s new wreck dive, the HTMS Chang, which still sits at the navy pier in Ao Sapporot waiting patiently for its demise. Apparently the new new official sinking date is, …drum roll, …quiet at the back please, …November 22nd!

Maybe.

It seems like the island’s most intrusive building projects are now approaching conclusion although whether the work will proceed with quite as much vigour after the local Koh Chang Elections on November the 18th is a matter for debate. Here on Koh Chang the U.S. Presidential campaign is as nothing when compared to the competing motorised loudspeaker roadshows of the two main candidates which crawl tirelessly up and down the island’s roads trying to annoy people so much that they vote for the other side (we assume that’s what they are trying to do anyway). In fact you can draw a lot of parallels between the Koh Chang and U.S. election campaigns; they both cost a lot, involve all kinds of false promises and ultimately come down to the selection of the least worst.

November 3rd

It’s official. Rainy season is over. Recent windy nights (meteorological not physiological) mean that the season has changed. Pack your bags and get to Koh Chang!

October 17th

koh chang kai bae bypassOur detailed Koh Chang Map Section has just been updated with everything new that we can think of so if you need to find anything on Koh Chang then this is the place to go.

Not wishing to fill up this site with construction photos but this one is quite interesting since it shows work underway to finally build the long promised Kai Bae Bypass. This road will run round the back of Kai Bae village and hopefully relieve some of the congestion on one of Koh Chang’s most closed in and dangerous sections of road. It seems unlikely that the idea of making the existing road into a pedestrian-only walking street between certain hours will ever work (you try telling the taxis and resorts that they can’t pick up and drop off customers). But that doesn’t really matter since if will still make Kai Bae safer by diverting through traffic. White Sand Beach next please!

Oh and we’ll put some pretty beach pictures in next update OK?

October 9th

white-sand-beach-oct-2012There was much relief on Koh Chang as Tropical Depression Gaemi melted away into Light Drizzle Gaemi yesterday and the much heralded downpour did not in fact take place. And now surely we can’t be far away from the change of wind direction that signals the end of the monsoon-that-never-was. This is the time of year when things gradually begin to get busier and everyone gets ready for the influx of visitors. Business owners are frantically trying to get their builders to finish building stuff – not least K.C. Resort in White Sand Beach whose crane you can see in the photo to the right. Let’s hope that this project is completed soon since it doesn’t quite set the right tone when you the first thing you see on arrival at your paradise beach is a building site.

road repairs on ko changOf slightly more concern is the work taking place on the mountain between Klong Son and White Sand Beach to shore up and support the road. Starting the project during the monsoon was an interesting choice to say the least and since work has stopped altogether at the moment the engineers involved must be more confident than the rest of us that there won’t be any more heavy rain. Anyway the sign next to project tells us that they have been allocated 8,059,000 Baht of our tax money for the work. fatalii chilliThis is equivalent to $263,000 U.S. Dollars. Given such a huge allocation of funds we look forward to seeing a fantastic professional job that doesn’t cut any corners and is built to last for decades.
This evil thing pictured right is a Fatalii Chilli which we can claim with some confidence to be the hottest chilli ever grown on Koh Chang. Prepared by the evil gardening geniuses at Elephant and Castle this yellow devil is native to Africa and is up to seven times hotter than the hottest native Thai Chilli. We haven’t figured out what to do with it yet.

Lonely Beach Resort & Restaurant- 18M Baht

This is a popular resort and restaurant situated in the busiest part of Lonely Beach village. It is a well know business that has been established for ten years and has a well-established internet presence. The resort has seventeen aircon bungalows situated on 1.5 Rai of land. The business is registered under a Thai company with work permits for foreign staff and is ready to run so it would suit a buyer who wants to go straight into operating a resort without the hassle of starting from scratch.

More information and pictures here…

September 24th- New Guides Available

cover of issue 44 of the koh chang guidecover of issue 13 of koh chang restaurants and barsThe new issues of The Koh Chang Guide and Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars & Spas have just arrived and so we’re giving paper copies out all over Koh Chang and you can get your electronic copies right here.

You can read both guides directly from this page – just scroll down. Alternatively you can click here to get a PDF version of the Koh Chang Guide or here for Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars & Spas

HTMS Chang Update

In unfortunate news for potential wreck divers it seems that the HTMS Chang will not now be sunk this Thursday as was originally re-planned. It will probably be of little consolation to you to learn that you can still attend the ceremony to celebrate the sinking of the boat. This is being held at the navy pier at 9am this Wednesday. The gravitas and atmosphere of this event will be somewhat diminished by the fact that the boat will actually now be sunk in October. Or November. Or December. Maybe. We’ll keep you posted. It is being suggested that the sinking of the Titanic showed better planning.

September

Bad news for all you rain lovers out there. Apart from a couple of grey and rainy days last week it is just the occasional heavy storm and mainly sunny and fiercely hot in between. Monsoon? Not here. Not yet anyway.
UPDATE 23rd September: Whilst the above was true when it was written (clearly tempting fate) on the 14th we should just point out that since then it has poured, drilled and lashed down on Koh Chang and further rain is forecast up until at least the 24th.

sunset at chai chet koh changSun + Scattered Clouds = Nice Sunsets. (See right)

A meeting takes place today (September 14th) to decide on the arrangements for sinking the HTMS Chang to make a new dive site for Koh Chang (see earlier posts). The meeting is being held at the main office of the government organisation DASTA which just happens to be in a little village in the middle of nowhere on the mainland. Anyway the plan at the moment is to have a ceremony on the 26th of this month and then the Chang will sink below the surface for ever and ever on Thursday the 27th. It will be interesting to see where this will be.
koh chang branch cuttingIt was most pleasing to see this happening yesterday and well worth the 10 minute wait. The hill out of White Sand Beach has become dangerously overgrown and what you see here is a collaboration between local government workers, Koh Chang Police and members of the Royal Thai Navy to help clear things up. Everyone was working together, things were getting done and traffic was being well directed. It was, bringing into play a word that I use more sparingly than is the North American norm, awesome!
It also looks like work is about to begin to sort out the make-do-and-mend multi-lane madness that is the road at the top of this hill.

welu wetlands chantaburiWe went and had a look around the Welu Wetlands a couple if weeks ago. This is a little park on the mainland about 25km from the Koh Chang ferries. Basically it is an area of mangrove forest that lies just over the big bridge that you cross on highway three as you start to head towards Bangkok. Whilst there is less going on here than the Serengiti it’s still quite a nice place. There are signs in Thai and English letting you know the interesting local wildlife species that you should be looking out for. We were particularly disappointed not to spot Felis Viverrina Bennet which is a wild cat that survives by catching fish. From the picture it they provided it looked like a cross-eyed and slightly confused house cat – probably wondering what it’s doing in the midst of a mangrove swamp.
There is a walking trail that takes you through the some of the wetland and it is serene, peaceful and natural.

Kai Bae Italian Restaurant For Sale

This newest addition to our property pages is an excellent opportunity for someone who wants to walk into a successful ready-to-run business. This restaurant is in a great location in Kai Bae village and has been running successfully for over five years. It is now for sale lock, stock and barrel with all equipment, fixtures and fittings so all you need to do is walk in and turn the oven on.
It represents a good deal at 1.5 Million Baht so feel free to have a look in more detail and let us know if you are interested.

August

OK, we know it’s been a while since the last update. Thanks to those of you have sent us reminders. We’ve been completing the new issues of our Koh Chang Guide and Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars and Spas. This takes time, lots of it, but now thankfully they have gone off to our printer so we can update this site.

So what’s been happening on Koh Chang during our silence? Perhaps the most significant thing to note is that there has hardly been any rain at all. This should be the wettest time of the year as Koh Chang drips under the tropical monsoon – but not this year. Apart from the odd brief shower it’s been sunshine all the way – great if you’re here on holiday but it might cause water supply problems over the coming months. Anyway enjoy it whilst it lasts – we are.

The wreck (see below) hasn’t been sunk yet. There is apparently some disagreement over where it should go. The original spot got vetoed (possibly, if you believe the rumours, because it would have made it more difficult to illegally drag fish some good sites off Koh Chang) and a new one is being sought. You wouldn’t think that would be too hard since there is an awful lot of sea out there but remember where you are. We’ll keep you posted.

Our new Treasure Map is out now – with a great new Bang Bao cover drawn as ever by La Cabra. Pick up copies all over the island or simply click here for the front and here for the back.

July

Koh Chang now has a wreck! Or at least it will do when this boat is sunk in 30 metres of water on the 16th of August. Over the last few months the HTMS Chang, formerly the US Tank Landing Ship LST-542 was decommissioned by the Thai navy and it will be sunk off the South of Koh Chang to provide a new diving and snorkelling site.
For the ship it is the end of a long life of service that started with its construction in Pittsburg, and included World War 2 service in the Asia Pacific Theatre, notably involvement in the occupation of Okinawa 1945. Then it was put into use as a sea transport by the US Navy and saw extensive service during the Korean War including involvement in the Inchon Landing of 1950. The ship must have performed well since in 1955 it was finally given a name rather than a number and continued to serve as the USS Lincoln County until it was decommissioned and transferred to the Royal Thai Navy in 1962.
Since The Chang is 100 metres long you will find plenty of ship to explore under the waters. You’ll be able to book a trip to the wreck through any of the dive shops on the island.

An apology to any of you who have tried to e-mail us over the last month or so – we’ve had some problems with our mail server so your message might not have got through to us. But we’re happy to say that this has now been sorted out so if you’d like to get in touch we’ll be very happy to hear from you.

And that’s not all. We’ve made some improvements to our property listings and we now feature individual pages for all of the businesses, land and houses that we have for sale. There’s lots more photos and detailed information.
Go on, take a look.

tesco koh changThe first of several Tesco Express stores opened its doors last weekend. Given the crowds that turned out you would have thought it was being opened by Nelson Mandela, Lady Gaga and Tom Cruise. But it wasn’t. There isn’t actually a great deal on sale there that you can’t buy in one of the island’s legion of 7-Elevens or the local supermarkets but it is open 24 hours, the prices are extremely competitive and competition can only help Koh Chang consumers. But if your picture of a perfect tropical island doesn’t include supermarkets from back home then I guess you won’t celebrate this further evidence of the dreaded “D” that is development on Koh Chang.

weird-clouds-salak-khokAn altogether more worthy organisation is the Cambodian Kid’s School in Klong Prao. This place provides daytime care and education for the children of Cambodian workers on Koh Chang. They are in a bit of difficulty at the moment since one of their main sources of funds has dried up. We spoke to Mr. Uan who runs the place the other day and he appealed for anybody who wanted to donate to provide simple meals for the kids such as packs of dried noodles and fresh eggs. They also need fuel for the car that picks up and drops off the children.
So if you want to help out then you can contact Mr. Uan on 087-833-9419 or leave donations at the school about 500 metres up the small road opposite Ramayana Resort (beware the poor state of the road though). Or just drop any donations into us at our office in the bookshop next to the main Koh Chang Post Office and we’ll send them on.

The sun has just come out after a day and a half of pretty solid rain. Perhaps the most frequent query that we receive at this time of year is to ask what kind of weather to expect on Koh Chang. Sadly the answer is that it’s a lottery. You’ll be lucky not to get any rain, you’ll be unlucky not to see any sun. But you just can’t predict exactly how much of each you’ll get. Remember though that it is nice and quiet on Koh Chang right now and room prices are cheap. Here at the Koh Chang Guide it is our favourite time of year, but what do we know?

New Guide and Map Available

cover of koh chang guide issue 43Our new guides and maps have arrived and so we’re giving paper copies out all over Koh Chang and you can get your electronic copies right here.
You can read the guide directly by scrolling down the page or click here to get a PDF version.
Our Treasure Map has also been updated with all the latest stuff. The island’s new Tesco stores are on, and they haven’t even opened yet! You can get the Front and Back here. In fact just click anywhere, you’re bound to get something.

Property

Klong Son European-Style House For Sale
This property is located on one Rai (1,600 sqm.) of Chanote land on the quiet road that leads down to the Siam Royal View village. It’s just a ten minute stroll from the beach.
The bungalow itself has two bedrooms, both ensuite, as well as a seperate bathroom, lounge, kitchen and a large balcony all set in a nice garden in a green and leafy valley.
The asking price is 7 million baht so if you are interested then Contact us to find out more.

Kai Bae Bar For Sale

Nice tidy bar for sale in Kai Bae village on Koh Chang. It’s close to Hotels and Resorts and has a regular clientele, pool table, furniture, fridge, chairs etc.., and a separate house with two rooms at the back (3 metres x 5 metres). The bar is 4m x 10m on the inside with an outside area of 5m x 6m. Good view of the jungle over the road. Asking price 500,000 baht or nearest offer. The price includes everything, fridge, pool table, furniture etc.. and is ready to go. Rent is 4,000 baht per month. Contact us to find out more.

June – New Beaches Guide

kai_bae_is_pearl_beachThe first thing is to draw your attention to a new section of our website which offers a guide to all of Koh Chang’s Beaches. One of the most regular questions that we are asked is what are the different beaches on Koh Chang like. So we thought we’d tell you. Each beach is covered in detail on a separate page and hopefully we give you enough information to help you to decide which one you’d like to stay at.
To accompany all this new information we thought you’d like to see this postcard we bought the other day. It is a nice aerial photo – it just isn’t where it says. Despite being labelled “Kai Bae Beach” the view turns out to be one of Pearl Beach.

Apart from that Koh Chang is quiet at the moment. June and September are typically the months with fewest visitors and that pattern doesn’t seem to be changing this year. The weather’s great at the moment too but that can change in a minute at this time of year. However we’re enjoying the tranquil sunny beaches while we can.
The sea has been pretty rough again too and a couple of people have drowned recently. So, one more time, IF THE SEA LOOKS ROUGH THEN DON’T GO OUT IN IT!!!
Koh Chang Rescue now have a jet-ski and if you see someone in trouble then you can call their emergency number 039-551-688 for assistance – Thai language signs only though. This is a step in the right direction but until there are trained lifeguards on all the beaches it is perhaps better to assume that if you get into trouble out there you’re on your own.

laem_ngop_naval_memorialThe other day we paid a visit to the Laem Ngop memorial of the Trat Naval Battle. An interesting building with lots of old pictures, maps and information about the naval battle between Thailand and Vichy France in 1941. Unfortunately it is all in Thai. In fact that’s not quite true, we found one display case with what were the only English words to be found in the whole building. “Don’t Touch”.

But let’s finish on a positive note with a pat on the back for two excellent local government offices that are providing extremely efficient and friendly service. Firstly our recent trip to Laem Ngop Immigration Office was handled quickly and courteously. That was followed by a driving license renewal in Trat that took a mere 15 minutes including an eyesight and reaction test, form filling, photo-taking and license card printing. This used to talk at least half a day. Congratulations to the staff of both offices!

May

Phliu-Waterfall-ChantaburiWe took a look around next-door Chantaburi province this week and found a few interesting spots. The waterfall pictured left is called Phliu. It’s a short drive off highway 3 fourteen kilometres from Chantaburi on the Koh Chang side. The waterfall isn’t the world’s biggest but the river is packed full of fish that you can feed with long green beans of all things. It’s all well organised and laid out (take note Koh Chang National Park people) and worth a visit.

Laem-Sing-BridgeChantaburi province has a few beaches of its own, the best known of which are Laem Sing and Chao Lao. The water isn’t the clearest, probably due to the large numbers of prawn farms that are dotted all over the place. But they are nevertheless quite pretty spots and there are some interesting little restaurants, hotels and guest houses. The impressive bridge here is just around the corner from Laem Sing and is the start of quite an interesting coastal “scenic route”.
If you’re staying in Chantaburi town we can recommend the Gems Club as a cheap and central base.

In what is quite an exclusive for Koh Chang we are pleased to learn that Akil the MC will be performing at One Nightclub in White Sand Beach on Saturday the 19th of May. If the name doesn’t ring a bell then you might recognise his former band Jurassic 5 – one of the very best hip-hop acts of the last decade – in our humble opinion. He’s appearing with DJ Tech 12 and MC Hydrophonics as part of their “Revenge of the Boombox” tour. You can buy tickets in advance for 150 Baht or it’s 200 Baht at the door (with a free tequila for ladies). Excellent.
boats at chai chet koh changHere’s Chai Chet this morning. It’s sunny and fiercely hot again (40 degrees!) after a couple of overcast days and a shower or two had lowered temperatures down to slightly below the boiling point of lead. Use factor 100 if you’re out in the sun or risk getting burnt to a cinder.

Koh_Chang_Angkor_WatWe’ve been waiting for the tours to begin to this ancient lost temple complex that has been discovered up the Klong Son valley. Before you get your hat and whip out and start planning a raid on Koh Chang’s lost ark it is probably worth mentioning that this is the just the gatehouse to a large and pleasingly eccentric private residence. It might not be to everyone’s taste but it’s pretty good fun and it is a damn sight more original than the hideous faux-Doric column and extra shiny tile combinations that adorn many of Thailand’s more luxurious residences.

koh chang car crashOne thing to take note of is that if you’re the road on Koh Chang can get very greasy just when it begins to rain after a long hot spell. If you find yourself on the road when this happens then just go slow and don’t hit the brakes too hard. The unfortunate/ fortunate vehicle pictured had a real near miss. They were unlucky to slip off the road but given that this is just a few metres past the viewpoint on the hill over White Sand Beach they were incredibly lucky not to roll a couple of metres further and go over the cliff.

Koh-Chang-Driving-RangeWe visited the golf driving range up the Klong Son valley again the other day. It’s still a pretty entertaining way to pass an hour. You can’t fault the location, the equipment or especially the price (200 baht for a couple of hundred balls). You can use it in preparation for a foray onto the new pitch and putt course down at Siam Royal View if you like.
Or if you aren’t an expert golfer then it is still quite a nice stress relief to hit some small white spheres as hard as you can with a big metal stick and watch the often very peculiar results.

April

Songkran-on-Koh-ChangThis picture was taken during the parade that marks the end of Koh Chang’s second songkran which this year took place between the 22nd and 28th of April. Some effort was made this year and a host of fairly big Thai bands played each night at a stage erected in Klong Prao. One idea for the future would be to give people a little more advance notice of what is happening, and when. This is especially the case for the closing parade which very few people on the island knew about, Thai or foreign. If it were advertised with some detailed signs in Thai and English it could prove to be a popular and successful tourist attraction.

Pure as the driven snow… you’ll notice that we have some new white lines on the road through White Sand Beach. The road surface has been relaid as well. This is a good thing.

So now we have a real road with real road markings.

Wouldn’t it be marvellous if we could now have some real pedestrians who realise that meandering down the middle of the road is not a smart idea? And whilst we’re dreaming how about some real drivers who drive normally and sensibly from A to B?

March

arrival at koh changRegular visitors will have noticed that we haven’t posted on here for a while since we’ve been off Koh Chang on various entertaining little trips and missions. This is what we have learned: Phnom Penh is buzzing, Kanchanaburi is sleepy, Bang Sen is OK, Pattaya isn’t and if you can’t have fun in Bangkok then you might as well give up.

But now we’re back on the rock and we have today loaded all of our new guides onto the site. So just scroll down to read them online or if that’s too demanding then here is the April issue of The Koh Chang Guide, the Koh Chang Restaurants and Bars Guide and the Front and Back of our latest Koh Chang Treasure Map. Hope that you find them useful, enlightening and moderately entertaining.
We have also just taken delivery of the printed guides so paper copies will be distributed all over the place over the next few days.

Klong Son European-Style House For Sale

This property is located on one Rai (1,600 sqm.) of Chanote land on the quiet road that leads down to the Siam Royal View village. It’s just a ten minute stroll from the beach.
The bungalow itself has two bedrooms, both ensuite, as well as a seperate bathroom, lounge, kitchen and a large balcony all set in a nice garden in a green and leafy valley.
The asking price is 7 million baht so if you are interested then Contact us to find out more.

February – Prize Winners!

The drum rolls, the crowd falls silent.. And we announce the winners of our Readers prize draw.

1st Prize – Toshiba Netbook: Yves Michallet
2nd Prize – Samsung Galaxy Y Mini: Hans Larsson
3rd Prize – Nikon Coolpix Camera: Zhang Difan

Congratulations to the winners, commiserations to those who didn’t win and thanks to everyone who took part. Keep an eye on this page and the website for the next competition.

Weather Update

The weather on Koh Chang has been pretty weird recently. Don’t worry, there is plenty of sun still but this is accompanied by the odd greyer day and the occassional quite heavy raincloud. This is not typical of this time of year when it is usually dry and this has of course prompted lots of alarmist talk of global warming and climate change. Here’s a theory: weather is changeable, not every year is the same, sometimes it’s just like this. Anyway there are still plenty of hot beach days for you to toast yourselves under waving palm fronds beside the limpid sea.

Road Rash

hole in the road at koh changAnyone staying in or passing through White Sand Beach will have noticed the huge open ditch running all the way along one side of the road. This is part of work being done to put new drains in. The work needed to be done no question but the logic of digging a massive hole at the busiest time of year and then doing nothing and just leaving it there for two months is, to say the least, questionable.
The main drawback to this plan is displayed by the sorely chafed leg of our friend Matty who was unfortunate enough to fall into this hole. Anywhere else in the world he’d be able to sue the council – good luck with that here.
And we shouldn’t complain too much since there is finally some progress. At the south end of White Sands they have started to build a metal frame for the hole which at the moment involves a load of vertical metal spikes so you can now fall in the hole at the same time as impaling yourself. Bravo!

7-Day Festival

The party animals amongst you will be pleased to know that One Nightclub in White Sand Beach is in the midst of a seven day party extravaganza from Feb 1st to 7th with a different themed night each night. Featuring Coyotes (not the ones that howl at the moon), swimming costumes and several tonnes of sand it sounds like the place to be. More information here at their Facebook Page.

Kai Bae Bungalow Resort For Sale

bungalows in kai bae koh changQuite a nice little resort in Kai Bae has come onto the market. It’s in a grand setting beside the river and the bungalows sit in attractive gardens. There is a large riverside restaurant and bar (pictured).

A long lease is available and it could be taken on to run as is or there is plenty of scope for further development.

Contact us to find out more.

January 21st

Skoh goi beach koh changorry – we forgot to give you a weather update yesterday. Koh Chang is sunny and very hot. Unseasonably hot. This is usually the coolest time of year – sometimes laughably referred to as “winter”. Not this year though, temperatures are hitting the mid thirties and it is dry. That isn’t a star over a manger in the photo – it’s the sun here this morning.
We’re not sure why it is so hot. Could be just a common seasonal variation, could be the effects of Global Warming, could be the sun starting to expand, as predicted by the Mayans, as it swells into a huge evil fiery ball and consumes the planet. Not very likely though is it?

 

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2011 Posts

by Dave in Features and Archives, Koh Chang News Comments Off on 2011 Posts

December 30th – Customers Free Prize Draw

This is a quick message to let all of our advertising customers know that we will be holding the draw for the winner of the Customer’s side of our free prize draw on Monday January 2nd in our office at 5pm. So please feel free to join us and (if you are a customer) see if you have won a computer, phone or camera. If you can’t make it then don’t worry, we will be letting winners know directly and publishing the winners here and on our Facebook page. Please note that the competition for our readers is still open until February 20th, see below for details.

December 24th – WIN STUFF!

Christmas eve seems like a good day to announce our prize draw to celebrate 10 years of the Koh Chang Guide.
In fact we are doing two – one for readers and one for our advertisers.
You will probably be interested in the readers one where our prizes are a Toshiba netbook, A Samsung Galaxy Mini phone and a Kodak Camera. And all you have to do to enter is to send us an e-mail.
All the information that you need is here so go on, and good luck!

We will be drawing the winner in our advertisers prize draw in the next few days and we’ll post the winners here and on our Facebook page.
Oh and by the way, here’s wishing that you all have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!
December 22nd – Christmas Presence

koh chang guide issue 41 coverAs our way of wishing you a merry christmas we thought we’d make the latest issues of our Koh Chang Guide and Treasure Map available on the site for you to read at your leisure as you digest festive feasts. Scroll down the page or just open the Koh Chang Guide here, the Treasure Map front side here, and the other side here.
You will notice that there is a competition to win a load of free stuff which is also open to our online readers – more details on that in the next few days.
By the way we also updated all the detailed maps of Koh Chang and around on the website so if you look through our Koh Chang map section then you’ll get the most up to date local maps.

December 3rd – Flood Fight!

koh chang flood fightWe’re back. There was a bit of a gap there whilst we finished the latest issues of our Koh Chang Guide and the Treasure Map. Happily they are with our printers now and we finally have a chance to update the site. The weather is great, actually a little hot for the time of year, the island is getting busy and the high season is upon us. This really is the time to get down to the island.

We know it is short notice but the first event to draw your attention to is the “Flood Fight”. This is a Muay Thai boxing show and competition in aid of relief for victims of the recent floods. The show features some famous Thai boxers and is being held in the space next to Kacha Resort on White Sand Beach. It kicks off, as it were, at 4pm this afternoon and should hold some good entertainment value.
klong prao seafood on koh changWe spent an enjoyable afternoon at Klong Prao seafood the other day. It is located in a cracking location on Klong Prao beach where a lagoon meets the sea. It doesn’t seem to be particularly well visited by tourists but the food was spot on, service was good and it is a fine place to sip a cool beer as you watch the sun setting.

We have just added some interesting new listings to our Koh Chang property section. These include a couple of small businesses in Bailan Beach as well as a plot of land on Koh Mak ideal for a house or a business development.
view from koh chang naval shrineThere is plenty more coming to the site in the next weeks – we will be continuing to share our massive archive of Koh Chang Photos with you and as part of our forthcoming ten year celebrations we’ll be giving away a camera, an android smartphone and a notebook computer. Stay in touch.

The view to the right is rather splendid and can be enjoyed by ascending the 121 steps to the new Thai Navy shrine opposite the Bangkok Trat Clinic at the top of the hill out of White Sand Beach. That is of course a lot of steps but it is a nice spot. and worth the climb.

Here are a couple of pictures that we took on Koh Mak when we visited recently. It’s a nice place if you want to chill out but there isn’t much in the way of parties except for Monkey Island’s didgeridoo jam nights. And make sure that you pack some insect repellent because sandfly bites aren’t amusing at all.

NewspaperDirect

On the subject of good business opportunities that are available on Koh Chang we should mention that the Exclusive Koh Chang distribution license for NewspaperDirect International is currently available. This is a business that makes over 1500 newspapers from 90 countries available to print on demand. They represent international titles such as The Times, Le Monde, The Australian, Deutsche Zeitung and The New York Times as well as a huge number of other titles. The business is already being successfully operated by nine successful and long serving partners elsewhere in Thailand. There are limited technical requirements to implement the business on the island and local marketing and sales support, training and 24 hour technical support are provided. The initial start-up expenses are very low and it is definitely a good business opportunity. You can find more about this opportunity at this website.
November 8th – Still safe to come to Koh Chang.

We may be in danger of repeating ourselves here but just to re-state there is no flooding in Koh Chang. Koh Chang is not flooded. No flooding here – no siree. Koh Chang is a big mountain in the sea – even if there was a flood like the one Noah built his ark for we would still be OK. The airport is still open in Bangkok. It is on the same side of Bangkok as Koh Chang. You can come to Koh Chang and completely avoid Bangkok. We have food and drink and the island is half full of tourists and absolutely open for business. You can still get here. We’re not flooded. Flooded is not where we’re at. There are deserts that are more flooded than us. We are as un-flooded as it is possible to be. KOH CHANG IS NOT FLOODED!!!!

There, sorry, just wanted to make ourselves absolutely clear.

Now the main upcoming event of note is the Loy Kratong festival celebrated on full moon night which is this thursday the tenth. This is a nice low-key Thai festival which involves the floating of little banana stem boats on any available bodies of water (but not floods of course because, as mentioned above, Koh Chang doesn’t have any of those). If you’re on Koh Chang then head to th ebeach in the evening where the candles on all these little rafts makes for a picturesque sight. Alternatively you could visit the fair at Klong Prao temple which is an interesting and authentic Thai cultural experience involving beauty pageants of various ages and genders, rides, stalls and meat on sticks.

koh chang golf courseThis new Pitch and Putt golf course is nearing completion at Siam Royal View. It’s in an attractive setting and adds another activity to the expanding list of things to do on the island.
They aren’t sure of prices and opening hours yet. We’ll let you know all the details as soon as they tell us.
2 Pearl Beach Resorts For Sale

Never let is be said that we aren’t generous. We have not one but two different Pearl Beach resorts available for sale.
The first is an attractive place with six double rooms and a larger family room. There is space for a bar and restaurant and a long lease is available. The asking price is 2 million Baht.
The second place is on a large (2 Rai) plot of hillside land with good sea views. There are five bungalows and bar and restaurant and there is plenty of room for further development. The asking price for thsi place is 3 million baht.
If you are interested in either of these places then get in touch with us and we can give you more information and arrange a viewing.

 

October 28th – Latest Flooding Information

If you’re coming to Koh Chang or elsewhere in Thailand in the near future then you probably have some concerns about the heavy flooding that you have seen reported on the news.

1 – The first thing to stress is that Koh Chang has not been affected by the flooding. Here in Eastern Thailand we are experiencing normal weather for this time of year; a lot of sun, a little bit of rain, but no floods!

2 – Flights into and out of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok are currently operating as normal. This is Bangkok’s main Airport; it is the airport that your plane is flying to if you have a flight into Bangkok booked.

3 – So you can still fly into Bangkok airport and travel down to Koh Chang.

BUT large areas of Bangkok are now flooded and it might be an idea to make arrangements to head straight out of the city when you arrive instead of staying the night at a hotel to break up your journey. There is a travel centre at the airport or you could just arrange for a taxi to take you down here. 4,000 Baht is a very good day’s work for them so get haggling!
The information being provided by international news agencies and governments is generally pretty ordinary. We suggest looking to local Thai news for the latest information. The Bangkok Post and Daily Nation have good and up-to-date information.

And in Local News..

koh chang bang bao beachWe took a drive down to Bang Bao on a lovely sunny day yesterday. The sea was clear and calm and the island definitely felt like it was getting busier; it’s really starting to feel like the high season again. The weather has been clear and calm in the day and quite windy for an hour or two in the small hours.
I also noticed that while we were away last weekend someone had done a reasonable job of filling the worst of the craters, bunkers, crevices and cracks that have developed on the road over the last few months. Could it really have been the local council? Bravo to whoever it was anyway. Driving straight is a possibility again – at least on the straight bits. Now all we need to do is to terraform the Martian surface of the road through White Sand Beach and make it passable for human beings again.

New Maps Arrive

This morning we took delivery of 15,000 copies of our new Treasure Map. These came by van from Bangkok so there’s further evidence, if you need it, that communication links are open. We’ll be distributing them soon.
Thailand International Cricket Sixes 2011

koh chang cricket clubThe Koh Chang Cricket Club hit the international scene in a big way at Harrow International School in Bangkok last weekend as entrants in the 16 team Thailand International Cricket Sixes tournament.
It took the team a little while to adapt to playing on a field rather than a beach and also to facing opponents who were; fit, mainly sober and who bowled really, really, fast.
But the team had a good go at playing for Koh Chang, had a whale of a time and won some friends (if not any games) in the process.
You’re always welcome to come for a far more relaxed game at our Chai Chet Beach home at Lay Lay Tong Bar. Mail us for info.
October 13th – Flooding Update

If you’re coming to Koh Chang, or elsewhere in Thailand in the near future then you probably have some concerns about the heavy flooding that you have seen reported on the news. The first thing to stress is that Koh Chang has not been affected by the flooding. Here in Eastern Thailand we are experiencing normal weather for this time of year; a bit of sun, a bit of rain, but emphatically no floods. The worst affected areas are to the north of Bangkok on the mainland but flights into and out of Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok are currently operating as normal. So fear not, if Koh Chang is your destination, as it should be of course 😉 ,then your trip should not be disrupted.
If you are planning to travel elsewhere in Thailand here’s a handy link to a website that has all the latest information on the flooding. And be sure to spare a thought for the many thousands of people affected by these floods – this helpful Bangkok Post page gives some information on flood relief charities and how to donate.
October 6th – New Maps

We’ve just put our latest detailed maps of Koh Chang and around up on the site. There are two new ones up there; Bailan Beach is now considered grown up enough to have its own map and we have also included a map of the Trat’s mysterious, hardly explored, Mainland Beaches. You never need to get lost again!
October 1st – New picture galleries

kai bae viewpoint koh changWe’ve just posted a few more sets of photos of Klong Prao, Kai Bae and Lonely Beach onto Flickr so take a look and enjoy. Soon we’ll have a massive archive of all our pics here on the site, keep an eye on this page for news.

And, dear readers, if that’s not excitement enough for one day then you’ll be happy to know that paper versions of our new guides are being distributed all over Koh Chang at this very minute. We’re the magazine that never sleeps.
September 19th – New Guides Online!

We have now made our new Koh Chang Guide and Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars and Spas Guide available online. Click the links or croll doooown this page and you’ll see them. Hope that you like them.
September 13th – Come Another Rain Down

flooded road on koh changWe’re back! Not that we actually left Koh Chang for very long but we had two new guides to prepare so site updates got rather overlooked in all the excitement. Of course we’d have had more time if we had more staff. If by some miracle you’re a Thai national living on Koh Chang and you’re interested in working for us for good basic pay and opportunities for commission then please come and see us in our office next to the main post office at Chai Chet. Anyway we’re back with a vengeance and you can expect all kinds of goodies over the next week or two including our new guides available online, updated maps and the next additions to our photo galleries.

So what’s the latest on Koh Chang? There’s been very heavy rain over the last few days with accompanying flooding. But it has been sunny for most of today, much of the rainwater has drained away now and all the roads are passable. For once mainland Thailand has been much worse affected than here on Koh Chang and many areas in Trat and neighbouring Chantaburi province have been heavily flooded. The pattern over the last couple of years has been for the heaviest rain to fall in September and into early October. We’ll keep you posted and our fingers crossed.
Ferry controversy

chai chet sunsetThere has been much outcry from island residents over the past week due to a change in pricing policy by the Ao Thammachat-Ao Sapparot ferry. In the past a discount was offered for return tickets with no requirement to state the date of return. Now passengers have been asked to give the day of the return leg of the trip and if they travel on a different date than the one originally stated then the ticket is not valid. The alternative is to buy more expensive one way tickets every time.
We just called the ferry office to ask what was going on and they told us that (in a masterpiece of customer relations) they have now stopped selling return tickets altogether. They were still selling returns yesterday though so this might be disinformation. You now pay 80B one way as a passenger or 30B if you have a resident’s card and 120B for a car or 80B with a resident’s card.
What about the resident’s card I hear you ask? If you don’t already have one they aren’t issuing new ones at the moment and the staff don’t know when they will next accept applications. Simple it ain’t. Alternatives: #1 – Centrepoint Ferry; #2 – Swim.
Bailan Beach Bar Business Buying Bonanza!

There is a nice business opportunity available at Bailan Beach. A popular roadside bar set in a huge 1,600 sqm garden is available. It is a good opportunity for someone who wants to come in and take over a well-established enterprise and save on all the hassle of setting one up for themselves. The bar comes with a limited company with two work permits for foreign nationals. There is a very long 15 year lease on the land and a reasonable annual rent of 100,000 Baht. The long lease and large land area offer a great opportunity to expand with accommodation.
The bar has a solid online presence with a Facebook page and is highly rated by Tripadvisor. The owners are leaving to take up an opportunity to develop a business on Koh Kood island. The asking price is 1,400,000 Baht or 34,000 Euros. If you’d like to know more then contact us and we’ll put you in touch with them.

NewspaperDirect

On the subject of good business opportunities that are available on Koh Chang we should mention that the Exclusive Koh Chang distribution license for NewspaperDirect International is currently available. This is a business that makes over 1500 newspapers from 90 countries available to print on demand. They represent international titles such as The Times, Le Monde, The Australian, deutsche Zeitung and The New York Times as well as a huge number of other titles. The business is already being successfully operated by nine successful and long serving partners elsewhere in Thailand. There are limited technical requirements to implement the business on the island and local marketing and sales support, training and 24 hour technical support are provided. The initial start-up expenses are very low and it is definitely a good business opportunity. You can find more about this opportunity at this website.

Klong Prao Chinese Food

iyara food center koh changIyara Food Center and Mui Ing Seafood are two new Chinese Thai restaurants that have recently opened in Klong Prao village. We’ve tried them both with favourable results. Iyara Food Center has a very economical nine item menu. The food is prepared in no time at all and it tastes good – can’t argue with any of that and it’s perfect for a quick decent meal. Mui Ing with some nice lantern-led decor is a more sedate and relaxed place with some interesting stuff on the menu and a chef who cares about their food. Also recommended.

Vegetarian Festival

If you fancy a real challenge then you might want to participate in the Thai-Chinese “Jay” vegetarian festival which begins on September 26th and lasts for 11 days. Participants can’t eat any meat or fish, eggs or animal produce or any of a whole bunch of vegetables considered to have a strong smell and taste including garlic, onion and coriander. Chilli of course is still OK though, you just couldn’t ask the Thais to cut this out of their lives, even for eleven days.
Just to add to the challenge you’re not allowed to drink or exercise any carnal urges you might have. And many people wear white through the whole fast. Interesting might be a better adjective to use than fun.
If this seems like too much to ask then it is at least worth checking out some of the vegetarian food that is made specially for Jay, there’s lots of Tofu and some interesting things to try. Norng Beua 2 in White Sand Beach is a good place to check it out.

 

Flickr Galleries

koh chang big fishI guess it’s a sign of age that deliberately misspelt website names like Flickr drive you mad. Couldn’t they afford one letter “e”?
Anyway the website itself is actually very good and we are using it to load up some galleries of the thousands of pictures of Koh Chang that we’ve collected over the years. They also have a little gallery feature that we’ve dropped into this site so you can view a slideshow of our first gallery of pictures of White Sand Beach by visiting our Gallery page We’ll be adding lot more galleries over the coming weeks.

July 29th – A Genuine Hideaway?

aunchaleena resort koh changThis is the private beach at Koh Chang’s biggest resort. Can you guess where it is? Probably not since Koh Chang Grand Lagoona, at the end of the road past Bang Bao village isn’t nearly as well known as some of the other places to stay on Koh Chang. This is a shame since it is set on an enormous stretch of land with a river, a large lagoon and a nice waterfall next door. They have rooms on land and also on a variety of different houseboats. As well as the beach they have a swimming pool on board a large custom-built barge and even if you aren’t staying there you’re welcome to visit and use the facilities – they currently charge a small fee for entry but this includes bicycle hire. It’s worth a trip.

A Good Idea

big waves on koh changLast month saw a government-sponsored two week Russian language course which my wife signed up for and attended after reading about it at the government labour office in Klong Prao. This free course, which was taught by Michael Tumanov of Vanalee Resort in Bailan Beach, aimed to give a basic grounding in Russian language to make communication easier with the ever growing number of Russian visitors to Koh Chang.
Let us give credit to government where it’s due, What a great idea.
Apparently there are plans for similar courses in the future which we wil lbe sure to let you know about. Spasibo!

Hole in the Ground (Great Song)

holes in the road on koh changkoh chang road worksAs you can see they’re digging up the road in White Sand Beach again. This time they are removing the traffic island running up the hill out of the beach that was put in only a couple of years ago. It never really served any purpose so its removal isn’t that big a deal, unless it allows vehicles to get up even more speed before they career into the pedestrian mayhem that is White Sands.
But surely all of this effort would have been better spent filling up some of the massive holes in the road like this one outside Alina Resort. Our mate Dave can testify to the immediate danger of this hole since he came off his motorbike in it the other night and now has all kinds of cuts and scrapes including a foot that would do a mummy proud.

July 16th – Mainland Beaches

centara chaan talay resort tratAt this time of year it is a good idea to have a little break from Koh Chang now and again. So we took a drive down to the Thailand : Cambodia border at Hat Lek last week stopping off at most of the beaches that run down the coast between Trat and Klong Yai. There are some excellent beaches down there with long empty expanses of sand. The photo to the right was taken from Centara Chaan Talay Resort about 45 kilometres from Trat Town and it is something of a hidden gem. If beach parties are your thing then forget about it, but if you want a top quality resort offering genuine peace and quiet on a lovely white sand beach then you might want to consider a visit. They have some excellent low season special offers on at the moment as well.
There are a few other resorts down the coast that are oriented more towards weekend Thai visitors that are worth a visit if you are on a slightly lower budget. We should have a new map of the area ready for you in the near future so keep an eye out for that.

 

Saphan Hin

saphan hin waterfall trat provinceOn the wayto the border we stopped at Saphan Hin waterfall. This is at the end of what is a fairly poorly maintained path but is well worth the fifteen minute walk through the jungle. The falls themselves aren’t very high but there’s a lot of water plunging over them, especially at this rainy time of the year and the river valley is really nice. Apparently the pools below the falls are a popular weekend swimming spot for locals but since we visited in the middle of the week we had the place to ourselves.

Monster
giant beetle on koh changThis beauty flew, yes flew, into our garden the other day. He (she?) was about 15cm long and despite looking like something from one of your nightmares he proved to be a very polite guest, munching away on a piece of sugercane and generally minding his own business.
Then a Thai lady came along, gave him a kiss, and took him away to build a little home for him.

We don’t make this stuff up you know. This is Koh Chang.

June 9th – Say Hello and Wave Goodbye

It’s been a while and the world has changed a lot since you last heard from us. We’ve changed as well. If you take a look up to the top of your screen you will see that we’re in a new home. We have moved this site from our horrid old uncatchy address of www.whitesandsthailand.com (don’t know who thought up a mouthful like that) to the new, sexy, www.Koh-Chang-Guide.com. You see we’re a guide, and we’re about Koh Chang; it does exactly what it says on the tin. So for the near future you can still reach us through the old and the new addresses but you might want to bookmark our new one.
There’s probably a few issues with things not working quite right that we need to iron out. If you find any let us know and we’ll buy you a beer or a Pat Gapow or a pie or something.

New Maps Now Available Online
Our new Koh Chang Treasure Maps are currently up in Bangkok being printed and won’t be available until the end of the month. However you lucky readers of this site can get a preview by clicking front and back or the map images above.

Electricity

sunset on koh changAs the first leak from our roof drips and pools on the floor we can officially announce the beginning of the rains. Koh Chang is getting the schizophrenic weather typical of this time of year. Yesterday began with two hours of torrential rain and by mid-afternoon it was blisteringly hot.
One big thunderstorm two days ago dropped a tree on power lines and plunged most of the west coast into darkness for a couple of hours. It turned out that electrical workers had tried to cut this tree down earlier since it was hanging over the power line ready to fall. National Park officers apparently prevented them because trees in the National Park are protected. A worthy sentiment but perhaps misdirected in this instance.

Into the Valley – Klong Son Resort Available For Lease

A pretty good opportunity for someone who is interested in stepping into running a well established resort in the Klong Son valley. This place has been going for over five years and is set a couple of kilometres inland in a chilled-out riverside location. There are 8 bungalows as well as a bar and restaurant area and plenty of room for expansion. A lease of at least five years is available at just 200,000 a year and they’re even throwing in the use of their pick-up. If you’d like to know more then get in touch with us.

 

The animals went in two by two

elephant on the koh chang ferryThis recent arrival to the island probably needs a few tips on where to get a decent meal, so here goes;
Full Moon Cafe in Klong Prao are doing some really good Mediterranean style Kebabs. They cost only 80 Baht and are served with salad and sauces in a flat bread wrap. They come recommended, at least the first two in any day do. Believe me, three’s pushing it a bit.
Across the road at La Cabra you can get some of the best food on the island. Thip can cook pretty much any Thai or foreign dish you can think of. Spanish meatballs, pies, home-made sausages, fresh bread, chilli, Indian curry… the list goes on and on. Pick from the menu or just ask what’s the dish of the day, you won’t be disappointed.

Recycling

koh chang recyclingPictured here is perhaps the world’s most optimistic recycling service at Siam Beach in Lonely Beach, we wish them luck.
Recycling is big news on Koh Chang at the moment as a huge campaign led by posters all over the island urges everyone to use the plastic bins provided to separate their refuse for recycling. This is brilliant and definitely a step in the right direction, but (and there’s always a but isn’t there?) it would be so much easier for us to recycle our waste if they provided us with some of the plastic bins pictured in the photos. It’s still plastic bags at the side of the road here at the Koh Chang Guide’s offices. Perhaps the plastic bin budget got spent on big posters? One step at a time I guess

April 29th – Walking on the Beaches…

empty beach on koh changHere’s a photo taken yesterday on White Sand Beach just to remind you of the sultry tropical charms of the paradise island of Koh Chang, at least the bits of the island that that look like this. As you can see there’s plenty of room on White Sand Beach for your beach mat at the moment. After the Thai New Year holiday the tourist high season gradually winds down and May and June are perfect times to visit Koh Chang if you want a bit of peace and quiet. The monsoon, at least back when the weather wasn’t going all weird on us, doesn’t generally start until late June. So if you can stand the heat, then get into the kitchen.

New Maps Now Available Online

Our new Koh Chang Treasure Map arrives on the island today so if you’re here then you can pick up a copy. If you’re elsewhere in the world then you can acquire a copy through the magical realms of cyberspace by clicking front and back.

songkran parade on koh changAt last we’re safe from the water throwing mayhem that is the Songkran festival. Koh Chang now has a firmly established second Songkran on the 22nd and 23rd of April and this culminated in a big parade involving many floats of various and delightful peculiarity. Mother Nature, that great ironist, decided to rain on the parade again but since everyone had already soaked everyone else nobody seemed to mind.
This idea of celebrating events more than once seems to have done wonders for tourism on Koh Chang and in the light of this there are apparently plans to have festivals on the island to celebrate the Kutchi New Year on June 22nd, the Coptic Orthodox New year on September 11th and also the New Year of the Murador Aboriginal tribe of Western Australia on October 30th. Koh Chang will also be holding an early Christmas on August 12th. Nah, just messing with you.

the mercy center visits koh changThe Kids from The Mercy Center just left Koh Chang after their annual visit, hosted by 15 Palms on White Sand Beach. The Mercy Center is a Pattaya-based humanitarian organisation who provide help to needy children in Thailand.
If you would like to find out more about their activities, to volunteer your help or to make a donation then they can be contacted on 086-688-5867 or at www.mercypattaya.com

The Koh Chang Pony Rehabilitation Centre (KPR), featured in our last update, has just relocated from their old home in Klong Son to pastures new in Klong Prao. They always welcome volunteers who are willing to forefeit some time to help out with the ponies’ general maintainance and care. If you would like any more information, please contact Charlie via the KPR website (www.PonyProject.org) or call on 089 723 4278.

tree frog on koh changThere’s no story to accompany this Tree Frog photo. He’s just pretty cool.
Filming on Koh Chang begins today for the German comedy Turkish for Beginners ( T?rkisch f?r Anf?nger) . They may still be looking for extras for more scenes being filmed over the next few days. They are paying 2,000 Baht a day so if you’re interested in taking part call Danny on 089-755-3569.

Property: There aren’t many good small plots of land left for purchase on the main road, at least not in good locations. But here’s one on the main road in Klong Prao just 100 metres from the turning to Amari Emerald Cove Resort. The plot is Chanote land title (the best) and covers 0.8 Rai or 1,280 sq.m. and would be perfect for pretty much any kind of tourism related business. The land is priced at 5.5 Million Baht. If you are interested then get in touch with us.

A 1 Rai plot of residential land with a recently completed house and all amenities is available in Klong Son. The house is situated right on the river in a private spot close to the centre of the village. Again, if you are interested then get in touch with us.

March 30th – History From Below

koh chang 10 years agoSet the settings on your time machines to ten years ago, set the location to White Sand Beach and after you step, dizzy and disorientated, from the apparatus the view that you see should correspond roughly with the image to the right. It’s always interesting to consider the rate of development on Koh Chang by looking at photos from the not too distant past and seeing just how much has been opened/closed, built, chopped down and the like. This picture is taken from outside Ban Pu Resort looking south. Expect a shot taken from the same spot today in the next issue of the guide, assuming of course that the photographer isn’t mown down by a passing truck full of building materials whilst standing in the road taking it.

The weather is a frequent topic on this site… and here we go again. It’s been freezing here on Koh Chang. Well, not freezing in truth, but it is about 27C. in the day and dropping to a wind-blasted 16C. at night. That might not seem much to you arctic-hardened dwellers of the extreme north but it is very unseasonal for Koh Chang. It should be in the mid thirties now and this paragraph should be complaining about the oppressive heat instead of the cold. Still it is at least dry here and we are sparing a thought for those suffering in the dreadfully flooded South of Thailand and also for all of those tourists who are currently unable to travel to destinations such as Koh Samui.
What with all this crazy weather and earthquakes and so on such this is usually where people start muttering about ancient Mayan prophecies and 2012 armageddon and so on and forth. Although you might want to consider the possibility that it is probably just crazy weather and earthquakes and so on and that there’s nothing to worry about.

landslide risk on koh changIf you do want something to worry about then here is a real disaster waiting to happen. Consider this photo of the compacted pile of excavated mountain between Klong Son and White Sand Beach. This is the result of work done at the end of last season after part of the road fell away in a landslide. Basically a load of mountain was cut from the “up” side of the hill, carried across the road and placed at the top of the very steep slope on the “down” side of the hill. This pile of earth is unsupported by any kind of concrete core or cladding and it hasn’t been stabilised by planting any kind of stabilising vegetation. When the heavy rains come over the next few months isn’t it likely that it will fall away and give us a repeat performance of last year’s landslides? Let’s hope not.

koh chang pony rehabilitation centerThanks to Emma and Matthew for sending us some info on the Koh Chang Pony Rehabilitation centre based in Klong Son to share with you. It is a worthwhile endeavour and worthy of your attention so please read on.
The Koh Chang Pony Rehabilitation Centre (KPR) is a non-profit organisation which seeks to provide homes for abused, neglected and mistreated ponies. It is currently run and funded completely by Charlie, who hopes that one day the centre can be completely self-sufficient as a result of both donations and volunteering. KPR is currently home to six ponies; Rambo, Bozo, Hunter, Koffee, Obama and John – all of which have made monumental progress from the injured, sick and scared ponies they were when they were rescued. However there is still so much to be done and KPR is in dire need of volunteers who are willing to forefeit some time to help out with the ponies’ general maintainance and care. If time is of the essence, and you still want to contribute, donations of money and/or pony gear would also greatly appreciated. There is also accommodation on site available to volunteers, all proceeds of which go directly to KPR. If you would like any more information, please contact Charlie via the KPR website (www.PonyProject.org) or call on 089 723 4278.

Property: There aren’t many good small plots of land left for purchase on the main road, at least not in good locations. But here’s one on the main road in Klong Prao just 100 metres from the turning to Amari Emerald Cove Resort. The plot is Chanote land title (the best) and covers 0.8 Rai or 1,280 sq.m. and would be perfect for pretty much any kind of tourism related business. The land is priced at 5.5 Million Baht. If you are interested then get in touch with us.

March 22nd – New Guides Now Available Online

Our new Koh Chang Guide and Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars & Spas guides are now available to download. Just click the images on our front page, give them a couple of minutes to download (big files), and enjoy!
The print versions won’t be available for a week or so so at the moment this is the only place you can get the latest issues.

March 8th – Things to do Today

koh lao yaRight: all our visitors have gone back home, the latest issues of The Koh Chang Guide and Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars & Spas are off at the printers so we can get back to the important task of updating the website. So here we go. The first thing you’ll notice is that we have updated all of our detailed maps so they are all bang up to date again. No excuses for getting lost then.
You can now also download the latest issue of The Treasure Map by clicking the icons above. The new guides will be available soon

But of course you will all be wanting to know where this alluring sandy strand of beach to the left is. Koh Lao Ya is the answer and a rather lovely spot it is too. Located just to the south of Koh Chang there is one resort on two privately owned islands that are connected by a bridge. We hired a speedboat for the day and visited this island as well as uninhabited Koh Khlum and backpacker friendly Koh Wai. A pretty fine way to spend a day. The water visibility was excellent and there was some really good snorkelling off all three islands.

fish at koh waiWe found this seething ball of reef fish off Koh Wai. Throw a bit of food in the water and all hell breaks loose.

If you find yourself in Laem Ngop on the mainland with a little free time then a visit to the Black Sand Beach is recommended. There is a visitor centre and a boardwalk through dense mangroves to a pretty small but endeniably black sanded beach. It’s a pretty cool place. There were some good photos of the place on my camera that I regrettably left on the ferry so here’s hoping that whoever swiped it is enjoying them. It is clearly signposted on the right just a few hundred metres down the road from Laem Ngop to Trat.

koh chang 7 eleven tourSometimes you need to think outside the box, to forge ahead on behalf of mankind down new and untrodden paths. It was with this pioneering spirit that we managed to devise a new and rather fascinating island tour. Since Koh Chang has such outstanding natural beauty what with the emerald rain forest and azure sea we thought that we’d celebrate it by being the first people ever to undertake a tour of all of Koh Chang’s 7-Elevens. Safe in the knowledge that this had never been attempted before (for it is a truly foolish way to spend one’s time) we hired a taxi and did it. There are nine 7-elevens on Koh Chang for those of you that care. We went to all of them, obtaining liquid refreshments therein and it was all mightily entertaining. Won’t be doing it again in a hurry though.

If you are looking for entertainment on Koh Chang tonight then why not drop in to Jungle Queen on White Sand Beach and catch a live performance from Fantuzzi who will be playing a set incorporating Latin, Reggae and Afro Funk music.

February 14th – The Food of Love

tom yam soup on koh changSorry for the lack of recent updates. We’ve had friends and family over and have been doing all kinds of tourist activities, of which more in the next exciting episode. This quick posting is largely because I was sick of that monkey picture on the front page.
I recalled that it was valentines day today when the Petrol station attendants seemed far more interested in selling me roses than petrol. I think a gift of a magic fluid that gives motor power to your prefferred choice of transport is a splendid gift to show one’s love, but I’m probably in a minority.
Anyway since a large part of the last month has seen us eating out at many of the island’s restaurants, partly due to family and friend entertaining and partly because the poor missus fell off a bike and broke her leg, I’m in a great position to recommend somewhere on Koh Chang to take your loved one for that extra special Valentine’s Day meal.
We often mention Iyara Seafood but we went there again recently and it was great so we’ll mention it again. Fresh seafood in a fantastic setting over the water where the lagoon meets the sea. Surprise that special person with a free post-meal boat trip to see the fireflies and we guarantee they’ll be brimming over with love.
Ruan Thai is another seafood-over-the water option in Bang Bao where you really can’t go wrong. Their Chu-Chi Mackeral is a stunner. Buddha View leads the pack when it comes to western meals on Bang Bao pier.
Most of the White Sand Beachside resorts have dining on the sand. They are all pretty reasonable but we particularly like the food at Lagoon Resort. Also of note if you and your sweetheart have hearty appetites is the all-you-can-eat buffet at 15 Palms, they have good pizzas too. If you can bear to drag yourselves to a roadside setting then Norng Beua 2 and The Dancing Chicken are two economical White Sand Beach restaurants that prepare cracking Thai food. The chef at Norng Buea must be an octopus or something given the lightening speed at which all of your orders appear on your table.
It can be surprisingly hard to find places that do really good Thai and Western food so if your Valentine’s meal involves multi-cultural dining then Monkeys in White Sand Beach is a fine option. Their Thai food tastes like Thai food should and their Western Food tastes like Western food should.
Hungry Elephant just opposite the Post Office at Pearl Beach remains one of the island’s hidden gems. It is THE place to go for good steaks at reasonable prices and everything else is pretty good too, we go there all the time.
So there are plenty of options for your special Valentines meal. Hope you’re grateful, all that research has put about ten kilos on me.

January 4th – Communication Breakdown

monkey on koh changSometimes the language barrier seems almost insurmountable.
Spare a thought for our mate John who jumped in a taxi about 10pm the other night at one end of White Sand Beach and asked to be taken to Monkeys Bar & Restaurant about one kilometre away. He doesn’t know the island very well but he realised that something had gone badly wrong about 10 minutes later as the taxi started up the hill at the back of Kai Bae.
It seems the taxi driver had taken his “Monkeys” instruction at face value and was scouring the island looking for monkeys in a bid to arrange a late night primate viewing for his customer. John cut his losses, paid the driver and got another taxi back to the pub.

High Seas, Low Seas

pod of dolphins at koh changSome images this time to show the good and bad sides of life in a Thai Marine National Park.
You don’t see them very often but there are dolphins in the waters around Koh Chang. These ones came over and played in the wake of Eco-Divers dive boat for about ten minutes the other day much to the delight of the people on board the boat. Obviously the presence of the Dolphins in local waters is a good sign since it suggests the presence of fish and indicates that the local marine ecosystem isn’t in such bad shape.

fishing net on dive site at koh changBut before everyone starts patting each other on the back they might want to take a look at this. This is a picture taken yesterday of a fishing net caught on the reef at Hin Luk Bat, a rocky outcrop that has one of the Koh Chang area’s best diving and snorkelling reefs.
Of course all fishing is illegal in the National Park and is, at least in theory, prevented by local National Park staff.
fishing boat on dive site koh changThis, of course, begs the question why the fishing boat pictured thought it would be OK to fish the site in the middle of the day in the presence of dive boats with cameras. Perhaps they believe that the National Park lacks the resources to enforce the law and protect the Corals of the local reefs.
Certainly the National Park staff can’t be everywhere all the time so we would like to help the National Park to trace the boat in question and prevent them from fishing the reefs in future.

The Thai writing on the side of the boat reads, อริยสิน, followed by a large 12 and then the numbers 5300 and 00335. We hope that they make them walk the plank!

Update: OK it seems Hin Luk Bat is just outside the national park so presumably anything goes in terms of drag fishing and reef destruction. So instead of making them walk the plank at the end of cutlass it might be a better policy to just ask the boat owners nicely not to kill all the coral and spoil everyone’s fun. I’m sure they’ll take the suggestion on board, as it were.

Sounds unlikely but we’ve just updated our Property Pages with some new stuff that’s for sale.
The highlight has to be the Bang Bao bungalow resort on 5 rai of land that is going at the once only, never to be repeated, we’re giving it away price of 3 Million Baht. This one will sell fast, get in while you can!
The print versions of our the new issues of our Koh Chang Guide and the Koh Chang Treasure Map arrive tomorrow so if you are here on Koh Chang then be sure to pick up copies. Oh, and we hope that you have a happy New Year!

 

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by Dave in Features and Archives, Koh Chang News Comments Off on 2010 Posts

December 28th

koh man nai - koh changThis photo is a view of Koh Chang from Koh Man Nai, the little island that lies just off the beach at Kai Bae. We hired a kayak and went out there at the request of Wess. He contacted us from Canada asking us to get him an updated photo of the palm tree that he and his girlfriend carved their initials on on a day that they walked out to the island at low tide and later had to swim back. Not your everyday request so we thought we’d give it a try but despite being provided with a pretty detailed tree location map we couldn’t find the tree in question. But it was an interesting mission and despite one random braking/near-capsizing manouvre it was a pretty good laugh. There are a few places on Kai Bae beach that hire out Kayaks at 100 Baht an hour/150 for two.

There is heavy wind at night at the moment; meteorologically thankfully rather than physiologically although if the threatened Turkey Red Curry arrives today this could all change. Windy weather is pretty usual for this time of year which is Thailand’s “cool” season. Obviously the word cool here refers to a tropical cool that roughly equates to a hot European summers day and daytime temperatures are still up around 30 degrees. But the wind is gusting heavily so be careful out on the roads at night as sudden gusts can easily blow motorbikes across a lane.

Earlier this month Eco-Divers had a reef clean-up day at Koh Wai. They managed to clean up 180Kg of rubbish from the reef there. It’s always good when the local dive businesses do their bit to clean up dive and snorkelling sites so all credit to them. They put a video of the day up here on YouTube.

In other local news White Sand Beach got a shiny new tarmac road surface for Christmas. It is just what the place has always wanted and since it is the season of goodwill let’s not be picky about the quality of the job, it is a massive improvement on the hideous peaks and troughs of the old surface and it should certainly help with road safety.

The last few days of the year are slipping away quicker than a crowd at the MCG and again the New Year Extravaganzas are competing for attention. It seems that the main, “official” party is being held on Bang Bao Pier this time. An interesting choice of location both for its narrowness and its extreme southern location. There is also a fair down on the road at Klong Prao, with, no doubt, super loud loudspeakers and meat on sticks. Alternatively all of the beaches should be busy with the usual crowds, fireworks and mayhem.

Southern meeting places seem to be all the rage at the moment and it appears that Koh Kood island to the South of Koh Chang is one of the places being considered by the Thai Prime Minister for the location of his Democrat Party’s annual conference. This obviously brings publicity and attention but Koh Kood might seem a rather unusual choice. It is a beautiful spot and well worth a visit but it seems just a little bit too sleepy to play host to the cut and thrust of party politics.

The print versions of our the new issues of our Koh Chang Guide and the Koh Chang Treasure Map arrive tomorrow so if you are here on Koh Chang then be sure to pick up copies. Oh, and we hope that you have a happy New Year!

December 15th – New Guides Online

koh mak sunsetThe January issues of the Koh Chang Guide and the Koh Chang Treasure Map are now online and you can download them by clicking the cover images above. We’ll be distributing the printed versions just before New Year so at the moment this is the only place that you can get the latest versions. Remember that the files are pretty big so give them a couple of minutes to load. Enjoy!

The weather’s a bit weird at the moment. It is a lot warmer than is usual at this time of year and we are getting the odd spot of rain. But mainly it is clear and sunny and hot hot hot. The tropical sunset photo to your left was taken recently on Koh Mak. Apologies if you’re looking at it whilst trapped in a European blizzard. You know the solution, pack your bags!

Poor old Phuket. Just as everyone finally moves on from the appalling tragedy of the tsunami a few years ago a famous Thai astrologerannounces that he has seen the future through the stars, tea leaves, pointing bone or whatever mystical tools he purports to use and predicts another tsunami before the end of the month. Despite having absolutely zero scientific foundation this has made major headlines in Thailand and according to this Bangkok Post article has led to a 10% drop in hotel bookings. With reports stating that this tsunami is also predicted to strike the Gulf of Thailand as well as the Andaman Sea there is even fear that Koh Chang could be affected. But don’t worry, the geological events that would have to happen to make this possible are about as likely as Elvis Presley and Marilyn Monroe suddenly descending from the moon riding Aardvarks.
Basically there are two possibilities. This guy could be an unnaturally gifted conduit to the future, he could be an astonishing seer whose every word should be taken as the truth and we should prepare for the worst.
OR he could be a snake oil salesman riding on the back of a natural disaster and using the gullibility of his audience to gain exposure and publicity.
I’m not a psychic but I’m getting a strange, almost mystical feeling that the latter of these two explanations is the most likely.

south thai restaurant on koh changSouthern Thai Food (The Return) Regular readers – if you exist – will be aware that we are crazy for the spicy delights of the food of Southern Thailand. Our regular source in White Sand Beach has been closed for a few months so it is with great pleasure that we can report another great place to sample good Southern Thai cuisine. We mentioned it in passing last post but here we’re giving the full seal of approval after we went the other day and had three main dishes with dips, vegetables, drinks and rice for… 130 baht! There’s no sign in English but you’ll know the place when you walk 100 metres south of the Klong Prao Elephant Camp and see a restaurant with a sign with, appropriately enough, chillies on it. Enjoy.

If you are interested in learning more about the Thai language then you might be interested in www.thai-flashcards.com, a handy little website we’ve found that helps you with learning Thai at a range of different levels. You can choose your own list of words and sentences to learn and they’ll send you a daily e-mail with words and sentences of the day. Basic use is free and there is an enhanced membership at a reasonable rate. It’s well worth a look.

December 2nd – In Return

koh chang map excerptDone! The latest Guide and Treasure Map are finished barring the inevitable couple of late changes/cock-ups/disasters. They will be available on Koh Chang at the end of this month and we’ll put them up online in a couple of weeks. So now we have a bit more time to do stuff like update the site. Brace yourselves. We have today loaded up new versions of our detailed maps on this site so if you head to our map section you’ll be able to navigate by the latest and most accurate maps of Koh Chang and around.

A lady came by our office a couple of days ago to point out an error on our Treasure Map. We write “Good snorkelling off this peaceful beach”, next to Pearl Beach on the map. She hadn’t found it to be so and hadn’t seen any fish. So I went down yesterday afternoon to check it out again. And she has a point. There is more seaweed than the last time I swam there immediately off the beach. However there are still some corals with quite a few fish as well, you just have to swim a bit further. Quick tip: As you swim over the seaweed and it drags against your skin it is better not to think of the trailing fingers of the drowned dead. But carrying on past the weeds there are some rocks just off the South end of the beach where there was better visibility, some nice corals and reef fish like Parrot fish and some stripy ones and a few other pretty species I don’t know the name of. So it is still a better snorkelling spot than off the main sand beaches on the island but if you do go there then head a little bit further South to find the good stuff.

chao po shrine on koh changOne of the events that we failed to tell you about last month whilst we were up to our necks in the grubby process of guide creation was a festival that took place at the Chao Po Chinese Temple. Held from November 12th-14th this was the first festival of its kind to pay homage at this shrine. There was dragon dancing, walking on hot coals and all kinds of other worshipful activities.
We know this because we just watched the movie. Stanislaus and Saowanee Klaasens filmed the event and have prepared a DVD of the highlights which they are planning to sell. It’s pretty interesting stuff and if you would like to get yourselves a copy then visit them at the office of Koh Chang TV in White Sand Beach.

natsala koh changKlong Prao Resort have just opened a new venture called Natasala Koh Chang on the road near to their resort. Here they will be putting on shows of traditional Thai music and dancing. These types of show are pretty common in other Thai tourist destinations and if anything it is something of a surprise that it has taken so long to set one up here. Anyway it is another different thing to do on Koh Chang and we’ll pass on more information when we’ve had a chance to see the show. We will be more than a little impressed if it turns out that the woman pictured really has 12 arms.

We attended the opening of Buzza’s Bar in Kai Bae a couple of nights ago. It’s a nice and chilled out place at a small backpacker’s place in a nice garden beside the river a couple of minutes walk from the center of the village. We made the mistake of dining at Ciao Restaurant first. This certainly wasn’t a mistake in terms of the food there because we had a great and embarassingly huge Italian feed. Ravioli in a Truffle Mushroom sauce was a highlight – we recommend it. It did mean however that we couldn’t eat any of the free barbeque down at Buzza’s and it is always a great disappointment to turn down a free feed.
While we’re on the subject of dining we ate a cracking Thai meal at Ka-Ti Culinary in Klong Prao the other night and that’s well worth a visit. There is also a little hole-in-the-wall place about 100 metres from Ka-Ti, just past the elephant trekking, that is selling Southern Thai curries during the day. Fierce, fiery and fantastic.

November 11th – Build it and they will come

Things are really picking up on Koh Chang now. There seems to have been a larger than usual increase in visitor arrivals due to tourists re-routing here to avoid the heavy flooding that has been experienced recently in Koh Samui and other tourist spots in Thailand but not, miraculously, in Koh Chang.
Large scale mountain moving work has commenced on the section of road above White Sand Beach that suffered subsidence last month. Large amounts of material are being removed as preparations are made to move the road to a slightly less precipitous position. It seems like the work is being carried out pretty efficiently and without undue hassles or hold ups. Necessity is a great motivator.

digging drains on koh changfilling drains on koh changWork has also begun on a drain at the side of the road through White Sand Beach. Presumably after the frequent flooding of the road over the last two rainy seasons it has been recognised that the perfectly good drainage pipe pictured on the right being (insanely) filled in in February 2008 served a useful purpose. Handy things, drains, they prevent flooding and stuff. Anyway the new one isn’t as big as the last one was but it has to be better than nothing so we hope it will effect some improvements during the next rains.

It emerged this week that the old Nisa Cabana Resort on the hill just out of Bailan Beach has been turned into an upmarket drug and alcohol Rehabilitation centre called Channah.
Whilst it’s no temple of excess Koh Chang does have a huge number of bars and so on the face of it choosing it as the location for an alcohol rehab centre seems to make as much sense as placing a claustrophobia rehab centre at the bottom of a Chilean mine. However Channah is located in a quiet spot a couple of kilometres from temptation – so far. But after the release of its secret location don’t be surprised if you see a rash of opportunistic beer bars opening their doors across the road.

We won’t be updating the site much this month as the January issues of our Koh Chang Guide and Treasure Map bend our spines under the hefty load of their fierce creative demands. We will put updated versions of the maps up though in the next couple of weeks so watch out for those, and if you need to know anything Koh Chang-y then get in touch with us and we’ll try and help.

November 1st – Blowin’ in the Wind

fallen tree on koh changThe slamming doors and mysterious creaks and groans of last night luckily weren’t the sounds of a vengeful Thai spirit come to punish us for not believing in them. Instead it seems that the rains are finally over and we have abruptly entered the “winter” season of (slightly) cooler temperatures, high winds and, most importantly, NO RAIN. It has been blowing a gale for the last couple of days and quite a few trees like the one pictured between Kai Bae and Lonely Beach have fallen, causing minor damage. And on a personal note I was less than amused at having to drag myself out of bed at the crack of dawn to prevent our office sign from doing a little Koh Chang tour.
It is great though to finally bid the rains farewell and this weather always marks the beginning of the tourist high season on the island. Indeed there are already quite a few more visitors on Koh Chang than over the last few months so let the good times commence.
One of the highlights of the “cold” season if you’re unlucky enough to come from a savagely cold European country is watching Thai people in four layers of clothing shivering as evening temperatures dip below twenty degrees celsius. Brrrrrrrr! They don’t know how lucky they are.

koh chang phone boxI bet you’ve all forgotten that yesterday was the last day of the Koh Chang Grand Sale that we tried so hard to promote when it began three months ago. Now is a good time to look back over all the fun-filled events and activities that took place. At least it would be if someone had bothered to organise any…
The whole thing was about as useful as this poor neglected phone box next to our office. It is located a little way down a quiet side road but that isn’t really any excuse for it being forgotten since it is on the same side road as the Koh Chang office of the TOT, Thailand’s telecommunications company.

Competition Result!

If you haven’t entered our competition yet then, sorry, but you’re too late. We closed the contest at midnight last night and we have already chosen one lucky winner using Excel’s rather handy random number generator. So join us in congratulating Mr. David Shaw who has won a week’s accommodation in a double room at Paddy’s Palms Resort in White Sands Beach. We had a great response to the competition so many thanks to all who entered. In fact the whole thing was such a success that we will be organising competitions on a regular basis. We’ll let you know when we think up a new one, just keep an eye on this site and on our Facebook Page.

Oh, and if you were wondering, Koh Chang is located in TRAT province.

October 18th – A Visit From the Fun Police

Restaurant and bar owners in White Sand Beach have been visited today by a group of government officials and army generals. They are here to introduce a total ban on alcohol sales between the hours of midnight and 11am and from 2pm to 5pm. So if you are on holiday and fancy a quenching, refreshing drink during these hours then you jolly well can’t can you. All signs and adverts for alcohol must also be removed and any business in contravention of the new law will be subject to a fine of 500,000 Baht.
This is, to say the least, bad news for bar and restaurant owners and the timing of the announcement just as the season is getting under way is a little bit of a blow. You’d think that special exceptions would be made for a tourism industry trying to recover from the political troubles earlier in the year but apparently you’d be wrong. Anyway here’s a picture of some lovely Leo girls for you to look at as you wait for the hours to pass until you are allowed to have a drink.

UPDATE: It seems that the law as it stands makes this alcohol ban compulsory in Bangkok only. In other provinces it as at the discretion of the local authority. Here in Koh Chang it appears that you can obtain a license to serve alcohol within these prohibited hours. And if you have a license you’re OK. Apparently. The ban on alcohol ads is only on those that depict the drink itself so logos, symbols and pretty girls should be OK. This doesn’t mean that someone won’t come into your bar and try and shake you down for some cash though, comes with the territory.

October 18th – Koh Chang in the News

bang bao beachThe weather seems to be improving after the storms and rains of last week that caused floods, landslides and all kinds of mayhem on Koh Chang. We were lucky enough to miss the worst of it due to a fortunately timed trip to Bangkok. However we can expect a couple of power outages over the next couple of weeks whilst repairs are done. The first of these will happen this Wednesday the 20th from 9am until 5pm(ish!) so find something to do that doesn’t require electricty on that day. I know, why don’t you get yourselves something to read? By now we should be right at the end of the Low Green Monsoon Season so let’s cross our fingers that the super-typhoon about to smash the Phillipines steers well clear of us.

We will receive the new Treasure Map at the end of the month but we’ve already put it online so if you want the latest and most accurate maps of the island then you can download them at the top of this page.

September 27th – Koh Chang in the News

The Bangkok Post newspaper ran an article last week about some of the negative effects of development on the island. It was an interesting piece which drew attention to some of the problems facing the island and what things are and aren’t being done to address them. It (quite correctly) placed the blame for the flooding problems in White Sand Beach with two fueding local officials. Will public ridicule make them bury the hatchet and work together for the good of the island? Answers on a postcard please.
The feature also mentioned some other issues facing the island such as the lack of building and planning regulations, environmental damage through habitat loss and land encroachment. Further mention was made of high carbon emissions by local resorts – estimated, god knows how, at 0.2% of Thailand’s total – and how this might cause sea level rise. Whether this sea level rise will be only around Koh Chang wasn’t made clear.
However, mention was also made of some of the good things that are happening on the island such as recycling of waste and efforts by locals to conserve mangrove forests. All in all it was a balanced and reasonable piece that drew attention to some of the problems that need to be addressed on the island and whilst some people might rather that these things weren’t talked about surely it is only by recognising and accepting that the island does have problems that solutions will be found and implemented. Now, about that flooded road…

I was about to remark on the fantastic sunny weather we’ve been having here for the past couple of weeks when the skies, predictably, opened, unleashing a deluge. It’s stopped again now though so let’s hope that the good stuff continues – check out the picture of the beach at Bang Bao above to see how nice it has been. It has been so fine in fact that some optimistic (naive?) locals have whispered the idea that the monsoon might be at an end. For what it’s worth I reckon not yet, but soon.

We’ve had a great response to our competition below so thanks to all of you who have entered. There is still a month to go until we draw the winner so if you haven’t entered yet then see below. You’ve got to be in it to win it!

September 20th – WIN A WEEK ON KOH CHANG!

paddys palms resort koh changTo celebrate the launch of our new Facebook Page we’re having a contest and giving the winner a holiday on Koh Chang. The winner will receive a week’s accommodation in a double room at Paddy’s Palms Resort in White Sands Beach. And there’s no reason that the winner shouldn’t be you. All you need to do is answer the embarrassingly easy question on our Facebook Page and send us your answer. You can join up by clicking that box full of heads over on the right.
We’ll be drawing out a winner on October 31st. Good luck!
And for what it’s worth the weather on Koh Chang is terrific at the moment. The sea’s calm and it there are clear blue skies and sunshine. Tropical paradise!

koh chang lionfishIs it safe to go back into the water?- It seems that the Koh Chang Marine National Park authorities have closed off the waters around Koh Rang island for all diving and snorkelling activities for one month. As usual information is sparse. Apparently the closure began on the 15th of this month so naturally letters were issued informing some but not all of the island’s dive businesses on the 17th. Many of the dive sites around Koh Chang are unaffected by the closure so have no fear, you can still find a good place to submerge yourself and visibility is apparently very good at the moment.
Actually it isn’t a bad idea at all to try and protect the area’s marine ecology and it is a good sign that the National Park are making at least some effort to preserve corals. I hope that they also ensure that the area will also be closed to the drag-fishing boats which sneak into the Marine Park from time to time and do real damage.
Update: The National Park office just confirmed that the closure will operate from the 15th of September to the 15th of October so please give our polyp pals a break and keep clear of Koh Rang for a month.

Freedom of Speech! You might notice a few changes to the site. The first thing is that links to the Forum have been removed. This isn’t some some suspicious suppression of the voice of the people and we aren’t planning to engineer a coup d’etat on the island (although now that you mention it that isn’t such a bad idea…). It’s just that we had a few technical problems that meant we never quite got the Forum working as well as we would have liked. So, sorry, it’s gone; but it might return in a new and improved version in the future. In the meantime if you have any questions about Koh Chang then why not stick ’em up on our Facebook Wall at www.facebook.com/KohChangGuide and we will try and answer them for you. Alternatively you can mail us and we’ll also try and help.

September 13th – Publish and be Damned!

It’s a lovely sunny afternoon now on Koh Chang. Does this mean that the weather will still be good for this afternoon’s game of beach cricket? I’m not betting on it. Anyway hopefully you’ll be pleased to know that the new Koh Chang Guide and the new Restaurants, Bars & Spas Guide are now online and available for download. Click on the images above to access the goodness- hope that you enjoy them!

September 13th – Walkabout: It’s a lovely sunny morning here on Koh Chang so we’re enjoying it while it lasts. Just thought we’d let you know that we have updated all of our detailed maps of Koh Chang and around. Follow them and you’ll never get lost – assuming of course that you are in or around Koh Chang when you follow them, they don’t work for other places.

September 9th – Riding the Rails

bangkok airport rail linkWe’re just back on the rock after another Bangkok magazine distribution run/get-off-the-island-for-sanity trip. I tried out the new rail link from Bangkok to Suvarnabhumi this morning. It took an hour to get from a hotel on Sukhumvit Road to the check-in desk at the airport and cost a total of just 40 Baht. The train made six stops before the airport as well so it fairly zips along. You can save more time if you get the express service but I couldn’t figure out how. Nevertheless it’s a good transport option, especially if you are close to the BTS Skytrain. The Skytrain connects with the service at Phaya Thai – two stops North of Siam Square. The underground doesn’t connect at all which is sadly fairly standard for the many different forms of public transport in Bangkok. If you aren’t staying anywhere near good public transport then a taxi is probably still quicker if quite a bit more pricey.

bangkok art and culture centerWhilst we were up in Bangkok we visited the Bangkok Art & Cultural Center in Siam Square again and checked out the 56th National Exhibition of Art which is on display on the 7th and 8th floors – see the scary drop to the right. This show is on from now until the end of October. A selection of works are on display this month and the work of the winners will be on show in October. There’s some pretty good stuff there including the painting to the left here (apologies to the artist whose name we failed to write down).

Usually September is one of the quietest months of the year for visitors to Koh Chang but for some reason the flight to Trat was nearly full this morning. Could it be a sudden tourist boom?

September 4th – Freedom!

Freedom at last! The new guides are finished and with our printers and barring disasters and touching wood we have some time to catch up on everything else, including this page which we haven’t updated for a couple of weeks. We’ll make the guides available for download in the next week or so. Koh Chang has done us a favour in generating almost no newsworthy events while we’ve been otherwise occupied.
The exercise in inertia that is the Koh Chang Grand Sale continues not to generate any events or news. Their website is now online so now if you would like to find out what their plans are for promoting Koh Chang then you can check out www.kohchangbusinesscenter.com. You’ll have to learn Thai though if you don’t know it already. Or you could use the translate button that they helpfully include and I suggest that you do if only to read the quite marvellous sentence, “Eat shrimp fall merrily with ink islander”; Surrealism at its finest.

Thailand Beer Taste Challenge – The Return

thai beer taste challengeRegular readers will recall a few years ago that we condidered it might be a good idea to do a blind tasting of most of the beers available in Thailand and vote on which were the best and worst beers on the market.
Once again we have assembled a panel of experts to selflessly sacrifice some of their remaining brain cells to provide you with this essential consumer information. Check out the whole story if you want to find out the controversial and surprising results.
Has anyone ever done a tasting of all Thailand’s different spirits and “Whiskeys” and lived? Maybe we’ll do that next…
koh chang bladefish seajetBB Divers have got themselves some of those underwater scooter things. Think James Bond and you’ll know what I mean. They save you the effort of flapping your flippers (yes, i know, fins) as you survey the undersea world. They are light, high-tech and rather cool and yours for the day for a thousand baht.

We’ve updated our property page with a couple of pieces of land in Klong Son and a business in Lonely Beach so feel free to take a look and get in touch if you are interested.

The weather on Koh Chang over the last few days has featured plenty of sun and plenty of rain – sunbathers happy, frogs and jungle happy – it’s all good.

August 19th – Powerage

Our office has been without internet for the last three days after the power lines that fell on Tuesday night severed the island’s main internet connection as well as cutting off power for a night. there are two approaches to this sort of event; you can shrug philosophically and just make the best of it or you can toss and turn throughout the sweltering night and get up in a sleepless rage and bitch and moan about how this always happens just before you finish the new magazines. I find the latter works best.
koh chang scary goldfishDon’t worry – it is safe to go back in the water. You won’t find this frightening beast in the seas of Koh Chang. It inhabits the altogether smaller body of water that is the fishtank in Koh Chang Dental Clinic in Klong Prao, which is frankly something of a relief.

We promised you an update on the latest upcoming activities and events that have been organised as part of the “Ko Chang Grand Sale”. And we’d love to tell you but since nothing at all so far appears to have been scheduled alas we can’t. Perhaps if enough of you call the organisers directly on 084-561-2737 or 086-154-2896 they might, just might, arrange something.

Our new printed guides are approaching completion. But we could use a few more photographs for our gallery page. This is your chance to make you or your friends look silly. We need a few pictures of people having fun on Koh Chang. If you have any then please mail them to us at info@whitesandsthailand.com and we’ll publish them (within reason!)

We’ve updated our property page with a couple of pieces of land in Klong Son and a business in Lonely Beach so feel free to take a look and get in touch if you are interested.

And of course no Koh Chang update is complete without a weather report. The last few days have been delightful in the extreme. Lots of sun, just a few drops of rain and the sea has been as flat as a proverbial millpond. And long may it continue.

August 11th – Lights, Cameras… Action?

Anybody here on Koh Chang will have been wondering about the sudden profusion of “Ko Chang Grand Sale” banners that have appeared over the road in the last week. Now the mystery is over after the “Ko Chang Grand Sale” project was officially launched yesterday at the famous Kai Bae viewpoint. The ceremony (pictured) involved impressive quantities of fruit and some people dressed as jungle dwellers.
The project is an initiative launched by the Trat Tourism Association to try to help tourist businesses on the island by holding events, activities and promotions between August 1st and the end of October to bring attention and hopefully some more visitors to the island.
We have been asked to help by publicising these events as they are arranged. We will, of course, be very happy to do this as soon as we are informed of the dates, locations and the actual nature of the events; important details which we will be sure to pass on to you as soon as we receive them ourselves. In the interim if you would like to know more then please feel free to contact the organisers directly at 084-561-2737 or 086-154-2896.

August 12th – Free Waterfall Entry

To celebrate the birthday of Her Majesty the Queen of Thailand the Koh Chang National Park are allowing free entry to the island’s two main waterfalls, Klong Plu and Than Mayom. This offer applies from today until the end of the weekend on the 15th. It will save you 200 baht each if you’re a foreigner or 20 Baht if you’re Thai. And there’s plenty of water in the waterfalls at the moment so it’s well worth paying them a visit.

August 11th – Koh Chang Half Marathon

To add to this flurry of activity on what has of late been a pretty lethargic island the “Koh Chang Mini Half Marathon 2010” will be held on Sunday 16th of August – Starting at 6AM. If you fancy a run, stroll or enthusiastic meander to break you out of the green season doldrums then why not go along? It’s free and we know when and where it is. If you do fancy taking part then go to the start point at Than Mayom Waterfall on the East side of the island about 4km after Dan Mai village. You can call Khun Sumitr on 081-949-6489 for more information.

By the way just a reminder that we’re happy to let you all know about any Koh Chang related events – just let us know and it will be our pleasure to help you to publicise them for free.
The well thought out and useful Dive Site Clean Up days are a splendid example. These are organised by PADI in conjunction with the local dive businesses. We have been given plenty of advance notice so you have lots of time to prepare for the next one which will be held on the 25th of September. If you’d like to attend then just contact any of the dive shops on the island and they will be happy to accept your help. Thanks to Kristel of B.B. Divers in Bang Bao for the advance notification.

chang chutiman koh changI also paid a visit to Chang Chuttiman Trekking’s new Elephant Camp yesterday. They are now based at a picturesque new spot deep in the jungle about 1km from their older, far less attractive, roadside base. If you fancy going on a trek with them at the moment then book with a travel agent and let them pick you up. I didn’t and there were a couple of fairly swampy driving moments on the “road” up to the camp. But they are making a good job of the camp and it’s a great place to experience an elephant ride.

August 3rd – Site Updates

The publishing juggernaut that is White Sand Publications thunders on and on. We’ve just sent our new Treasure Map to the printers. You, of course, can view it in advance by clicking on the map images above. Tell us if we’ve made any mistakes will you?
And I’ve brought our Property Page up to date. There are some interesting properties and businesses for sale there and our contact links even work now as we hobble forward into the information age.

July 21st – From Little Acorns…

salak phet mangrove plantingLast year they held a mangrove planting day in Salak Phet. Since I was around there the other day i thought I’d check up on the results. You might not know that there is a Mangrove Forest walkway in Salak Phet as well as the easier to find and vastly more hideous one in Salak Khok. The Salak Phet one uses an ecologically sound if a bit rickety and knackered wooden design as opposed to the utalitarian white concrete of the Salak Khok walkway.
As you can see from the picture there were loads of little mangrove saplings all looking quite healthy to my untrained eyes. The best thing they have done to preserve the area is to hide it from all but the most comitted mangrove enthusiast. There is a sign in Salak Phet village pointing in the vague direction of the walkway and then you have to follow the road until it becomes a broken down footpath – avoiding bottomless puddles of ooze – turn left, go on for a bit and then turn right, pass several abandoned shacks – angry dogs as well of course – and stop at the abandoned public toilets (don’t ask) – You’re there. The idea of protecting spots of natural beauty by hiding them is a good one and could be usefully adopted elsewhere. Grand Canyon? Never heard of it pal.

July 20th – I Can See Clearly…

koh chang white sand beachWe took the photo of White Sand Beach on the right a couple of days ago. Pretty isn’t it? It is the latest installment in our “It Doesn’t Always Rain on Koh Chang During the Monsoon” series of Propoganda pictures. Come on, book your flights and get over here.

We were in Bangkok a few days ago. So I thought I’d add a Bangkok page to the site. Don’t expect an exhaustive travel guide – I will just feature places that we visit and like, starting with an art gallery and, almost inevitably, an Indian restaurant.

July 13th – ..When we could be diving for pearls

Today’s Bangkok Post has an article on the seizure by officials of some ancient artefacts from a vessel in Koh Chang waters. The boat apparently contained 191 items of pottery dated at 400-450 years old. The boat captain, together with several Cambodian and Vietnamese nationals, had been hired to retrieve the items from the sea bed south of Koh Chang by an unnamed antiques dealer. The items are now being held by the National Maritime Museum in Chantaburi.
You can expect that the news that the waters of Koh Chang are home to buried treasure will spur all kinds of gold fever amongst the local diving community. You might want to pick up our next issue of our Koh Chang Treasure Map and look carefully, “X” marks the spot.

In other non-Koh-Chang-related news you might just conceivably be interested to know that we have set up a Whitesandsthailand Fantasy Football league for the forthcoming season of the Premier League. the league code is 1659-1731 and you can sign up at the Premier League’s website so if you want a simple way to avoid having a social life then come and have a go (if you think you’re hard enough).

July 7th – Trat – Samui Flight Schedule announced – at last! And Phuket!

Bangkok Airways have included a new Trat – Samui flight on their service schedule for the coming season. The service begins on December 3rd and will run four times a week on Tuesday, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Whatever your views on the development of Koh Chang this is an important link for the island that should provide great opportunities for businesses here. We can only expect demand for the service to be high. The price seems a little steep though at 4,500 including tax one way. As the airline sees the demand however I’m sure they will arrive at a commercially effective pricing strategy. There have been suggestions that the service has been placed on schedules as a means of testing the level of interest. That’s where you come in. If you think that the service is a good idea and think that you might want to use it then book ahead or at the very least spread the word so that Bangkok Airways can see the the viability of the service. you can find the flight details for services PG260 and PG261 at their website. UPDATE. It escaped our notice the other day but this service will also continue onwards to Phuket. 5,500 baht one way. But this now means that Koh Chang will be linked to Thailand’s two busiest tourist islands. This has to be good news.

Another dead dolphin washed up on the beach here this week. This is becoming a depressingly regular occurence. The most plausible explanation is that they are being drowned in the nets of illegal drag-fishing boats that also tear up coral reef and do all kinds of other damage. This is consistent with net marks found on some of the bodies. This is a Marine National Park remember? There’s a lot of ocean out there but surely somebody should be doing something? Here, like everywhere else, public opinion can provide gentle pursuasion for the powers that be to act on these kinds of thing. Perhaps contacting newspapers, TV, the TAT and the National Park Service would help to spur some action?

July 5th – Cambodian Kids School

It has been a while since we wrote about the Cambodian Kids School in Klong Prao on Koh Chang. This is a voluntary undertaking administered by the Proudly Open Minded organisiation. Basically they provide education and a place to go during the day for the children of Cambodian workers, who seve as the cheap labour pool on Koh Chang and have few rights. Otherwise these kids wouldn’t receive any help at all and it is a fine thing that they do. They have just posted a short video about the school on Facebook which you can access here. They welcome support and donations so if you’d like to help then you can contact Brian Boysen of Evolution Tour on 089-748-9643 or manager@evolutiontour.com or look at the Facebook page of Proudly Open Minded.

We’re doing more work on the website by the way. There’s a “share this” button below should you wish to inflict all this on another human being. And we’re getting the Archived stories in order and adding some features that previously featured in the guides but never made it to the site.

July 3rd – If you like pinacoladas (and getting caught in the rain – a bit).

klong son bay koh changI know we keep banging on about it but we took this photo of the beach at Klong Son on a lovely sunny day this week. See! There is plenty of sunny weather down here at this time of year. But when it rains it pours – just ask the disappointed supporters of certain football teams.
hole in the road on koh changFixing a Hole? There is frenzied activity at the moment between White Sand Beach and Chai Chet as workers rush to complete a new lay-by/insane-overtaking-area at the side of the road. Quite why the work is being carried out at such speed is something of a mystery and a novelty. But if the mayhem ends soon then that’s all to the good. But before the workers leave let’s hope that they do something about the death trap pictured which is just round the corner of the first bend coming back downhill from White Sand Beach where the extra lane thins to nothing to allow the passage of a river. The planners have clearly anticipated this hazard and have added some rugged metal posts that will skewer motorists like seafood kebabs on a beach barbeque instead of allowing them to tumble into the abyss when the road disappears. Be warned and keep yourselves off the menu.

koh chang animal signJabberwocky! It probably points to the fact that there isn’t much happening on Koh Chang but we had to bring you this sign directing you to the “Koh Chang Animal”. Even if we exclude the many humans on the island we know to whom this title could be comfortably applied it is still intriguing to speculate what beast it refers to. Remember that we are on a shaggy rock smothered in a rain forest that is packed to bursting with all manner of multi-coloured tropical monstrosities. Just imagine the horror and splendour of one that is so spectacular that they had to erect a sign to it.
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

June 22nd – Goooaaaallll!

small snake on koh changSorry everyone, we’re still on the subject of football. We’ll be back to normal after England get knocked out tomorrow – or maybe not. There isn’t much to report from Koh Chang anyway – plenty of rain – some sun as well, that kind of thing. The snake pictured popped round to see us the other day and that’s the most exciting thing that’s happened for some time.
So, back to the World Cup. If you’re watching here in Thailand you will have noticed that all the commentary is in Thai language only.If you aren’t a Thai speaker then thankfully this is no longer a problem because here is a Thai Football Commentators Language Course. We hope that is helps you to understand what the commentators are talking about.

Oh-ho-ho-ho! – A quick turn and strike from distance has regrettably passed slightly over the crossbar.
Oh-Hwiiieeee! – A savage and deliberate foul has occurred and the referee has failed to punish the guilty player.
Nnnnhh-Hhhhnnnhhh! – A delightfully threaded pass has found a forward who has slotted home clinically only to be unfairly found to have been slightly offside.
Ohhhhhhoooyyyy! – A yellow card has been unfairly awarded after a dive.
Oooooooh-Hooooooo! – Splendid shot, terrific save.

June 16th – Is there anybody out there?

white sand beach koh changThis picture was taken yesterday on White Sand Beach, Koh Chang. Sun, sand and scarcely a soul in sight. That’s what you want from your holiday isn’t it? To be quite honest it’s quite nice having the island to ourselves for a while. The office is closed for some building work so there’s not much to do; the sun is shining and there are three top quality football games to watch later. Life is good. So there’s no hurry, we’ll see you when we see you.
New Issues! We have now finalised the designs for the new issues of the guide and map. The printed versions will arrive in a couple of weeks but you can download advance PDF’s above. For those of you that only want to see the gallery page – and we know there’s a few of you out there – it’s on Page 33 and there’s a quite touching image of Vince with a flower.

June 12th – We’re Gonna Score One More Than You!

basketball vs footballNow let’s be absolutely clear here, whitesandsthailand isn’t at all biased towards any team in the World Cup. Not at all. Three Lions? What are they? By the way, if you don’t like football and you’ve come to this tropical travel website to get away from it all then what can we say. Tough.
Moving on, regular readers – if you’re out there somewhere – will notice a few changes to the site layout. Hopefully it serves to make the site easier to get around. If not then let us know what you would like us to do.
You will also see that, floundering pitifully in the wake of the wave of progress, we finally now have a Facebook group. Join it please.
And if you wear your best clothes, put on some perfume and ask us really nicely then who knows, we might even Twitter you some Tweets in the near future.
We have also updated the Photo Gallery page with some new photos. Some are scenic Koh Chang shots and some are silly photographs of people. Hope that you like them.

If you were wondering what was actually happening on Koh Chang then we don’t have much to report. The latest weather report is rain, sun, sun, rain, rain, sun, RAIN, sun. And it’s hot, always.

The diggers are out widening the road south of White Sand Beach and generally causing havoc. This is inconvenient in the short term but should serve to make the road safer in the long run. We’ll keep you posted on what develops.

Now, what to do to stay awake and sober until 1.30am?

June 5th – Pluvial Plethora

monsoon on koh changYes wordsmiths the rain is here at last! Thank God, or Buddha or the extreme altitude of the Tibetan Plateau or whoever you like. In fact it’s actually sunny as I write this but we’ve had rumbling thunderstorms and buckets of rain over the last week or so. People aren’t missing their water because their wells have not run dry. The Monsoon is a bit early this year so it might finish early as well. Or it might not. Or it might stop and start a few times like it normally does. This is where we all shake our heads and mutter “Global warming has really messed up the weather”. But it’s always been pretty messed up hasn’t it? Anyway at this time of year Koh Chang is a green emerald of verdant beauty nestled in the azure splendour of the Gulf of Thailand. Come on pack your bags and get down here.

We had a good lunch at Paradise Behind the Sea yesterday which only slightly lessened the pain of our monthly trip to The Tax Office. It’s a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant on the road to Salak Phet a couple of Kilometres after the Than Mayon Waterfall. We had Pho and Tom Yam Seafood. Both of which were right tasty. They’ve gone to a lot of trouble decorating the place, dare we say, tastefully and there are great views over the sea. Recommended.

Important people alert! The last three days saw Koh Chang Resort in Chai Chet hosting some high-powered local government seminars. You might think that we’ve got this news to you a bit late but we saw teams of workers erecting huge expensive posters around the island publicizing the event on its final day yesterday. Following this interesting trend of announcing the past apparently the 2006 World Cup is being held in Germany. Any money on Italy anyone?

May 21st – Aftermath

The smoke’s clearing, the “Siege of Bangkok” – or whatever silly name the media decide to give to the recent events – is over, and hopefully some degree of normality is returning to the Kingdom. Hopefully. Here in the island fortress of Koh Chang we were completely unaffected by all the goings on and life carried on as normal – except without the tourists. May is always one of the quietest months of the year and apart from the weekends when the island has been thronged with people getting away from Bangkok it has been doubly quiet. If the lush jungle climate was conducive to the growing of tumbleweeds you can be sure they would have been tumbling by.

So what next? Many visitors to this site will be wanting information on the safety of visiting Thailand in general and Koh Chang in particular. Especially given the apocalyptic travel advisories given by many countries. We particularly enjoyed New Zealand’s rabid advice to its nationals in Thailand which went something along the lines of “get out! right now! run! drop your things! Leg it!”. Other countries weren’t much better either. We can only assume that many countries think that their citizens aren’t intelligent enough to appreciate and act on reasoned and rational advice. Surely making people panic only increases the chance of putting them in a risky situation?

So, for what it’s worth here is our Whitesandsthailand Travel Advisory for Koh Chang and Thailand;
Koh Chang is safe to visit* (see below). Thailand is also safe to visit if you have a brain. Security is high at places such as the airport so the likelihood of trouble there is very slim. Thailand depends massively on foreign tourism and so will take huge steps to ensure visitor safety. Add to this that most potential risk areas are in the North-East of the country and well off the tourist map. Chang Mai is an exception, but that is certainly no reason to avoid it. Take obvious steps to ensure that you’re safe. In the unlikely event that you see a large group of protesters then do the obvious thing and go somewhere else.
If you do decide to visit now you can expect rock bottom prices, quiet beaches, a super-friendly welcome and on your return home you can impress your more timid friends by nonchalantly letting slip that you were just in Thailand.

sanaes restaurant koh changYes people, it is roasting hot here on Koh Chang at the moment. You could fry eggs on the road if you so chose. But it would be a much better idea to get your eggs fried at the newly opened, newly relocated Sanae’s at Pearl Beach. It’s across the road and down the hill from its old location. But they are still serving great Thai and English meals including their famous home-made sausages. Pay them a visit.

Thai TV Channel 7 has had some in-depth news features on Koh Chang over the last few nights. They started out by covering (alleged) misdeeds in land deals. Of particular note was the acquisition of the plot of land that used to house the memorial to the Thai Navy soldiers who died in the Koh Chang Naval Battle. People were a bit put out when this was suddenly fenced off having been bought by a private investor. It is probably no coincidence that the memorial was on a lovely, very developable private beach down past Long Beach in the South East of the island. Could the land papers have been doctored to allow the purchase of what was thought to be national park land? Surely not, bad things like that don’t happen in paradise do they?

Last nights “expose” rounded upon the Siam Royal View development in Klong Son. A few locals were protesting that a traditional right of way across the development had been blocked.
We were subsequently told that after several break-ins to properties in the development the security staff now ask for ID from people wishing to enter. This sounds quite reasonable but you wouldn’t have known about this from Channel Seven who didn’t seem to bother to interview anyone from Siam Royal View.

April 29th – Anagram Contest

chinese temple sign koh changIn a new feature on this website we’re running an anagram competition. Our first one is to the left. The sign is located at one of Koh Chang’s most notable landmarks. Can you unjumble the letters and tell us where it is? OK it’s tricky so we’ll give you a clue. It is a place of worship related to one of Thailand’s neighbours. Good luck. The winner will receive a plate of Pat Gapow and we’ll even throw in a fried egg on top. Send us the answer here. Hope that our evil sarcasm doesn’t get us into trouble with The Godfather of Koh Chang 😉

Our office has been closed whilst we nipped up for a quick holiday in Luang Prabang in Laos. A nice sleepy little place with great scenery, good restaurants and lots of temples. The locals are understandably a little unhappy that China seems to have stolen the Mekong river from them, it’s more of a dribble than a mighty torrent these days. This was particularly annoying since temperatures were in the low 40’s and a bit of extra water would have been handy. Then we stayed in Bangkok for a couple of days, it was safe, it was fine, we suffered no inconveniences of any kind. There were only eight people on the flight down to Koh Chang yesterday. So if you want peace and quiet on an idyllic tropical island then why not

April 16th – Room Bookings

Exciting times! Our new room booking service went live today. So now you can read all about Koh Chang on our site and then book your holiday here as well. We list around 80 hotels and resorts in a wide range of price groups so you’re sure to be able to find something that suits your requirements. So take a look at our hotel listings.

We didn’t do the web design on this one, well beyond our meagre abilities. Instead a good friend of ours helped us. He also did the work on the splendid new Books Thailand site. If you need a website or help with web design he’s your man. Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with him.

April 15th – The Carnival is Over

misspuke massageThis isn’t the day to be leaving Koh Chang in a car. The Queue for the ferries currently stretches some five kilometres back to the middle of White Sand Beach. You’d be better off parking up and waiting for the traffic to ease.
The charmingly named massage place to the left was spotted on a recent Bangkok visit. Let’s face it, when you’re tired of laughing childishly at signs that sound funny in English you’re tired of life.

Google Translate: Songkran hasn’t been all play here at whitesandsthailand.com. If you look up you will see that we have added a Google Translate box to this page which allows you to read it in the language of your choice. Swaheli is our current favourite. This great function will be added to all our pages when we’re satisfied that we aren’t doing something spectacularly cretinous with the coding.

April 12th – Under The Bridge

koh chang post flower gardenOK it’s time to put your phones, wallets, and passports into plastic bags and prepare for the orgy of inundation that is Songkran on Koh Chang. Yestarday’s water throwing was restricted to small children and self-employed representatives of the female companionship industry but early signs are that the outbreak is spreading and by tomorrow every man and his dog will be hurling water every which way. So get ready, get involved or lock yourselves in the your rooms.
Take extra care on the roads as well since there are about a million cars down from Bangkok as people understandably try and get away from all the trouble up there. And remember that during the Songkran public holiday it is illegal to drive a motor vehicle without being under the influence of alcohol.

The Post Office have asked us to let people know about this post box and floral dispaly at the Viewpoint just outside Kai Bae. So we are. You can write and Post your cards to your loved ones here in a charming setting with a great view.

April 9th – Direct Marketing

koh chang diving hippiesThis Lonely Beach Dive Shop seems to be taking a refreshingly direct approach to marketing its wares.

Is it Safe to Come to Koh Chang? Imagine that you are still at school and that your school is a huge one with thousands of pupils. The school is set in enormous grounds and at break times you like to play in a pretty garden close to the water. There are only two bullies in your school. Let’s, for the sake of argument, say that one wears a red shirt and the other one a yellow shirt. You don’t know them at all because they never come anywhere near your nice little spot in the garden. One day they have an argument and do that bully thing where they face-off and try to look tough. But they do this by the school fence and someone from outside sees them and starts to tell everyone that the school is dangerous. You know that you’re safe but soon word spreads and suddenly the whole town thinks that your school is full of crazy bullies. You know that this isn’t true.
Now if you can forget the bullies and try and extract yourself from this clumsy analogy then get on the plane and get yourselves down to Koh Chang where it’s hot and sunny, with lashings of beach.

April 1st: Guinea Pigs

We’re just back from a trip to Bangkok where we saw even more red shirts than you’d find on the road from London to Old Trafford on a matchday. Plunging straight back into work we are now distributing the new guide and Restaurant Guide and we have now made the Treasure map available for download online (see below). You can get the front of the map here and the back here.

Congratulations to Bang Bao Cliff Cottages who have been given the 2010 award for Best Atmosphere by www.hostelbookers.com. It is a nice spot down there and they deserve this recognition of their efforts.

March 26th: Guinea Pigs

OK our latest daring innovation is to try and make our printed guides available to you online, worldwide, 24 hours a day. We’re still working out how to shrink the Koh Chang Guide down to a manageable size but in the interim you can view and download our latest issue of Koh Chang Restaurants, Bars and Spas by clicking here on this red bit. It should open up in Adobe Reader, unless of course you don’t have Adobe Reader, in which case go here to get yourselves a copy. And of course things may go wrong, in fact they almost certainly will go wrong, so please help us out and let us know if you have any problems.

UPDATE: Now we have a version of the Koh Chang Guide ready to download. Click on this to access the goodness. We’ve sat on it, squashed it and squeezed it but it is still a pretty big file. However if you have a decent connection it shouldn’t take too long for you to be sampling the delights of the guide. Again if you have any problems with the download then let us know and we’ll try and sort it out.

“The Hut” is the impressively to-the-point rebranding of the old Thale Bungalows in Klong Prao. Rooms are clean, simple and economical and in an absolutely stunning location on Klong Prao beach at the mouth of a lagoon. The slightly more extravagantly named “The Hut Restaurant” is the old Klong Prao Seafood, also now under the same western management and also in a fantastic location. And if you ask nicely they might even play you a song.

Lights in the sky! The skies of White Sands Beach have recently been pierced by a mysterious beam. Not that mysterious as it transpires. About one minute of enquiries revealed that Jungle Queen bar in the new Chang Kao Plaza that was the old Grand View Plaza have got a pretty neat searchlight. You can check it out when you check out the newest plans to launch a “Koh Chang Walking Street.” This is what Chang Kao Plaza will now become on Friday and Saturday nights. Expect bars, restaurants, stalls and all of that classic walking street paraphernalia.

March 22nd: Site Updates

The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice some changes to the site. Firstly all of the maps have been updated so you can navigate the island with confidence. We’re also changing quite a few of the other pages as we get the chance.

Be careful who you drink with on White Sand Beach. Two Westerners were drugged and robbed in seperate incidents over the weekend. They both stated that they had got into conversation with two Thai ladies – presumably the same ones in each incident – and then woke up, minus valuables, late the following afternoon. It’s a jungle out there.

March 14th: Phew!

The new issues of our guides have finally gone off to print so we get a bit of a breather. Or time to catch up on all the other jobs we’ve been putting off anyway. There will be a new Koh Chang Guide along in a fortnight or so together with the new and improved Koh Chang Restaurants Bars and Spas. We have added a Spa section to the guide and have stuck a bigger and better map of Koh Chang in there. Pick up a copy from April 1st.

Pier 112 & English Education: Whilst in Trat recently we had a right cracking feed at Pier 112 down in the backpacker part of town. Really good Thai food in a pleasant garden by the water and well worth checking out. If you are a parent living on Koh Chang then you may be interested to learn that one of the schools in Trat has an English language teaching program. That’s why we were in Trat – enrolling Whitesands jnr. All subjects except, obviously, for Thai are taught in English by international teaching staff. contact us if you would like to know more.

January 27th: Spirited Away!

The image to the left might ring a bell. It pictures a small conurbation of Spirit Houses that used to be located at the top of the huge hill between White Sand Beach and Klong Son. Well recently they have all been removed to form a small shady little stopping place, a viewpointless viewpoint if you like.
Now this is all very well until you consider what Spirit Houses actually are. Thai people still have strong animist beliefs and so it is commonly held that all manner of spirits dwell in the trees of the forest. Spirit Houses are small shrines in which offerings are placed to keep the spirits appeased, chilled out and generally not angry.
But surely if you suddenly bulldoze a spirit’s shrine he (she/it?) is likely to be pretty displeased? We at White Sands Publications have slightly varying views on the actual threat posed by irate spirits but nevertheless we will be picking a different lay-by to stop for sandwiches and a thermos of tea.

 

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Koh Chang Weather

by Dave in Information Pages, Koh Chang News Comments Off on Koh Chang Weather

Koh Chang Weather Information

What is the weather on Koh Chang like?

This is by far the most common question that we are asked at the Koh Chang Guide.
It makes sense really – of course you want to know what kind of weather to expect on the dates that you are thinking of coming here.

And luckily it isn’t too hard to give an answer. So if you want a quick reply read below. We’ll break it down quickly into temperature and rainfall and then go into much more detail later on in case you are interested.

Question – Will it be warm on Koh Chang?

Answer – It is always warm on Koh Chang.

You might not be able to tell if there will be fierce sun, clouds or even rain but you can rest assured that tomorrow on Koh Chang, like every single day on Koh Chang, will be warm. The daily high temperature is typically 30 degrees Celsius although this can drop to 26-28 in “winter” which is in November-December and up to the high 30’s in the hot season of march and April. Admittedly some nights in “winter” the temperature can drop to 16 degrees or so but tiy’d hardly call that cold would you?

Question – Will it Rain on Koh Chang?

Answer  –  October to May: It is very unlikely to rain tomorrow

…and if it does it is likely to be a brief, maybe heavy, shower – followed by sunshine. Full days of rain at this time of year are very rare.

Answer  –  June – September: It might rain and it might not.

There are very many sunny days during the “rainy season”. And when it does rain it is often brief and very heavy. Days when it rains all day are rare, weeks even rarer. If you come to Koh Chang at this time of year expect some rain and some sunshine. You just can’t be sure which you’re going to get tomorrow.

That’s it – those are the simple answers –  hope they help!

…but it you have a little more time then read on below and we’ll give you a lot more detail on Thailand Weather and  Koh Chang weather systems, seasons and the factors that can cause changes from year to year.
Detailed Information on the weather in Koh Chang and Southeast Thailand.

And The Koh Chang Weather Forecast?

The Thai Meterological department does a decent job of predicting the Koh Chang weather on its Eastern Thailand Page.

A good detailed forecast is also available from Wunderground here. Keep in mind though that an 80% chance of rain tomorrow is NOT the same thing as it raining for 80% of the time tomorrow – might be just a quick shower.

The 3 Seasons of Koh Chang Weather

Koh Chang experiences three main annual seasons of weather. A cooler dry season that runs from (approximately!) November to December, a hot season from January to May and a rainy season from June to October.

The Cool Season on Koh Chang

Koh Chang’s Cool Season typically begins in late October/early November and lasts for a couple of months. This is the windiest time of the year as the prevailing winds shift and blow over the island from onshore Thailand (Why? – see the monsoon section below). These land-sourced winds are drier and cooler and stronger than the prevailing maritime winds. The wind usually blows stronger at night and drops off or stops completely in the day.

Humidity is at its lowest on the island and the skies are clear – all in all it’s a pretty great time for Koh Chang weather wise and the cooler evenings provide a nice respite from the heat of the sun.

The Hot Season on Koh Chang

The hot season begins around january and is signalled by the dropping off of the cool season winds. What happens then over the ensuing four or five months until the beginning of the monsoon in June is that it is sunny, still and increasingly hot. There isn’t a great deal of cloud cover so as the Northen Hemisphere moves into summer the increased heat provided by the sun makes temperatures get hotter and hotter. Rain is rare but not uncommon and typically takes teh form of short, localised heavy showers followed by more sunshine.

…Which as a visitor is probably what you’re looking for. Just be aware of the enrgy-sapping effects of the daytime sun, especially when it is coupled with high humidity. Use sunblock always and drink plenty of water. And if you’re planning anything energetic then do it in the morning or evening.

The Rainy Season: Monsoon on Koh Chang

The Southeast Asian Monsoon is one of the world’s largest and most dramatic weather systems. In the summer the Indian and East Asian land mass is hotter than the ocean to the south. This causes the air to heat and a large area of low pressure forms over the land. The air over the sea is relatively higher in pressure so warm wet air from the ocean flows over the land mass and causes rainfall – often a lot of rainfall.

In the winter the opposite occurs. Water heats much more slowly than land so it takes months and months for the sea to get to an average temperature that is greater than that of the land. But when this happens the air over the sea is at a lower pressure than that over the land and drier air is the result as the prevailing winds blow from the land out to the sea.

Online Weather Predictions and The Rainy Season
It’s easy to look at an online weather service and decide that the weather is going to be bad on Koh Chang. It seems that they predict thunderstorms every day for about five months of the year. This is highly misleading though. These storms, when they do occur are often very brief and often at night. I’m writing this on a beautiful sunny day in July. It’s been sunny all day for the last four days. I heard a thunderstorm during the night last night. But the online weather forecast tells me it’s rainy and stormy though and predicts the same for the next 8 days. But guess what? I’m here and they aren’t. So just make a little mental note not to set too much store by these gloomy predictions – they just don’t represent the truth
But if you really want to check the online weather forecast here it is!

Effect of the Sea on Koh Chang Weather

Koh Chang has a maritime climate – that means that it is influenced by the sea. Not surprising really – after all it is an island. The sea has a moderating influence on temperatures. So when the temperatures are high in Thailand they are slightly less high in Koh Chang than somewhere far inland like Chiang Mai. And the same is the case when temperatures are cooler. The cool season is much warmer in Koh Chang than it is in the north of Thailand.

Effect of Koh Chang’s Hills on Koh Chang Weather

Koh Chang is a very hilly island and this can lead to very localised weather conditions – especially during the monsoon season. As warm sea air rises over the island’s jungly peaks it cools, and as it cools its capacity to carry water decreases. So what happens to the extra water? It falls as rain. This can result in sudden showers in a meteorological effect that is known as relief or orographic rainfall. Often the effect is very localised so you can encounter a sudden downpour from one small cloud that just covers an area of a few hundred metres and the next beach may be totally dry and sunny. it keeps life interesting!

Big Weather – El Nino and La Nina

El Nino and La Nina refer to a cycle of temperature fluctuations in waters of the Pacific Ocean. In El Nino years the waters of the Eastern Pacific Ocean are warmer than normal and waters in the western pacific are cooler than normal.I n La Nina years this is reversed and the Eastern Pacific is cooler and the Western pacific warmer than normal.

So how does El Nino affect Koh Chang? High pressure and therefore moisture follow hot water so in El Nino years the relatively cooler waters around Thailand and Southeast asia can result in droughts and lower overall rainfall. Similarlt La Nina years – which generally follow on from El Nino ones cause higher rainfall in the Thailand in Koh Chang.

Global Warming and Koh Chang?

The Earth is getting warmer due to the influence of mankind. This isn’t open to debate unless you own an oil company or are spectacularly poorly informed, living in a cave or, well, just pretty dumb.
It’s hard to gauge how this is affecting the weather in Koh Chang though. It feels like things are a bit more mixed up than before but maybe that’s just subjective. Here’s a quick summary of the last couple of years to give you a feeling for how unpredictable things are.

2015 – Winter and the hot season were fairly typical but very low rain in the monsoon which didn’t get going properly until September which saw massively heavy rain.

2016 – The cool season occured late and was much cooler than usual and also ran long until mid-March. Then it got crazy hot fast and a drought ensued all over Thailand. Daily highs in May were in the high 30’s in Koh Chang. Then in June it RAINED. The heaviest and wettest start to the monsoon in years. Now – July – we are back to the on-off sunny/showery days that are typical of the monsoon.

Koh Chang Weather Photos – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

 

Posted on June 14, 2016 in Information Pages, Koh Chang NewsComments Off

Introducing The Koh Chang Newsletter We’re here to give you information about Koh Chang right? We do this here at this site, also at our Facebook page and of course in our printed guides. But it would be nice and easy to get all the news sent to you by email wouldn’t it? So now […]

 

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