December 15th: Wheear ‘as ta bin sin ah saw thee?
The 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!
We 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
It’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
We 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
The 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
Some 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.