05 May 2017
Rainy day this morning on Koh Chang and it doesn't seems it will stop in the afternoon.
What is or are the best things to do when it's raining if you don't want to stay inside your room, stuck watching TV or surfing the net? If you don't want to get wet, there isn't a lot to do except visiting bars and restaurants. Or why not use this opportunity to follow Thai cooking courses, there are few places teaching even during the low season.
Or if you have been thinking about getting tattooed, it's also the perfect time to do it. There are lots of tattooists on the island.
Otherwise if rain and getting wet doesn't bother you at all, jump in a taxi (I wouldn't recommend you to ride a scooter when roads are wet. Be safe, roads are slippery) or order a guide and visit the island. There are nice places, even when the sky is grey. Waterfalls are at their best now, places which are busy during the high season are now very quiet and peaceful.
And if the weather is grey and wet, you can still get nice evenings. Here is a nice shot from Jonathan Milnes, aka The Koh Chang Photographer.
I have added a new restaurant in the places that I recommend to visit.
Suncity View is new restaurant located in Lonely Beach and managed by Miss Kiekie, a lovely woman whose big passion is cooking. The restaurant is at about 10 minutes walk from the centre of the village and it’s just in front of the beach. It’s opened daily from 10.30 am to 10.30 pm, all the year, even during the low season.
Kiekie loves to revisit the traditional Thai cooking but also to cook healthy. On the opposite way, her desserts are just huge and full of calories.
29 May 2017
What's up in Koh Chang? Will it rain tomorrow, after-tomorrow or next week? Will it also rain next year in May?
This is one of the most asked questions I receive and one of the most difficult to answer. I still haven't found a reliable weather guru and I'm not sure anybody will be able to answer to those questions.
Last year the monsoon or rainy season if you prefer was dry, Koh Chang needed water, lots of reservoirs were almost empty or totally empty.
This year rain started earlier and it has been very wet and cloudy. But the weather is changing very fast, the sky has been sometimes clear in the morning and raining cats and dogs in the afternoon. It's not only raining in Koh Chang, there are big floods in other parts of Thailand.
(Left: north end of Klong Prao beach. Right: Bang Bao bay view from Bhuvarin Resort)
And like it's the rainy season, the sea is not safe anymore, there are strong rip currents, that's why there are red flags on beaches. Every year some people think they know how to swim and they are stronger than the sea and every year those people drown, ending their holidays in a wooden box. Don't be as stupid, when you see a red flag, stay on the sand!
Rainy season means also low season for local businesses and if the wet weather doesn't bother you, you can get very good deals in hotels and resorts.
Boonya Resort in Klong Prao for example has now a good offer. I really like the family atmosphere of this small but very nice resort. Guests are more considered as family members than customers. Christine, the General Manager, is a lovely and helpful person.
In Thailand, there are lots of mushrooms species which are used in Thai cooking and almost all of them come from mushroom farms.
Blue Lagoon Resort also in Klong Prao has started to produce their own mushrooms which will be used at their restaurant. The first harvest was a success with beautiful Oyster mushrooms. They are now planning to add other species inside their Mushroom Hut.
Blue Lagoon Thai Cooking School is now closed for the low season. They will open again next October.
This is one of the best places to discover or to learn more about Thai Cooking in a natural and peaceful environment. The Chef is a culinary artist, her dishes are as beautiful as delicious.
Here is for example a revisited basic sticky rice with fresh mango and coconut milk. One of my favourites, it's so delicious!
Since 2012, Little Eden from Lonely Beach has been awarded by TripAdvisor. This small gem is located away from the busy center of the village. It belongs to the hidden places you won't find on any online booking website. David, the owner, is doing his best for his guests, he knows everything about the island and speaks English, German but also Thai.
This Pizza Meatloaf is available today at Restaurant & Metzgerei Baum in Klong Prao, on the road to Klong Plu waterfall? Served with a potatoes salad for 150 baht!
The good side of the rainy season is that waterfalls are not dry. Teerasak from Thomas Koch Travel & Adventure and Paitoon from Blues Blues Arts & Food restaurant (which is a very nice restaurant by the way) really don't care about the rain and as you can see it on the following picture, they have a lot of fun.
18 May 2017
It's not raining men, just cats and dogs here in Koh Chang.
Yesterday afternoon after a morning heavy rain a big tree and electricity poles went down in Lonely Beach, cutting the road traffic for few hours.
The Koh Chang Rescue was again working until late in the evening to clean the road. They could try their brand new chainsaw.
Thank you to everybody who donated, The Koh Chang Rescue collected enough money to buy this new chainsaw which will be very useful. The rescuer doesn't look very happy on this picture but believe me, they really enjoy this new tool and the effort people have done to help them to get it.
This heavy rain is a good opportunity to visit the gym and eliminate the extra calories taken with all those good food and drinks. Koh Chang Gym is opened daily from 9.00 to 20.00, even during the low season. So no excuses anymore to skip the training ;)
Check out this low season offer!
T.P. Hut Bungalows which is located in a quiet area of Pearl beach has now a very interesting deal starting at 250 bath per night. The place is close to the nature and of course to the jungle, very nice to relax, the owners are very helpful and they also rent scooters.
And finally, I kept the best for the end.
Suncity View which is located in Lonely Beach is now proposing fresh and healthy meals which can be ordered directly from their Facebook page or by phone (087-6111601). In few minutes they will deliver them to you and for free if you order more than 5 boxes. The menu is changing often and the food are delicious. You can even store them in your fridge or freezer and eat them later after been warmed in a microwave. Give them a try, you won't be disappointed!
14 May 2017
Today is a very sad day for me, my best friend has passed away after fighting for 2 years against a cancer.
You maybe know him or have heard about him, his name is Somroob Robkok, also known as Ing from Ing Taxi. I met Somroob few years ago and we became immediately friends. He was very kind, honest, polite, sincere and working hard for his family, wife and young son.
Very often people were asking me how they could book a serious and safe driver from Suvarnabhumi airport to Koh Chang or vice versa. I then decided to propose Somroob who drove me few times but also some of my friends and we all liked him. He was very careful on the road and he was taking a big care of his customers.
When I proposed to Somroob to add him to my website he was very happy and he offered me a commission for each trip he will get. Making money with this website or with my Facebook page is not my purpose. I promote my friends and people or businesses I like, not customers. It's a big difference for me. Friendship is priceless.
So we agreed that instead of commissions - that most of people would accept - he gives better prices to his customers and keeps his good services. If his customers are happy, then he will be happy and I will be happy too.
This is how our friendship started.
Ing Taxi started to grow and to respond to the demands, Ing was working with his best friends, that he called his Team Mates. Other taxi drivers applying the same rules than him, driving safely and taking care of their customers.
2 years ago Ing called me after a visit to the doctor. He noticed his neck was a bit swollen, he didn't have any pain but just went to have some medical tests to check what it was.
The result was a big shock. He had a lung and bone cancer stage 4. Him, who didn't smoke, didn't drink, had a healthy life got the worse disease you can get, a fucking cancer! I remember that he first tried Thai herbal treatment but after few weeks he resigned and went to Bangkok hospital to get radiations and chemo treatments. Since the day he told me he had a cancer I contacted him every day to show him that he was not alone and he can count on me.
The first chemo treatments were very bad, his body couldn't take them and medicines were very expensive. His Team Mates started to collect money for his family to help them. I also helped his wife to open a Paypal account and with some of his friends we transferred money to pay a part of the treatments.
End of 2015 after a medical checking they found out the cancer was gone. Imagine our joy, he survived, we were all very happy. But it was a short happiness. April 2016 the cancer was back and worse than last time. We all the time had a small hope even if we were thinking that it's maybe too late.
Somroob has been very strong, fighting against the pain, getting more and more chemo, losing more and more weight and getting weaker and weaker. The last months have just been pain for him, several times he told me that he was tired to fight and now he wanted to die.
The past weeks were harder, also for his wife who was spending her days and nights at the hospital watching him dying slowly. He couldn't move anymore, he couldn't talk and at the end he couldn't eat. Difficult to stand in front of the person you love and who is dying sowly. The only thing I succeeded to do is to sometimes make him smile.
This morning Ning, his wife announced me the sad news. Ing left us. He was sleeping and then.....
But Ing Taxi is not dead, his wife and his Team Mates will continue to honour him. You can continue to use the same contact information, his wife will reply and his friends will continue to drive you as they did before.
Ing, I love you and I will never forget you! Now you are an Angel and I know you are watching us ;) I already miss you!
09 May 2017
Last week there has been 2 storms on Koh Chang which broke trees and electricity poles. Nobody has been hurt but again the main road near Lonely Beach was cut for several hours. As always, Koh Chang Rescue volunteers were there to clean and reopen the road.
All the equipment they have comes from donations and they really need a big chainsaw. They have been raising funds to buy this chainsaw but they still need 6000 baht. If you are in Koh Chang and are ready to help them, you can donate at the Koh Chang Rescue station in Chai Chet, nearby the crocodile show. Every baht counts!
If by chance you are working in a chainsaw manufacturing company or if you know somebody working there, any kind of logging equipment is also welcome and the Koh Chang Rescue would love to be sponsored. They protect us and help us all year long, day and night, no matter the weather conditions that's why we also need to help them.
This type of equipment would be a huge improvement for The Koh Chang Rescue, not even the chainsaw but also the safety equipment which is for now non-existent.
Here are some of the pictures I have received from some of the Facebook followers. Thank you very much!
Thank you to "Ba Boune", Aneta Haywire, Aleksandr Rakutin and Max Mblc for those beautiful pictures!
Meanwhile, Teerasak from Thomas Koch Travel & Adventure is enjoying his time in the jungle. He is one of the best nature and jungle guides you can find on Koh Chang.
05 May 2017
Very often people are asking me how to do if they have an early flight from Bangkok to their home country.
Leaving Koh Chang the same day is impossible if you need to be at the Suvarnabhumi Airport very early. The first ferry starts at 6:30am, the first plane from Trat airport leaves at 8:45am which means you will never succeed to leave from Bangkok Suvarnabhumi airport before 11:00am in the best case. You will have to sacrifice the last evening and spend it near the airport or sleep inside the airport which is not the nicest way to end your holidays.
If you want to travel with a minimum of stress, just leave Koh Chang one day before your departure from Bangkok. Travel by plane, by bus, by shared minibus or with a private driver without been obliged to look at your watch every 10 minutes wondering if you will make it.
Once at a airport hotel, just enjoy your last evening in Thailand and be as relax as you can. Almost all airport hotels offer a 24-hour shuttle service to the airport (most of the time for free).
I have already reviewed 2 airport hotels where I have stayed, Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport and Best Western Premier Amaranth Suvarnabhumi Airport. Both are nice and very close to the airport.
Le Méridien Suvarnabhumi, Bangkok Golf Resort & Spa is a 5-star and new hotel, more luxurious than the 2 previous I visited. I saw a very good deal on Booking.com and I decided to spend 2 nights and see if it was a good choice or not.
I booked a "Grande Club Room" which was named on the booking website "SPG Member Room" which included the breakfast, free Wi-Fi and other benefits. When I checked-in I was sure to not be in Koh Chang anymore, it was a completely different style and environment, you won't find backpackers in this hotel.
The Concierge brought us to our room and when he opened the door my first word was "wow". The room was very spacious, the large bathroom was opened to the room, a chic and modern decoration and a wide balcony with a beautiful view to the golf course.
It's not a cheap hotel but you get what you are paying for, even more than what you have paid. This hotel is for now the best one I can recommend close to the airport. If you can, spend more than a night, the pleasure will be bigger.
02 May 2017
Another long weekend has gone and Koh Chang is now back to the low season mood and it's again very calm.
So what has happened the last days?
Saturday early in the morning we had a big storm with very strong winds. There hasn't been any big damages except on the main road between Klong Son and White Sand Beach, just on the big hills. Huge trees went down, cutting electric cables and shutting down the traffic for several hours. But the most important is that nobody got injured and luckily this happened when there was no traffic.
Again, thank you to the volunteers of The Koh Chang Rescue who did their best to remove the trees and clean the road.
In the afternoon the sky was blue again and the good weather was back. This is Koh Chang, nobody can predict the weather and it can change very fast.
And like these trees cutting the road were not enough, there were several hours waiting lines on the mainland going to the pier.
On Sunday the weather was beautiful like nothing has happened the day before. But keep in mind that the rainy season will start soon. It can still be warm and sunny like it can rain cats and dogs.
And as always when there are long weekends or Thai holidays, people who came to Koh Chang will leave from Koh Chang which means there was again very long waiting queue in Koh Chang on Monday. At around noon, the queue was up to White Sand Beach.
Since last Saturday, Yoga courses have started again every morning at 8.00 am at Blue Lagoon Resort. This time of the day and this place are perfect for relaxation. If you want more information about the courses, contact Blue Lagoon directly or send me a message and I will forward it.
This year several whale sharks have been seen at the HTMS Chang Wreck. This is a beautiful, impressive and harmless animal.
There is still a free Padi open water diving course to win. This is organised by The Koh Chang Guide in association with BB Divers. To participate, just enter your name here: http://bit.ly/2oQ7jho
The new ferry service from Sattahip (45 minutes from Pattaya downtown) to Bang Bao in Koh Chang should start this month. This ferry will bring only passengers, no vehicles, not even bikes, just 90 pedestrians.
It has already been announced few weeks ago but there isn't any real information about the time tables and prices. The tickets should be around 1200 baht per person and it should be 3 hours faster than driving.
They will also operated trips from Sattahip to Hua Hin and the price announced is 1250 baht per passenger.
There are now different opinions. Some people are scared that the tranquility of Koh Chang disappears, locals see a good business opportunity and others think it's a good thing and will avoid dangerous road trips.
Let's see how things will progress!
26 April 2017
There are 2 more places I would like to recommend you in Koh Chang.
The first one is Suncity View, located in Lonely Beach, it's a new restaurant owned and managed by Miss Kiekie, a lovely woman whose big passion is cooking.
Her food are very good and not expensive at all, from the traditional Pad Thai to the Western Burger, and all re-visited in her own way and style.
The restaurant is opened daily from 10.30 am to 10.30 pm and there is free Wi-Fi.
I like the relaxing atmosphere, inside the restaurant or outside on the beach. Evenings are fantastic, watching the sunset, and enjoying the food and drinks. Drinks are awesome, whether for the Thai style milk ice tea, the shakes, the smoothies or her special Breezer cocktails.
And the most amazing are the Snow-ices, a huge mountain of flavoured ice covered with sweet sauces, ice-creams and other delicious toppings and surrounded by home made cakes and fresh fruits.
For about 360 baht you will get a huge dessert. It may sound a bit expensive but you will get for your money and if you succeed to eat it all, you won't need another one.
And for about 50 baht you can get a dish with crab salad rolls and an omelette for example, which is quite cheap.
The second place I would like to recommend is in a totally different style and area. It's Baum's Restaurant & Butchers Shop, more exactly knows as Restaurant & Metzgerei Baum. This place is owned by Holger Baum, a Bavarian butcher who has also a big passion for his work and has an old and long experience.
The restaurant is located in Klong Prao, on the road to Klong Plu waterfall.
Holger is doing himself all kind of sausages, hams, bacons, schnitzels, meatloaves and other German specialties, using only natural and fresh ingredients. You can eat at his restaurant or buy and take away. Meat lovers will enjoy this place!
If you feel comfortable to drive in Koh Chang, Holger has also 2 cars which can be rented per day, per week or per month.
If you want to get in touch with Holger, you can contact him from his Facebook personal page or call him on 092 597 1665.
24 April 2017
Songkran fever has gone. The island has been like every year, very busy and noisy during this long weekend but now everybody has left and the calm is back.
Beaches are totally empty and resorts have started to propose lower rates. Look at the links below, you may find some very good deals.
The weather is now very hot, cloudy with a burning wind and it's the time of the year where tides are very low making the beaches very wide.
Danny Tattoo from Lonely Beach is renting a fully furnished room with aircon and a motorbike. The rent can be per day, per month or even per year. Located on the main road, close to all Lonely Beach activities and at only 50 meters from the beach.
If you are interested, please contact Danny directly on his Facebook page or send me a message or email and I will forward it to him.
The excellent Koh Chang Guide is now organising, in association with BB Divers, a lottery to win a PADI Open Water Diver Course (or two Discover Scuba Diving courses, or 4 free two tank fun dives, no cash equivalent) to be taken before June 30th 2018.
How to participate? Nothing more easy, just enter your name here: http://bit.ly/2oQ7jho
12 April 2017
Another resort has been added to my recommended list. Nature Beach Resort is located on the south part of Lonely Beach. It's a resort for budget travellers who are looking for some comfort but also for a beautiful beach front, a swimming-pool, a bar, a restaurant and lots of fun.
They have different types of bungalows spread in their natural tropical garden. The Rocks bar and restaurant are famous for their good and cheap food but also for the location, right in front of the beach. DJ parties are organised during the high season attracting hundreds of people.
Tomorrow will start Songkran which is the biggest water fight festival in Thailand and the traditional Thai New Year.
It will be celebrated from the 13th to 15th of April. It was originally celebrated as a way for the Thai people to sprinkle water on their family members and elders for good fortune and pay their respects to images of the beloved Buddha. Today, the festival has transitioned into 3 days of water play fun, splashing locals and visitors alike with buckets of water, water hoses and super soakers as they gather in the streets.
If you are visiting Thailand for the first time and haven't heard about Songkram, be prepared. If you go outside, protect all which is not waterproof like your passport, camera, phone,... into plastic bags or waterproof bags. And remember, it's just fun!
Songkran is not all about water fights out on the streets. There is a more traditional side of the new year festival that is celebrated inside temples. This involves the bathing of Buddha images and monks with scented water. Unlike the water fights with big guns and buckets, in temples a small bowl is used to gently pour water onto the hands of the monks.
If you can, come to visit Wat Klong Prao (Klong Prao temple) even if you are not Buddhist. The temple is celebrating Songkran and is looking like a small fair. The evening is the best time for the visit and just nearby is a small market where you can buy all kind of street food as well as clothes, shoes and all kind of "fashion" accessories.
There are other rituals and merit-making rites that people engage in at Songkran. In addition to the traditional cleaning of the home and bidding the old year adieu, these include making offerings to local temples and to the monks. The offerings include preserved foods cooked dishes, fresh fruits and new robes for the monks. People build also sand piles on the temple grounds and these sand piles represent personal pagodas built as part of the merit-making ritual.
(pictures: Songkran 2016 in Koh Chang)