Koh Chang - Still Here
Bang Bao Shops
Ouch again, despite the benefit of a nightcap or two, last night was again a pretty uncomfortable affair due to the hard mattress. Mission today is find another hotel as well as some general exploring while I still have the motorbike.
Decided to head south towards Lonely Beach, passed through Kai Bae which is positively quaint compared to Klong Prao, with lots of restaurants and shops by the roadside. You have to turn off the main road to get to the beach, which is ok but lots of little rocks to beware of when walking barefoot on the beach but one or two nice resorts there anyway.
The main road itself goes up and down very steeply as it twists and turns through the jungle, quite scenic actually.
Got to Lonely Beach a bit further on and although it was sandy it's actually quite coarse sand so not that much to write home about. One end is dominated by an upmarket resort with concrete built huts while the other end is pretty basic huts in two or three rows back to the main road. Here the beach turns into rocks although there is a pretty cool restaurant come chill out area at this point.
Carried on along the main road a bit further until I saw some signs at a turning which I followed for about a kilometre until I got to a couple of resorts on the peninsular at the bottom of Koh Chang. One of these was the Nirvana Resort which looked pretty cool and in a very scenic location. One side overlooked a large calm bay with what looked like a fisherman's village built on stilts jutting out to sea, this was actually Bang Bao.
I rejoined the main road until I got to the turning for Bang Bao, cool I thought I’d be able check out this authentic fisherman’s village!
Well it may have been a fisherman’s village in the past but not so now, every single building there was devoted to tourism, nothing but gift shops, expensive restaurants, accommodation and coffee shops. Lots of mostly Russian and Scandinavian tourists it seems too. So took a few snaps and hopped on the bike back to my hotel.
On the way back passed a microlight strip where apparently they will take up paying passengers, hopefully not in this aircraft (see pic), might check it out later.
That evening I decided to head back to Lonely Beach as I’d noticed several ads for a party that night on the beach so I thought I’d check it out. Just as I got to one of the mid ranged resorts along the beach it started to rain, I quickly parked up the bike and raced to the restaurant for cover getting there just as the heavens opened. I managed to find a table inside the main building free which I nabbed, just as well because people seated under "cover" outside were getting wet from the numerous leaks! Had fried fish with chilli and mixed veg and a drink for about B350 very good value. After it had stopped raining I wandered down the beach to check out the party but it looked like the rain had put paid to that event!
Driving back was interesting along those very dark, twisting, steep wet roads! Back to WSB (White Sand Beach) for a couple beers as usual then! That night it was the bar owners birthday and the staff had a made a cake for him which they then handed out to the rest of the staff and customers. However, and I don’t know if this is some kind of Thai tradition, but some kind of food fight erupted where everyone, including me, was daubed with bits of birthday cake. Very funny but a bit messy! Meanwhile back at the hotel decided to sleep on the sofa, a lot softer than the bed.
Well that was a lot more comfortable last night than sleeping on the bed, however I’m checking out today and have decided to move to the Koh Chang Resortel with it’s Olympic sized swimming pool, the only one in Thailand apparently according to the literature.
It’s the same price B1500 (£30) a night so hopefully the bed is a bit softer although it’s a bit lacking in character, still I don’t want to spend my whole time here searching for hotels. I’ve decided to stay for four nights and then head off to Chang Mai.
The place has free WiFi but again it’s not a very strong signal and only just reaches the room so you sometimes have to take your computer to the reception or restaurant area to get internet access.
In the evening with no motorbike I decided to take a songteow into the bright lights of WSB for something to eat. Stopped one passing by and jumped in the back, there was one other person already in it. After five minutes I rang the bell to stop as we entered WSB and went to pay. The driver asked for B50 which was a bit over the top as a ten to fifteen minute trip normally only costs B50 (according to the price list posted in the back of the last one I travelled in). Even as I queried it the driver was getting all defensive, "no mister all one price, 50 baht". Well as I hadn’t checked the price before jumping in there was no point in arguing so I just paid up, however the person in the back with me had also got out and when they went to pay they did argue the toss. Probably should have gone back to give them moral support but ended up leaving them arguing away.
Had a whole fish again for dinner but not as good as the last ones, asked for chilli sauce but it was more of a curry sauce. After dinner I thought I’d walk back to the hotel partly for the exercise and partly to make up for being ripped off earlier. Ended up taking half an hour but on the dark sections of road between built up areas got a great view of the stars as it was a clear night, you see can so many more when away from light pollution.