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Nyezhov

Koh Chang Be the Place!

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OK @CharlieH here be your trip report.

 

It was a whim, mind you, I was going to go to Ranong but changed my mind the night before and got myself all psyched up for the last 999 bus out of Ekkamai at 9am, avoid Trat, right to the Pier, nice, wake up at 6, charge out the door....

 

Not.  Nope. Be at Ekkamai at 9am? Mandatory getting up early for this fat man is for three reasons only: Immigration, LT and to annoy Spawn. Otherwise, its get up when the body says so and the body said so at 8am and Im not going to ruch my perfect morning coffee just to hurry to ride a bus to save some time and maybe 30 baht, so I ended up with the Government bus to Trat to central pier.

 

Let me digress here, here is how you get to Koh Chang, from my area in Bangkok:

 

Govt Bus 999 from Ekkamai to Koh Chang Pier, Ferry, then Mini Bus or Taxi into town, 6 hours about 600 baht. Last bus at 9am.

Central Pier Bus (there is some bus company name but I dont know it) to Trat Station, then Taxi to Pier, then Ferry, then Minimbus into town, about 6.5-7 hours, 600 bahtish

Mini Bus and Ferry and Minibus again, about 6 hours.

Fly for about $200, one hour to DMK, 1 hour in DMK, 45 mins in air, 45 mins on ground, then Taxi to pier, etc, still about 4 hours plus in travel time.

Private car, 2500-3K, about 5 hours I hear.

 

Its basically an all dayer. Ce la vie.

 

So anywho, I hit Ekkamai for an 11 am bus, buy me ticket (230B), chill, etc. The bus is chock full so I am luckily assigned to a seat with a cool Euro dude who lives with his gf on KC and speaks English and smokes weed, so the ride is fairly pleasant and smoke filled (especially when we had a 20 minute break cuz the bus blew a tire). Arrive at Trat, pile 10 folks into a Songthaew/Baht Bus, I had Frenchies in the bus so the ride consisted of listening to them babble in Frog for 20 minutes in the dark speeding down roads in the bed of a pickup. Nice. 80B. Then to the Ferry pier office. 100 baht. Into a Minibus with a little sticker on my chest 100 baht. Nice Ferry ride, all meet on the other side, cram into our bus and head to town.

 

Now I decided that I was going to stay in White Sands Beach, which is the original adult resort community. It has a nice mix of places to stay, and the nicest developed beach are on the Island. So thats the first stop. Off we go, packed in a Van, climbing up the Koh Chang Mountains with switchbacks and all. Kind of reminded me of some roads in Alaska, except we dont drive those at night and there arent looneytics on bikes coming the other way.  The road, to put it mildly, aint a good one, although the paving is nice. No lights either.

 

Get dropped off at Cookies Hotle. I picked it on the Ferry. Talk to the dudes inside, the basic Oh you want that price use Agoda, yadda, yadda, 2300B about per night for a second floor facing the beach balcony room....right on!

 

Cookie Hotel is a bit worn but spotlessly clean. The staff is totally cool. The rooms are big and clean. The bathroom needs updating and the water pressure sucks. It was nicer than my last resort Room in say Puerto Rico at 2.5 times the price. You are 25 meters from the nicest stretch of civilized beach on the Island.

 

Anyway, I spent the next few days cruising around. The means are: rent a Scooter. Rent a Car. Take the Taxis, which are the ubiquitous pickups. Taxi rates during the day are fixed. 150 baht from White Sands to the main diving Pier at Bang Bao. Its about 35 minutes in nasty conditions. At night, from Beach to beach (say after 8ish) you are probably going to get hosed hard.

 

So most folks rent scooters, which I will deal with forthwith, after titillating your senses with the fact that there is a small, quiet Beer Bar area in White Sands beach. Bar fines ar 500B. Lady drinks at 150. Long time stayers get the prime stuff.

 

Maybe if you keep reading I will tell you more. 

 

Besides looking around and using my keen sense of observation, as well as my superhuman means of analysis far superior to any Australians, I spent quite some time talking to folks. Basically, the communities run White Sands, Khlong Prong, Kai Bae, Lonely Beach and Bang Bo. White Sands is for families and is mostly Euro tourists. Thats where the Makro is. Then Khlong Prong is for more long stayers, cheap charlies, guys on the run, weirdos, more adventurous families and the like. The beach isnt as nice, but far cheaper to stay. Lots of Russians. Thais hate Russians. Lonley beach is like Khao San Road, enough said. Bangbo is where the boats go to the outlying islands and where the fishing is, there are homestays right on the water which are actually pretty nice if you like a monks cell decorated with hippie beads and a lot of Om chanting beaded millennials and sandals wearing folks in search of themselves who dont like to party heavily like at Lonely Beach where the action keeps going till dawn, every night.

 

Every area has a well heeled resort, so that across the road from 300B a night Bungalow there might be a 5000B a night resort. But, generally, White Sands is the overall Spendiest followed by Bang Bo, Kai Bae, Khlong Phrong, Lonely.

 

All the various areas are separated by a nasty road. The road from White Sands to Kai Bae is OK as roads go, from Kai Bae to Bang Bo its is a horrorshow of hairpin turns, blind cliffside curves and insane drivers. My humble opinion: anyone who cannot successfully drive a scooter in Bangkok Rush hour is an idiot for trying to drive one in Koh Chang. Accidents are constant. I rode the front seat of a taxi the whole length of the Island and was absolutely astonished at the utter as*holishness of the falangs on those scooters. Then add the thai craziness and the bad roads, forget it. Then add 3x the number of folks for high season.

 

And thats the problem of this paradise. Ya need wheels. That means a car. The locals say minimum 1600cc car. That opens the whole Island to you, cuz there is cool stuff on the other side.

 

Prices wise, there is no street food in White Sands, obviously, a resort area. A good burger plate was 230B (it was a good burger too). A huge bowl of Seafood Pasta at an Italian Restaurant ran me 350 with Garlic Bread. Fabulous Beach Thai food, 400. There looks to be Thai style street food and markets in Khlong Prong, so local prices are available.

 

Anyway, I rolled around, toured around, took some pics, met with a real estate agent, bathed in the bathwater sea, ate some fresh fish, etc. Had the most wonderful moment of my life when I waded in the water up to my neck, smoked a blunt and watched the sun set. Not one other person in the water within 400 meters. Priceless.

 

Anyway, this looks to be next years venue for a few months. Beachfront bungalows in Kai Bae are about 22K per month, you can get town apartments for 9K, there are condos in the 30-40K range in isolated areas. All the beaches are public, even at white sands, you just drive, park and walk between the resorts. The hardest thing for me will be the car since I just need a cheap clunker for the day to day use and occasional climbing the hills. Lots and lots of stuff to take pics of...there are even monkeys. Plus I will actually need to cook, not like you can walk outside and grab some noodles. We shall see.

 

 

PS Russians can be so rude. I forgot, the ride out, the usual Minibus from Hell, my hotel to Chong Nonsi BTS, leave 11:30, arrive 7:15. The passengers were the worst part of the ride, the diver was only a half crazy one. 600B

 

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Informative and intetesting, thanks for taking the time to post it. I am sure many people considering visiting the island will find this useful.

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28 minutes ago, CharlieH said:

Informative and intetesting, thanks for taking the time to post it. I am sure many people considering visiting the island will find this useful.

its a nice place. Im sure that during high season its a madhouse but I think I will aim for October to March. My Visa is up at the end of january and I can then go from there to Cambo and get another visa.

 

For someone like me, mostly a daytime guy, it looks cool. Lots of things to photograph and do. For example fishing trips are 1500 a full day, and I know once I get settled in I can get a better rate.

 

Im going to try to go down there again before I book out of here. Need to check more logistics. And figure out the car thing.

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I used to go there up until about 8 years ago. I knew the place well enough to know where the undercover cop lived who coordinated the drug busts. From time to time they would do a sweep of mainly foreigners - and they were not just busting them for weed.

 

That road on the developed side of the island was indeed a nightmare to ride on a motorbike, which was another reason for giving up going there. And there seemed to be a lot of tension between folks who owned businesses there. After some friends I knew there moved on, I stopped putting it on my list.

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interesting post a few observations from previous trips there... is there not a market of vendors sets up every night near the center of town along the road selling bbq, dishes, shakes etc?  it was there a couple years ago when i was last there?

 

also I spoke with a guy who lived there for a number of years and he said someone dies on the roads every day... be very careful i can tell you from personal observation it is not just the traffic, hairpins etc. but in many spots i have noticed there is little or no gravel mix in the asphalt which will make it like a skating rink when wet or very hot...

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25 minutes ago, tlandtday said:

interesting post a few observations from previous trips there... is there not a market of vendors sets up every night near the center of town along the road selling bbq, dishes, shakes etc?  it was there a couple years ago when i was last there?

 

also I spoke with a guy who lived there for a number of years and he said someone dies on the roads every day... be very careful i can tell you from personal observation it is not just the traffic, hairpins etc. but in many spots i have noticed there is little or no gravel mix in the asphalt which will make it like a skating rink when wet or very hot...

Dude Im not riding a bike there. Period. The roads are nasty.

 

The "Night Market" in White Sand is just a few carts selling snacks. Don't know about the other places, I did see markets on the side of the road in the Thai areas (near Khlong Prong.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Nyezhov said:

Dude Im not riding a bike there. Period. The roads are nasty.

 

The "Night Market" in White Sand is just a few carts selling snacks. Don't know about the other places, I did see markets on the side of the road in the Thai areas (near Khlong Prong.

 

 

I think koh chang would be great for a month or two but i am not sure about longer term particularly to be avoided in the rainy season as koh chang is the rainiest spot in thailand at that time...

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2 minutes ago, tlandtday said:

I think koh chang would be great for a month or two but i am not sure about longer term particularly to be avoided in the rainy season as koh chang is the rainiest spot in thailand at that time...

Thats why October to February. 

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Its Klong Prao beach. Yes its mostly families, hence why we stayed there. Lots of affordable Thai food and there are Thai markets for fruit and the such. A nice variety of beach barbecues at night as well. 

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First went in 2005, really liked kc then and kept going for a no. of years even had a bar there at one point , not so many customers though.So much building has taken place since but still my favourite island.

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What a Fun read!

 

...Was just looking at Trat and island possibilities and 93$ one way flights from Bangkok no advance needed...

 

How's the public transport on that island? Any buses or songtaew?

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Happystance said:

How's the public transport on that island? Any buses or songtaew?

 

To retiterate my post above

 

4 hours ago, Nyezhov said:

Anyway, I spent the next few days cruising around. The means are: rent a Scooter. Rent a Car. Take the Taxis, which are the ubiquitous pickups. Taxi rates during the day are fixed. 150 baht from White Sands to the main diving Pier at Bang Bao. Its about 35 minutes in nasty conditions. At night, from Beach to beach (say after 8ish) you are probably going to get hosed hard.

 

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An entertaining read. I'll let the "superhuman analysis" bit pass, as I know you only put it in there in an attempt to extract my urine.

Smart move to resist the temptation of a scooter. Where were the bar ladies mostly from?

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one of the rare entertaining and informative postings... thanks.

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10 minutes ago, Lacessit said:

An entertaining read. I'll let the "superhuman analysis" bit pass, as I know you only put it in there in an attempt to extract my urine.

Smart move to resist the temptation of a scooter. Where were the bar ladies mostly from?

No I put it there to remind you of your place in the cosmic pecking order...merely human. Get a US Green Card and you will rise above the flotsam and jetsam of your nation.

 

I spoke to two. One was from Saraburi, the other from Khorat.

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