Koh Chang Ten Years Ago

Koh Chang in 1994

As you are reading this, I should already be swimming in the sea or lying on the beach on Koh Chang. I will be away for about four days so I hope everyone will behave in my absence! At this moment in time I am not sure what to expect. It has been ten years since I last went to Elephant Island. I am sure things have changed but I wonder how much? Surely they will have electricity by now and not just generators. Maybe even some shops. I hear they have a proper road now. I wonder if they have an internet café? That would be cool. I could write a blog for you from this tropical island!

Today I thought I would share with you my diary from my previous trip ten years ago. That was back in the days when backpackers sent letters home the slow way and had to wait three months for a reply. I would have loved to have been able to write a blog back then. I never really liked writing by hand. I would have written so much more on a computer. It is funny now reading these words that I wrote ten years ago. How naive I was when I first landed in Thailand! I thought I was only going to stay a week or two! Anyway, here are some extracts from my journal written all those years ago:

Friday 4th March 1994: In Trat we were met by a pick-up truck taxi who of course knew where we wanted to go. It was about 25 minutes to Laem Ngop which is the boat jetty for koh Chang (Koh is Thai for island and chang means elephant). By a stroke of luck, there was a full boat waiting to go. It was then an hours journey to the east side of the island and a half an hours drive on a rough dirt track to the beach resorts on the west side.

I am staying in a small beach hut at the top of a palm-fringed beach. The sun was going down as we arrived so I cannot really give you a better description than that. So, I will tell you more tomorrow.

Saturday 5th to Monday 7th March 1994: I have had quite an enjoyable three day break on Koh Chang. People have been telling me that this island is like Koh Samui and Phuket (pronounced booket) 10 years ago. So many foreigners (farang to the locals) visit the latter two places that you are apparently tripping up over them all the time. I won’t say the population on this island is sparse but certainly there are not that many people on my stretch of beach. Probably less than half a dozen. Quite often the restaurant is empty when I eat there.

I have a small hut to myself which has a balcony with a table and bench. It is shaded by a coconut palm tree. So, it is important not to park oneself under one of those trees for a prolonged period of time otherwise you might pay the consequence. At high tide the sea is literally five metres away. I don’t have my own bathroom but what do you expect for only 50 baht.

I have occupied my time by walking along the beach in either direction, walking inland through forests, reading my novel, learning Thai with the locals and of course doing a bit of swimming. In the early evening I quite enjoy finding a deserted stretch of beach to watch the sun go down below the horizon. The light projecting a golden path on the sea.

All very good and comfy for a while, but once the novel ran out of pages I knew it was time to leave. I have noted that some farangs seem to be permanent fixtures here. Apart from the ones that seem to own the resort I am in, there are also several restaurants with farangs running them. Another example is an Irish guy who is here with his five year old son. You will have some indication of their length of stay when I say that the kid can speak elementary Thai! This is not actually uncommon as I have been to a number of places now where I have seen people who have decided to make an extended stay in the Kingdom of Thailand. I can see what the attraction is.

[The next story is called “Road Trip to Koh Chang”]

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