So, imagine a tropical paradise… an island that is small enough to drive the outside in a day, the centre a mountain range with dense impenetrable rainforest, ringed with an azure sea and fringed with tiny islands edged with coral reef, all topped off with pristine beaches lined with hotels, resorts, restaurants and bars. That is Ko Chang and that is where we are.
Well perhaps I should say that is Ko Chang in peak season however we are not in peak season, we are in the monsoon season. So, what difference does that make? Well, for us not a lot really. We are still on a gorgeous tropical island but azure seas don’t shine so much under thick cloud cover and you can’t have rainforests without rain. A lot of the bars, restaurants and hotels are either closed or all but deserted but all of those things work in our favour.
The “green season” as the tourism spin doctors like to call, it is fantastic. It generally only rains a little bit each day and the rain is not the cold miserable kind, it is more the laugh and run around getting wet kind. And unpeak means cheaper prices as well for accommodation. Less tourists mean less crowds and we are happy to have a bit of a break from people.
We spent 3 days on a scooter checking out the various hotel and bungalow options before making our choice. Basically the tourist side of the island (the west) runs in sweeping beach coves with steep hills in between and each beach has its own personality. The first area we stayed in was “White Sands Beach” and has a lot of upmarket resorts with smaller places dotted between. It is only one street wide and while it was ok it wasn’t really what we wanted as a place to base ourselves for the next month or two.
The next beach is nice enough and certainly had some budget options but there wasn’t much in the way of shops or restaurants so we moved on. The middle beach of the lot is where we picked – Khlong Prao beach. It has plenty of food markets (fruit etc) as well as the typical 7-11 (Thailand has millions of them) plus a good range of restaurants catering not only to local Thai food but also a few western places, pizza etc. The beach itself is just off the main drag and has a collection of rustic bars to while away the sunset hours.
To round out the tour, there are another 3 beaches that stretch further down the island. Kai Bae is only a short hop away and has a lot more restaurants and bars than our little stretch so if we are looking for a more ‘fancy’ meal that is where we head. (Have only been once as the place I wanted to go to was closed for the wet season and the food in this neck of the woods was waaaay more expensive).
Lonely Beach is the backpacker scene and on the other side of a very scary downhill/uphill ride. Bars and restaurants crowd together over a 4 street area with cheap food and drinks and big rowdy beach parties. Not really conducive to relaxing and staying away from the party scene. Then there is Bai Lin beach which is more of the big resort, quiet family scene. Again, too pricey and not really our thing.
When we started our accommodation search we initially thought we would quite like a beachside bungalow and spent a good deal of time checking out the various options. They ranged from tiny cramped shacks to cool looking stilt bungalows but our sticking point was the lack of a fridge. We wanted a place we could bring store bought beer and relax in peace and solitude on our own deck. To do that we need a fridge. We also had decided that making our own breakfast and lunch was a better option and again, in the tropical climate of Ko Chang, we wanted a fridge. In our price range there was nothing that suited so we kept hunting.
And then we found a small slice of almost heaven. About 3 minutes scooter ride from the main drag of Khlong Prao ‘township’ we found a set of eclectic adobe rendered bungalows that front a stunning stream. We called up and yep – fridge provided, along with a kettle and yes he would negotiate a price for a whole month stay. So here we are at “The Artists Resort” paying the grand sum of $330 for a month of peace and quiet.
The great thing is that there is no one else here so we can come and go as and when we please. We can sit on our verandah at night, drinking our beer and playing our music and know that we are disturbing no one. Love it!!!
The only thing that makes it an almost is the mould factor. Unfortunately being a concrete rendered place with only a few small windows means that the constant rain brings damp and mould. We have launched an antimould attack (spraying with vinegar) and we seem to be having a win so overall we are both pretty happy.
Coming home each night has us carefully shining the torch at the path ahead of us as we have so far had 5 snake encounters (2 here and 3 on the road during the day while driving the island) and while only 1 was dangerous (a monocled cobra) we take no chances and it certainly adds to the excitement of living in such an exotic locale.
Below I have added a few piccys of the area, some waterfalls and a couple of the snakes we have met. The cobra shot was me using Daves phone as my camera was buried in the bag and that snake was not hanging around. It turns out that I am rubbish at using Daves phone so the piccy is not too good but hey – it is a cobra so I couldn’t leave it out 😉
Funky little house (the stairs lead up to the roof where we go to exercise). Our house is the one next door but to photograph it I would have to be in the creek 😉 We don’t have a front path because 6 feet from our verandah is the bank of the creek.
This guy, thankfully, we have only seen once – a monocled cobra. SUPER venomous but happily this one wasn’t interested in us or the scooter. (Again sorry about the picture – it does show his hood flared though 😉 )