Holiday in Ko Chang Noi
It seems to be that the trend nowadays is to embark on vacations to far flung places that are as remote as they can be. If you’re up for the challenge and the novel idea of vacationing with the minimalist theme, then the little island of Ko Chang Noi is the best place to be. This relaxed, bohemian paradise is not to be mistaken for the larger Ko Chang found in the province of Trat located in the Gulf of Thailand because it remains to this day still undeveloped. It received its name not so much because there are elephants roaming its territory but more because of its elephant shaped terrain.
Ko Chang Noi does not have fancy resorts and is only at its full operation during its peak season between November to April. Instead, you can find rural-inspired lodgings dotting its eighteen square kilometres land area, perfect against the back drop of wild jungles, animal life, towering hillsides and cliffs and natural sea shores. The simplicity of accommodations is further accentuated with the absence of electricity, although there is one resort that has a solar powered generator that runs from 5:00 – 11:00 p.m. No electricity means the absence of the typical Western world appliances but almost all the bungalow-type resorts have a cosy hammock strategically placed at their front porches. Ko Chang Noi is also the place to be if you have not seen what a cashew or rubber tree looks like. There are no “out of place” tourist mobs but only pools of musicians, artists and writers returning yearly to find their respective muses and inspirations. Who wouldn’t love to take their respite here where you can be in tune with nature while listening to non-stop reggae or humming a few lines along “guitar-okes” (the island’s version of karaoke).
If you would like to try a more challenging activity, however, join the daily beach volleyball tournament or try the kayaking services available at majority of the resorts. You can also sign up with the fishing tours given by Koh Chang or Eden Resort, or better yet perhaps arrange diving expeditions with Alladin Dive Safari, found at Cashew Resort. The latter also offers excellent yoga classes on a daily basis. Snorkelling is also available, although we would not recommend it especially since the waters around the island are not that clear and the view underwater, or above water (the sand) for that matter, is not something out of the ordinary. On the upside, the island is fairly less visited by tourists so there is always plenty of exclusive space and great photo ops that look like you have the whole tropical island to yourself (enough to make everyone drool with envy back home).
Ko Chang Noi is smack dabbed in the middle of Thailand’s monsoon avenue. If visiting during the wet season (from May to October) when there are a few resorts open, expect torrential downpours during the period from June to September. During this season, the dining options are also limited as well as the modes and frequency of transportation going to the mainland, especially on the Ko Chang Noi-Ranong pass which has as few as one boat servicing once for the whole day when the weather permits.
Roaming Around the Island
Long Beach is the leading beach in Ko Chang Noi and is found along the west coast of the island on what looks like the saddle of a mahout on the back of an elephant. From here, you can view Burma’s St. Matthew Island against its magnificent sunset. Koh Chang Resort is situated on the rocky part of this beach while Crocodile Point, approximately 100 metres to the north, can also be found here. You can find low profiled resorts going north to south that boast of the exclusivity of their beaches but if you decide to stay at any one of them, travelling time hiking its 2-3km span is extremely long.
There are concrete roads connecting Long Beach with other resorts and an old Thai navy military camp (a country sojourn look-a-like) up north. The eastern side of the island, although uninhabited, filled with mangrove growths and pebbled beaches, is where you can find the pier reportedly used by the Navy and other local boats. Reachable by boat only at the island’s north most tip is a village inhabited by Morgan sea gypsies.
There seem to be more than one drop off points for visitors, aside from the pier of Koh Chang Resort used mainly by longtail ferries during peak seasons. Another one is at the exclusive beach of Hornbill Resort and off parts of Long Beach. Boats of smaller origins serve as connecting transportation for those who choose to stay at the more remote resorts.
Roaming around Ko chang Noi island, you will realize that life has been rewinded back in the good old days when there are no convenience/grocery stores, no ATM machines, no WiFi connections and no cell phone signals. The closest to these amenities is found on Long Beach such as the mini mart at Sabay Jai Bungalows where you can get your basic supplies, snacks and drinks. For a fee of 2B a minute, you can avail of Cashew Resort’s internet amenities or that of Nature View Bungalows, located near Crocodile Point. If you just need to send an email, some resorts sell dtac air cards or offer AIS. Furthermore, be sure to be updated on your travel shots as there are no clinics or hospitals in Ko Chang Noi. The closest medical attention you can get is through the services of the local doctor named Arm (with telephone number 087-933-3644), who can give you basic first aid on minor sicknesses and injuries. For more serious cases, however, you can ask any resort for more information on how to rent a boat to reach the mainland. Just to be on the safe side and to ensure uninterrupted fun, it is best to bring the strongest mosquito repellent you can find to ward off what seems to be the biggest and rowdiest mosquitoes in the planet.