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Published: February 4th 2012
but only in the mornings
After a 5 hour coach ride and a 1 hour rusty ferry ride we found ourselves at our first island destination, on Thailand’s second largest island, Koh Chang, which lies in the Gulf of Thailand. We headed for Lonely Beach, or to give it it’s official name Hat Tha Nam. The English version is certainly a misnomer as there is nothing at all lonely about it and in fact “Lonely” should be replaced for “lots of young backpackers”, but I admit that doesn’t roll off the tongue quite so freely. Obviously we fit right on in!!!
Arriving at gone 5.00pm meant that there was no room at our preferred beach shack, so we had to settle for an overpriced one until the following morning when we could search for one more in our price range. First impressions, from my point of view, not brilliant, but on the bright side there was an advert for a Psytrance party, but Chris wouldn’t let me go because I didn’t know what Psytrance was and there was a high chance of total humiliation. The nearest we came to strutting our funky stuff was with banging beats coming out from a van, complete
with disco lights, oh it was going to be a long, long night. Earplugs are a wonderful invention and a must if you are unlucky enough to get a room right in the heart of party central.
The following day we had more time to explore the small village, which had obviously been created to cater to the young backpacker, but even so I am not sure that every other building being a tattoo parlour could be justified. Well at least it would give us something to do on a rainy day!!!!! Other than that there were a large number of places to eat and drink and party ‘till dawn and a few shops selling the usual holiday tat, but not much else. One of the resorts did have a movie night every night though, which we thought was a brilliant idea. Unfortunately, as in most Thai places a lot of the open spaces were unofficial rubbish tips; it always seems such a shame that people who live in such a beautiful country are happy to deposit their crap all over the place. We would have to see if the place grew on us as the week
Eventually we managed to get booked in at a resort recommended to us by some friends from Paris and we felt much happier about things in general. The Sea Flower Resort was still being built which was perhaps why the rooms were very reasonable compared with others around, when the resort is completed and up and running I expect prices will rise quite dramatically. The huts were set in a small, but pretty garden overlooking the sea, and our view was more of a Sea Glimpse than Sea View! It was run by Chan, a Cambodian, who couldn’t have been nicer or more helpful, a real sweetheart. He loved to chat and was very keen on Chris teaching him some good chat up lines to use on the English girls and Chris was more than happy to oblige, if he can remember that far back!!!
So, comfy bed for the night sorted we felt it was time to test out the beach and see if it came up to scratch. Now a word about the trip to the beach, most of the resorts/accommodation in Lonely Beach are not actually on the beach
Imagine crossing at night with no lights to guide the way
and for those staying in these there is a couple of minutes’ walk to get there. This obviously isn’t too far and only the really lazy would moan about that, but I wouldn’t want to attempt it at night without a torch. There are no lights and the path, if you can call it that, is bumpy with a rickety old bridge to navigate. I expect many an accident has occurred late at night after a boozy night partying on the beach. Be warned; take a torch or follow someone who has one. Considering all the accommodation seemed to be constantly full up the beach was surprisingly empty, so that was a bonus. Equipped with factor 50 fire blanket we were positive we would be coming off that beach at the end of the day a lovely shade of brown, like all the other seasoned sunbathers, wrong, after just 2 hours we staggered off the beach subtle shades of pink (because stupidly we didn’t put the fire blanket stuff on soon enough due to cloud cover – durgh). We topped off the relaxing day with a nice dinner, accompanied by the unintelligible tones of the stoned house band, at the
as beaches go
local hippy hangout. Maybe it wouldn’t be too bad here after all.
As the beach had proved to be satisfactory for our purposes of tanning, although it didn’t provide anything good to see for snorkelling, we decided to book some extra days with Chan. Most days we followed the same routine of, basically, laying on the beach and dipping in the water to cool off our sun-baked bodies, but unfortunately that was not always to be the case as a couple of times it decided to rain and, as is often the case in these parts, not the polite rain we get back home but torrential monsoon stuff. All we could do then was sit on the patio and watch the downpour. So no beach, but that was probably not a bad thing as it gave time for the sunburn to cool down a bit!!
So the next few days followed the same routine: brekkie, beach, lunch, beach, dinner, sleep; exhausted from the day’s activities.
Just to show what a small world it is we did meet up with a friend’s daughter, Sophie and her friend Jo. All round the world, on
Of all the islands ...
in all the world and we bump into friends from Dorchester!
one of many small islands, on one of many beaches and we meet someone from Dorchester, brilliant. So we had a couple of lovely evenings with them having a few drinks and chatting. It was nice to meet up and we hope Jo had a lovely holiday and Sophie continues to have a brilliant trip.
So, back to the strenuous activities of sunbathing which in the morning saw us chilling out surrounded by not much else other than sand and surf but come the afternoon we would wake up and find ourselves within spitting distance of crowds of hungover youngsters who had managed to drag themselves out of bed suffering from the after effects of the party the night before. Just a little beef about the parties, while I am on the subject, every day the locals who were throwing that night’s party would come along the beach and hand out leaflets advertising bbqs and free buckets of killer stuff and every day they would give a leaflet to everyone around us but leave us out. Well I was starting to get a little bit disgruntled about this towards the end of our stay, now how did
they know we didn’t want to consume huge amounts of vodka in buckets. I ask you, talk about ageist, over 40 and invisible the world over – argh!
Overall the place grew on me as the week went on. True, the village doesn’t offer a huge amount if you want to witness traditional Thai living in action, but it is spot on if you are a young backpacker who wants to chill on a beach during the day and party the night away and, oh yes, maybe get a tattoo or two, or three. It does have a nice relaxed feel about it and an added bonus is that the food joints don’t rip you off too much, as happens sometimes when they have a captive audience. Overall we enjoyed our stay, but at the end of 10 days we were definitely ready to head off.
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