Koh Chang and Koh Mak

by Kevin Burns
(Machida, Japan)

White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

If you want to teach English in Thailand, I do not recommend Koh Chang or Koh Mak.

There are few if any schools here that offer English lessons.. But if you want to get away from it all, I highly recommend Koh Mak!

Koh Mak

Koh Mak can be reached via speedboat from Koh Chang or Trat. It is close to paradise.
If an island without a true jungle can be called one. There are palm trees everywhere, and rubber plantations, and great, lonely beaches, and fun little restaurants and resorts.
But there is no nightlife to speak of.

If you are a couple and want to get away from it all, I recommend Koh Mak. My brother and I really enjoyed the quiet and the swimming at the beaches. The people are more friendly here. This is an island where the Thai smile still exists.

If you are a writer, and want to get away and write your book, Koh Mak is great for that!
We stayed at the Good Times Resort. The staff were friendly and laid back. It was great! The breakfast was top notch and we even enjoyed watching the free DVDs they provide in their library. Highly recommended!

Koh Chang

This island, the second biggest in Thailand, was disappointing in some ways and satisfying in others. We first stayed at Kacha Resort in White Sands Beach. The room was good but some of the Chinese and Eastern European guests were very, very noisy.

Some nationalities do not have a lot of experience of travelling abroad and seem to have a difficult time fitting in. Screaming in the hallway at all hours of the day and night seems to be OK in some cultures. I am not sure why that is.

If you want to kill yourself, I highly recommend renting a scooter without a helmet on Koh Chang. It seems that every week another tourist bites the dust. Another popular route to the divine is swimming at some of the beaches that clearly recommend that you do not swim there. Many have met the divine from a Lonely Beach rip tide. Another common way is getting lost in the snake infested jungle.

I personally would not bring a young child to Thailand. As well as malaria, dengue fever can be caught from mosquitoes that bite during the daytime and dengue can kill young children aged 11 or younger. (Disclaimer: I am not a doctor.) But my brother is.

The beach at White Sands Beach is quite nice and the swimming is good. However, if you go past the Kacha Resort, at times there is a terrible sewage smell.

Two of us got quite sick on Koh Chang. We are still not sure how. We think it may have been the peanuts we ate, though we were pretty careful about what we ate and where we ate. There are some good pharmacies on Koh Chang with English speaking pharmacists, and there is an international clinic on the island. We put on mosquito spray everyday as there may be dengue.

If you travel around Koh Chang, you realize that after a while, it pretty much looks the same no matter where you go. One town seems to run into the next, with cheap restaurants, bars and resorts.

While many of the people on Koh Chang are very kind and friendly, some seem to have forgotten the "Thai Smile." There seems to be a fair amount of burnout amongst the staff at some resorts. They are not paid a lot and and at some resorts, they don`t seem very happy The front desk clerk at the Keree Ele Resort, was downright rude to my brother, when we asked for two twin beds instead of a double bed. Much of the staff seems as if they have just gotten a sniff of the beach smell I mentioned earlier.

I recommend Koh Mak! I would go back. My brother felt the same way. However, I will leave Koh Chang for the snakes to enjoy. Koh Kood also seems like a good bet, less developed than Koh Chang, and probably more welcoming too. A lot of couples on our boat were on their way there.

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