Koh Chang: Thailand’s miniature Bali

Koh Chang is getting me down and I’m turning into a more cynical bastard every day. Cynical towards tourists just like myself. But I dunno, it just seems like this island is the exact opposite of what I was hoping for: a party-ground for drunken westerners. Doesn’t anyone appreciate some fucking peace and quiet any more? That’s how the place is advertised (‘escape to a quiet island paradise blah blah blah’), but it’s more like a miniature Bali, just with a higher proportion of Europeans compared to Australians. Sure, people do come here to ‘escape’. But what are they all escaping to? Just another place where absolutely everything seems to revolve around money, felling the forest to pack more of us in, building cheap bungalows that are disguised to look more natural than they actually are – fake fake fake, everything’s covered in a fascade to make us feel like we are actually somewhere untouched and free from western influence, but that’s far from the case.

Having, like, the time of my life with not a glass but a BUCKET of alcohol. Isn't Koh Chang just awesome?

Yes, I realise how stupidly hypocritical this is. Who’s to blame except people just like me? I dunno, maybe the government? Apparently – and this is of course according to that holy bible of travel, the Lonely Planet – there is a government plan to expand and develop the tourism infrastructure on the island. All about money money money. Why can’t they limit the amount of destruction to the native vegetation? How long is the message of environmentalism going to take to reach countries like Thailand? But I guess this sort of destruction still happens in Australia and every other developed country. Jesus, I should stop writing, I’m just in a shitty mood with no actual coherent message to get across. Sitting in a hot sweaty internet cafe surrounded by other tourists doesn’t inspire the creativity in me. Would’ve been a good idea to get a netbook, so I can write in peace back at the backpackers. Not that even our room is peaceful, with the FUCKING DRUM AND BASS BLARING UNTIL 2AM!

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2 Responses to Koh Chang: Thailand’s miniature Bali

  1. univ3rsalif3 says:

    I had a smile on my face reading this writeup.
    Ko Chang – I was hoping for a nice review so I can skip Bali. It seems now, I might just carry on with the plan and judge it for myself.

    Living in Asia, it is sad to see how money and the influx/promotion of tourism is corroding the culture and natural settings of a place. Sure it happens everywhere. But I can’t help but feel exploited by certain personalities that herd into a place and take advantage of the liberties. Especially people, resource and poverty.

    I had been googling alot to find somewhere I could go to for a little peace, quiet and nature sans the tourism. I guess the next best option is coop ourself in foreign soil, book a hotel room and pretend I found it.

    • Beau Gamble says:

      Thanks for your comment!

      I should’ve mentioned this in my post, but I was staying in one of the moderately busy/touristy regions of Koh Chang. From what I’ve read, it sounds like the other side of the island might actually be more like the quiet paradise I was looking for. Perhaps I just didn’t search hard enough… So please read a little more before you change your travel plans! I really was in a cynical mood that day…

      But I totally agree — it can be sad the way tourism changes places. I’m sure it can be beneficial as well — but most places I went to in Asia seem to have taken that step too far until they suddenly revolve around tourism, and, like you say, the natural culture corrodes…

      Good luck wherever you end up!

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