The East Coast of Koh Chang – Rural Idyll (Part II)

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I reached Salak Kokh after a few kilometres. As mentioned before I expected another tourist trap and lots of souvenir stalls. But to my surprise this was really a very traditional fishing village.

The first thing I saw was a little shipyard, the only one on the whole island providing repair service to the local fishermen. There were two old vessels which looked like in urgent need of maintenance.

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I then came across an old boat wreck that apparently missed the maintenance on time and ended up like this.

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The whole village looked pretty poor and run down. Most of the houses are built on stilts and connected by wooden gangplanks. I dared to enter these wooden boards which must be very old. I was cautiously moving forward on these gangplanks and some of the rotten boards were pretty flexible when I set my foot on them. In such situations I usually say to myself that if the locals are doing this or that I can do as well. But then I wondered about their average weight in comparison to mine. I got a bit concerned but continued my tour around the village.

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In one of the wooden houses a mother together with her two little kids was watching television in the open living room. I gave them a smile and asked whether I could take some photos of them. My smile was warmly returned and I entered the room. I could take a whole series of images of this nice little family.

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Also this village seemed a bit deserted. But it was still before 3 pm in the afternoon. Only occasionally I saw some people like these young villagers playing billiards.

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Nearby you can rent a boat that would take you around the mangroves in the canals.

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Even though the people live a simple life in this village high technology has already moved in and is adopted by the youngest.

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I then continued my tour and drove to my final destination, another fishing village called Salak Phet (point D on the map). This again is overwhelmingly a village consisting of stilted houses alongside the canals. In contrast to Salak Khok it is much bigger and obviously wealthier. In fact Salak Phet used to be the commercial centre of Koh Chang. But this is over twenty years ago. Today one can still see a few trawlers in the small port.

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Just outside the village on my way back there was a little coffee shop run by a Suisse man married to a young Thai woman. They both have a cute little girl. I got in touch with a young Russian couple who arrived a few minutes later. Both live in San Francisco. We talked about this and that. And I could not avoid asking them about their view of Mikhail Chodorkowsky. I had read a critical book during my two weeks on Phuket describing in depth how Chodorkowsky developed to one of the richest men on earth and why he was put in jail. Two days after I finished the book, this criminal (I am probably indoctrinated by the book now) was released.

The two young Russians gave a surprisingly differentiated view on this case and explained that everybody in Russia knows that Chodorkowsky could not make his fortune on purely legal grounds. But the people generally sympathise with people in prison especially if they stand up against whoever is in power in Moscow.

By now it was almost 5 pm and I left to get back before sunset. As it was the east coast I had to drive up again, the sunshine was hidden behind the hills and mountains alongside the coastal road which had  a pretty cooling effect. Partially I was freezing but again reached my White Sands Beach just on time to take a few more sunset pictures. I love sunsets!

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Click the slide show above the post to see more images.

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