Koh Chang’s centres of excellence are scattered all over, on the west coast, at Bang Bao by the temple, the main one in a magnificent location high up on the hill over Klong Prao Beach and another on the waterfall road in Klong Son, while down on the East Coast, you’ll find them at Dan Mai, the administrative capital as it were and in the local communities at Salak Khok and Salak Phet, which also boasts a really cute infant school, its tiny little stools, visible from the road, reminiscent of a Burmese tea shop.
Salak Phet Football Tournament
Salak Phet’s term goes out with a bang as it combines a three day football tournament with a nightly festival at the temple just down the road. The football entertains allcomers from far and wide, complete with full named kits and there’s a lot of quite deep-rooted rivalry, but the best bit to an outsider is the commentary on each and every match delivered by one chap over the tannoy. There is a love of microphones in Asia, maybe its the karaoke, who knows, and the Thais don’t let the side down. Give them half a chance and they will quiet happily crank it up and keep going for hour upon hour upon hour without a break, even when the game is over, putting all but the very best filibusterer to shame. There’s always room for some advertising as well, laminated banners miraculously erected overnight all around the pitch, without fail for Red Bull or M-150, its competitor in the country’s vast energy drink market.
Salak Phet Temple Fair
Thai temple fairs, usually over three days are always worth a look, with their stalls set up around the buildings, bright lights and loud music. The food is more of the snack variety than the homemade curries kind, sickly sweet concoctions alongside crepes and 7/11 style frankfurters on sticks. There will be some tables offering noodle soup, or stir fried rice, yes the Thais do eat it too, or best of all and sending your cholesterol levels off the scale, hoi tawt, mussels fried in batter with beansprouts and and egg. Bugs feature too, grubs and worms, crickets and cockroaches, very edible if you smother them with sauce and don’t dally. Food aside, there will be clothes, belts, shoes, robust bras, kitchen crockery, plastic kitchen and bathroom accessories by the truckload, some bingo with the chance to win a fan, a rice cooker or packet of instant noodles, goldfish and a background hum of monks chanting over another tannoy, those microphones again. Everything builds to a last night crescendo and this year the Koh Chang East Coast got a taste of west coast nightlife when Sabay Bar from White Sand Beach dropped in get the locals dancing till around midnight, before sanity was restored and everyone remembered who they were and where they were and went back to the quiet life the next day, mending fishing nets or debugging pomelo orchards.
Menu Tips and Terms.
hoi tawt, hoi or hoy, shellfish, in this case, mussels, tawt or tod, fried.