Hot season in the Koh Chang Islands runs from March through to the onset of the rainy season, middle to late May.
During these months, the temperature reaches the high 90°’s, remaining there or thereabouts day in and day out, dropping only marginally into the mid 20°’s at night.
Koh Chang has the added bonus of intense humidity created by all that wonderful rain forest in its interior, so it can seem even more sweltering.
You’ll get the odd thunderstorms to clear the air but on the whole, the heat is unrelenting. If you think an ocean swim will help cool things down, think again – the water there takes on all the refreshing properties of a warm bath.
Water Problems – Hot Season
Despite the island’s relatively close proximity, there is no supply source from the mainland. Instead, all of the freshwater comes from the Koh Chang’s interior mountains and specially drilled wells.
If you look closely around any building, you’ll notice scores of blue pipes leading every which way. More often than not, these are fed from a solitary pipe, blue again, that snakes its way though the undergrowth from some sort of natural rock pool high up on the hillside.
A claim would be have been made on these pools many years back and the owner has in all likelihood hauled concrete up though the forest to reinforce and expand them. Most of the year a mixture of, rain, forest moisture and forest run-off replenish them. However, during the hot season, their natural ability to refill overnight is greatly limited – hence, the water shortages.
Some other lucky locals have their own wells or reservoirs on their land to give them an year round supply. Indeed, they make a very decent extra income by selling the water onto the desperate bone-dry businesses and homes.
The big resorts too have dug deep and expensive wells but even these get dangerously low, as the number of showers taken by their guests rises in line with the temperature, exacerbating the problem.
All in all, water is in short supply in the hot season until the rains break and everything gets a chance to replenish.
Visitors – Hot Season
The number of foreign tourists to the island drops away considerably at this time of year, but most places are open as normal. Activities such as snorkeling and diving, even jungle trekking all available.
It’s just very hot and truth be told, a little uncomfortable. Only mad dogs (English/Russians) and the very committed brave it on the beach to sunbathe.
That said, let’s not forget that the Thai holiday period is in full swing, with schools off for the summer. April brings the Songkran Festival. May features other public holidays such as Labour Day, Coronation Day and the Buddhist Visakha Bucha.
The island can fill up very fast at weekends as the locals escape the stifling city heat. The downside to their breaks are the tortuously slow and long, unbearably hot queues at the ferries to get back to the mainland.
Time for Fruit
If you can forget the heat for a moment, one great thing about this time of year is the Thai fruit. Week by week, different varieties come into season, moving from jackfruit and rose apple through durian and star fruit to rambutan, longan and mangosteen.
Salak Phet and its vast orchards quietly ripen away under the hot hot sun and each day new produce, fresh from the trees, appears on makeshift tables by the roadside, tempting those weekending Thais with bargain prices as they return home. Truth be told, it probably doesn’t make it beyond the boats.
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