Category Archives: Travel Asia

The purpose of this travel section of my blog is to incorporate all my travel articles and pictures from the Looking Glass Magazine here.

Koh Chang Katcha Resolution Resorts Good Bad and the Ugly

The Koh Chang Katcha Resolution Resorts reminds me of the good, the bad and the ugly like the movie starring Clint Eastwood.

Map of Koh Chang island showing where Koh Chang Katcha Resolution Resorts are located

But to each his own. But when I think of the reasons I might want to go back to Koh Chang, I think of the good, not the bad.

Which brings us to Koh Chang Katcha Resolution Resorts and how they differ from each other.

Koh Chang Katcha is on Koh Chang’s White Sands Beach. Which has its own little area of bars much like Pattaya has in huge abundance. White Sands Beach is by far Koh Chang’s busiest beach. And for me a beach that is very busy is a bad thing. Because it is polluted with too many people. The good thing about White Sands Beach is it actually has a bar scene where a man can find pretty girls. And it has a fair assortment of shops, restaurants. It’s also not too far from the ferry that connects Koh Chang to the mainland.

But I’ve been living in Naklua right next door to Pattaya. And when it comes to the bar scene Koh Chang doesn’t begin to compare to Pattaya.

Or Pattaya’s shopping or restaurants which rival Bangkok’s. While living in Naklua on Wongamat Beach I have a lot of beaches in my backyard. Granted, Naklua’s beaches are not as clean as Koh Chang,s but they are much more varied and interesting than Koh Chang’s White Sands beach. And I’ve got Koh Larn Island only 5 miles away and only a 30 baht ferry ride that takes me just 40 minutes to get there. Koh Larn’s beaches are clean, and great for swimming but they do not offer the underwater visibility that some other Thai beaches offer. For example off Koh Chang or in the Krabi area.

Which brings up my number one point about Koh Chang Katcha Resolution Resorts good and bad points.

Whenever I’ve gone snorkeling off Koh Chang, I’ve had to take a dive boat out from Bang Bao Beach. Although one can sign up for snorkeling or scuba diving in a number of White Sands beach dive shops. When it comes to getting to your diving or snorkeling destination the shop you are dealing with takes you by bus or taxi all the way down to Bang Bao Beach. The ride to Bang Bao beach takes roughly 45 minutes. And the bus ride back to your White Sands Beach hotel takes another 45 minutes. While in my experience getting to one’s diving or snorkeling destination takes another 45 minutes. That’s 3 hours of travel time. So, for me, Resolution Resort is the perfect place on Koh Chang island.

But if you stay at Bang Bao Beach, you are already there where the dive boats leave the pier. So for beach lovers and diving/snorkeling enthusiasts the Bang Bao area is far superior to White Sands Beach.

In my opinion the White Sands Beach area is for tourists who don’t know better. While the Bang Bao area is for purists. Speaking for myself, my girlfriend and I were so close to the Bang Bao main pier that we didn’t even have to take our car to get there. A ten minute walk did the trick.

Taking a 10 minute walk from Resolution Resort to the Bang Bao pier was a much better experience than taking our car down the heavily rutted dirt road.

Aside from diving or snorkeling excursions the boats that go to Koh Kood and other nearby islands all leave from the Bang Bao pier.

So there you have it. The good, bad and the ugly of the Koh Chang Katcha Resolution Resorts. But again each to his own. Nevertheless you must ask yourself, which of these two resorts would Clint Eastwood give his hard earned money to?

Deliverance from Songkran insane Thai water festival in Pattaya

Deliverance from Songkran the infamous Thai water festival that kills.  Especially in Pattaya.  Which offers us 10 days of insanity.

Deliverance from Songkran
I spend my Songkran at Centara Grand Mirage Resort’s Lazy River.

Click here to watch the video, “Deliverance from Songkran”.

The Jack Corbett video channel presents 2 ways of celebrating Songkran in Pattaya, Thailand.  By two groups of expats. The first is my way. Which offers total deliverance from that totally insane Thai water festival. Which is avoiding it at the Centara Grand Mirage 5 star hotel.  The second is Big John’s and Billy Bob’s tactic of “damn the torpedoes. We are going to get wasted, take off our shirts.  And join the hundreds of thousands of halfwits who congregate here to serve their water god. (Billy Bob does the Walking Street go go Bar reviews with Uncle Bufford in the Looking Glass Magazine at Alpha Productions)

This high quality HD video is actually two videos in one.   It is of two simultaneous events occurring roughly 3 miles.

Let me explain.  I took my video while wading completely around one of the swimming pools at the Centara Grande Mirage resort. This swimming pool is just one of a number of swimming pools in the Centara’s magnificent “Lost World” theme park. The pool is nearly a quarter mile in length. It meanders throughout the theme park, resembling a small river in an Amazon rain forest.

There’s nothing like it anywhere. Hotel guests do miniature float trips here while riding down the shallow man made river on plastic inner tubes. Now a quarter mile stretch just to make the circumference of the River might sound like great exercise but it isn’t. This is because there’s a man made current which propels swimmers up to a mile an hour or so downstream without his having to move a muscle. So that’s what I’m doing. I’m wading chest deep the entire circumference of “The River” shooting my video with my Panasonic LX-5 camera.

There’s two videos here.  1. insane Songkran with over 200,000 people gone berserk.  And 2.  Deliverance from Songkran at Centara Grand Mirage’s Lazy River.

Meanwhile Big John’s got his Panasonic LX-5 over in Central Pattaya where he’s shooting his own videos of his teammate, Billy Bob. So there’s really two videosfused into one.   Billy Bob and Big John are experiencing insane Songkran on Pattaya Soi 8.   While I’m over at the Centara enjoying the tranquility that all those very wealthy people who I don’t normally associate. Who either have no interest in Deliverance from Songkran or are too stupid to seek it.

Even before you watch the You Tube video you might want to get a little History on Songkran and how it developed (I prefer the word regressed) into the insane Songkran it is today. It celebrates the Thai New Year that occurs in the first half of April.  Which ends here in Pattaya on April 19th. In the past and even today, Thais will sprinkle a small amount of water or dab a little mud concoction on anyone they encounter during the holiday. The key words here are “small” and “little”.  Another key word that I’ll add will be “gently”.

Today in most Thai cities the Songkran Holiday is celebrated for one or two days, and then it’s over. Sadly this is not the case with Pattaya.

A city that has a huge expat population, and has nightlife that even outstrips Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, a city of over twelve million.  Compared to practically anywhere else in the world Pattaya is a city on steroids.  It is a city that gives practically anyone complete license to do almost anything. Except for Deliverance from Songkran. The the assault and batter that entails.

To give you just aa example of how Pattaya gives everyone total license to do whatever they want. I have never, not once, seen a police officer stop a motorist for running a red light.  Or driving against the flow of traffic. I’d say nearly half the Thais here in Pattaya  drive their motorbikes through a red light whenever they want.  And that one way lines of traffic mean nothing to them. So whenever I driving my motorbike down the street I’m always meeting other motorcyclists driving right at me. Keeping in mind this is but one example of how people do whatever they want to do with their motorbikes and cars, you can fully appreciate how dangerous it is to drive here.  Especially on a motorbike.

This year during the first three days of Songkran over 180 people died on Thailand’s motorways and streets.

There would still be four days to come, and those would be the most celebrated days. During Songkran it is considered good fun to splash the driver of a motorbike full in the face and chest with an entire bucket of water. So there’s no deliverance from Songkran for over an entire week.

There’s no question that Sonkran kills a lot of people. However, the Thais did not plan it this way. What happened is groups of Eurotrash started to come here in ever greater numbers. These are that special class of Europeans called the normal people call hooligans. To be even more specific, I will call these hooligans the soccer hooligans. Most of them are British. For years these hooligans have participated in British football (soccer matches) with the express purpose of not of watching the matches. Their total goal being,  rioting “hooligan style”.   Thus causing riots and a lot of blood shed.

These people are troublemakers and they love to fight. To get a sense of how they go about their “football shenanigans”, watch a movie called “The Football Factory. “

And you will see why Spain eventually decided to clamp down on these Eurotrash once they had gone too far exporting their trouble making style to Spain.

Pattaya offers fertile pastures to hooligans.  Particularly during Songkran by offering them the opportunity to assault anyone they choose so long as they confine their assaulting with water.  Keep in mind that the biggest day for Songkran in Pattaya is on April 19th.   But these hooligans start their pilgrimage on April 11th when they start throwing water all over anyone near Soi 6’s, 7, 8 and on Beach and 2nd Roads.  And you can fully appreciate how completely out of control this holiday has gotten. While there’s no deliverance from Songkran unless you follow my advice. Or do something similar to what I’m doing.

This means that anyone driving a motorbike down these two major roads stands a good chance of getting wet.  And having an accident.

Meanwhile such hooligans have their numbers swollen by many bar girls working the bars on Soi Six, Seven, and Eight, who either don’t know any better or could care less even if they did.  Even responsible Thais don’t appreciate getting doused with water for nine days straight. While having their roads made unsafe for such long periods of time.

When you watch Deliverance from Songkran, you will notice that most of the Thais gently dab a little paste on the cheeks and foreheads of those they encounter on the street. Although many Thais have adopted the Hooligan style of completely dousing anyone within range with as much water as possible most of them haven’t emulated the Hooligan style of filling their high powered squirt guns with urine and ice.

So what has happened is that the authorities have allowed the Hooligans to have a large amount of control over what goes on here. And no one’s about to try to stop them.

So now that you have a little background about how Songkran is  celebrated in Pattaya today, I’ll explain how I’ve tried to avoid it.

My girlfriend and I both have one year memberships to the Centara Hotel’s Physical Fitness Center and Theme Park. It costs a great deal of money to join but for me, it’s worth it. I take advantage of the Fitness room an average of 5.5 days a week. The machines here are state of the art with some of them costing over $10,000 each. We can use the tennis courts for free at least during the say and these courts are second to none. Then there’s that magnificent theme park wtih Centara’s many swimming areas, and above all there’s that fantastic almost unbelievably surreal Amazon rain forest like river that you will be seeing a lot of in my video.

Last year I decided to try to avoid Songkran by driving my girlfriend and I to Koh Chang which is Thailand’s second largest island. We went on the 13th of April only to find out that about half of Bangkok had also decided to drive to Koh Chang the same time we did.

So what would have been at the most a five hour trip including the ferry ride to the island wound up taking us over nine hours.

The Thais were celebrating Songkan all up and down our route. So while the municipality we’re driving through is not celebrating Songkran, the next one would.  And there are all these pickup trucks along the way with their beds full of 55 gallon barrels of water.  And squirt gun armed riders squirting everything in sight.

The traffic got so bad that it took us two hours just to get the last seven hundred meters to the ferry.  Where we eventually offloaded my Honda Civic. Then when we finally made it onto the island the sun had already set and we had to negotiate Koh Chang’s impossibly narrow mountain roads in the dark.

To make matters worse every few kilometers there’s groups of people running out into the road dousing the cars. Once we finally got to our destination on the southern tip of Koh Chang we were home free.  And done with Songkran but it was a perilous journey getting there.

This time, I’d use the Centara Hotel to idle a lot of my time away for 2013’s Songkran. When I go out to dinner or breakfast I have my girlfriend prepare food for me in the condo. Or we go to a restaurant that is close-by.  As in next door. And when I go to the Centara I walk. There wouldn’t be one person trying to douse me with water on the beach.

After all it’s far more fun to try to cause an accident to someone on a motorbike than to get someone wet who’s already wearing swimming trunks. It would take me less than ten minutes to walk to the hotel anyway.  And if I drove a motorbike there along Soi Wongmat I’d be sure to get wet just about every time.

Meanwhile  Billy Bob and Big John take their cameras into the vortex of the action. If I were still a single guy I probably would have joined them.  On the 19th, that is, during that last day of complete chaos. There was probably something up to half a million people celebrating that day.  And I must admit that it’s a perfect opportunity for meeting lots of women one might never encounter again. One just strips down to his swim trunks. I’d never wear anything else, but I would oftentimes take a towel along, which would immediately get soaking wet.  But as the afternoon becomes evening, and the air  to gets a little chilly even a wet towel provides some measure of warmth.

So here it is…..two Songkrans, with each of them experienced in completely different environments. Which one would you prefer?

If you enjoyed watching Deliverance from Songkran you might want to go directly to the Jack Corbett Video Channel.

Jack Corbett Asia Travelogue

The Jack Corbett Asia Travelogue  is a completely objective compellation of the writer’s travels in Asia.  Since there’s no monetization involved, you will be getting the truth. 

The reasons for integrating the Looking Glass Magazine with the Jack Corbett Pattaya Expats blog are:

  • I wanted to replace it with the Pattaya Expats blog
  • My focus had completely changed from the American adult entertainment industry to becoming a Thailand Expat.

But there’s a lot of Asian travel  content in the Looking Glass Magazine.  I took hundreds of pictures of my Asian travels.  Most of them are in the Looking Glass.  And I spent a lot of time writing travel articles in the Looking Glass.

There are over 50 issues of the Looking Glass Magazine.  The Jack Corbett Funhouse blog is the Looking Glass Magazine’s replacement.  But there’s still one more reason for integrating the Looking Glass with the Jack Corbett Fun House blog.   Although I no longer have much interest in American strip clubs, many issues of the Looking Glass were all about American strippers, topless clubs, and major adult entertainment events I participated in as a professional photographer and writer.  For those who would like to enjoy all that adult content of the Looking Glass and my web site, this travel section of the Funhouse blog is perhaps the bridge that many of you have been waiting for.

Thailand section Jack Corbett Asia Travelogue

Poda Island Krabi
Krabi is my favorite beach destination in Thailand

The Man Tour of Thailand

Plumeria Serviced apartments on Wongamat Beach

Nong Nooch Tropical Gardens

Movie Time at Pattaya Long Beach Hotel

Beachs of  Krabi and  the Phi Phi Islands

North Pattaya’s Garden Cliff Resort

Dirt bike riding on Koh Samet’s rutted trails

Jack Corbett’s Twelve Wonders of Pattaya

Thailand’s best beaches, Krabi, Phi Phi Islands, and Railey

Driving motorbikes on Pattaya Koh Larn Island

Koh Chang Resorts 1 gets an A, the other an F–

Koh Chang’s  hidden jewel–Resolution Resort 

In Search of Thailand’s Perfect Beach

Koh Larn Island Motorbike Video

Vietnam section Jack Corbett Asia Travelogue

Halong Bay in the Jack Corbett Asia Travelogue
On a Vietnamese Junk on Ha Long Bay

Late Date in Vietnam

Return to Hanoi

Places in  Ho Chi Minh City you must Experience

Malaysia  section

Mysterious disappearance of Jim Thompson
I spent 2 days looking for the place Jim Thompson was last seen

1967 disappearance of Jim Thompson, Thailand’s Silk King

Hong Kong Macau section

The Casinos of Macau

Five Days in Hong Kong Macau