Thursday, October 13, 2011

wonderingstar's Kradan Trip Report

(visited March 2011 - revisited and updated in May 2012)

Here’s just a few notes on what I remember from 6 months ago:

Ao Niang Resort
I’m fond of this place. I like the vibe, it feels like some kind of kooky thai-style Fawlty Towers. I stayed there in Feb 2010 and March 2011 and am happy to say that during both these (high/shoulder season visits) there weren’t any of the problems tezza had in June 2010 with the path up the back to Paradise Lost being closed. Two way traffic. Both ways, no problem. Surprisingly few mozzies, too.

Ao Niang on the eastern of the 2 southern beaches. This is the beach which has the best snorkelling off the sand - the snorkelling tends to attract plenty of daytrip boats but thankfully they put in to the beach near the National Park for sand time, not Ao Niang's beach.

I am happy to say there is no logging operation going on. The owner is Mr Pramook Sataworn, a funny old 70-something ex-telecoms worker from Trang (probably the guy who shouted at Tezza on the phone). He’s actually a really sweet old guy. He and his pot belly potter around the place in high season. He can comes across as a bit withdrawn, but that’s just because he is nervous about his English. If you elbow-in on one of his evening Sam Song sessions, he will open up and you can get his full life story. Apparently, he bought the 10+ acres strip of land parallel to that southernmost beach (the title deeds & plan were kicking around in the restaurant) 20 years ago, but has only started putting huts up in the last few years to build some kinda legacy for his kids when he finally pops off.

I walked all around the grounds. Since my previous visit in Feb 2010, they have been clearing the knee-length scrub and they were burning a few of the low-level branches that had been removed, but that’s as close to you get to logging at Ao Niang resort, there’s no signs of any trees missing. Along with everyone else in the Islands, they plan to develop the area into more upscale accommodation. They have run temporary water pipes around everywhere to cultivate palm trees for shade.

Currently, they have a couple of smallish huts at 600B, most are 800 (decent sized fan rooms, bucket-flush toilet) and a couple of aircons over to the right (1200ish). They have a lone tiny-tiny squeezy bamboo that I stayed in previously for 450B, but it was occupied this time. I took a tent, right next to the beach, for 300B. Dunno what the fence is about, but there are several gaps in it, so it’s not much of an issue.

The coral and fishlife off the beach is still pretty great. I was worried that the coral might have died with the bleaching last summer (Bulon was shit, Lipe was fine – maybe it’s a depth/current thing), but in Kradan it is the same as it was 2 years ago. Kun Pramook owns one of the big snorkelling boats that brings Thais over on day trips from Trang to snorkel on it, at least he has a strong interest to preserve the reef.

Wally’s Paradise Lost
Nothing’s changed much. He’s got a huge macintosh computer and is making video blogs for youtube about local issues. Bless. He barely seems to know that Tezza exists, btw… (fair enough, I keep a low profile, won't stand out in the hundreds or more visitors Wally has each year - tezza)

National Park.
Tents at 250B, cheapest sleeps on the island, but they are pretty small. But I’d rather go with Ao Niang’s, as none of the hoards of day trippers go down there, if anyone had sticky fingers.

National Park Tents

The big National Park concretes are still undeveloped.

There were some canucks staying on the beach at the National Park (60B if you have your own tent). They store an inflatable dinghy and outboard motor in a lock-up in Trang and then drive themselves around the islands staying on beaches in tents. That’s the way to do it, eh?

Moon's
New places being built at Moon's (called new Paradise Report on tezza's page) See pics. The builders were using the old bamboos. I expect they’ll be binned at the end of it.

Moon's place - newies coming

Moon's place newies

Update May 2012:
The cabanas are finished. It seems that are actually part of Kradan Beach Resort (next door, to the North) and not a separate resort. 


The new places were closed for the wet season when I was there. . 
List price 4000B. KBR has electricity 24/7 but aircon is switched off during the daytime.

KBR prices May 2012

7-Seas
I posed as a rich business man and sniffed around 7-seas resort (forgetting that earlier on I had nabbed some old, frayed nylon line off the beach for hammock stringing and it was sticking out of the top of my day-bag, like some kind of bag-lady).

7-Seas 12k beachfront - free use of umbrella

7-Seas pool

sevenseas :

16/1/11-30/04/11
Beachfront 12000B
Seaview 9600B
Deluxe Seaview 7600B
Deluxe 6600B

Includes breakfast for 2. www.sevenseasresorts.com

New Resort - UPDATE MAY 2012


They were in the process of building a new luxury resort to the North of Seven Seas when I passed in May 2012. I’m told that this is owned by friends/relations of the people who own Kalume, immediately to the North of it.


Kalume (the Italian place)
This was a pretty strong contender for the midrange types. IIRC the bamboos started at around 800B which aint bad as they are so close to the beach.
They are kinda packed in. If you stand on tippy toe, you can see that nice Mrs Jones from next door taking a shower. (No you can't! I tried - tezza)

The old flip-fronts have been consigned to staff-quarters out the back. There was just one near-derelict one sitting where it used to be.
Update May 2012: not any more there isn’t – the land is being used for the luxury development to the South.

Kalume wooden bungalows

Kalume's bamboo bungalows

Another New Resort (Coral Garden
They were building a new place just north of Kalume. See pics below.



Update May 2012
This is now open and is called Coral Garden. I’m told that it’s owned by the same family that own Kalume. No wonder the Kalume website talks about ‘the Kalume Village’ – pretty soon they’ll have the whole island!
When I passed in wet season, they were open, but there were no guests there. I didn’t see any staff around, but the word on the street was that cabanas are 5000B in-season.

By the looks of the signage, the (Italian) Restaurant is the main attraction here.

Not that the cabanas are shabby. The ‘folding towels into the shape of swans’ course went well.


Kradan Island Resort
- is the other refuge for us cheapskates. Apparently it hasn’t changed hands and the people who work there are hired help and not the owners.
When I was there, there was a friendly American guy visiting (without his Thai wife) casing the joint as he was negotiating a 20 year lease on the place. He’s had a place in Phuket for ages, but doesn’t like the overdevelopment there, so is looking for somewhere quieter. If he gets it, he would keep the tone of the place the same (i.e. basic, cheap).

I’m pretty sure the single bamboos are 500B. The double is 600B for the same thing with another single mattress crammed in. There were bigger bamboos up to the North (800B maybe). Some people who stayed there mentioned unidentified beasties scratching around underneath the huts and on top of the roofs at night. Little lizards, I’d guess. The price of nature!

Kradan Island Resort single - bathroom access is from outside.

Kradan Island Resort single inside

Update May 2012

The American guy (Bill) took the lease. He has kept the place fundamentally the same as it was (bamboo huts on the beach), but has eased upmarket a little. The old 500/600B’ers have been moved to the back row and are now shared bathroom (bathrooms are in a block next to the reception). These huts still go for 600Bish.

KIR has had a load of bigger bamboo huts built and has put these in the front few rows. Asking price 1000B. These have private bathrooms, so presumably use the plumbing from the old front rowers.

There are a few family-sized double deckers in the second row for 1500B.

Bill (facing camera) is a very affable fellow and will certainly strive to provide the service that’s been lacking at KIR in the past; the huts are slap-bang on one of the nicest beaches in Thailand, so why not check them out ?

There was a write-up in the Nation newspaper about the rejuvenated (“new”) KIR, which tells you all you need to know.

http://www.nationmultimedia.com/travel/Island-in-the-sun-30181068.html


KIR is open all year-round.

Bill and Noo
+66 (0)87 3823058
+66 (0)88 8213732
kradanislandresort@hotmail.com
www.kradanisland.com




Apparently no-one is allowed to develop north of Kradan Island Resort.

--------------------

There are a couple of public transport options for getting off the Island:

450B boat and minibus package to Trang Departs 0900hrs & 1300 at Kradan Beach Resort.
I got a 0830hrs boat from Ao Niang Resort. I don't think this is the 0900 KBR boat mentioned above. Mine departed on time and called in and picked someone up from Kalume (and some people on Muk).
I think that Ao Niang Resort also have a 1330hrs departure.
There's a photo of the noticeboard at Kradan Island Resort (attached) saying they have boats at 0830hrs and 1330hrs, I guess they are the same boat as the Ao Niang.

I’m sure that they are similar boats in the other direction, so you don’t have to bugger about booking nights in expensive places. Sorry, didn’t get any details. The Kradan Island Resort sign talks about a 2-way trip from Kradan, so I’m sure they would know if anyone is already out there.

Kradan Island Resort tours etc - this is from the old resort.

--------------------------------------------
Thanks wonderingstar - very useful original and update. Seems like Kradan is changing all the time. And seems like I was wrong about Ao Niang Resort and Moon's. I might try to stay at Ao Niang next visit - tezza. Update November 2012 - I found the new Kradan Island Resort was easier to book (with Lady Tezza tagging along next visit I'm not prepared to do my usual walk in thing on Kradan) so I booked it for December. From what wonderingstar says and shows, I'm really looking forward to it.

Readers will find more good Thailand and SE Asia stuff wwonderingstars's own pleasenotanothertravelblog.

Other Trip Reports on Kradan can be found here.

Plus lots more info and pix etc on the main Kradan blog page.

5 comments:

  1. Hello has anyone stayed at: http://www.coralgardenresort.com
    havent heard good things about Kradan Island Resort and 7 seas is too much $.

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Spent Xmas & New Year 2013 at Kradan & Mook. Ao Niang is great except for one thing: the owner has built a huge compound/kennel right behind the cabins wehere he keeps his vicious pack of mastifs. They kick off with incessant barking at the slightest provocation i.e walking to the path to Paradise Lost, and one night they kept it up till way past midnight. I won't stay there again because of them, which is a shame because otherwise it's idyllic. The food is terrible as well, but it's easy to eat at Wally's (PL) for every meal, which is exactly what we did, only buying a few beers after a snork. I know he has them to scare off invading Burmese fishermen in the closed season, but he should move them out during tourist season - everybody was complaining about them when we were there.

      Delete
    2. Useful info odo - thanks.

      Delete
  2. How to book Ao niang resort, can you help?

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thank you nice article.
    your next trip…Phuket is the best choice for you!!
    I love here Surin Beach Hotel This hotel is very nice clean and the people are friendly. VERY nice hotel with helpful staff.
    And I really love white sand, crystal clear waters at Surin Beach too.
    Thank again.

    ReplyDelete