Saturday, January 16, 2010

Koh Kood - Urban Transition gone Wild

Anywhere Thais discover the last potential paradise, the sea life will die. While the resort I stayed boasted of its abundant wild sea creatures that visit the jetty in the mornings, the next resort just a hundred meters right was spear fishing the life out of the blur sting ray that ventured to the wrong place at the wrong time. The Thai guy, crouched low on the jetty platform, long spear on hand. With a quick bolt, I witnessed him probed deep into the shallow sands. And then he pulled up a good sized ray. Proudly, he walked back to his resort and everyone came gathering making him even more proud.

Koh Kood is the last island south east of Thailand before Cambodia. It is reputed to be untouched. And so it is with only one main dirt road on the island. It is an island with only the occasional Farang spotted, it is an island full of Thai tourists. It is, their land, their playground and I could see they prefer to keep it that way. Though the island is truly backwards, there are hints that points to another making of Phuket, that which is the ever strong GSM signal on the island. Even when on snorkeling trips an hour on to the middle of nowhere, you will still get strong GMS reception of 5 bars. The island has got unorganized constructions of all sorts turning the coastal parts into great balls of yellow dust. Uncontrolled exploitation of nature, sad sight.

Why are there no great concrete luxury type resorts on the island I asked? All resorts are now built on land with only temporary permits paid for at high price. There is still no official ownership of land for the resorts' owners. So the resorts are built cheap. And when things are built cheap, nature will be neglected. The owners take the risk and assume they will get the land in time, but one never knows for sure what the future holds. I for one wish the grey permits will all be taken back, the shoddy resorts destroyed and the proper developers come on in to build some environmental friendly resorts. This will reduce the number of developments. This will make the island exclusive. Proper developers hopefully will preserve the island with more consideration at least and not taint what is supposed to be crystal clear coastal waters of Koh Kood. But, this is the land of the Thais and is one of the last few island paradises where it still remains un-Farangnized. This they want, shoddy but Thai.

Shoddy but Thai? Let me elaborate further. The waterfall, is now a bath tub. It is no longer trekking in scattered groups towards the middle of jungle to find you can have almost the whole place to yourself. It was wild and noisy when I was there. It looked like a temple ground fair. It was totally littered. The parking ground was a dustbowl, the visitors in streams. The waters polluted. The freshwater fishes were dying. The crowd control was nil.

Snorkeling trips to distant islands. Ever seen dead floating groups of ants in a cup of overnight cola? Well that’s what it looked like. Boats too many, excreted oil leaking from old engines aplenty. And a thousand Thai girls, women and aunties splashed about in full clothing. Detergent residue overwhelmed the waters. The coral life whatever decent was left, will not be able to take it. They will die the fishes will be gone. Another spot of nature will be exterminated. The tourists don’t spare a thought for nature. They love it and yet they are killing it.

The soldiers came about asking each boat the number of visitors. They can monitor, they can write down the numbers, but do nothing they can to control or limit the damage to nature. This is sad, the paradise will be gone. Already it has begun. The visibilities in these waters were only a good 2 meters or so as I floated aimlessly breathing through my snorkel.

This is an island for one to experience the beginning of another hot spot. With what seems to be uncontrolled number of exploitations going on there, soon, it may well be another Koh Samet before her transition into Phuket. Money talks it works like that in Thailand. All matters of nature will be overridden, goodbye to the fishies. Go there while you can now or forever gone her natural beauty will be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I live in Koh kood and spear fish there most days...great fun!
You should try it before you knock it.
Wake up mate. the worlds not your personal playground and the locals want to develop it so they can have the same standard of life as you.