Koh Chang is also known as the Elephant Island in the native Thai language. There are various sayings as to how exactly this name actually came about. Some say it’s because the overall shape of the island resembles a head of an elephant. There are others that say a lying down elephant can be spotted amidst the congregating hills and mountains on the island. Even local myths and stories were also concur as possible reasons why this name was given. One of which mentions an adult elephant crossing from the island into mainland with its 3 children elephants which unfortunately led to the inevitable drowning of the elephants and it was said that the young elephants formed into three off shore rocks that can still be seen even today off the northern coast of the island.
BATTLE OF KOH CHANG
On 17 January 1941, the Battle of Koh Chang commenced off the coast of the Koh Chang island between the French and Thailand forces. It was a short lived battle that lasted only a day with the French snatching a tactical victory with about a third of its men lost as compared to the 36 sailors that perished on the Thai side.
The French was then heavily involved, rather unsuccessfully, in Europe during the battle of WWII. The French forces stationed in its colonies in the Indochine region was paper thinned and inferior when coming face to face with the invading numerically superior Thai Army and Air Force.
The plan for the Battle of Koh Chang was France’s last bid to surprise and crush the morale of the Thai forces. The French did went away with a win but still lost parts of its previous conquest (1893 Franco-Siamese War ) in Laos and Cambodia to Thailand after Japan came in to brokered a truce shortly after the 17th January 2020 combat.
Strangely, if you had read on, The Japan Imperial Forces came rolling in themselves and occupied Koh Chang at the end of the same year as it has it’s own ambitious plan for conquest during the second world war.
THE 1ST BACKPACKER
The 70’s was an important decade to Thailand so as to the inhabitants on the island of Koh Chang when the first backpacker was brought onto the island by its local fishing boats in the mid 1970’s.
This set a the path to its subsequent development into being classified as a protected nature reserve as an affirmed national park of Thailand. This follows by further plans by the then thailand Premier alon with its administration in making an important decision to open up Koh Chang as a tourism destination to the wrold. The rest, like what always people say, is history.
NOW . FUTURE
It was reported that just last year in 2019, Koh Chang has welcome a staggering 1.3 million visitors to the island. Needless to say, this boom in visitors birth jobs and brings in new businesses for workers and business owners alike.
The increase of the average wage of an ordinary worker drives the spending power, which in turn leads to better earnings for local businesses. This continual cycle would slowly ramp up the economic scale of the island which will eventually uplifts the living standard of the islanders at the end of the day.
And needless to say, this is just a beginning for Koh Chang. Comparing with bustling islands like Phuket, there is still plenty of room for development and areas that could possibly open up more opportunities for Koh Chang and its people.
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