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Koh Mak sandflies

Posted by moorhouse22 on 9/4/2012 at 20:44

We stayed at the holiday beach resort in April. The owner Pom and his wife are a pleasant couple. Pom works hard on his laid back image and the place has a very relaxed feel.
Not cheap, an aircon bungalow is 1900 non aircon 1500. you do not need aircon which is a good thing,we tried ours on the last day and it did not work. The bungalows are shabby and poorly maintained and during the time we were there we did not have a sheet change or the bungalow cleaned.
The sea is shallow until you go out 50 metres.
This is a pleasant stretch of beach but we sat on the beach in chairs and were savaged by sand flies. My wife has two of perhaps 20 large bites which have turned into septic blisters. Not my first encounter in my years of beaching but the worse ever. In fact we left the Island because of the bites. I should have sussed out what was going on when I checked in as there was a long list of sand fly prevention and aftercare products on the wall,not surprisingly the owners do not mention the problem. There were at least three other couple who also had bodies literally covered in sandfly bites.
I quite liked Ko Mak but would never return because of this problem.

#1 moorhouse22 has been a member since 9/4/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by caseyprich on 9/4/2012 at 21:40

I agree with the shallow sea issue - not really a swimming destination, but I found the people working at the resorts on Ko Mak to be a lot more laid back and friendly than Ko Chang proper. We didn't have any sandfly problems in February 2008 - but this is not the first time I've heard about this problem on Ko Mak.

#2 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by longbeach on 10/4/2012 at 19:38

If the bungalow was shabby why did you stay? Always inspect rooms first before paying.

Casey, I'm not sure how you could say staff are unfriendly on Koh Chang based on 1 or 2 resorts. That's pretty narrow minded. I've had some great stays there and the staff couldn't be better. Maybe you should pick your resorts more carefully.

The sandfly problem sounds horrible on Mak. Chang isn't bad at all. A few around dusk but no more than normal sand areas around the world.

#3 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307

Posted by tezza on 10/4/2012 at 23:38

Sand flies got me too last month on Mak. It was maybe not such a good idea to stroll on a section of beach which was not intensively groomed by a resort. But revenge is sweet - all those poor sandflies dying of alcoholic poisoning.
But like casey I have not had problems on Mak before - one a similar March visit another in November.

#4 tezza has been a member since 13/4/2006. Posts: 1,345

Posted by busylizzy on 11/4/2012 at 00:10

There was a similar discussion on here recently about sandflies. I do believe that they are seasonal and that they are attracted to some and not others. I have also been ravaged by them on some of our NZ beaches. I've come up in dozens of bites that blister up whilst lying next to friends that don't have a single bite. I can go to the same beach a month or two later and not have a problem.

I don't think it's fair to blame the guesthouse on sandflies. Just like you can't blame them if there are jellyfish in the water or mozzies in the air.

Problems around quality of the room is a different story, and at 1900 baht/night you'd expect certain things like clean sheets. But not necessarily haven't sheets changed every day. How long were you there?

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Posted by caseyprich on 11/4/2012 at 00:59

I believe I wrote, "a lot more laid back and friendly than Ko Chang proper"

This in no way says that the staff on Ko Chang were not friendly or laid back, simply that Ko Mak is more laid back and friendly. So please refrain from misinterpreting my comments as narrow minded. I was obviously reflecting on my own experience and not condemning the entire island of Ko Chang anyway. This was meant as a reflection on the first post to let them know that I found the people of Ko Mak to be out of the ordinary in their friendly-laidbackedness

Thank you for the advice that I should be more careful with my resort selection in the future. However, my accommodations were quite satisfactory and the staff very professional, simply not as laid back and talkative as they were on Ko Mak.

We, however, shouldn't assume that someone wants a friendly and laid back staff, that would be narrow minded of us. It could be that these things are seen as a negative when selecting an accommodation, when someone wants very professional and proper staff.

#6 caseyprich has been a member since 3/3/2010. Location: China. Posts: 1,281
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Posted by moorhouse22 on 11/4/2012 at 03:38

Longbeach. We had pre booked and pre paid for three days so hard to walk away plus on the surface what more do you want ? Right on the beach,The bungalows, a nostalgia trip for us cos we have been staying in grubby bungalows on the beach in Thailand for I hate to admit it 40 years but this place was bad value, old sheets never changed the tap in the bathroom with spouts spurting out the side, the vague feeling of never being clean .That is part of travlling but not at 40 quid a night and mega sand fly bites.

#7 moorhouse22 has been a member since 9/4/2012. Posts: 3

Posted by longbeach on 11/4/2012 at 09:37

Oh well, you live and learn. Mak and Samet seem to be the worst for sandflies and mossies.

shouldn't assume that someone wants a friendly and laid back staff,

I would think most tourists have little to do with staff and don't spend much time talking to them apart from asking about things to do or tours. I wouldn't want to be spending my holidays hanging out with staff. As long as they are polite and answer any questions the best they can that's all you can ask. I don't want staff fussing over me.

#8 longbeach has been a member since 28/3/2012. Posts: 307

Posted by altmtl on 11/4/2012 at 09:40

I wouldn't recommend Koh Mak because of the sandflies and dirty beaches, I preferred Koh Wai, I did warm up to Koh Chang (lonely beach) after a while.

My only health issue was getting athelete's foot.

#9 altmtl has been a member since 18/5/2009. Location: Canada. Posts: 1,003
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Posted by exacto on 11/4/2012 at 10:08

We stayed on Koh Maak for a week in late December 2009 and sandflies were definitely a problem at the time. Most of the resorts sprayed in front of their areas, but when we wandered outside of those groomed areas, we definitely got munched up pretty badly.

I agree that the beaches and swimming on Maak are not as good as other places I've visited in Thailand. But the island is small and welcoming and easy to explore, which was a real kick. The views from the places we stayed were also spectacular, which is one of the big things we wanted in our island holiday.

I also thought that the people on Koh Maak were particularly friendly and helpful, which added to the quality of our stay. I guess it isn't true for everyone, but interacting with the locals is a big part of why I travel in the first place.

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Posted by Tennouji on 28/4/2012 at 02:06

I and the people staying at my resort also got badly bitten by sandflies on Mak in December 2009. One poor guy fell asleep on the sand: ouch!

I've not experienced it like that elsewhere in Thailand.

#11 Tennouji has been a member since 22/9/2007. Location: Japan. Posts: 136
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