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Published: March 15th 2010
Ban Bang Bao
Market on the water, where you also catch an island hopper.
Landing in Bangkok around noon, the time change hangover wasn’t as bad as I was expecting. We made our way over to Th Khao San road to set up our digs. It was much like I had remembered, with few changes in the way of more stalls to buy stuff, and some different things out on the stands.
We found the guest house quite easily, a favourite of mine from last time “New Joe”, just off the main road, and set about wandering up and down Khao San checking things out and attempting to relax (an almost impossible feat). A few hours after checking out most of the stalls and going from one end to the other we were standing on a corner discussing our plan of action for the next few days when a Thai woman came up and started talking to us, asking us how long we planned to be in Bangkok for and where we were thinking of going, I told her we were considering a few days in Bangkok before going north. Apparently this was a bad idea, she told us about a protest that was to happen very soon, sometime over the next few days, and
Look how pale and newbie we look!
they were anticipating it to be much like the one last April with the red shirts marching in for the north east and staying for a few days. I remember it wasn’t overly dangerous for foreigners last year, but we weren’t sure of the full details, and as I had an itching to come to one of the beaches in Thailand before setting off on our trekking adventures, we decided to head to Ko Chang instead of being around for the political demonstration. So we made plans to leave the next morning for some much needed R&R and sun.
The bus ride to Ko Chang wasn’t bad, much shorter then to the more southern islands, which is what sold me on the island. Our first impression of the island was that it was big, much bigger than expected. Secondly was all the garbage.
Ko Chang is a beautiful island... or at least has the potential if it weren’t for all the trash. A combination of thousands or tourists and a poor garbage disposal system, has left the beautiful island with a smelly reminder of Bangkok, not pleasant when you come here in hopes of escaping the hustle, bustle and
Our home away from home for 5 days.
All negatives aside, we decided to make our way down to lonely beach. I thought it would be a good first start as our guidebook wrote it out to be the more popular of the beaches on the island, and I thought this would be a good start as it was still our first full day in Thailand. We found a nice guesthouse/resort on the beach called Siam Hut. I was expecting something a bit more... developed then we found here as this is one of the closer islands to Bangkok, and from what I had previously heard is quite popular. We found simple wooden huts, lined up along the beach and back to the row, simple attached bathrooms (this gets to be sort of a luxury at times so I never ignore it when I find it) and a nice looking restaurant overlooking the endless ocean.
Our first full day on the island we rented a motorbike and decided to take a trip around the island, which we soon discovered is not a possibility as the islands only road goes in a sort of horseshoe around the island, with both points stopping near the southern half.
So we went the shortest way first, and realized our mistake, and decided to try the other side of the island. It was a fun drive, going through the different beach towns (which all look fairly similar, shops to buy clothes or book tours for snorkelling or trekking in the jungle). Finally we left the tourist areas just after passing the ferry terminal, and an hour and a half later wound up on a very bumpy, very hilly, dirt road, following signs pointing to “tree house”. After some navigating, and me walking along behind Scott on the extremely bad parts, we made it. The bungalows there were fairly simple like our own, set up on more of an incline with a beautiful view of the ocean ahead. The restaurant was simple as well. I had some amazing green curry for lunch (it is worth mentioning, it was that good). Strolled along the beach and set off for our guesthouse. All in all a good first day!!
Friday and Saturday we didn’t do much at all. Friday night was the party night at our guesthouse so we stayed in and drank a few (too many) buckets and played cards with some
Thai skipping firey rope.
Brits and some Russians, Saturday turned out to be a right off save for the bit of sun we got relaxing by the water.
Sunday we went snorkelling, a fairly good trip. 500 baht ($15 CAD) each got us on a fairly large boat, about 70 passengers, lunch, snakes throughout the day, and snorkelling on three different islands, as well as the chance to visit Ko Wai (which was amazing). Our last stop was at a cliff face near some jungle, where some hungry grabby monkeys sat waiting for us. They pulled the boat up fairly close and began to hurl the leftover food bits we had from lunch at the monkeys. It was fun to see the monkeys, fairly close up without being in danger, and get some good pictures. I kept getting this overwhelming sense of how wrong it was to be doing this. The guide said that they do this, everyday, and there are about 5 boats a day. I just watched as some of the other guests on the boat excitedly tried getting their bit of pineapple to go the furthest while the monkeys fought each other for their fair share.
So that was
a beautiful island paradise
Ko Chang for us. This was nowhere near my favourite islands that Thailand has to offer, but I am glad we took the opportunity to come and visit, it means that our next stop for a few days is Trat, the mainland jumping point for Ko Chang. After Trat we are planning on heading up to Bangkok, and then on to Chiang Mai for some trekking, elephant riding, and cooking courses!!
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