april 7th – april 11th
after chilling in bangkok for a bit, we knew we wanted to head south and check out some islands. sunny beaches, scuba diving, and relaxation awaited us but first we had to figure out which island to go to. there are tons to choose from, and so many damn factors to consider. diving was supposed to be better on the west coast this time of year… but that’s where the tsunami had hit, and although prices would be much lower over there, some people think that there is a good chance of another tsunami hitting that area. the east coast could be nice, but supposedly was very expensive right now. we wanted to find an island that was mellow and not all super touristy. searching for stuff online just gave us lots of headaches. every island had some people who said it was great and other people who said it sucked big time. after spending wayyy too much time trying to decide, we finally settled on koh chang, a large island that was one of the closest islands to bangkok. it would only take 5 hours to get there by bus.
the next day, we started worrying that maybe we had made the wrong decision. we found a few things that said that although koh chang *used* to be untouristy, recently it had become completely overrun w/ hotels, atms, and had become realy lame… plus, prices had gone through the roof. but we had already bought bus tickets, so we went for it anyways. a 5 hour bus ride, a short night spent in a town called Trat, and a 1 hour ferry ride later, we arrived on koh chang.
any doubts we had about koh chang disappeared within minutes of getting to the island. it was absolutely beautiful there. huge lush green jungle covered the island. the water was pristine. there was pretty much only one road on the whole island and it made this huge loop around the coast. along the road there were only a few scattered towns w/ small restaurants, massage places, etc spread out between them. lots of the stretches of road didnt have any buildings whatsoever. sure, the place had it’s fair share of 7-11s and dive shops, but still the place had a really relaxed feel.
we ended up staying in a small fishing village called bang bao. this village consisted of one long pier that was covered w/outdoor seafood restaurants and a few small bungalow hotels randomly strewn about the bay. there’s something really nice about staying in a bungalow. i mean, sure it doesnt have A/C or any fancy shmancy amenities, but it just has character. and if you’re staying on a tropical island, it just fits perfectly.
caryn, on our porch
i gotta say that the thing we did most often on this island was eat. we spent *so* much time just chilling on the pier in one of the many restaurants. it was super hot on the island, so it was super refreshing to just sit at a table, have the fan blow on us, be under shade, and sip fresh fruit shakes. and we ate tons of food too. this village was famous for its seafood, and we had some *amazing* fish. all of the seafood here is extremely fresh.. most of the restaurants actually have huge tanks out front full of lobsters, shrimp, crabs, etc. heh, the only bad thing about these restaurants was the service… i dont think we got our entire order correct even once out of all the times we ate there.
boats off the pier at night
the other really fun thing about the island is that we got to rent scooters. all 3 of us rented our own and we zipped all over the island. the island is very hilly so the roads all have crazy turns and really steep ascents and descents. it was so fun to just plow down these mountains going as fast as you can. the village that we stayed at was only connected to the main road by these dirt roads which were completely full of rocks which made going over them a bit tricky. i’ve already taken roads like this on a scooter last time i was in thailand, but ryan and caryn were a bit edgy about them at first. after riding over them time and time again though, everyone got the hang of it.
ryan on his scooter
surprisingly, given that we were on a tropical island, we only made it to the beach once. this was partially cause we were pretty lazy and it was just so nice to chill on the pier. anyways, the beach was great. i dont think i’ve ever been in water this warm before. of course, memory is a weird thing, but i dont seem to recall it being this warm last time i was in thailand, maybe due to the time of year. this water was great though. you could just get right in without giving it a second thought.
one of the days we scootered out to these waterfalls in a national park on the island. the falls emptied out into this little swimming hole. the water looked murky and a bit uninviting, but the thai people seemed to be enjoying it so ryan and i got in, while caryn watched from above. there were actually little fish swimming around inside, and a tiny one tried to bite me!! the water here was much colder than the ocean, but still enjoyable once you got used to it. the thais that were there did crazy stuff like backflips off the cliffs into the (fairly shallow) water below, but we never tried it.
ryan and caryn w/ a small section of falls behind them
reflection of the trees