Saturday, 26 February 2011

Koh Chang

We got up very early, around 6 and went to the Eastern Bus station. We had to take a taxi which cost us about 200 bhats and bought a bus ticket to the Pier to cross over to Koh Chang. The bus ticket cost was 250bhats which together with the taxi was the same price that what they were asking in Kaosan rd but we had been told that some of these mini buses weren't 100% reliable. Some of the dangers include being given food & drink on board that has been drugged so when you fall asleep they rob you.

We left Bangkok at 7.45 and took us 1 hr to arrive as far as the airport (due to heavy traffic leaving the city, it was Saturday morning...) We arrived to the pier around 1.30pm, crossed over (120 bhats return). The ferry journey was not very long, since the island is quite close to the continent. When we arrived took a share taxi to Bang Bao, which cost us another 120 baths each. Arrived to the Cliffhouse Cottage around 15.30pm, checked in and had some late lunch. Price 350 Bhats per day for a hut.

We loved the place (not that much at the beginning, the huts were basic and the little cove was rocky, not sandy) but the place is so relaxed and so quiet... the free wi-fi was a plus too. After being chilling out for while went to the village and had dinner in a Seafood restaurant (a mixed seafood platter with scallops, king prawns, crab, squid and a lovely fish, enough for 2 people @350 bhats). After dinner we were going back to our hotel when we found out that the village festival was going on, a sort of “feria” with a band and the election of the beauty queen and other categories (Kids, dancing...etc). They had a stall with local delicacies, grasshopers, maggots, coakroaches.

The show was so funny, as it was the main night of the festival they were crowning the queen of the festival. They had the usual heats and in the end the winner was decided on who received the most garlands. Of course the winner was the richest largest family.

Later we got a couple of beers from 7/11 and drank them at the porch in our hut overlooking the cove.

On our 2nd day in Koh Chang we had breakfast in the hotel and headed to the beach at the other side of the bay. We loved there and spend all day at the beach. It was relatively quiet, not too many beach bars and the scenery was lovely (palm trees right down to the beach). We left the beach around 4 and went back to the Hotel and had dinner in a local restaurant and went to the village festival. This time it was the turn of the children, they were each doing a dance. 4 girls did a traditional dance and one chubby boy decided that the funky chicken was the best option. The winner was (again) the richest family, last place didn’t get anything all of the others got a trophy except the winner. She got an electric fan, the look on her face was priceless!

We got up early and went to the pier and bought a ticket for a full day boat trip (500bhats each, which was cheaper compared to the 800/900 that other companies were asking for the same trip) we left after 9 and went  as far to the southern point of the trip, where we had our first stop in one of the small islands (more an islet than an island) we were snorkeling there for about 1hr (including Column who is only learning to swin!). It was great! loads of colored fishes and corals. After that they served lunch. The second stop was another island not far from there with a lovely beach where we stopped for a while, the sand was white originated from white coral. After that we headed to another islet for snorkeling and had more food (fresh fruit, pineapple, watermelon, corn and prawn skewer). Last but not least we went to koh Wai (the most famous of the island) and stopped there for about 30mins. On our way back to Koh Chang we discovered that one the local pass times from these boat trips is to feed the monkeys with the rest of food from the boat. The staff on the boat were great, very nice, helpful and entertaining, one of the guys was a real comedian (he even did wardrobe changes).

Our idea for going to Cambodia was to head to the south of the country (their only beach resort) and then to head up to Siam Reap. When we went back to the hotel we asked the owner (an English guy who supports Man U) about crossing the border in Hat leak. He recommended that we take a mini bus from the island to Siam Reap as the way we were thinking would take about 3 days versus 8 hours, the price was 800 bhats and we thought that that was a good alternative to enter into Cambodia. We went into town and it turned out that the travel agent was the same man that had sold us the boat trip tickets that morning. We traded our return ticket for the ferry for 50bhats off the price of the journey. We had a lovely dinner in a restaurant at the pier called Budhaview. The place was lovely, a little bit more upmarket than the rest of the places around but the food was lovely and not too expensive. After dinner went back to the Cliffhouse, paid our bill and went to bed.

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