Monday 5th September, 2011
It's been a busy first few days into our Thailand trip so today, we are heading over to Koh Chang Island. Our friend Darren has a house on the island and has so kindly offered it to us during our stay.
From Pattaya, the cab had to take us to the to the ferry wharf, which was around a 4 hour car ride. After days of nothing but sunshine, the weather didn't seem too happy today, so it wasn't looking to good knowing we had a ferry ride to venture on. Our driver got us to the wharf with only 20 minute to spare until we could board the next ferry.
At first the only passengers to be heading to Koh Chang seemed to be us two and a couple of locals, but soon enough, the tourists jumped on board.
The ferry ride was a pleasant 20 minutes ride across the waters and was very comfortable, as there were toilets and two cafes, which offered fresh fruit, snacks, such as chips and noodles, sandwiches and fresh fruit juices and smoothies. From a distance, we could see the clouds forming over the islands mountains and soon enough we hit a rain cloud. Sitting in the front row, meant we copped the sprinkling rain. At first it was a sprinkle, but them it was drowning!!! We had to move our luggage, but it was all very good time as the ferry was soon coming to the end of its journey.
Once we got off the ferry, the next task was to get a cab. Daniel had the directions Darren had given him and it seemed close enough to the ferry wharf. None of the cabby drivers were very helpful as it seemed as though they were in the middle of some card game. We were a bit annoyed, so we started to walk off and said we'd find someone else. Hahaha. Can you imagine that?!. We were on an island. Didn't know where to go. Or how far it was. We hadn't seen any other cabs apart from the ones that didn't want to take us just yet. Surprisingly our empty threat worked a treat, as one of the drivers soon came running after us and said "OK,OK". So with a bumpy start, our Koh Chang Island Adventure was starting. Yay!!!
The drive to the Siam Royal View Estate was nothing I'd experienced before. The road was curvy and bumpy. The Estate is on private land and still new, so it is still in the process of development. I have to say, if you one of the very few lucky home owners on the island, you've struck it rich. Darren's house is one that is surrounded by nature- The water, the palm trees and Chester the local Estate dog... I could stay here for weeks, months, years!!!
We soon checked in and the Manager had Darren's key waiting for us. As we opened the door to what would be our home for the next few days, we were blown away. The modern architecture and furnishings, together with the four bedrooms, three bathrooms and ocean view, this was better than any hotel by the sea we'd ever been to.
After freshning up, we went to speak with the manager again to ask her for a map of the island and just the general questions about what to do and how close in proximity everything was. She was really lovely and very informative- even telling us there was a baby elephant on the island. A baby dumbo. I knew exactly where we'd be heading to first!!!
We asked about what the best way to get around the island is and she told us scooter were the most reliable, yet dangerous. So being the dare-devils that we are, we hired a scooter. Daniel would be the driver and I would play passenger. Once we got our new set of wheels and helmets in place, we were off to see the island.
We opted to just do one side of the island this afternoon and the next few days we would go discover the rest. We headed down the west side of the island, where all the main tourist attractions are located. The road from our resort to the main part of town is very loopy as it goes up and down the mountain in such a way that very sharp corners are created. It really gets you thinking about the road accidents that occur on this tiny island.
We soon reached the town, which is also the gateway to some of Koh Chang Islands most beautiful beaches. Here, you will find the most popular of the lot- White Sand Beach and Lonely Beach. From the road, there are small walkways that lead you down to the beach. Beach bungalows, restaurants and bars by the beach can all be found here. We're going to give it try on the way back from our scooter ride.
As we continued riding, from the distance we could see elephants!!! which meant this must be where the baby elephant lives. We exited the main road and stopped at the elephant hut. This same road, if we continue riding, straight ahead, it would also lead us to the Klong Phu Waterfall. As we parked our scooter, we made way to a lady standing near a stall with baskets full of finger bananas and pieces of pineapple. For $1.50, we were able to feed the baby elephant, AKA baby Dumbo, some treats. I was soooo excited!!!
He was so cute and little (I know I say he was little, but in all honesty he was as tall as me) As we stratched his little bald head, he had spiky, wirey strands of hair poking through and his curious trunk kept wanting more out of our hands and basket lol. Words can't describe what it felT to be in the company of such a vulnerable, lump of baby elephant. To be able to touch his long, hairy tipped tail and feel his sheet thin little ears, ohhh it was just amazing.
We soon said goodbye, but would be sure to pay him another visit. From the elephants we continued on to see how far the waterfall was. We didn't have any intentions of seeing it today, but if we wanted to later on, atleast we knew how far it was. Again, the road twisted from side to side and we passed small towns inbetween. After about 10 minutes, we saw the entrance to the Waterfall. There was a fee to park your scooter and an entrance fee on top of that. It didnt seem like there were very many people as we couldn't see many scooters. We figured it would be something we'd do if we ran out of things to do, as waterfalls aren't a very interesting venture for us.
We turned back and got back onto the main road. We thought we'd continue riding until we hit the end of the line. In passing we saw towns, bars, tourist resorts, a pony rescue centre, more elephants and small side stalls. We stopped at a food stand, which had alot of Dutch food on its menu. We played it save and ordered a plate of springrolls and chips.
After leaving the foodstand, we found a lookout point which gives a great view of the ocean and surrounding landscape. Daniel and I took the opportunity to take some one handed photos. I think we've gotten pretty good at this hahaha! By this stage we had no idea what time it was or what time the sun goes down on the island. I was kinda hoping we'd make it back while it was still light but that wasn't going to happen. We decided to continue on, because according to the map, we didn't have that much longer to go. We passed a tree top adventure park, a Hippie Village and more resorts.
We finally reached the end of the road, which is actually a hotel. Content with what we achieve this afternoon, we happy turned back around and prepared to face the craziness of the mountain road again. By now it was dark, sprinkling, and although I was nervous, as the breaks weren't working very well, I believed we had Wolf Courage behind us LOL.
We managed to reach the main strip safe and sound and by now the sprinkling had stopped. We parked our scooter and made our way down one of the laneways which lead to the beach. Each bar/ restaurant had lanterns lighting up their quarter. We decided on seafood tonight and walked over to a restaurant that had a seafood buffett. Our waiter sat us down right up the front and took our order. As we sat on the beach, sipping cocktails in the moonlight, I smiled, thinking how lucky we were to be, in what I believe to be, one of the most beautiful places on earth.