Friday, 12 April 2013

Koh Chang escape April 2013

Koh Chang

Paradise, just a 5 hour bus journey away

So, after a few weeks stuck in Bangkok it was time to escape to an island again for the weekend. Having a long weekend for Chakri day here in Thailand was a good excuse.

I've been here for a few months now and I've only visited 3 leaving about another 1,400 to visit apparently (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_islands_of_Thailand).

Getting there

So, getting to islands is always going to come down to a choice between time and cost. For about £50 - £80 GBP (depending on when you go) you can fly down to an airport in Trat with Bangkok Airways and drastically cut short your travel time or for £5 you can take a 5.5 hour bus journey and then the 1 hour ferry crossing to Koh Chang.




After a lot of Googling I eventually opted for the coach. Having read lots of horror stories about the small mini buses that zoom all over the country from Victory Monument in Bangkok I decided to go for the larger Government Coach company that departs from Ekkami bus station.

The coach journey down to the pier at Laem Ngrob was fine, lots of legroom and you even get a free bun and water bottle with your £5 ticket. One of the best investments I got recently was one of those inflatable neck cushions, which although look really silly, make a long journey a lot more comfortable.

The crossing

The ferry from the mainland to the island takes just over 1 hour and costs 80 BAHT each way. The ferry was amazingly rusty but it got us there faithfully.

Once we landed in Koh Chang there were lots of Taxis waiting to take people around the island. It's actually a pretty big place, but we'd booked our first night's accommodation on the North East side of the island only 800 metres away from the ferry landing site so we walked.

Friday - North East side of the island - The Souk Resort



  
We stayed at a place called The Souk Resort on our first on the island. The resort consisted of 8 or 9 individual huts, right alongside the beach looking out over the sea.

The outdoor shower and bathroom were interested but it was great to look out the window to the sea. Also, the place was deserted - it felt like we had the whole resort to ourselves.

The place was great value too, about 700 BHT per night when we visited.

The next day we got up and in a rare burst of energy went Kayaking which was very cool.

North East Coast - Pruzi Resort & Restaurant - Bangbao Village




Our next stop was right down the bottom end of Koh Chang. Our original idea was to take a ferry over to Goh Mak but in the end we decided to stay on Chang as it was much bigger than we thought.

Our second night's accommodation billed itself as a 'truly authentic' Thai hut experience and the hut was certainly novel. Not one for the faint hearted, we spent the night keeping a sharp eye out for any animals in the bed with us as we'd seen a number of cockroaches, spiders, termites, and ants in the hut in the space of about 10 minutes earlier.

This resort seemed a bit more run down that the Souk Resort but the location was right next to the pier in Bangbao village where most of the bars and restaurants are. After checking out various TripAdvisor reviews we eventually ate at the Bhudda View, which is cheesey and touristy, but you get to eat your dinner with your feet poking through the floor looking at the ocean underneath you!

South West Coast - Plaloma Cliff Resort - Had Sai Khao/White Sand Beach

The next day we continued our island tour and started off with a long walk around the south of the island. It really is a pretty island and most of it seemed very under-developed. In fact, the busiest beach by far that was saw was called "Lonely beach", a nice ironic twist.

When we got fed up of walking we flagged down yet another Songthaew and headed to our final night stop.

We'd been on the island 2 days and hadn't had nearly enough beach time so we headed to White Sand Beach and spent a great last day working on the tan/burning and watching the world go by.

A little scared after our experience with the bugs we were really pleased that the Plaloma had lots of creature comforts and even better no cockroaches. The resort was a little run down but right next to the beach and we really enjoyed our last day hanging out there.

Heading back

Journeys back home always seem longer don't they. We set off about 11am the next morning and eventually got back to Bangkok at 10.30pm.