Friday, July 28, 2006

Ko Chang

Not bad...not bad at all!
Andie and Sumit
Lonely Beach
Ooooh..isn't the water fun!

On arrival in Thailand there was a week to kill before meeting my sister. The original plan was to head to the far north of Thailand and do the usual stuff with elephant trekking and the like, but such thoughts had been long left behind for the niceties of a beach. Now as most people know, Thailand is spoilt for beaches but despite the imminent and renowned full moon party down at Hat Rin we decided to go against the crowd and head to Ko Chang. If this decision had not already been taken the sight of numerous British travellers of the worst kind on the Khao San Road all heading to said party would have been the final straw. (I even convinced some girl full of mouthy Arsenal chants that I was Italian having spoken to her in my normal English accent for a good 10 minutes). The full moon party was fun when I did it back in 2001 but I think one is enough for me.

Back to what we did do. Rarely have I heard such a constant trickle of compliments about a place from other travellers and these pictures give just a minor reflection of how the majority of a week we spent in Ko Chang lived up to the high expectations.

For those of you without perfect geography Ko Chang is located a short boat ride off the coast of Thailand just past the Cambodian border. And it is a truly stunning island. When you get beyond the small strip of coast being rapidly developed for money-dripping tourists, it is a paradise of relatively pristine rain forest running down to beaches that become more 'lonely' as you head south.

I say lonely because we stayed on the not so lonely 'lonely beach'. A collection of dollar a night bamboo huts. No mirrors in sight, just outdoor toilets and a gorgeous view out onto the Gulf of Thailand. As is best at the beach very little was done beyond eating, drinking, sleeping, a little bit of party, swimming, Thai massage (2 hours a day no less) and ....well...very little.

Unlike Dave, I did make it to the beach more than once - including on one occasion having to dodge a black snake during swaying middle of the night strowl. A highlight that unravelled from one such visit to that stunning shoreline was a rather confused trip to a waterfall in the rain forest. Sumit suddenly announced his intention to be active and against most of the bones in our bodies we were exactly that. After 20minutes in a uye (truck) and a 40 minute trek through the forest we arrived at a crystal clear waterfall spilling its load into a channel and pool that at one end was as tranquil as it comes and at the other a fun little rapid to swim against. Unfortunately we had left it until our final few minutes to go the falls so the splashing around was cut short.

Apart from that I only left the beach to go to some mini-full-moon party that apparently resembles a Goan rave - I can not corroborate that from personal experience. And right, that is about it short of saying that those gorgeous days were surrounded on each side by suitably fun weekends out in Bangkok (though I can not believe most stuff closes at 1am these days), to curse the Power Girls I was forced to drink at the treehouse and say cheers and thanks to Sumit (there is something about the dutch - the Power Girls were his fault), Andie (a good right kick but you need to work on the surprise a bit more), Grant (cheers for the South Africa pictures - I will get round to thanking you personally soon) and a couple of others who made it all such an enjoyable time.
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