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Koh Chang Travel Blog

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Another trip with my buddy, Laila. She's the one that I can call "A real Travel Buddy". We've been to many places together since we knew each other. In my gang, I have many of friends but not everyone that I can travel with. Someone I talk to everyday but don't travel with, someone I drink with but don't travel with, someone we don't have to talk everyday, we don't have to drink together but we just travel together as Laila.  

Traveling with her makes my life easier at any points :P She is an easy-going person and can share everything with. I usually love to travel with a few amount of people. Two is the best. Travel with the whole gang like 10 people is happened occasionally because most of my school mates, university friends already have their own families so it isn't easy to travel together as often as before, and when we grew up, thing changes by the thing around us .. what we like, what we see, what activity we do are different from the moment when we're younger so  sometimes it's difficult to travel together, and the trip will not be fun.  

Laila is always the first mate that I'd like to go with when I/we have a holiday. This time again we planned to go to Phangan Island (again). The tickets were already bought but a storm attacked Southern Thailand two weeks before the departure date. It caused flooded, ruined houses, hotels and routes to South and seemed not to get better yet on the day we planned to go. We were hoping but nothing gets better until the last day so we changed the plan only one day before our holiday. Many Islands were cut off from our plan as they are around the damage area. Only one place was left in the map for us to go. It's "Koh Chang".  

I didn't want to go to Koh Chang because I wanted a quiet beach like Tong Nai Pan beach at Phangan Island but Laila has never been there, and it's not too far from Bangkok so we chose that way. 

Koh Chang is about 4 hours from Bangkok by car. You can drive to the island - your car will get on the ferry to Koh Chang. The road in Koh Chang is really good with a few curves to be careful with but it's ok to ride. 

We went there with Laila's car. We said to meet at 8am because I didn't want to be there late buttttttt ..... I didn't wake up. T_T Laila kept calling me but I didn't hear any rings and I didn't hear my alarm clock. I woke up at 9am T_T which Laila was already at the meet-up point. Poor her T_T But she's kind. Didn't even complain me about this. Thanks a lot my best friend!!! :)

This trip happened during Songkran Festival. April 13 is a Thai New Year. I had 7 days-off for this holiday. On this New Year, Thai people will go home to stay with their parents or stay with friends to enjoy a Festival. The symbolic of this Festival isn't only a Thai New Year but it's also a time to splash water to each other. It's our traditional way to enjoy SongKran. 

We chose to travel two days before Songkran Day. Hope they didn't splash water yet in Koh Chang. Some places do this from 11-17 April. Some places do only Apil 13. Some places do after April 13. I didn't want to get wet on my traveling date so we chose to go before. I just knew that two of my friends were in Koh Chang at that time. They drove a car too but they parked at the pier. They told us that do not drive a car to the Island because it's Songkran Festival - too many people on the ferry so maybe we have to wait for long time to get in the ferry and wait again to get out like hours. Ok, we believed her. 

We booked a hotel only one night. I don't have any clue about Koh Chang even I've been there 2 times before but it was 10 years ago. Searching on an internet and found people shared about Kai-Bae Beach, ok, we chose there. We booked a room at Mandalay Resort. It was only one hotel that we searched and had a room available. It's 2,300 Baht per night. 

We arrived the pier to Koh Chang at 1pm. Followed a recommendation from my friends so we parked a car at the pier. It's 300 Baht per night. Then went to the Ferry. Only 30 minutes on Ferry we arrived at Koh Chang. There's no traffic on the boat at all. That was the first time I think we shouldn't park a car at the pier.

We shared the taxi with other tourists to go to our resort. The first 5 kilometers was ok but after that there were too many people on the street who were doing splash water!!! We're all wet! The driver didn't warn us about this so our bags were wet too. He even stopped the taxi to let people splashed water to us!!! We couldn't complain as it's our traditional way to celebrate Songkran Festival. This was the second time we thought that we shouldn't park a car at the pier. 

The road to our resort was fine. It doesn't like what my friends describe. We can drive easily in Koh Chang. Why we had to pay for the car-park service, then paid for the ferry, then paid for the taxi? This was my third time that we thought we shouldn't park a car at the pier. :S 

We arrived Kai Bae Beach but we can't find our hotel. The driver told us that it should be around here but he never heard about this resort .. what????!! We asked people around and no one knew this resort too. Oh No.... The worse is Laila didn't have its phone number. Grr. I had to call the call-service to ask for the number of the resort but the calling-service didn't have it in their data base too. I wanted to cry. The internet network, EDGE, didn't work well so we took about a half an hour to find a number on website from our phone. Finally we found it! The staff drove a pick-up to pick up us. We were all wet at that time, and hungry and didn't want to get wet anymore. And we shouldn't park a car at the pier!!!! If we drove, we wouldn't get wet :( 

We knew later that Mandalay resort is the new branch of Koh Chang Cliff beach resort and it isn't registered in the calling-service and not famous in Koh Chang. That's why locals didn't know. 

Mandalay isn't located on the beach. There are the main road in the middle, Koh Chang Cliff Beach is on the left near the beach. Mandalay is on the right side near the road. Well, we had no choice. 

Our room is nice for 2,300 Baht. Big space. But if we want to go around we had to walk or take a taxi which is expensive. Taking a shower then out to look for a new hotel for the rest of the trip. The staff at Cliff Beach drove us to one place but it's full. They said come back tomorrow to see if anyone checked out? Well. This was the fifth time we thought we shouldn't park a car at the pier. If we had car, we would drove around to find a place. We couldn't walk to find it. Had to go back to search on internet again. Almost hopeless. 

We're out again for dinner. Kaibae in the night was really quiet. Where were the people???? Really. It's really quiet.We walked about 2kms to find a nice place to have dinner. The one we chose wasn't good at all. After that we walked back to find a place to drink. On the way to the restaurant we found one nice pub and thought we would come back to this one but when we're back, no people inside at all. There are many pubs in Kai Bae but there was nobody inside! Haunting beach????!!!! 

We walked until we found one pub, normal, just wanted to have one beer then go to sleep. The waiter looks like Thai but his accent isn't Thai at all then he told me he's cambodian. I see. He spoke English fluently than Thai language. We asked him about the hotel, resort, guesthouse - any. He recommended one place called Gu's bay it's at Bailan Beach. His girlfriend works there. He said he would ask his girlfriend tomorrow and asked us to come back here at 10am tomorrow to see if they had a room available. Ok, at least we had hope. Gu's bay .. Gu's bay. 

We walked back to our resort. Walked to the beach, no people. It was only 10pm but the street and the beach were empty and silent. Pubs opened but no one inside. We decided to stay a bit longer at the cocktail pub next to our resort. No one also. The cocktail here was cheap with good tastes. Well. I told Laila. We should have a car. I don't like Kai-Bae Beach at all. It's quiet but not comfortable like Phangan Island. It haunted me.

So our plan was a) wake up at 6am to get the first ferry at 6.30am before people wake up to play splash water b) get the car from the pier c) drive across the river to the island d) find the new hotels before noon (check out time)

What a trip! I called my friends who were in Koh Chang at that time that told us not to bring a car. She said she's sorry. For her the road here is difficult to drive. Grrrrrrrrr .................

Well goodnight. Tomorrow would be a big day!

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Koh Chang
photo by: Kju