Four days and five nights on Koh Chang Island on the southeastern coast of Thailand came and went too fast. It was a relaxing, slow-paced stay, with neither of one us doing much at all. Which is unusual in itself, as we’re both pushing on to the next adventure constantly. Koh Chang gave us the chance to provide a check and balance for our own styles, as the island provided little more than simple, charming small town life. And it was perfect. As a result, there isn’t really a lot to write about, so I’ve provided more of a descriptive photo album than a proper blog.
Bangkok to Koh Chang was a bus-to-ferry transit. The bus was air conditioned, comfortable, and far more than we ever thought we would get for our money.. too many all too recent bad memories of Indian transport. Honestly I don’t remember much about it. It was so nice I was asleep for all but maybe thirty minutes of the five hour ride.
The dense tropical forest cleared away abruptly into a pier jutting a hundred yards out into the sea, the ferry to Koh Chang at the end.
We stayed on the far south of the island, just outside a small fishing village called Bang Bao. Amanda and I rented a small shack on a cliffside with an unbelievable view. I still can’t believe we had what we did for the price we paid. Something truly doesn’t add up.
Bang Bao was a series of buildings and shacks pouring into a calm bay on several different rickety piers. It looked for more majestic from a distance than it did up close, tourists clogging the narrow wooden walkways of the village scrambling for souvenirs.
We spent most of our time on the beach. I was in the water probably 3-4 hours everyday. If the waves were big enough I’d body surf. And when they weren’t I just enjoyed feeling water again. Seven months without a pool or a quality beach is too long for someone who was raised an amphibian.
When we had to take a break from the beach, we went a little inland for some hiking and nature exploring. We found a trail head leading to a waterfall and natural swimming pool.
And when we left the waterfall, we stumbled upon what was without a doubt the highlight of our time on Koh Chang Island. We found a open stable of elephants kept for inland treks for tourists willing to pay top dollar. The trainers were more than happy to let us stop and feed all five of them. Our bundle of bananas, as well as two papayas and a pineapple that we bought disappeared almost instantly.
The best moment however was when one of the trainers brought out a hose to cool the elephants. He let us both take a turn hosing them down. The elephant that I washed down made a game of it, sucking water into his trunk and spraying himself, as well as anyone nearby. She was like an overgrown child in a kiddie pool splashing around on a hot summer’s day.
We went back the next day to feed the elephants, this time equipped with 20 bananas. Amanda and I cut up a few and started handing them out. I heard the trainer yell behind me and turned around…. just in time to see the biggest elephant reach his looooong trunk out, grab the bag and shove everything in his mouth. 16+ bananas and a plastic bag. Gone in a couple big chews. We couldn’t stop laughing.
Four days disappeared on Koh Chang. It was a wonderful stop on this odd journey. Lovely beaches and fun roads to drive. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a Thai Island with a little less tourism and more modest pricing. And of course free fun with elephants.