Coincidentally I’m back on a van as I write this; this time I’m leaving Koh Chang and heading back to Bangkok and then on to the Gaia Ecovillage. I’m unfortunately mot making writing in my journal a daily habit.
Looking back at the week on the island of Koh Chang, it was quite an enjoyable experience. The highlights for me were hanging out and getting to know my fellow companions – Erik, Alex and Daniel – and sharing experiences with them.
After a five or so hour drive plus a ferry to the island, we made it to our destination: a so-called “villa” just inside the middle of the northern-most bay on the island. We spent most of our time hanging out at the villa. It was a nearly perfect setup for our 4-man group because the villa had four bedrooms that each had its own private entrance.
Daily routine – awake at 6-7am, walk on the beach, meditate on the pier, work/stress about Everist project
The day-to-day during my vacation in Koh Chang was mostly mundane. I would generally get up around 6am, walk around along the beach, meditate at the end of the pier and, because I was in the midst of a project with a client that wasn’t going very well, I would inevitably spend too much time thinking and stressing about work. I know, it’s not the ideal way to spend a vacation but I decided that this project was a priority for me and I wanted to keep that commitment. (Though looking back on it now as I write this I think that I could have just skipped all of the stress and told everyone on the project that I was on vacation and would get back to them when I returned.)
Some interesting things that we saw included: monkeys, elephants (Koh Chang means Elephant Island), fish, geckos,
Little Sunshine restaurant, Coco mango, grocery stores and food
Sleep and oura ring scores
Because we were somewhat isolated from the action on the island, we ended up going to the nearby restaurant, Little Sunshine, just a few houses away from us. I think we went there maybe half a dozen times. The food was great. I ate a lot of the traditional Thai including various curies, pad Thai, Tom Yum, laab moo, and more.
One strange thing that happened at the restaurant was one of the older waitresses rubbing my belly. I ordered a smoothie the first night and wanted to make sure they didn’t add sugar so I went over to the bar to tell them. That’s when the waitress took the opportunity to reach out and rub my belly while saying something in Thai and perhaps English too. She then rubbed my belly just about every time we ate dinner thereafter.
Shopping for food was interesting. On the first day of our trip we went to a store called Makro that was some kind of membership store – kinda like Thailand’s version of Costco or Sam’s Club. The upside is that it was fairly easy to get what we wanted. The downside is that a lot of the food was imported (which was actually a good thing in some cases – like with the grass-fed Anchor butter from New Zealand), and it was probably more expensive than a more traditional market. But we did get some good stuff – like the butter and grass fed beef, bacon, duck eggs, and more. We did get a fish that turned out to be a bit pricey – at $50 – and we later saw it was farmed 🙁 . But we ate it anyway – and it was good!
In terms of meals we prepared, we had scallops, yams, rice, veggies, fruits, ground beef, bacon, shit-tons of eggs, mackerel and more.
Some things I learned: some cashews have wheat flour in them! WTF?! I didn’t find out until after buying them so I ate them anyway. Also, Tabasco sauce is made of wheat. Who knew?
We went to one of the more health-focused places on the island a couple of times for coconut-based ice cream. It was more ice than cream but still good and I liked that it wasn’t overly sweet.
Tour around the island
Erik had a great idea to take a tour around the island to get a better understanding of the lay of the land. After one lazy night, day and morning on the island, we finally booked a half-day trip that took us out and back on both sides of the island. Looking back, there was nothing spectacular about the tour. But, like many of the places we visited and things we did, I didn’t really care that much. Any more I enjoy sharing experiences with others so in this case, it was just fun to explore a new land with some new friends.
We went to a bridge and boat dock, fishing village, canals (I think in a Mangrove forest), a temple, and all the way to the other side of the island for a view of the ocean and islands below. I was looking forward to visiting a waterfall but, sadly, by the time we made it there it was already closed.
This was probably my second favorite thing I did on vacation in Koh Chang. I enjoyed getting out on the water. The fishing wasn’t great. Nobody caught any fish worth keeping. However we did go snorkeling where I saw all kinds of different fish. And then the highlight was dropping anchor and exploring a white sand beach on a small island. We swam just a few hundred feet from the boat to shore and walked up and down the beach before telling our guides that we were ready to end the tour and get back to Koh Chang.
This was definitely one of my favorite things… We had talked about taking some kayaks out on the bay and finally got around to it on Wednesday morning. Daniel and I got up early and were on the water just after 7am. We paddled out to the little island at the opening of the bay and then to a small, secluded beach at the very south end of the bay.
Koh Chang is a cool little island to spend some time and explore. If I were to do it again, I would make it a point to get to the waterfall. Otherwise I think having good company, delicious food along with a few activities is a good recipe for success. On to my next adventure: volunteering at Gaia Ashram ecovillage…