Bringing in the New Year with a Bang in Thailand
Koh Chang, Thailand
To bring in the new year of 2017 with a bang, I chose to spend some time away from my lovely rural town in northeastern Thailand and travel to the lovely Thai island of Koh Chang. Koh Chang is one of 51 other islands in that area. It offers a wonderful and scenic escape with beautiful beaches, waterfalls, a fishing village, and so much more that adds to your smile. Koh Chang seems to be the spot for not only foreigners but, also the locals making it a top destination retreat. As a foreigner working here, it is a quite the getaway and doable for the four-day holiday. Though the international holiday of New Years is not Thailand’s new year, it is still a holiday of celebrations that are shared among the Thai’s, as they do believe in a work life balance.
To start our journey, we grabbed a quick flight from Ubon Ratchathani to Bangkok. This cost about 1,600 Baht which is very reasonable. From there, we made our way to Mo Chit 2 Bus Terminal where we were greeted with numerous tourists and locals who all had a place in mind to visit. I had never seen Mo Chit 2 so overwhelmed with passengers waiting for transportation. With this sight to see, we figured it would be nearly impossible to make it to Koh Chang by bus so, that left us with only a few other options that included hiring a minivan, taxi, or hope to make it to the Ekamai Station which is about 45 minutes away. With time being a factor, we utilized the private minivan option due to the vast response for the bus. This cost 7,000 Baht which can be negotiated normally, but for the holiday the price was set. This divided by our group cost a little over 1,100 Baht each but, was well worth the time and comfort to not wait. For our return, we got a cab of 2,000 Baht back to Bangkok but, there were only three of us on the return trip.
Advice for Koh Chang – Travel Knowledge
Traveling from Bangkok, the trip takes about 5 hours to Trat, which is still part of the mainland of Thailand. Due to the time when we arrived, it was best for us to book a hostel for the evening. There are numerous options for this and you can use a couple different sites. We used Hostelworld.com but Agoda and Booking.com are great too. This helped us get revived for the next morning where we grabbed the local bus (a songtaew) for 50 Baht to take us to the ferry. This saves you a lot of money using the local transportation versus a taxi. Once, we arrived at the ferry sight, we purchased a one-way ticket to Koh Chang for 80 Baht. To our delight, the ferry ride was about 45 minutes but you are surrounded by the shaded water and the view of both the mainland and the islands. In addition to the sights, we also experienced a singing guitar playing captain. This made me love the ride. His voice was music to my ears.
Koh Chang provides numerous options for accommodations to where you don’t always have to book it but, over the holidays, I recommend that you do in advance. We stayed at Boat Chalet which, was probably not the best place due to the location and run down atmosphere, but it did offer a sandy white beach with a stunning sunset. I would suggest others to stay at Bang Bao, Lonely beach, or White Sandy Beach due to the assortment of things to do and it being closer to everything. This will save you on taxis or you can rent a scooter daily for about 250 Baht. This will allow you to see the other side of the island and take an adventure riding up and down the small roads. It’s quite the ride.
Traveling is one of the perks when you choose to teach English abroad. Overall, Koh Chang is magical with the beauty it provides. There are quite a few choices of things to do there that include paddle boarding, diving a shipwreck, waterfalls, hiking, beaches, fishing village, elephant rides, boating, and much more. If you love to travel and see the beauty that Thailand offers, then I suggest that you see their islands. The islands are full of a spirit that I cannot fully describe because it will make your mouth drop and fill your heart full of love.