29 Apr - 05 May 2013 Ko Chang

Southeast Asia
Kingdom of Thailand aka The Land of Conditional Smiles
Ko Chang (off the coast of Ranong and not to be confused with the much larger Ko Chang in Trat Province)
Long Beach Bungalows +66884487002 longbeachbungalowkohchang@yahoo.co.th
Comfortable double beach bungalow (no. 10) with private bathroom and veranda for THB 300.- or US$ 10.10 per night. No wifi. Free transfer (side-car motorcycle) from/to the island jetty; friendly staff, average cooking.
Beer: 330-ml cans of cold enough Chang/Leo beer for THB 50.- or US$ 1.70 per can from the beach bar.

Click below for an interactive satellite view of the Long Beach Bungalows on Ko Chang, which we would recommend, and for directions:
N 09° 51.06' E 098° 26.43'


Swinging lazily in our bungalow’s shady hammocks, feasting on delicious Thai tofu/veggie meals from the reliable Contex Beach Restaurant +6677820118, depleting the island of its stock of cold beer, socialising and having fun with fellow PTs and lightbeings Bettina & Axel and entering occasionally the rather turbid waters of the Andaman Sea where sharp seashells have mostly been replaced by shards of glass, yucky jellyfish by plastic bags and floating seaweed by tangled fishing lines.

Hiking the island’s interior along meandering forest trails through mostly secondary rainforest, mixed up with rubber, cashew-nut and banana plantations, spotting large piles of discarded water bottles (one of the saddest sights since many of those bottles, together with myriads of broken flip-flops, will be washed into the Andaman Sea during the monsoon season: "...coastal communities dump 8 million tonnes of plastics into the oceans every year...", according to Ian Sample from The Guardian), exploring the casuarina-lined but rather dirty and polluted beaches, which are more redolent of apocalyptic mud flats than tropical white-sand idylls, and ticking off from our bird list of the Andaman Sea: (i) a couple of oriental pied hornbills (Anthracoceros albirostris), (ii) a vast number of reddish brown Brahminy kites (Haliastur indus) and (iii) a few proud white-bellied sea eagles (Haliaeetus leucogaster).

Waiting for the onset of the south-western monsoon and watching The Impossible, a very emotional movie drama about the 2004 CE Indian Ocean Tsunami, the deadliest tsunami on record, which hit this part of Thailand’s Andaman coast and killed thousands of people, both Thai and tourists.

Embarking on the once-a-day long-tail boat aka reua hăang yao (departure time: 08:30 a.m.) back to Ranong’s fishing pier (c. 8 nm, 1 hour, THB 150.- per non-islander), flagging down a săwngthăew, similar to an Indonesian bemo or a Filipino jeepney, for THB 20.- per person, getting a lift to Ranong’s Provincial Transport Station, taking the very comfortable Rungkit Tours’ a/c coach +6676421805 straight to Phuket’s new bus station (c. 290 km, 5 ½ hours, THB 260.- or US$ 8.70 per person) and thereafter a big săwngthăew-truck (THB 10.- per person) to Phuket Town’s city centre; back to Thailand's main tourist circuit and back to hedonistic and somewhat seedy Phuket, for our first revisitation since our previous stay in 2009.

Click below for more blog posts about Southern Thailand
29 Jan - 01 Feb 2013 Songkhla

Click below for a summary of this year's travels

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From the 2013 Moral Travel Compass for Our Grand Children's Journey of Life:
It’s bad to ask “why”;
It’s good to find answers for “how”.
Keep your bearings!