I cannot put myself in a little bungalow situated less than a stone throw away and not get myself in the ‘big blue’. I love the ocean and as you know from a previous post, I love water. I love SCUBA diving beyond any words can express. However, there is something about snorkelling that I love. I guess its more natural cos as you dive to the depths, you soon need to resurface to once again breath. Like a dolphin, a whale or a turtle. I like this.
So, the day started the night before with making the booking at my guest house with Buzzas on Kai Bae beach. An awesome lil place with hammocks, clean tidy bungalows and right by the beach. And and and, they have puppies. Puppies are cute. I want one. Anyways, as I digress, we booked the Attipol Tour for a mere 500B. This equivalent price to a poound sterling included equipment, pick up, boat, drinks and drop offs. Amazing. Innit?
So, the day of the pick up and i’m getting woken up by the Thai driver because i’m not waiting where I should be, instead I was fast asleep in bed. Oops! I blame the heat rather than the laziness. So, tired, grumpy and wanting horizontalness, I jump in the truck and we proceed to pick up M&M. They jump in the front and off we go along the snaking coastal road towards the pier at Bang Bao. We fast forward through the Scooby Doo market and get directed onto a boat. A large boat. A large boat with lots of people and blue. We’re off. Woo! Hmmm…. a little weird. Normally my morpho is here and now I have my mum present. Weird. But but, good. I think… yeah a little weird.
As the boat chugs along at speeds slightly faster than my freestyle pace we finally arrive at an island that had been extracted from some tropical postcard. The sands were white and the shallows were unbelievably turquoise. I gather my equipment. Hmmm…. no fins. You cannot expect a turtle to go swimming with no fins, or a dolphin for that matter. All I have is a mask and snorkel. Disappointment arose as it did with a similar snorkelling trip on Koh Lanta. Wait… fins 100B extra. Sold. Done. On and in the big blue I go. I love jumping from boat to blue. The stripy fish immediately present at any sign of boat action (renamed by my mum as humbug fish).
As with most snorkel trips in Thailand, and South-east Asia, it was like the scene out of the titanic just as it sunk. Non-swimmers flapping and fluttering around in the waster with bright illuminous buoyancy aids on. Arrgh.. time to get out from this and go find some fishes on my own. I’m always on the lookout for the little odd fish I can find so once i’m in, my face stays in the water as I make the most of this tubed extension of my trachea. I remain on the surface unless I see or sense something that intrigues me and then my chin ducks, my waist bends and my legs raise in the air sending me 10m below the surface. You submerge quickly so equalizing the ears has to be done just as quick, something that makes snorkelling a littler harder than SCUBA diving. Some moon wrasse, barracudas and butterfly fish. Hooonk!!!. Out. Away we go. Next island please!
On, in and under. Again, quickly losing the titanic passengers (including my mum), I calmly fin away around the corner and eventually covering the whole of the island’s parameter. Parrot fish, traveilly, pipe fish. Awesome. Hoooonk!! Out. Away we go. This time its lunch. Always good for a mouth that has been tasting seawater all morning. Omelette, rice and stir fried vegetables and fruit to finish. Quick rest for the food to sink and then on, in and under once more. I lose M&M for 10 minutes and then come across my mum. We share some points at the fish and suddenly I have gone off on my own.
Hoooooonk!! Ahh shit i’m late. Back to the boat I go only to hear Mark shouting where’s your mum. We both look back and she is about 50m away coming around the corner. Everyone is on the boat accept us two. Hahaha. My mask and snorkel gets thrown aboard and I freestyle out to her, log roll her over on to her back, grab her bouyancy aid and tow her the 50m back to the boat. Win! We are both on board. Better late than never innit?
What now? One last stop at a beautiful beach and chance for the tourists (or Russians) to buy some refreshments at an overly priced (Banana shake 50B!!!) shop on Koh Wai. We sat, we chilled. Honk! Back to the boat we go and the boat slowly chugs back to Bang Bao pier as we tuck into some delish rice soup and get even more scorched by the burning sun.
Returneed. Satisfied. Alive. Win.
After living in Thailand for around 2 and a half years, something I never thought I’d be doing is renting a motorbike and going on a roadtrip around the island of Koh Chang with my mum and her partner Mark.
Weird, surreal, but kinda cool.
So, breakfast was had at M&M’s resort, KB Resort on Kai Bae. I cannot recall ever having a breakfast like this here in Thailand. They got it free with the room, but for an extra 150B I could join and I had as much pancakes, maple syrup, cereal and egg sandwiches as I could eat. Trust me, I ate a lot. A gluttonous side of me comes out during any all you can eat buffs. So, with my stomach full, and satisfied, we rented out bikes. We donned our helmets and away we went. Off to Bang Bao village at the southern point of Koh Chang.
The roads were similar to that of Northern Thailand twisting and turning their way through the isle’s mountains, only I think a few more potholes and farang nakedness on the way. The views of the ‘big blue’ was insane. It was dotted with mini islands of green surrounded by tourquoisey blue shallows. Note to self: Moment for photo, save up and buy a camera.
So, still a little hazed at the fact my mum is in Thailand, let alone trippin’ through some crazy coastal mountains on the back of a Yamaha. Weird. So, about 14 or so k we get to a sign pointing us in the direction of Bang Bao; a small stilted village. We parked up. We started the farang parade through the pier filled with the usual Thai souvenirs you can find in Chiang Mai’s night bizarre (most of them crap) apart from the t-shirts read Koh Chang. So, as we scooby doo’d passed the snorkels, t-shirts, Buddha statues, snorkels, t-shirts, Buddha statues, snorkels, t-shirts, Buddha statues we made it through the other side with no ghoul in sight, only boats. Lots of them. We took a stroll, vulnerable to the hot midday sun, all the way to a sweet, little lighthouse at the foot or head (maybe end) of the pier.
We gaze at the beauty, we marvel at the array of boats (nah, that was just the fisherman doing that) and we chuckle at the floating bra. Not sure why, just seemed a weird thing to be floating among the plastic bags and bottles of the ‘big blue’. Hmm.. now i’m here, a quick rant. Thailand, you have such beautiful beaches, oceans, islands, land, people and yet your oceans and beaches are often full of shit. Seven!! Eleven!!! Stop dishing out plastic bags. People, if your in Thailand, give the 7/11 a little “mai ao tung” and stick your goods in your pocket. Breeeathe, better.
So, Bang Bao was cute, though full of a lot of crap to buy. A quick Sprite then back to the bikes. Where now? Khlong Phu waterfall just North of Kai Bae on the west coast of the elephant island. We rewound ourselves back through the snakey coastal roads passing concentration camps for elephants and we eventually made it to Khlong Phlu waterfall. We parked our bikes following a vicious request from a Thai lady wanting to make a quick Baht and proceeded to again get ripped off by paying 200B a person to enter the waterfall. It is maybe worth it, however, there are waterfalls in Chiang Mai that are magical, yet free. This I like.
It turned out that the waterfall was for sure impressive. However, it was scattered in faranguanas scaling the rock faces and pools monotonously climbing up the rocks and jumping in. Climbing up the rocks and jumping in. Climbing up the rocks and jumping in. Exactly! You know the score. So, with my shirt, scarf and shorts donned with only my bare feet showing I scrambled over the rock faces to get myself closer to the fall. It was tall and skinny. I liked it. I wanted to swim, instead I sat, pondered, watched and sweated. I scrambly returned back to a thirsty M&M and we left in search of a cold, icey drink.
Where now, white sands. This, was, indeedly crap. The beach and resorts reminded me of Benidorm in Spain and I really wasn’t motivated to stay. And as a result, I am not motivated to write much more. We returned back along the coats to Kai Bae beach. It rained. I stopped. M&M the responsible pair wanted to carry on. I thought. I pondered. I went with it. We returned. Wet, soggy and satisfied we remained unharmed by the concrete snakes of Koh Chang.
A good day.