Travelling towards the eastern side of Thailand our destination was Koh Chang and the nearby island Koh Kood. Enroute we halted for a night at Pattaya exploring this city before heading out.
Pattaya : Pattaya is around 150kms, about 2hrs from Bangkok. We took a bus from Ekamai Bus terminal, a ticket can be purchased at the counter, though you may have to wait a while for the bus as they seem to have some cut off times to issue tickets. Although the 9:30am bus seemed to be empty we got the tickets only for the 10:30 bus. At Pattaya songtheaws, jeeps converted into tuk-tuks, are extensively used instead of buses or the usual tuk-tuk. So hopping on one from the bus terminal they will drop you off near the hotel for a lesser cost to taxi. Although for travelling within the city they have some set paths and have a fixed price of 10 tbh irrespective of the number of stops. So hop onto one keep a track on the map where you want to go to and hop off wherever the route changes seemed to be the best option of using them. They also have a bell in tithe sitting area in case you want to get downa and he will stop at the next bus stop. If you check with the driver on a particular destination then it’s like hiring one for yourself and then the price would be equivalent to hiring a taxi.
Sanctuary of Truth temple was our only todo place in Pattaya. It’s an impressive wooden temple being constructed by a Thai businessman and a work in progress. The ticket price is 500tbh and is open till 6pm. The outer structure is complete, artistically decorated in a thai-khmer style with beautiful sculptures in wood. Inside is 4 main halls each with a theme on life with construction in progress in some of them again beautifully decorated in wood. At 3pm they had a thai traditional dance performed near the cafe, a well choreographed small show.
Wat Phra Yai, big Buddha temple. Since we had time we decided to go to this temple, but really was not worth the effort. We were still to figure out how the songtheaws worked so finally took a taxi for 200tbh. On the way back we walked down the hill and then jumped into a songtheaw and got dropped near the hotel for 10tbh.
Tiffanys Cabaret show, we booked the evening show as this was so much talked about. Really not something I would have wanted to spend my money on, sets are good, the artists mostly transgenders are beautiful, however the lip singing of the popular hollywood songs really put me off.
One thing that is so obvious in Pattaya and rampant was the sex trade part. Filled with massage parlour with girls and women inviting guests in, pubs having girls dressed sikmpily and them pole dancing, it was a disturbing sight at times. Should I feel sorry for the girls for being in this trade or should I be disgusted that so many men throng this place and visit here with just this intention ………..
Koh Chang : Minibuses from Pattaya is the way to get here. Check with your hotel if they book the tickets which will then include pickup from hotel to ferry pier at Trat, ferry ride and the same minibus will drop you off at the hotel in Ko Chang, worth paying a little extra for the service of pickup as the main bus station is a little off the town area. We brought the ticket from the bus station for 500tbh, minibus which dropped us off at the hotel at Ko Chang. We had by now figured out using the songtheaw so getting to the bus station was doable.
Ko Chang is beautiful and enchanting. We were here in July, so, lush green landscape, not too crowded and had we had the time easily could have spent 4-5 days exploring and relaxing. The western side of the island has most places of stay and also the beaches. This is the biggest island in Eastern Thailand and is a part of the Mu Koh Chang National Marine Park.
Things to do
- Beach hopping, best way is to hire a motorcycle and drive through the island. Just vegetate at the beaches or go snorkelling.
- Island hoping tours. Ko Kood, Ko Mak and Ko Mai are the nearby islands, so depending on the season you can check out the tours offered.
- Trekking and waterfalls.
There is a single main road circling the island. Hiring a motorcycle (hotels have them) and hopping from beach to beach is the best way to explore this island. There were motorcycles for 200/250tbh for hire for the day. Gasoline is sold usually in small sheds, did not see a petrol bunk as such, so look out for them. The gasoline sold is graded as 91/95 etc, either one used for motorcycles, so check with the rental person what to use.
The speedboat to Ko Kood from Ko Chang runs only from Nov to May. So we opted to just beach hop in Ko Chang. We were staying near Klong Prao beach, so spent the morning here and then drove down to Lonely Beach and spent the evening at White Sands Beach.
Beaches were moderately crowded, water was clear although beaches had little bit of seaweed washed in, waves were not strong though it did rain some. Enjoyed playing in the water at all the three beaches, strolling along one end to the other end of the beach and then savouring the delicious thai food served at the beachside restaurants. One thing that is good about Thailand beachside restaurants is the food and drinks costs more or less the same as within the city.
Totally worth considering Ko Chang as your island destination in Thailand on your next visit.