Koh Chang and first impressions of Thailand

We've finally made it to Thailand! Okay, so we arrived early Friday morning in Chumphon on the train from Malaysia (and kudos to the Thai/Malay train authorities for their very comfortable sleeper trains, highly recommended). Therefore my first moments wandering around in Thailand were at 4AM. We then got the bus for a couple of hours down to Ranong, had a lift on the back of some motorbike taxis to the jetty, and hopped on a long tail boat out to Koh Chang.

On arrival on the island we acquired a cute little bungalow down the end of the main beach. The name of the place where we stayed eludes me, but the food is AMAZING. Sometimes I have very vivid daydreams about food I wish I could eat. The food there I think will be fondly on my mind from now on. 

The island is an idyllic quiet holiday place that seems to have a tourist population made up of mostly... you guessed it, Germans. One minimart we stopped by had two clocks behind the counter set on Thai and German times. I overheard someone on the boat mention a restaurant where the menu was written in German.

I stayed on Koh Chang for two days before I parted ways from my travel tour manager. Although not as acrimonious a split as say, Simon & Garfunkel's or The Beatles', history may record our separation as due to 'artistic differences'. Actually, I have made the journey up to Bangkok (where I am at the time of writing) in order to obtain a Burmese visa whilst young Tom does some much needed work on his tan. If you look at a map you'll see that Ranong and Koh Chang sit right on the Thai/Myanmar border and you can actually see Myanmar on the boat ride out, so it's slightly frustrating for me that I had to get the 10-hour bus ride up to Bangkok to even hope to enter the country*. Anyway, that's travel and politics for you.

*(You can cross the border here but it's limited to a day only, as far as I'm aware.)

I know a lot of friends and acquaintances have already been to Thailand, so I will share a few quick first time impressions for those of you that haven't yet made the journey:
  • The people are very friendly and helpful.
  • The number of English speakers compared to Malaysia is definitely not as prevalent.This has already made for interesting times.
  • The food is awesome and cheap.
  • The countryside is beautiful.
  • It's not as hot as Malaysia and Singapore, thank goodness.
  • They really revere their King here - I counted 118 roadside images of him on the bus ride from Ranong before I lost interest and fell asleep.

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