We went to Koh Chang last weekend for a much needed - and deserved - break. It was kind of a pain to get to; lots of traveling, late nights, early mornings, crappy hostels and ferry rides. But believe it, when we got there we all agreed it was well worth the hassel. Absolutely beautiful, most picturesque, stereotypical tropical island you've seen, and far from a desert. As Francesca already said, Koh Chang is Thailands second largest island - behind Phuket - which felt just enormous compared to Koh Samet. There are also some 40 odd smaller islands peppered all around Chang.
People always say "stranded on a desert island", but do you ever really picture a desert? I always picture tropical for some reason (like Castaway), but I don't know if that's just me.
Although I found myself on this gorgeous island a few hundred km from home and work, enjoying an amazing relaxing vacation, I couldn't help but think of Oregon. Don't ask me why, but everything was reminding me. The second morning we were there, we sat down at the outdoor restaurant at our backpackers bungalow to have breakfast, and there were storm clouds rolling in over the ocean and a breeze blowing inland - which funny enough made the temperature really nice - and I could even feel the hint of raindrops (it monsooned later that night). But as I sat there staring at the grey ocean, something clicked and I was suddenly missing Oregon very much. Not just any one thing, but all of it. Sitting on the coast on a grey day drinking a delicious Oregon beer and enjoying a big fat cheeseburger with some Tillamook cheese. I miss seasons. I actually do miss the cold and the rain, and did I mention not crappy beer. I can't explain it, despite the picturesque setting, I think I would have given anything to be sitting on the coast of Oregon, not Thailand, right at that moment. It was weird, I felt stranded, but in paradise.
Don't worry though, we rented a kayak that day and paddled out through the amazing warm and clear water out to one of the islands off Koh Chang, and cleared those Oregon sentiments right up... Paddled back while the sun was setting and swam in the ocean till after it went down, it was amazing. And we didn't even get a chance to hike around the national park that takes up the entire center of the island.
I think we'll be back to Elephant Island, still so much to do there.
(Koh in Thai means island, Chang is elephant.)
Pulling into the pier, early morning at Koh Chang.
Our beach hostel.
Josh and Francesca
Mistranslation? Not sure what this sign was doing on a tiny island you could only paddle to.