Koh Chang—Klong Kloi Beach & Tranquility Bay!

April 6th, 2019

Heading East over the hill and down to the ocean we explored a new area. Only 1km east from Bang Bao pier is Klong Kloi beach. It’s a pretty area starting to be discovered for its beauty, yet still far enough from the bustle of Lonely beach closer to the ferry terminal.

Klong Kloi Beach near Tranquility Bay

Some of the road had been eroded during a recent storm (also eliminating our internet for the first few days). We passed bungalows tucked into jungle by the beaches… several offered yoga or smoothie bars! Then came the beach front massage locations.

The road between the two areas

Once we hit the sand we continued walking past beach bars and a lengthy row of beach chairs. Around the corner was more private and less congested. We located a fancy outdoor bar with swings and chairs. This was our base for several hours. The ocean was refreshing yet warm with such high salt content that we all floated carelessly bobbing on the waves.

Klong Kloi Beach bar!

After returning to our Hotel we opted for swimming pool water and relaxing under umbrellas at our beautiful resort. When the temperature is 30 plus 80+ humidity it feels close to 40 degrees!! Regular quick intervals of immersion in the water then hiding under shade with lots of sun protection was a perfect fit.

Tranquility Bay resort pool & view

The grounds at Tranquility Bay resort are stunning and every day during this intense heat male gardeners were busy maintaining their beauty. From bamboo hedges and palm trees to multiple species of local flowers this flora enticed a wide variety of bugs, amphibians, reptiles (we didn’t see any snakes there), Song birds, and Macaques monkeys!

Beauty around Tranquility Bay resort

We really were on the edge of a jungle here.

Koh Chang —From Busy Bang Bao Pier to White Sand Beach & Buddha View

Early April 2019

Hot and Humid with a little taste of storm (Lightning/Thunder) is today’s reality! But the storm passed quickly and we were off exploring. Today’s plan is to further explore Bang Bao pier (about 1km walk); take a taxi (covered back of a truck with bench seats) to Big C store in White Sand beach area; then embrace the end of our light with a sunset dinner at lovely Buddha View Open restaurant.

Taxi ride north to White Sand Beach

We caught a taxi to White Sand beach to get groceries. It’s a lengthy ride north back towards the ferry terminal which is augmented by the discomfort of being bounced around in the back bench seat of a truck as it swerved around tight hairpin corners barely missing other vehicles and scooters, while breathing in the exhaust fumes right below you! Clearly not my favorite mode of transit!

Price for the taxi ride is negotiated by you and the driver prior to you jumping into the back. Prices varied with different drivers. This section was 150 Baht/person.

Lunch, massages, groceries at Big C

We decided to grab lunch and have a massage prior to getting groceries at Big C. There are many lovely spots to enjoy Thai food off the main roads. Toilets aren’t always available though, so watch for them as you travel. A toilet facility was near to our lunch location. The price was 10 Baht each for a few squares of toilet paper and the use of a public toilet.

There are so many massage locations in Koh Chang and the prices are pretty compatible… but the expertise of the “women” (haven’t seen a male yet) varies. We hit a home run in White Sand beach! All 3 of us had 1 hour massages with oil, then tea. The 3 women were amazing and so strong and effective. The total price was 850 Baht which equates to less than $40 Canadian!!! After getting groceries we took another taxi back to our home base.

Bang Bao pier area

Off we walked past the Wat (mediation center) toward the pier. We’re getting familiar with all the landmarks—scooter rental locations, our favorite fresh fruit stand where the lady will slice up any fruit in front of you, (Mango, limes, papaya, bananas, dragon fruit, coconut, mangosteens, lychee, etc), the only drug mart, massage shops, the laundry shop (40 baht for 1kg of dirty laundry), and the ever popular 7–11 store and taxi base.

As you approach the wooden pier you encounter the Rasta stand, gelato stand, coffee shops, then the souvenirs, colourful clothing, fresh fish and seafood, Thai food, and endless small souvenirs shops!

Bang Bao Pier

Everyone heading for a boat excursion must walk down the lengthy pier to the waiting vessels. The pathway is narrow and packed with endless tiny shops, fresh food, and little cafes on both sides of the path. In addition to locals and tourists walking through this covered path, watch out for the constant stream of scooters, motorcycles, and metal carts filled with wares! (Especially early morning and after 4 pm).

Buddha View restaurant in pm

At the end of the covered section of the pier you will discover open space and a more relaxed setting with a few delightful restaurants. Buddha View is well worth locating and quite delightful! There are a few areas where you can sit on pillows at a low tables and let your legs dangle over the open water.

Back again! Buddha View for dinner!

The Thai food was wonderful and the sunset sublime. This was an awesome way to end another full day at Koh Chang with my 2 favorite guys! 😉

Koh Chang—Bob Marley, Mornings and Ways to Explore!

April 4th to 10th, 2019

Our week on Koh Chang was apparently a quiet time to visit the island. This was the week prior to Song Kran (Thai New Year) and after Spring Break period for overseas tourists. It was the hot and “dry” season here.

Tranquility Bay Resort—Koh Chang

Bob Marley has a strong presence on this island. Directed at tourists? We didn’t see many locals sporting his colourful red, yellow, and green apparel, hairbag, or dreds. Yet, there were numerous shops sporting his colours and selling souvenirs as well as “Hippy shack” and “Rasta” promotion. In fact, ironically the elaborate Tranquility Bay resort complex was nestled between Rasta colours and lower cost “hippy” huts.

We ate our first dinner at Rastaview located beside our resort sitting on cushions on the floor overlooking the jungle as dogs and cats wandered around and lay beside you or on the tables. Hygiene wasn’t a priority and although the location was unique, and had a definite following, it wasn’t our scene.

RastaView —Koh Chang

Our Airbnb at the Tranquility Bay Resort was large (2 bedrooms 2 bathrooms), self contained, and had a magnificent view from the main area and master bedroom. My son’s cooking skills were revisited after a lengthy hiatus! We enjoyed our breakfasts on the deck listening to the birds, monkeys, and local geckos and lizards.

There were 2 geckos living inside the condo that made chirping sounds periodically. I never saw them, but the guys did on rare occasions. They didn’t bother us and we figured they were consuming unwanted bugs!

Breakfasts with Geckos/lizards

In terms of transportation… Taxis ran constantly and usually had room (truck with open back, covered roof, and bench seats), and rental scooters were available in every beach area and most accommodation locations.

Booking boat tours to nearby islands or to go fishing was also painless. Booking agents were available in all the major beach areas and tours supplied taxis to pick up from your accommodations. Weekends were more popular than weekdays, but we had no trouble accessing availability for tours. Another blog post will follow dedicated to our day snorkelling and exploring islands.

Getting around Koh Chang

You can also book vans for longer trips. We booked vans to transport us from Bangkok to Koh Chang and return. However, in spite of the heat… our choice as the main means of transportation for distances of a few kilometres was walking.

We experienced the sites and sounds of the surrounding jungle; and we saw enough scooter accidents on the narrow, windy, eroded roads to avoid that mode of transport here. While walking we were immersed in the sounds of tropical birds, frogs, insects (especially cicadas), and monkeys— as well as vehicle motors! Road kill victims were mainly large squashed frogs/toads, geckos, and 1 snake! There is much to experience here on hot and humid Koh Chang.

Thailand—From Bangkok to Koh Chang

April 4th 2019

This morning I finally got to reunite with my son Alexander! He’s been working at Western Digital and living in Bangkok for over 5 years now. Our last visit was nearly a year ago in Canada. I miss him so much it pains my heart— I’m sure any mother would understand this emotion if their only child was half way across the globe! But I understand his draw to this lush, beautiful country and it’s amicable, caring citizens. When the van arrived at our hotel I didn’t want our embrace to end!

Reunion between mom & son in Bangkok

April is hot and humid in Thailand! Thai Travel websites list late April and May as the hottest months in most of Thailand… but apparently it’s also the dry season. What we’ve discovered so far, is that the humidity and heat combined will take some adjustment for our N. American bodies.

An unexpected surprise is there isn’t an over abundance of tourists at this time and it’s school break in Thailand, so we get to interact with Thai families. The young children are so cute!

Reunion & Bangkok road trip

We prebooked a transport company Taxi Koh Chang Asia in Koh Chang to pick up Alexander at his apartment then us at our Bangkok AT Suvarnabhumi Residence airport hotel in a private air conditioned van then drive us all the way to our next residence Tranquility Bay on the island of Koh Chang in the province of Trat.

Koh Chang is the 2nd largest island in Thailand on the Eastern coast with a population of about 6,000. We were staying at Bang Bao near the south of the island.

Bangkok to Trat Road Trip

The trip in the van was very interesting and comfortable . Our driver chose to avoid some of the traffic by taking an inner highway route instead of the coastal road.

Once we arrived at the Trat ferry terminal another man from the taxi company collected the 5,000 Baht cash fee for the van service door to door from Bangkok locations to our next residence at Koh Chang. Thank goodness for air conditioning! Most of the staff working at the ferry terminal wore hats, sunglasses, neck guards, long sleeved shirts, and either long pants or long skirts (females).

Ferry from Trat to Koh Chang

The ferry ride was a 45 minute crossing and quite pleasant. The scenery was lovely and you could sit or stand to observe the views. There was even a small snack shop on board the vessel. When we arrived at Tranquility Bay resort we unpacked then explored…

Our Trip from Nanaimo to Bangkok via Hong Kong. April 2019

photos.app.goo.gl/WzrVRx2T3sk6n2TZA

April 2nd to April 4th, 2019

I’m trying something new on my blog. It’s a link to a photo video about our travels. Please press the link and open it.

We departed from Nanaimo on Vancouver Island at 7:55 am April 2nd to YVR (Vancouver, BC) via Harbour Air float plane. Although noisy… it’s such a lovely way to see the natural beauty and clean air of our country.

At 1:10 pm AC 007 departed for Hong Kong. We used aeromile points to upgrade to Premium Economy and it was sure worth it! We sure appreciated the extra legroom, service, and having only 2 seats per side. All announcements were presented in English, French, Mandarin and another language (Cantonese?).

We lost April 3rd as we passed over the International date line. (See you when we return lol). At 02:30 am PDT we arrived in Hong Kong–4:30 pm their time.

The air pollution was very high as we approached Hong Kong and visibility was limited as we landed. However… it was possible to see an extremely long bridge, lots of wind turbines protruding out of the ocean, and more freighters than I had previously seen in any one harbour! When we entered the terminal face masks were a common site.

We only had a 1 1/2 hour wait in Hong Kong but we wished we had planned a stop over to explore this thriving hub! TG 639 (Thai airlines) departed at 4:05 am PDT and arrived in Bangkok 6:45 am PDT which was actually 8:45 pm Thai time!

Our next leg of travel was relatively quick with Thai airlines from Hong Kong to Bangkok. I was appreciative of the preordered Gluten/Lactose free meals I received on all flights. They were pretty tasty too!

After arriving in Bangkok we received our visas and passed through security pretty quickly. It had been a much slower process in Hong Kong where my hand baggage was checked thoroughly. When we unpacked our checked suitcases at our Bangkok hotel I discovered a form letter inside my suitcase informing me that my suitcase had been hand checked in YVR but nothing was removed. That’s the first time I’ve had that experience! It was rather unsettling…

We had a lovely (although very lengthy) trip half way across the globe and had arrived safely in hot, humid, busy Bangkok. Tomorrow morning we would see my son who has lived/worked in Bangkok for over 5 years. I was exhausted, but so excited!

Friends, Fun, and Majestic Beauty — Home on Vancouver Island!

Late March 2019

My home town is Port Hardy, B.C. On northern Vancouver Island. The rugged beauty of the pristine waters and outdoors is hard to match —particularly on sunny days.

Sea lions at Hardy bay

The community looks after each other —especially during any crisis. When I enter the Post Office, Guidos, Save On, or the hockey arena there are always friends to chat with and stories to share. This trip was no exception. I walked with Jackie and met her cute new little baby “Jozi”. We also were invited to lunch at Lata’s lovely new home in Hyde Creek. Many friends are living there now and their views truly are spectacular! No whales passing by this trip though. 🥴

Northern Vancouver Island

Port Hardy was hosting the provincial Bantams ice hockey championships. The game we watched ended in a tie between Port Hardy and Dawson Creek. Congratulations to our locals as Hardy Bantams ended up as silver medalists!

The 4 hour drive heading south to Nanaimo was gorgeous! Sun, snow on the mountain tops, no snow on the roads, ocean waves lapping the shores from Campbell River south, flowers blooming, trees in blossom. While most of Canada is still deep into winter, Vancouver Island is definitely full into Spring!

Port McNeill to Campbell River.

Back at our home in Nanaimo the blossoms and flowers were even further developed. We went for a walk at one of our favorite places —Pipers lagoon. It did not disappoint. Wow! From up top of the hill and cliff edge we were fortunate to observe harbour seals frolicking, sea lions slapping their fins and barking, and a rare sight … a pod of 5 orcas passed by! Then the full moon appeared in its splendour and glory. What an amazing world we live in!

Pipers Lagoon Nanaimo

During our final days before departing on our next big adventure, we traveled to Comox and Cowichan for business and pleasure. It’s always fun visiting Rick and Angelika. Home is pretty amazing, but Asia calls next!