I arrived to Koh Chang after an exhilarating bus journey from Sihanoukville
involving four buses and one boat. If you look at the map, the two places are not that far away, but it took me a whole day to get to Koh Chang. Interestingly enough Siam Riep is much further from Koh Chang, but the journey takes approximately the same time. Fast traveling is unheard in most places in South East Asia. By the end of the day while sat in a taxi making its way at a blazing speed I stopped caring about everything. When would I get to my destination, where would I sleep or whether would I get there at all. All these basic traveller’s needs just did not matter in the end of the day. It was sublime.
Koh Chang experience was somewhat similar to Phu Quoc. I arrived and immediately disliked what I saw. Beaches are not match to Koh Rong and are too overdeveloped. Then I found nice accommodation and met people, which made things alright. Many old faces made it to Koh Chang and it felt like a last reunion of fellow travelers just before each one headed home. Life surprised once again. It is definitely the place to end one’s journey, especially at this time of the year. Koh Chang greeted me with the low season in its full bloom. Lower prices, frequent rains, deserted resorts and restaurants and not that many tourists. I liked it though, the low season made things much more laid-back. I went to a deserted bar once and asked the owner whether they were open or not. “Sometimes” was the answer. This is the work ethics I can relate to. I did not even mind the rain, as it was a perfect excuse to just to chill out in my bungalow reading books, playing card, socializing and just being. The only adventure for Koh Chang was limited to making a trip to the legendary Tree House now located on Long Beach. The place is rather isolated and a proper pave road changes to with a battered rocky road a couple of kilometers before the beach. The plan was to move there, but upon arriving there we realized that the place was closed for the season. But what an experience it was. It looked as if the place was abandoned after a cataclysm: deserted, washed-up garbage on the beach, half-destroyed bungalows and half-empty coffee cup on the table. Rather spooky atmosphere too. Only zombies were missing. This is Thailand I had never experienced before.
There is a snake-like hilly road circumventing almost all of the island, except the small bit in the south. There are apparently plans to complete the loop, but they have not materialized yet. The reason is unclear, but I heard two versions: plausible and interesting ones. The plausible one goes that the southern bit is very hilly and would require building a tunnel. Likely, but boring. According to the interesting one there are two quarreling villages divided by the jungle in the southern end and they resist all the motions connecting two villages with each other. There are also stories about local Romeo and Juliet from each village making jungle meetings in secret in the darkness of the night. I rather prefer the latter version. Who wants to hear boring truth, when you can have a good story?