Finding paradise and happiness on Koh Chang, Thailand
When I went to Koh Chang Island, Thailand for a weekend, I didn’t know that this would be the place I consider paradise for the rest of my South East Asian tour.
I went to Koh Chang for a weekend. It is an Island 5 hours East of Bangkok near the border of Cambodia. I went on a solo mission to the island to relax and explore outside of a city. Bangkok gets exhausting.
I stayed in a place called Jungle Way. They are stilted huts in the middle of the jungle. So I wasn’t on a beach, which is more expensive, and way more hot. I don’t really enjoy spending hours on a beach, so the jungle was a better choir for me. I met a bunch of people also staying there, a couple from France, and the girl, Nathalie, came to the animal foundation with me, and then two guys from Switzerland.
And Pet, one of the workers there, was a huge Bob Marley fan, dressing all Reggea and playing his guitar for us in the evenings as we sat around the table on cushions and did what Bob marley does best. There was great evenings being had with all these other travelers, singing and laughing the night away.
I went to Koh Chang originally because I heard about the Koh Chang Animal Foundation which has volunteer positions. And since we all know I Love Animals, I went to help out. And I really really did: hands-on, useful help. The lady who runs the organization is named Lisa, a New Yorker, and she operates the foundation off of donations and does most of her work for free. The island, and Thailand in general has a problem with animal over-population – she helps rectify this problem by doing sterilizations and neutering. I was allowed to watch and help with a dog neutering and 3 cat spays. By help – I mean learn about anesthesiology and how to identify the insides of animals. Now that MAY sound really gross to some of you – but to me it was amazing because I always wanted to be a vet. SO it was a great opportunity to learn about the profession on the surgical aspect, and an opportunity I could NOT receive in Canada without attending University FIRST for it. SO I spent the day at the foundation with the animals. I spent the afternoon socializing with the kitties. A very productive and cuddly day.
Sunday I went to the Elephant Sanctuary. I walked over at 11AM and they told me it would be 1PM before I could start my ‘elephant experience’. I said that was fine, I would just lounge on the inviting hammocks and read a Garfield comic book I found. But 20 minutes later, they said I could go now because others bailed. They invited me to stay longer since I mentioned I am a Thammasat University Student. What advantages. So I spent 3 hours with the elephants instead of the typical 1.5 hours.
I started out in the sultans chair with a driver for my elephant named Chorlie! But about 5 minutes in my driver jumped down and said I could scoot up and sit on the elephant and “drive” it myself. I just tapped with my right or left foot and Chorlie would move said direction. Yelling “Who-Eh” made Chorlie go faster but he didn’t like when I said that and he would blow air at me from his trunk, jog about 3 meters, then slow down again. It made me laugh – Lazy elephant and lazy me – a perfect combination.
Then after my hour long elephant ride we had to Clean Chorlie up because he was all dusty. So we took Chorlie into the pond and got to scrub him down all clean. But Chorlie pooped in the pond and I had to get out – bad Chorlie – no more elephant scrubbing for me. I fed Chorlie and the other elephants. But they only had green bananas and NO yellow ones, so Chorlie wasnt having it. Apparently Chorlie is a picky eater. Another reason Chorlie and I are soulmates.
I spent the afternoon up top the central hut, in a smaller ceiling hut with a small grass roof, on a hammock and took the best Nap of life. 4 hours in the cool tropical breeze. The beautiful smells of the forest, just rocking on my hammock. Pineapple Juice next to me. Yes – Thailand is luxury.
On Monday, I decided before I left that I should see a beach since I WAS on an island. I walked along the beach for 30 minutes and was bored. I grabbed a taxi and went to Treetop Adventures; an aerial park with zip lines. A guide took only me up, with no group. I love being a solo traveler – skip the line-ups. My guides name was Mokmin, he took my camera and photographed me during the 2 hour course. Another reason solo traveling is awesome – I was allowed to do both the easy and the difficult course instead of just one of the courses for the same price.
Then I took the ferry and bus home. I am counting the days until I can return to my paradise.
Where is your Paradise?