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Monday, 04 December 2006

Magical Thailand - Page 3

Written by Nikki Lotz
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Bangkok is a magical place. It’s a bustling and colorful warren of small alleys, grand boulevards and intriguing market places where the air smells of incense and spice. The friendly locals have a zest for life and a very different idea on how to live it. As you drive through the streets-horns blaring and your life flashing before your eyes- you realize that the taxi drivers are high on a little more than life.

We decided to venture further up the hill to the more affordable areas. A friendly local driver gave us a lift and we began investigating the various accommodation options. The further up the hill we went, the cheaper and more rustic it became until, at last, we found the Tree House. This delightful collection of bamboo shacks on virgin beach is quaintly free of such modern fetters as electricity. The rooms are built on stilts that allow the ocean to splash up under them at high tide, making a delightful babble as they move the pebbles about. The outdoor bathroom/shower is simply a squat pot and a bucket full of water. The restaurant is a gem with extensive wooden decks that are a gorgeous mess of hippies, pets, children and pillows.baby

The whole island is a hodgepodge of hotels and backpacker lodges with an equally interesting array of bars and restaurants, many of them right on the beach. Koh Chang is a little too big to navigate by foot, but friendly locals are happy to give you a lift and there is always the option of renting a scooter (an inexpensive mode of transport that requires nothing but a passport to hire). Be careful because this extremely liberal approach to safety results in equally liberal interpretations of traffic rules.

waterfallKoh Chang is home to the Koh Chang Marine National Park, and so it was with great excitement that we headed out for our first snorkeling expedition. There are hundreds of small tour operators who offer different packages, so shop around for the one that best suits you. The tour guides will pick you up from your hotel and take you to the docks (which are themselves an amazing array of shops, restaurants and boats). From here you will head out to various spots and enjoy some of the best snorkeling in the world. We went to three different snorkeling locations, all of which were filled with such an abundant assortment of gorgeous fish and other sea creatures, that I could scarcely believe my eyes! Bring your certification, as many operators offer diving tours.

Koh Change boasts many beautiful waterfalls in magical rain forests. Often difficult to reach and badly signposted, they are well worth the effort. You will need to book a tour or hire transport to get to most of the spots, as they are in more remote regions. To enter some of the falls, you will need to pay a small fee of 200 baht (adults) or 100 baht (children). Than Mayom is the largest of the falls and is situated near the Marine Park. There are 3 waterfalls within a 4km radius and camping is allowed here. Klong Nonsi, Kiripet and Klong Nueng are also among the more popular falls. To find information on the falls, visit one of the many tourist information outlets, tour guides or www.koh-chang.com . There are also an abundance of camping opportunities and hiking trails- some of which involve an elephant ride.waterfall

Thailand is one of the more popular tourist destinations and for good reason.. The aesthetic beauty of the countryside is magnificent; the people are friendly and happy to help, the food is incredible, and there is an endless list of activities to enjoy.

©Nikki Lotz

(Page 3 of 3)
Last modified on Sunday, 16 December 2012

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