Xmas day treats & adventures on Koh Maak

Xmas day, didn’t feel like it, very strange. Our aim for the day was to cycle right round the Koh Maak island. The island is only 16 sq km in size, so that should be easy enough. We decided to have a solid breakfast before our little cycle adventure.

We found a Swedish owned restaurant serving breakfast and coffee. I ordered a full breakfast that comprised of omelet, fruit, toast, bacon, juice and I opted for tea because I was skeptical of whether there would be real coffee. Barbs ordered a similar breakfast and it was real coffee, but my tea was so good I had a second one.

Helene was riding her bicycle past the restaurant so we got her attention and she joined us for morning munchies. After breakfast we headed off to a spa place for some pampering. I had a really shit massage on Koh Chang, therefore was hoping this wold not be the same. I opted for a foot reflexology session, Barbs went for the back and neck massage. Helene had a full on foot manicure and more session.

Our two sessions finished and we were both amazing, finally a decent massage. Lovely people, friendly and we will return to them before leaving Koh Maak. Helene was still busy so we went to sort out bikes for the day, seeing Helene had a bike we would just meet her back at the spa place.

We set off on our bikes and so the adventure began! Our first stop was the Buddhist temple I had run past yesterday. It was a small temple with a few monks sitting around. We snapped some pics of the Buddha statues and various shrines. There was a friendly pig at the temple, the monks suggested we strike the pig, sooooo cute I wanted to cuddle her. Not the prettiest of creatures, but friendly and lovable none the less.

On our way down the road to another spot on the island, few wrong turns, dead ends, some happy snaps and then we hit a water patch. The girls were not keen, I tried to show them it was fine to ride through, but got half way and the bike was half submerged. There was nothing that would convince them to do this, so I rode to the end to see what was there. It was high tide, so there was only a small beach, but the submerged rode was fun to ride.

I rejoined the girls and we headed off to a resort we spotted a bit further back. My tummy was grumbling and I needed food, the others were still full from breakfast. It was a beautiful little resort with some tasty food, probably the best pad thai of the trip. Two Chang beers and a fair amount of food later we headed out of the resort.

The last stretch riding home I managed to choose a bunch of dead ends and unconventional paths, the girls were not so happy with me. We eventually found ourselves at the pier where we dock yesterday. Now I knew roughly where to go. A few uphills and then a phat downhill before we were back at Holiday Beach resort where we stayed. What a rad way to spend the day.

We did some lounging next to the sea, I took an open water swim and a shower. Next we got ready for our Xmas dinner at a Swiss place I found that did schnitzel and beef fillet. For Xmas dinner we felt like something different to Thai food.

We had a phat German meal, drinks at the cottage after and chill hard for another fun filled adventurous day on boxing day.

Koh Chang Scooter Adventure

This morning Barbara and I woke up feeling groggy because we woke up some obscure hour, our body clockspare still on SA time not Thai time. Anyways, we went for a lovely buffet breakfast and stocked up on food for the day ahead.

The plan for the day was to ride a scooter all the way around the island. We headed up to the Stone Free restaurant in the same road as our resort to rent a Honda Scoopy automatic scooter. The scooter looks a bit like Vespa and I saw them advertised last year. Sounds funny to say, but it was a dream come true to rent this little bike.

Our friends Braam and Zuzka were ready for us when we arrived at their bungalow, so off we headed on our little adventure. First stop was not far from where we were staying at a beautiful view point. Snapped some pics and got back on the road.

We drove around the coast road past Klong Prao, White Sands Beaches, the ferry port and along to the other side of Koh Chang. We stopped near a fishing village at a Buddist temple. inside the temple was a massive good plated Buddha with innate paintings all around on the walls. The window shutters had intricate mother of pearl designs. We snapped a bunch of pics and headed on our way.

We noticed a sign saying that there was a mangrove restoration plantation, nobody could figure out where it was and we even saw other foreigners scooting around lost with not a clue where it was.

Onward ho… We arrived in a quaint little fishing village. I love the less touristy places as they give a sense of the real Thailand. We found a basic little restaurant in the fishing village right on the water. We ordered some food for next nothing and it tasted amazing. I can’t believe how good the food is everywhere we go.

After finishing up at the fishing village we headed off to a place we spotted along the way callEd the Tree House on a beach called Long Beach. One seriously rough road to the beach, but it was an enjoyable ride on the scooter. We arrived at Long Beach and found ourselves in true paradise.

We all decided to go for a swim. I left the others and went for an open water swim, the sea was choppy and the wind wasblowing so it made things challenging. Again I am still trying to overcome my fears of open water swimming, but each swim I feel stronger and more confident,

Eventually I got back to the others and we all got out of the sea to dry up. We decided to head off back home as it was about 4 pm and we still had about 50 km to ride home. back along the rough road we headed.

Hunger struck again and we decided to stop for a quick snacat attack. The street stall we stopped at only server pork noodle soup, it was devine. Back on the scooter for the last stretch of about 35 km.

We stopped off one last time near where we stayed to watch the sunset at the view point we first stopped at. Both barbs and I were ready for a shower. Clean up time, then we went to drop off the scooter and have some Pad Thai at Stone Free. They had a lovely live band for us to appreciate. Good times.

Been writing this blog post in the comfort of our luxury room watching some DVDs on a big screen with aircon to keep us cool. Tomorrow we are doing a cooking course all day, can’t wait!

Peace out!

Getting over jet lag

Since my last blog post the morning after we arrived at Warapura Resort on Koh Chang, we have been taking things easy recovering from jet lag. Our body clocks are not yet in sync with Thailand time zone.

The hut we moved into on the first night had a bad smell outside, so we pretty much could not sit on the Balcony as it stank of dead something. So we checked if they had another room in a different location. We struck it lucky and got an upgraded room with a sea view!

We had to wait around for the room to be cleaned, so we decided to take full advantage of the pool and resort facilities like the free wifi. I got a message from a friend saying Braam saying that he and his girlfriend were staying in the same area called Lonely Beach. I decided to leave Barbara lounging at the pool and go find them.

It turned out they were staying just up the road from us and I found them immediately. They were heading down to a stretch of beach with white sand and gorgeous water. We joined the two of them after we checked into our new room.

I decided to do my first open water swim, goal was to swim to a nearby island. I manage to get most of the way to the island, but the waves and current were against me so I decided to turn back. The water was warm and clear. I still have some fears when swimming in deep water, but I managed to keep going despite fears.

I decided to go for a herbal sauna and massage at a spot in Bailan. Wow! Really enjoyable. It’s about 3 km away from where we stay, so I jogged there and back, my first run in months. It felt good to be running again.

When I finally got back to barbs I took her out for dinner. Our friends joined us at the noodle soup place. The drinking started and didn’t stop. We ended up at Braam’s bungalow drinking whiskey before going out to the Ohm bar. We danced for a few hours and then decided to hit the hay.

The morning was not pretty, both barbs and I felt like arse coughed up. hangovers and jet lag don’t mix well. We ended up spending the day hanging out in our lovely room watching DVDs. Not the best use of a beautiful Thailand day, but much needed.

We had dinner at the Noodle Soup place again, wow, what awesome food! Then we headed off to bed and chilled hard. Our plan was to go for a scooter adventure around the island on the Monday with our friends.

My next blog post won’t hopefully involve hangovers or jet lag!

The start of our Thailand Holiday

December 2011 has been a tough month for work and parties. Finding the balance and keeping the motivation worked out well in the end. It helped having a team of guys who work hard and play hard. Without the team work would not be possible and it’s great when you can have a good time with them once work is done.

We made some stiff financial targets, which meant for the first time in the history LightSpeed we were able to pay the team full thirteenth cheque. Everyone put in 150% and deserve the bonus. I feel like we achieved what set out do and I saw this happening back in September. I decided to book another Thailand trip after finishing WordCamp Cape Town. So here I am sitting in a hammock writing my first blog post of the holiday! Still feeling pretty jet lagged, but who cares when you have the sea breaking in from of you and palms providing shade.

My wife and I flew out of Cape Town international airport on Thursday 15th December 2011 around lunchtime on Malaysia Airlines. It was a spacious enjoyable flight. We landed on time in KL international airport at about 6:30 am.

Next we had to catch an Air Asia flight to Bangkok, little did we know that Air Asia has there own airport terminal about 20 min bus ride away. We arrived at LCC terminal to catch our Air Asia flight at around 9 am. It’s a small rather strange terminal, luckily we didn’t spend much time there, our flight left at 11 am. Really cool airline, we were very impressed with the service and quality of flight.

Bangkok was 1 hour behind KL, so even though the flight was 2 hours we arrived in BKK international at 12 pm, which was spot on time. I had arranged a limo service (translated in our terms a mini-bus taxi) to drive us from BKK to Koh Chang. We found our driver Mr X in no time and were on our way without any hitches. Before leaving the airport we managed to buy a couple of big Chang beers, then you know you are in Thailand!

We could have flown from BKK to Trat and then caught a taxi, but I am glad we didn’t as the mini-bus allowed my wife and I to stretch out and sleep. When we weren’t sleeping we were able to appreciate the country side. Our driver was awesome, he got us to the ferry crossing to Koh Chang in about 4 hours.

We started the ferry crossing to Koh Chang at about 5:20 pm, it took about 30min to get across. What an amazing crossing, smooth as could be and we watched the sun set behind Koh Chang while snapping countless pictures.

After driving off the ferry Mr X started the final stretch to our journey. It was lovely driving down through Koh Chang seeing the little villages along the way, dreaming about what we will be doing over the next week and a half on Koh Chang.

We arrived at Warapura Resort at about 6:30 pm, checked in, unpacked and poured a phat Talisker 10 year whiskey from duty free shopping spree. Our favourite food in Thailand is Pad Thai, so we headed out for a tasty dinner. After dinner we decided to walk off the food, went down to check out the beach, heavenly. We hit the hay after a long day and slept a solid 12 hours.

Just had breakfast while writing this blog post and now heading out for a sun filled day of beaches and swimming.