Extreme offroad, waterfalls and quiet beaches
Trip Start Nov 03, 2009
20Trip End Nov 27, 2009
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
Where I stayed
We kicked the day off with fresh fruit on muesli and french toast (the breakfasts at Amber Sands are excellent) and a game of scrabble to redeem ourselves after a poor wordsmithing experience the night before.
After that, we hopped on the motorcycle, and cruised down the east side of the island, which is less mountainous along the ocean. We didn't really have a firm destination, but rather headed in the direction of some thinly populated (as close to private as you're going to find in Thailand) white sand beaches, which were separated from the hordes by an "extreme" road that most people chickened out on. The road was pretty intense, as there was some very steep in/declines (with Sheena off the bike and Danny leaning as far back as humanly possible and still just barely holding traction) and highly intermittent asphalt/concrete paving... typically it was just heavily washed out/pitted gravel which took a lot of creative weaving through -- a lot like picking a line through some tight moguls on snow!
On the way over, there was a great viewpoint where you could see all the smaller islands to the south of Ko Chang, like Koh Mak, etc... and a beautiful view of emerald and azure waters. We finally made it to the other side of the mountains, and first stopped off at "Treehouse" -- a very remote backpacker's ghesthouse (collection of basic bungalows) -- where we stopped off for a drink to wet our dust packed mouths. Wow, the slowness of the service was truly epic... we waited for an hour before getting a simple fruit shake. Good thing we didn't order food, because the staff were moving at a glacial pace. Ah well, we're on vacation.
We carried along the "road" until we made it to "Zion", an even smaller collection (about 5) bungalows along a very nice and quiet section of beach. We layed beneath the palms, sunned and cooled off in the ocean when necessary. Sweeeeet.
Next, we retraced our path back to the main road and drove in search of some waterfalls that were on our map. We turned off the main road again, this time onto a secondary road (picture a bike path... with two opposing lanes for cars) which took us through some scenic coconut plantations, into the jungle before stopping abruptly at a wall of thick trees. We followed an unmarked bear path for a while (wondering/hoping this was the right way!) before coming on the waterfall (there was 5 separate pools in sequence, we swam in the largest/bottommost one). We had the waterfall to ourself for a long time before anyone else showed up, which gave us time to explore the pool a bit, and much to our surprise we found that if we stopped walking/swimming in the pool for long, there were these little fish that would swim up to you and start nibbling at your limbs (very lightly... almost just bumping into you). Anyway, this was awesome, because they were EXACTLY the same as the "Dr. Fish" fish that are ubiquitous in SE Asia. "Dr. Fish" is a gimmick located in places with lots of massage; basically, they are just tubs of water that you pay to dangle your feet in, and these little fish come up and "massage" (nibble) your toes. We hadn't indulged in Dr. Fish, and it was way cooler to find them out in the wild.
Since it was getting later in the day, and we had another tailor fitting appointment on the other side of the island, we started back to our beach bungalow. Just as we passed out of the coconut plantation and onto the main road, the bike started to stutter; we were out of gas! Fortunately there is never a roadside stand with gas-in-a-bottle more than a km away, and we were able to get to one running on fumes.
After the fitting, we decided to keep the bike for another day, and drove back to the resort (it's impossible to get back to the other side after dark). We had a great dinner there, bs'ed with some other travellers and played a few more games of scrabble before retiring from a great day!
Wed. Nov 25, 2009
Lazy day! We hung out at Amber Sands, sunning/reading/playing scrabble until it was time to go pick up our last tailored item (Sheena's shirt). Sheena decided to try using the bike around the parking lot, but drove it into a bush because she didn't realize that the throttle was in the reverse direction compared to a snowmobile. No harm done, the brakes were good and the bush was soft.
After the tailor, we returned the bike and went to wait for a share-taxi back to the other side of the hotel (which run as long as there's daylight/ferries running). We had to wait for a LONG time, but finally managed to get back (the bike was way easier).
At night, it was more of the same! Good food and scrabble, except when Sheena accidentally let an enormous cicada into the room. It was huge and angry (though harmless), but we were able to bait it out with light.