In Search of: An Island Escape

It’s been too long since the last installment of my Southeast Asia trip.  Shall we carry on?  Last I recall, we spoke about about the day I kayaked down a breathtaking river in Laos.  It’s still one of my fondest memories.  But, alas, Southeast Asia is not all rainbows and puppy dogs.  I took a wrong turn on occasion.  Which is where this next story leads us.

After a week in Luang Prabang, I decided to return to Bangkok.  I could have stayed there forever.  Honestly, I’m not sure why I headed back so soon.  But it was my first solo part of the trip; perhaps I was lonely.

Unwilling to risk another 32 hour bus ride, I risked my life on this little prop plane instead.  (Yes, to the average person, it’s not so dangerous.  But to a girl afraid of getting on even the biggest, fastest jet in the sky — slightly terrifying.  Let’s just say, I fondly refer to prop planes as death traps.)

They handed us umbrellas to carry to the plane as we walked along the tarmac.  Lao airlines surpassed my expectations — certainly better than any American airline I’ve flown on in recent years.  And I didn’t end up being scared at all.  As a matter of fact, I’m quite proud of the progress I’ve made in the “fear of flying” department.

After a weekend in Bangkok, I decided it was time for a little island fun.  I searched the guidebook and decided on an island on the gulf coast called Ko Chang.  The book described it as “off the beaten path”, and a little R&R seemed precisely what I needed.

I packed my bags and hopped on the back of a motorcycle taxi, heading toward the bus station.

Arriving in Ko Chang, I wasn’t sure what to think.  The area was sort of dirty, and the taxi ride to my guesthouse didn’t help the situation.  Miles upon miles of closed up shops.  I knew it wasn’t tourist season, but the way in which the place seemed like a ghost town was sort of eery.

The guest house, however, was exactly as described by the guidebook.  Rustic little bungalows sat next to a lagoon.  It was peaceful and charming and really very simple.  Exactly what I ordered.

The guesthouse was called the Blue Lagoon Bungalows.  I loved how I felt like I was camping yet without giving up basic necessities.  Like beds.  And hot showers.  The place was so quiet I was nearly sure I was the only guest.  Which, in some ways, was absolutely perfect.  Though in others, well, let’s just say — many scenes from horror movies start in a near abandoned hotel.

The wall of one side of the bungalow completely folded out.  A large porch wrapped around and a grass hammock hung over the water allowing for the most amazing sunset view.  I took a number of naps while lounging in that hammock. 

I also took many walks down this path to the beach.  It was so peaceful and quiet.  Definitely a good place for reflecting.

The beach had the potential to be absolutely gorgeous.  The water was warm as a bathtub, the waves rolled in gently enough to swim, and the sand was soft.  The palms trees were picture perfect.  And the wooden swings tied to random trees were pretty much to die for.  Unfortunately, the beach washed up trash with each wave.  There was so much evidence of human contact, it was sad.  There were light bulbs, old shoes, juice containers.  You name it, it was on the beach.  It’s terribly sad how people can ruin such a perfect paradise.

Tree houses like this one dotted the beach.  I remember thinking of my grandma when I took a picture of this one.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe because she’s a painter, and the rainbow colors seem art-worthy.  Of course, my picture is rather lacking.  But you get the idea.

So that was my trip to Ko Chang.  There was also a lovely lady named Diana that practiced her English with me each time I ate at her restaurant.  She was so sweet and soft spoken.  She smiled and waved each time I passed and always offered me food, even if the restaurant was closed.

I suppose Ko Chang wasn’t so bad after all.  We’ll skip the angry British man and his crying Thai girlfriend.  We’ll skip the debacle at the travel agency and the reason I decided to leave rather hastily.  Instead, I prefer to remember the peaceful tranquility of a lonely island in a time when I needed to take care of me and spend some time alone.  Funny how hindsight changes your outlook.  Perhaps Ko Chang really was all rainbows and puppy dogs after all.

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