Ko Si Chang
Ko Si Chang is a tourist island, but one largely frequented by Thai
tourists rather than foreigners. Getting there from Bangkok involved
taking a little "ute-bus" to the Eastern bus station, a bus to Si Racha,
and then a ferry from there. The forty minute ferry trip was one of the
attractions of the visit: it was hardly deluxe but was pleasantly breezy,
sitting under a shade awning, and gave us views of the sprawling roadstead
of Laem Chabang port, where barge-trains (typically four barges pulled by
a tug) that have come down the rivers load directly onto bulk carriers.
I think some of them were carrying rice.
on the ferry
trans-shipping rice (?)
We hired a tuk-tuk for the day, which took us to our hotel at Rim Talay,
a little south of the main settlement but on the same side of the island,
with good views over the roadstead. There's a nice restaurant there as well
as some rooms, and Richard had a quite convincing looking spaghettti
carbonara, while I had garlic shrimp (small prawns) with rice.
the sea pool at Ram Talay
a petrol shop
We were one day too early for the big Chinese New Year celebrations, but
we headed off to the Chinese Temple, which was quite peaceful and gave
nice views to the east over the town. The tuk-tuk driver also took us
to a view point on the west coast where colourful fishing vessels were
preparing for Chinese New Year
the view from the temple
Richard had been there on a previous visit to Ko Si Chang, so he
stayed in the hotel for a nap while the tuk-tuk driver took me to the
old royal palace, now a park with the remaining buildings turned into
little museums. The museums are not that exciting — every royal
visit or act is commemorated, following Thai custom — but the park
is quite peaceful.
Rama V Palace
young Thais playing model + photographer
view from the monastery
I also visited the Tham Yai Phrik Vipassana Buddhist monastery, high up
on the spine of the island. This was started as a meditation centre by
a charismatic leader in the 70s but is now incorporated into the offical
hierarchy of Thai temples. It seems to make a business offering lodging
and tuition(?) to foreign students.
Some minor drama in the morning when the lock on Richard's cabin door
wouldn't open and a locksmith had to be called for to get it open. But
we walked into town and had time for breakfast and coffee before the
We had great views of the roadstead again on the way back to Siracha.
Next: Khao Yai National Park