Danny Yee >> Travelogues >> Thailand

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 tied up.
preparing for Chinese New Year
the view from the temple
fishing boats

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

photo photo
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 ferry left.

We had great views of the roadstead again on the way back to Siracha.

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