So far I’ve been here for 3 weeks but already visited 2 Thailand’s most famous islands. Koh Chang and Koh Samet. Koh Chang was the first trip the entire group wanted to make, so you can imagine 100 people all trying to get on one island all in the same weekend. After we were told the bus directly there was sold out we decided to take a bus to Chanthaburi, from there we took a make shift truck taxi for 2 hours, a 1 hour ferry ride and then 2 more truck taxis until we were finally in our cozy bungalows seaside in Lonely Beach. Lonely beach is something that looks unreal; there are lush green mountains on one side and the beautiful ocean on the other.
One of the main activities on Koh Chang is elephant trekking. I am obsessed with elephants so I was definitely up for this excursion. Our 30 year-old elephant named Hanna took us through the jungle. The next hour, which to me was probably the best hour of my life, was swimming with the elephants. Our group of 8 literally could not wipe the grins off our faces of how excited and happy we were. The elephants solely get in the water and then start swimming. They dive down and you can literally climb on them and do back flips of their heads. Not only was this a once in a lifetime experience but the excursion was also inexpensive, it cost around 600 baht for two hours which is around $20.
Two weekends later me and my roommate were sitting at home bored, when out of nowhere our neighbor Jamie from 2 floors down asked us to join her and 2 other foreign exchange boys and a Thai student to go to Koh Samet. We decided to go for it! We ended up driving to the pier and then taking a speedboat at night into the island. Not only was it fast and fun but we could see the stars and the twinkling lights throughout the island.
It was a scene straight out of Hangover 2; the boat dropped us off in the middle of a busy beach. What I love about Thailand is that nothing has to be pre-booked, there is no “reservations” anywhere. We simply arrived at the beach and 30 minutes later we found a cute bungalow and moved in.
For our first full day in Koh Samet we decided to rent motorbikes and take a full tour of the island. It cost 300 baht a day which is about $10 and there were two people per bike that makes it around $5. The downside is the dangerous unpaved roads, but other than that it’s fun, cheap and a great way to see the entire island. We took a stop at secluded beach where the water was crystal clear and we had it all to ourselves. This is one of the major perks of Thailand and especially in the islands, there is always a place you can have fun with friends privately. Contemplating the sea and the mountains in the horizon I realized how lucky I was to study abroad in paradise. I could not have chosen a better place to spend 5 months of my life. I knew then it was the best decision I’ve ever made in my life.