A wise man once said....

"When you talk, you are only repeating what you already know. But if you listen you may learn something new."
Dalai Lama

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Someone once said..........Part (1)

Quote “It’s the Journey not the Destination, and that’s what it's all about”. Who said that ? I don’t recall, in fact I've idea. However this weekend turned out to be just that. The journey, rather that the destination and it was just great.
We, Clement, Oyi, Wanna and I had planned for a weekend on Koh Chang. It’s the second largest island in Thailand and over the past 5-6 years has all been geared up for tourism. We left Pattaya mid Saturday morning and headed out south east down route 36 onto route 3. The distance one way for us to Koh Chang was about 200 kilometers maximum. All down dual carriageways. In fact roads in Thailand are generally of a good quality. We went in Clements new car.


Our plan included stopping along the way and taking in some of the sights and of course making sure we stopped at any good restaurants. So successful was the plan that it did not leave much time for Koh Chang! We got to the ferry about 6.00pm…
First stop from Pattaya was for fuel. It being the middle of the Durian and Rambutan season the place was jut full of trucks selling fruit. Some were wholesaler selling 50 Kg upwards and they would not sell us just a few kilos. With the retailers we did buy some really fresh sweet fruits and enjoyed each and very one of them. Good start to the trip. We took a few photos and it was amazing to see the organized chaos going on around us. And sitting in the middle of it all was a petrol pump attendant (yes they still have them here!!), he we sitting under the main pump canvas eating his lunch. Seemed without a worry in the world, oblivious to all the goings on around him…. Way to go.

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Done. Off to Koh Chang. Well almost. We stopped for some beers and snacks before getting to the ferry terminal. Everyone else could have a beer except me as I was driving. Good Boy! The shop was on a back country lane and even the cat was laid back.
On to the terminal and with tickets purchased waiting for the ferry. Everyone (except me of course!!) enjoying the cold beer.




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Good trip over with some rolling and the wind have been blowing for some time generating a slight swell. Landing brought back memories of our last visit which must have been about 3 years ago when Dad and Gulshen were over. Part of the reason for this visit was to look at and follow up on developments for the land he had purchased back then. Well it had changed and some builds were no longer shells but really smart houses. So that’s provided some food for thought. What do we do with ours? Develop it or wait another 3 years for a buyer. We’ll have to make a decision on this sooner rather than later.
On up and over the hills to the east coast and down to the southern end to Ban Bao. Ban Bao is a small fishing community which has many of the houses sitting over the water. I say fishing village. Since Koh Chang opened up its doors to tourism it to has developed to meet demand. Gone are the pretty little huts to be replaced by shops containing every possible souvenir you could possibly want, add in a few dive shop and coffee huts and you have everything you need. Well maybe.
In between all these shops the Ban Bao locals seem to also carry on their normal life with people constantly eating and sitting around watching the world go by.














But by the time we got there it was around 6.00pm and beginning to get dark. Not so much to see with the shops closing up for the night, and with very few tourists about there was a sort of tiredness about the place. Enough for us to have had a quick look. Then back too the main strip to find a room and a good restaurant.
We found a small hotel on the main road at White Sands Beach, which is the main strip for all the tourist hotels and bars restaurants etc. Only Baht 500 for a clear room with A/C and on suite plus fridge, TV and towels. Not a bad deal at all. Once booked in we set off to find a restaurant. Again few tourists so there was a very strange almost quiet feel to the place. Really needed more people to give some atmosphere and get a sense of liveliness. Obviously not to be.
Still it did mean the restaurants were keen to have our business and we chose a good Thai/Issan place for some hot SomTam (Pappaya salad) and Tom Yum Soup and various assorted dished the names of which I cannot remember. All very very delicious. (Reminds me I need to ask Wanna to write the name of these down for me, about time I learnt). Getting lazy.


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Sunday morning and out for an early morning swim. Was woken up at 7.30am. Supposed be on holiday… Anyway across the road to the beach. All of 10 meters. Exercise in deed!! Low tide and the sea way to rough and it was windy. So cancel the swim and have a coffee. Back to hotel, checked out and set off for the main land. We had decided over our coffee to take off without taking in much more of the island. Seemed ad good opportunity to drive back at a slow pace, stopping as planned at sites and restaurants.
We passed back up over the hill. Oyi was a bit worried about the steep inclines but after a few corners managed to keep quiet!!! Surprise as we passed over the top, we were in luck. The ferry was waiting down on the quay side. Some quay looked more like some old piles of rust held together by rubber fenders.
Back to Pattaya. First stop for a meal and we wanted to buy some tees, yes trees for our home up in Khon Kaen. And this area around Koh Chang and Trat is one of the best areas in Thailand for fruit growing. So it also makes it one of the best places to get small trees. Subject of another Blog otherwise I'll never finish this one...





















Lunch was not as quick and easy as we had anticipated. We though as usual there would be restaurants every 100 meters along the way. Not so. We eventually stopped at a place, one of the few open, which looked most uninviting. That is until we went in. The ladies were lovely and cheerful making us feel instantly at home. This place, on idea of the name was situated just outside a town called Chanthaburi. It served ‘Chan’ food. Interesting stuff it was to. Cold noodles with chicken feet in a sort of clear sauce. I missed out on that, I just don’t do chicken feet. We then had some hot pots of beef and port.
Fabulous and special salted boiled rice. Had a completely different taste. All was served on earthen ware pottery adding to the ambiance. Add in the usual ‘somtam’ and we had a really delicious meal. All well fed and relaxed.


Great weekend. And as I said at the beginning: "It's the Journey not the Destination".