Travel Diary: September 17, 2012
At around 11am we checked out of our amazing beachfront room and took a taxi from White Sand Beach to Bangbao pier on Koh Chang.
We were supposed to be heading out to our next island, Koh Mak, via a ferry at the pier. Turns out, we were 1.5 months too soon - the ferry only runs during high season (Nov -> Feb). In low season there are only 2 ways to reach Koh Mak:
1. Contract a private motorboat from Bangbao for 3500 Baht ($120 USD).
2. Catch the ferry from the mainland. For us, that would involve waiting 1 night, taking an 8am bus to the north of the island, first ferry off Koh Chang, ferry to Koh Mak.
Technically, that’s a pier.
So, giant backpacks in hand (or on back), we headed to the nearest Internet cafe and planned our next few days. We were originally going to spend 3 nights on Koh Mak, a delightful small, non-touristy island within a Marine National Park. I didn’t want to do either of the above proposed plans, so I came up with a new one! Time to learn how to be spontaneous eh?
Koh Chang has several beach areas, each with its own differences. We’d spent a week on White Sand Beach, so I opted to check out Bailan Bay and the infamous backpacker party area, Lonely Beach. I quickly used the Internet to book a hotel on Bailan Bay and we caught the next taxi outta Bangbao!
There are only a few resorts on the beach at Bailan Bay. Fortunately, White House, where I’d booked, was one of them! The beach itself wasn’t much to see - it was small and covered in sharp dead coral pieces. Considering that it was downpouring for the entire time we were there, I’ll just say the swimming wasn’t great!
White House resort was alright. The most interesting part was that we were the ONLY PEOPLE THERE! Infact, it looked like we were the only tourists on the entire bay. We saw no one else except for hotel staff! Private resort AND pool AND restaurant AND beach? We even got a free upgrade to the beach front bungalows. We were living the life!
However, I missed people watching so we checked out after just 1 day.
As many other travel bloggers will tell you, Lonely Beach is not lonely at all. It’s probably the busiest area for backpackers on the entire island. We didn’t even book accommodation in advance before hitchhiking from Bailan to Lonely. I knew we’d have our pick of hostels!
The lovely Thai family who picked us up in their pickup dropped us off on the main street in Lonely Beach and we walked to Lonely Beach Resort (creative name, eh?) and scored the last available bamboo bungalow for 2 nights!
Sadly, I can’t recommend Lonely Beach since … there’s not actually much of a beach!! From the main backpacker’s area of bars, accommodation, and shops, it takes a good 10 minutes to walk to the beach. No beachfront bamboo bungalows here! The beach was white and very wavy, but it jsut took so darn long to get to it! Rocksand Resort on White Sand Beach definitely had this place beat!
The things that Lonely Beach still has going for it are the partying and the opportunities to meet other world travellers. Other than those, I’d skip it entirely!
We spent a good 2 days beaching it and people watching. Not as relaxing as Rocksand, but still a decent time.