24.05.2007 - 24.05.2007 36 °C
I read some pamphlets and gathered some information and decided on a couple of activities I wanted to do on our second full day on Koh Chang. Katherine had already decided that she wanted a rest day. Evolution Tour had a tour called Unseen Koh Chang but it wasn't offered on Thursdays. I reckon my self-devised Unseen Koh Chang tour was better anyway.
First I arranged for somebody with a motor scooter to take me around. Lots of tourists zip about on their own rented ones but I didn't want to combine learning to ride a motor scooter with the steep hills. One of the women at the guesthouse made a phone call so at 9am I had Dee as my guide. That's all I learned about him as he didn't speak much English and I don't speak much Thai.
The western side of the island is the more developed side as the beaches are better. One beach is called White Sands. The eastern side is undeveloped with stony beaches and mangroves. The middle of the island is mountainous and covered in forest. My plan was to see the eastern side.
Our first stop was at the Orchid Gardens guesthouse. Supposedly they have nice gardens to wander around in but it is a work in progress and their orchids have already finished flowering. They had a couple of monkeys that I said hello to.
Next we went to Nonsi waterfall. There are several waterfalls on the island and the more spectacular ones are in the National Park. I wasn't about to pay 400B to see a waterfall when they are so common in New Zealand so I chose to go to a less-known one. Dee didn't know exactly where it was and had to ask at the village how to get there. In fact, he didn't know the exact locations of most of the places I wanted to go to so I feel pleased that I showed him some little gems that he didn't know about.
Dee turned the scooter off the main road on to a dirt track for a few hundred metres until we had to walk. The waterfall had two tiers and we started by walking to the second tier. The water was fresh and cool and I dabbled in it up to my knees. I was intrigued by the first (lower) tier as the first metre of its pool was so deep it was a dark blue in colour but the rest of the pool was relatively shallow. I wondered if some of the water goes back underground as the amount of water leaving the pool is much, much smaller than the water going in.
We drove for some time before coming to our third stop, the village of Salak Kok. This is a traditional fisherman's village and the houses are on stilts over the water. We hired a kayak and went for a paddle in the mangrove forest. The interesting thing I discovered about the sea here is that they have one tide a day, not two like us. So every morning it is high tide and every evening it is low tide. I don't know if it gradually changes so that in the opposite season the high tide is in the evening. I have to investigate that. Anyway, what it meant was that the tide was going out.
We paddled out to a large estuary that runs to the sea and past more stilt buildings then up the western side of the estuary until we ran out of water and had to backtrack. The mangrove seeds popped loudly and there were many crabs. I was very happy with this activity. We ate lunch in the seafood restaurant that is attached to the kayak hire. It is like an ecotourist project to provide income for the community. Nothing was really explained so I just guessed.
I had read there was a new walk through the mangrove forest so we did that too. It was a short walk on a concrete walkway. There were 10 points which explained a little about life in a mangrove forest but I found them rather confusing.
Our last activity was trying to find a viewpoint. I think we kinda failed at that but we went to the end of the road where we found a dirt track which we walked for 10 minutes to a quiet beach with a hut at one end. Probably one of the fishermen lived there as there was a huge net hanging from a tree. We walked back to the motorscooter around the rocks and then it was a zippy ride all the way back to Blue Lagoon and Katherine reading in the restaurant area.
We had our dinner in the Blue Lagoon restaurant. They are quite slow but when you hear pounding in the kitchen you know they are making the food from scratch and it is worth the wait. The sun goes down and the lights come on. It is very pretty and we wished we could have stayed longer. The people here were very friendly and I felt terrible when I later discovered I had gone to Bangkok with the room key in my pocket.