We left for the Taoyuan Airport in a hectic rush Monday morning after about 3 hours of sleep. Luckily we had seats next to each other for both legs of the flight so we could be as weird and loopy as needed. After some sleep on the plane we arrived in Bangkok around 6 PM. It took us a while of wandering around the four story terminal to find our hotel shuttle. Once settled in we immediately made our way into Bangkok. We had to take a taxi to the skytrain, the skytrain to the subway, then the subway to a boat, then the boat down the river to Asiatique where the Calypso Cabaret theater was located.
I was fretting about making it on time, even bought tickets a week ahead of time because I thought it would be crowded. There was no one in the theater and it started about 20 minutes late. It was an interesting experience, not something I want to do ever again, and not for the reasons one would initially think. I thought it would be fun and entertaining and an actual cabaret show, but it was just kind of well, sad. The show itself was terrible, costumes makeup, music, lighting, choreography was just not good, it was kind of like being at a high school play. The audience wasn’t into it at all, just kind of absentmindedly snapping pictures. I stopped taking pictures about 20 minutes in because I just felt so bad for them. It was someones life put on display as a freak show for others entertainment. It left me with this disgusted feeling, about myself, and society at large, that I couldn’t shake for the rest of the night. We returned to our hotel right after the show too tired to go out.
The next morning we re-packed and headed back to the airport where we caught a minibus to Ko Chang, an island about five hours east of Bangkok, known for it’s chill party atmosphere. We got to our there around 2PM. We stayed at Oasis Bungalows on Lonely Beach. The bungalows were amazing! A short walk from the beach in a wooded area near other bungalow/hostels. Each one had a queen bed, a outdoor cold shower bathroom, and a porch with a hammock. We threw our stuff in and went right to the beach.
Until the next day. We got up early and went snorkeling through a speed boating company (Ko Chang Boats). I purchased tickets for a half day tour a few weeks ahead of time, also unnecessary. There were tons of travel agencies and tour companies that had offices right on the main road of town (Want to ride an elephant or go to Cambodia today? Sure why not). They picked us up and we were on a speedboat by 9:30 AM. We went to a smaller island not far from Ko Chang. They gave us life jackets and a mask and basically said O.K meet us back here at 11. It was a really beautiful little island, I think I liked it so much because the only sign that people had been there were some shells strung up around a little makeshift swing. The snorkeling was pretty neat, no spectacular coral, but we did see a lot of large sea urchins. There were swarms of small blue and yellow stripped fish and a parrot fish every here and there. I spent a good hour seeking out parrot fish and diving down to the bottom to follow them around better. It was a long time to explore a small area, I think some of our fellow passengers were quite disappointed but I thought it was great.
After snorkeling we got lunch, pad Thai, and went souvenir shopping then went to the beach until dark. We cleaned up and went out to dinner. We found a Thai restaurant owned by a French cook, it was really good, and after they had a French singer/guitarist. One thing we found out in Thailand is that you have to ask for your check they won’t ever just bring it right over, we sat around for about 30 minutes after dinner waiting and I finally had to go search for someone working and ask. That happened at every restaurant we went to. One thing Thailand does do right however, is fresh fruit drinks; coconut, pineapple, watermelon (everything but the mango) were all amazing. We had a few beers and brought them to the beach. For the party reputation that Lonely Beach has, there wasn’t much going on. A few bars were blasting music, but only a handful of people were at each. It was only a Tuesday night, but I didn’t think the tourism warnings took that big of a hit on the places outside of Bangkok but I guess it did. Anyways, beers and stars on the beach, a perfect finish to the perfect day.
We made some new friends!
On Thursday morning we were supposed to get up and ride elephants, that was until we all woke up sick to our stomachs and could barely move out of bed. The last thing we all ate was dinner at the French guys restaurant. We had to cancel on the elephants, the farthest I made it that day was about 500 meters down the road to the pharmacy to get medicine. We spent our last day in Ko Chang in bed eating saltine crackers. It was a disheartening setback, but something completely beyond our control.
Friday we had to get back to Bangkok in order to get Matt to the airport Saturday morning. The mini bus company that we came with was supposed to pic us up at 7 AM to go back, we waited until 7:30 and when they still didn’t show called and said that they were there at 6:30 to get us and we weren’t there so they left. So, we had to buy a whole new ticket and find our own way back which took some navigating. Taxi to ferry, ferry to bus, bus to skytrain, skytrain to taxi, taxi to hotel. When we arrived tensions were high in Bangkok, there was protest footage all over the news, the election was to be held on Sunday. We weren’t even sure if we should travel into the city for the Muay-Thai fight that night, but we were sick of disappointments so we decided if something looked or felt amiss we would just turn back. I’m glad we toughed it out.
We went to Lumpinee Stadium at 8PM, and got ring side seats. The stadium was smaller than I expected, and really empty when we first got there, but as the fights progressed it filled up. The seats for all the tourists who got swindled into paying more and the standing levels for the locals to bet and spectate at the same time. The first fighters were only 110 pounds! They were probably only 14 or 15 years old. The very last fight was the smallest, 100 pounds, they looked so young! The feature was the 7th fight out of 9 and they were 115 pounds. The heavy weights were 130! Each fighter did a prayer/stretch routine in the beginning of each fight and they played this crazy music in the background during each round. It was really cool, it felt a little viscous watching people hit each other and hoping for blood, but nothing like the sick twisted feeling the lady boy show left me with. We did see a really great knock out and the guy I placed my 100 bhat on in the heavyweight fight was gushing blood down his face by the end so I think it was definitely worth the 1500 bhat for the sitting section and the journey into Bangkok.
The original plan was to stay in Bangkok and do some sightseeing over the weekend. However, with everything we were hearing about the protests and the elections we decided to make a back up plan. And after seeing Matt off at the airport Saturday morning, that is how Micheal and I ended up in Rayong, where absolutely nothing of consequence happened.