Monday, March 29, 2010

Ko Chang: An Island Paradise


Unbelievably blue and warm, swimming in the water here was more like soaking in a giant, picturesque bathtub.

After we finished touring Phnom Penh, we hopped a bus that would take us through the land border between Cambodia and Thailand on the Gulf of Thailand all the way to the ferry and then on to the island of Ko Chang, Thailand. Ko Chang is rather large, with several beaches along the coast and lots of mountainous jungle and waterfalls in the center. We stayed in a tiny, rusted-out, dirt cheap bungalow with no air conditioning or hot water, located a five minute walk from Lonely Beach for four nights. It was perfect.


Lonely Beach, one of the less developed "backpacker" beaches on the island.

Ok, I did not plan to get a tattoo. Min Gi has wanted to get one for awhile now, although they are associated with gangsters in Korea and are illegal. (He's a rebel about this kind of stuff. Notice the earring.) But I have never been interested in cutting myself for decoration.

However, in Thailand they use a bamboo needle technique that the artist, a friendly fellow named One, swore to us was less painful than regular tats. Rather than cutting into your skin, they set the ink in by poking you about a thousand times with a very sharp needle. It doesn't hurt so much as tingle. Afterward, the area was a bit sore and swollen for like an hour, but we could go swimming later the same day, which I understand you cannot do with regular tattoos. Min Gi really wanted us to get tattoos together.

I decided that I wanted a moon design because my name, Diana, comes from the Roman goddess of the hunt and the moon (Artemis in Greece). I suggested Min Gi get a sun, but after working with our tattoo artist on my design, Min Gi liked it so much, he decided that he wanted the same one. We each got some Thai writing, mine reads "today" and his reads "Diana tomorrow" because of the song we danced to at the wedding.


Showing off our honey-moon moons. Get it? I know, I groan at my own puns, too.

One day, we rented a motorbike to navigate the winding, mountainous roads along the coast of the island. This is very dangerous. However, it was really fun, and Min Gi is an excellent driver. We made our way to one of the hiking paths for a waterfall and decided to check it out.


Min Gi approves of the waterfall.


However, by far the highlight of our time on the island was taking an all day snorkeling boat trip to some of the coral reefs on the surrounding islands. I had never been snorkeling before, but after a bit of adjusting to the pressure of the mask and breathing through your mouth, I was quickly swimming with the fish. I floated along with iridescent, neon, rainbow-colored fish, darting about giant black sea urchins and clams the size of my head. Absolutely incredible.


Jumping off the second story of the tour boat. I can fly!


I tried so hard not to get sunburn, but I forgot about the backs of my legs while facing down with the snorkel mask and got a pretty nasty burn that faded to a tan you can still see, one month later. Min Gi got burned because he foolishly thought his browner complexion would protect him. He underestimated the power of the sun that close to the equator.

All in all, this was the most relaxing portion of our trip, and the most beautiful views of nature. I would definitely return here for another round in the future:

Ko Chang

2 comments:

  1. You really do look rested and relaxed. I even like the tattoo (what am I saying?!)

    Love,

    Mom

    ReplyDelete
  2. Haha! Mom likes the tattoo!

    I like it, too. I think Min Gi is addicted and will get more when we go back to Thailand.

    ReplyDelete

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