Time for a warming up…a relaxed warming up so to speak. From Bangkok I went back to Koh Chang one of my favorite places to go to and also one of the first places I visited this trip; “the island life on Koh Chang revisited”. And then there was also this: as soon as I hit the beaches of Koh Chang a thought hit me…

THE ISLAND LIFE IN KOH CHANG REVISITED
A familiar sight…the sight from the ferry to Koh Chang. The first time I visited this place was in my second week of travelling; still a newbie in backpacking. Now on the road for over forty weeks and a many experiences later I return to the island to warm up after a colder Vietnam and to figure out what I will do in the weeks to come.

Arriving at Koh Chang by ferry.

I went to the Pajamas –the same hostel as last time- and again I had good experiences here and I met a lot of people. The area around Koh Chang is one of the few places (islands) in Thailand where the sun was shining and temperatures reached 30 degrees. The weather in the south of Thailand was actually quite bad -cloudy and a lot of rain- so many people decided to move to Koh Chang for the good weather and the tropical island vibes.
As you can expect of the island life there was a lot of beach, swimming pool and the occasional drink involved. During the days I would spend my time around the pool talking to my fellow travellers or hitting the beaches and swimming in the sea. The first couple of days I met Pana (DE), Gijs (NL) and Will (UK) and we went out to Lonely Beach for a fair bit of partying and we went out to White Sand Beach for some relaxing. At one of the places there was a live band and we had some drinks there. We all know bassists are the real cool people of the band and in this band it was no different; an old guy with rings on almost every finger, long hair and the right attitude was laying down the low end. We got back around 4AM and Will had to catch a bus to Siem Reap in Cambodia around 7AM! We all bet he wouldn’t make it and said it was probably better anyway to stay on the island; but somehow he managed to make it in time!

Mehmet, whom I met in the hostel in Bangkok, also got to Koh Chang and the Pajamas hostel and together with Gijs we went out to a “Chili Cook-Off” a venue where restaurants from the island would cook a dish and sell it to gather money for some good causes on the island. It would start at 3PM and end at 8PM; we got there around 5PM and everything was already sold out and they were finishing up the event. The three of us were quite hungry so from the event we got a taxi straight to an Indian restaurant (we met the owner at the event and Gijs already ate there once) on the White Sand Beach strip and had some really good food.

The full moon this weekend was a special one. The moon would be at its closest point to earth and is named a “super moon” in the sense that it was far brighter and “bigger” than it usually is. That night I lay down on the pool side beds and got my camera out to capture this moment and it wasn’t disappointing. A clear night sky and the big bright moon right in it!

Some days later, after a long day at the beach, Gijs, Pana, Barbara (DE) and I decided to go out at Lonely Beach but the party scene was not much and quite sad. Since there wasn’t much happening we redubbed Lonely Beach to “Sad & Lonely Beach”.
Already when I got to Koh Chang I noticed the big amount of Dutchies around. On my final night I met Renata, Geert and two families of four all from the Netherlands. At the hostel we confiscated a table and talked (and ate and drank…of course) here all evening about everything and nothing.

“DRIVING HOME FOR CHRISTMAS”
Back in Koh Chang, travelling alone again and no idea or plan of what to do in the weeks to come, an empty mind. As I wrote in the previous Travel Short I wanted to use Koh Chang as a place to figure out what to do next and as soon as I hit the beach a thought and a feeling hit me:

I think I have achieved the goals I set at the beginning of my trip, I have found what I was looking for, it’s been good and maybe it’s time to go home.

It actually started when I thought back of the two weeks travelling in Vietnam with my friends. There’s a big difference in the working life in Europe and the travelling life in Southeast Asia and I noticed this every now and then in the way my friends or I would react to several things happening, no matter it being either something big or small. People or situations act like mirrors and can tell you a lot about yourself. In situations where people might get a bit annoyed or edgy I had a feeling of just let it pass, let it go and something new will come, we’ll be fine, just go with the flow. These are actually the feelings I was after before starting my trip. In the first Travel Short I wrote the following:

The idea is to travel around Southeast Asia and New Zealand for a year. It might even become 1½ years, but it can also last for 8 months, time will tell. (…) This trip will be about letting go of everything I know, living in the moment and go with the flow. I want to explore the world, learn new things and get to know people from around the globe.

So in short: 9 months of travelling has brought me where I want to be and I will return home at Christmas after a total travel time of 10 months. It’s time to start new things and bring new ideas to life…

COMING UP NEXT
This will be the last month of my trip and I will spend it in Thailand. There’s still much to see but I’ll make it easy for myself and with the slow travelling in mind I will only go to Chiang Mai, Pai and end my trip where it also started: Bangkok!