After India we flew into the bustling metropolis of Bangkok, Thailand. We stayed at Ubaan Guesthouse, which is across the river and out of the city center. It was a clean, simple and very comfortable guesthouse ran by a Chinese woman named Joy who grew up in Thailand. She was hilarious and so helpful as she directed us to all the great street food nearby. We started our mornings with a Thai breakfast item of noodle soup and pork balls, which was amazing. No longer needing our warm weather gear we decided to ship a box home. We started with 20kg each in our backpacks and we are now down to 20kg together. Shedding clothes as we go, down-sizing to a smaller backpack, sending a package home with Tiff and now shipping a box home, we have lightened our load. Recommendation for other travelers, travel with a small backpack and bring almost nothing. You can purchase everything along the way, which is fun to bargain/shop and everything is half the price of back home.
With no plan in mind when we showed up in Thailand, we started our research and decided to head to Koh Chang, which means, Elephant Island. It was a 5-hour minivan ride paired with a 45-min ferry ride to the island on southeast portion of the country. Lonely Beach, towards the southern part of the island is where stayed. This place is so laid back that one day we only had big bills to pay for a drink and the owner said ‘just come back later, have another drink and pay then’. Massage spas, bamboo tattoo shops and restaurants line the streets. We were introduced to Mango sticky rice and quickly became addicted as we ate it twice a day. Fresh fruit shakes, seafood curries, pad thai and coconut dishes were also part of our daily menu. Thai food has been our favorite so far on our travels.
We were lucky enough to get a really nice bungalow right on the beach at Sea Flower Resort. It was so pleasant with a lovely porch that overlooked the ocean. We enjoyed morning runs on the beach and Thai massages. Since we were on Elephant Island we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go elephant trekking. It is so convenient to get around the island on motorbike as you can rent one for $5/day and purchase gas anywhere on the side of the road. The road to the elephant camp was very muddy, as it had rained the night before. Quite an adventure getting up this 500m road, Zane was a pro at maneuvering the motorbike and only spilled once on the way back down.
After climbing up a large ladder to a platform in a tree we sat on top of our elephant with a guide to trek for 2 hours through the jungle. Surrounded by banana trees, rubber trees and giant elephant tracks was surreal. The best part was that we got to swim with our elephant in a crystal clear river. Crystal clear until our elephant took the biggest poop into it while he was still eating banana leaves.
Then we booked our travels to Cambodia through an agent and unfortunately fell into 2 scams. We paid for the faster travel to Siem Reap once we reached the border but it was not marked properly on our ticket so we had to take the slower route despite paying more. Also, instead of being taken to the border to get our visas on arrival, the 8 of us in the minivan were stopped at an agency that charged double for the visas. It is frustrating to fall trap into the scams and some days being a tourist is so exhausting as people are constantly trying to get more money out of you. But it comes with the territory and we are repetitively learning to let things roll off us.