My last week in Bangkok has arrived! I’m very busy packing and arranging last minute things. Last weekend I got to spend time with four of my colleagues with whom I created a friendship in the past two years. This weekend trip was planned weeks ahead because of our busy schedule but because this was my last weekend, we all made an effort to spend it together. I was told we were heading to Kaeng Krachan and sleep in tents. They fooled me until we were in the car and finally told me we were going to Koh Si Chang! YAY!
Koh Si Chang might be the closest island to Bangkok and also the least known to tourists as they head to prettier islands like Koh Samet, but Koh Si Chang is a popular weekend getaway for the locals. This was my first time on an island in Thailand and I got pretty excited when I found out we weren’t going to Kaeng Krachan (not a big fan of insects). From Bangkok it was a short 2 hours drive and surprisingly we were able to find the boat pier in Sriracha fast. Finding a parking spot was harder as everyone who headed to the island was looking for the same free space as you are. Eventually we found an empty spot (free of charge).
At the boat pier you have to buy a ticket which cost you 50THB per person (same price for Thai and foreigners). A boat ride takes about 45 minutes and it’s quiet an adventure itself. Sometimes the waves were rough and I start to imagine the famous Titanic-scene where the ship broke in two and… well luckily it didn’t go that far 🙂
Once arriving at Koh Si Chang, you are greeted by many motorcycle rentals, samlor drivers and pick up trucks, varying from 250THB to 500THB. It’s easiest to get a transportation as soon as you arrive at the boat pier because that’s where all the vehicles are located. We opted for a samlor, costing 250THB total to bring us to four sightseeing points. We negotiated with the driver to bring us to our guesthouse first and some place to eat lunch, free of charge.
We stayed at Adrian View Resort, a cheap and clean room for maximum four people. The room cost 1700THB per night if you stay in the weekends. The rooms were simple with a fridge, complimentary water, TV, a shower with toilet and hot water. Ideal for a weekend stay! In the morning they have a simple breakfast table set up with toast, coffee, tea and hot chocolate. I highly recommend this guesthouse!
After some delicious lunch we went to our first sightseeing spot, the San Jao Phaw Khao Yai Chinese Temple, a temple up high on a cliff with spectacular view of the island. The temple has many rooms and caves to be explored. We found out after our visit that there’s Buddha’s footprint. Totally missed it!
Next stop was my favorite: Rama IV Summer Palace and Gardens.
Here you find the remains of the King’s 19th century palace. We spend about two hours wandering around the old buildings, gardens, the beautiful pier and went hiking up the view point. Definitely the best attraction on the island! At this point we also forgot about our driver, who probably thought we were going to take some pictures at the pier and head back, but we love exploring and hiking. The view point was definitely not on our to do-list and took some time to get there and head back down again. Sorry, Mr. Samlor driver!
From the Summer Palace we head to Paree Hut Resort, where you can see the magnificant view once again but from a different angle. This resort is famous because it was featured in a popular Thai TV drama (or movie?) hence the driver brought us here. Don’t ask me what drama and who’s in it, I know my Korean dramas better.
Our last stop was Taam Pang Beach.
This beach was a disappointment for us, we expected something bigger and cleaner. So after a few minutes we head back to our driver who was surprised to see us that fast, compared to the Summer Palace trip. As a bonus we drove us to an extra sightseeing spot, Vashiravut Bridge (Chom Kao Kard). Chom Kao Kard is a public park with pavilions and an elevated concrete promenade offering splendid views of the cliffs, sea and rugged headlands. It is a famous spot for taking in the magnificent sunsets. We stayed here for an hour or so and headed back to our guesthouse.
The next morning we woke up early and waited for our driver when the guesthouse owner came and told us due to the strong wind and rough waves there were no boats going to and from the island. We were stuck there until 14.00hr. We made the best out of this disadvantage and headed back to Chom Kao Kard to enjoy some coffee and the nice breeze. After walking further we ended up at Wat Tham Yai Prik, a temple on the hill includes a giant golden Buddha visible from the ferry, as well as many other Buddha statues. The temple has a great view, caves, and many buildings to explore. It looked like the temple has been taken down for a big part and looked like it won’t last long. There weren’t any visitors besides us. The local monk was happy to see us and gave us his blessings.
In the afternoon we were able to get off the island and headed back to the Big Mango after a dinner stop in Sriracha at a local Thai restaurant. I was happy to spend some time with my friends as I won’t be seeing them until July. As a goodbye present I got a customized cap and pink pouches. I sure love pink!
Koh Si Chang was a nice surprise and definitely worth a visit if you want to go to an island that isn’t far from Bangkok. A great weekend getaway!