As we left the nice, cool mountainous area of Chiang Mai, we were ready for the heat and beach time in the southeast central part of Thailand. Koh Chang is the second largest island in Thailand and is part of the province of Trat. Again, we were lucky to have the chance to experience Thailand as a semi-local with our friend, Ben, who lives in Trat. We worked together in Vietnam and he lived in Thailand before he moved to Vietnam. He loved it so much that he decided to move back! We can definitely believe why. He’s gotten to know the locals on a different level because of how well he can speak Thai, which I am so jealous of (the ability to easily learn languages). Trat is a small coastal town with a fisherman’s feel. The people were so friendly and truly sincere.

On our second day, Ben took us to his favorite noodle soup place. Thai food uses so many herbs and spice that it bursts in your mouth. This particular soup was made from a pork broth and ramen-type noodles with vegetables and sensational spices. We also had another soup dish loaded with dumplings, shrimp, squid and those wonderful Thai herbs and spices. What made this experience even more special was when Ben noticed one of his Thai friends sitting a table with his huge family. It’s a small town, so everyone seems to know everyone and they’re actually sincerely welcoming. At the end of our meal, we found out that the gentleman had paid for our meal! It’s times like these where living in a small town has its perks; truthfully gracious, open and pleasant people who want to make your stay as enjoyable as possible.

Koh Chang’s people were not much different. Although much more tourists come here for the beach, the locals were still very nice and helpful. Koh Chang is not one of the most famous islands in Thailand, but it was still stunning, mountains surround every view and beautiful beaches line the edge of the mountains. It lays right off the southeast coast of the mainland right next to Cambodia. In fact, when we took the ferry from Trat, which is only an hour ride, we could see some land far away, which was Cambodia. As a matter of fact, some Cambodian people work on the island. These four days were spent as a true beach holiday (weekend for Ben) laying on the beach, playing in the water, some snorkeling and playing volleyball. What a great ending to an amazing 10 days in Thailand!

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