Lets Explore: Koh Chang, Thailand

There are always those cities or places around the world where you instantly feel a connection and linger thoughts always remain. For me, one of those places is Koh Chang, Thailand.

Koh Chang, Thailand

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Lets Eat: Bangkok, Thailand

Living in Bangkok for 6 Months – you find some GREAT places to eat and enjoy.

So what does Thailand cuisine include? Noodles, Chilies that make me cry, Fresh vegetables, Curries and More! Thailand has a wide assortment of food, all of which is spicy (unless asked otherwise – “my pet” – No spice). The food is highly aromatic, filled with amazing fresh vegetables, and known for its mixture of four taste senses: sweet, sour, salty, and spicy. All of which makes me salivate just thinking of.

  • Thai food is eaten with a Fork and a Spoon. Not with Chopsticks, as the surrounding Asian countries do. The fork was introduced during the reign of King Mongkut, Rama IV (1851 – 1868) to “westernize” the country.
  • Throwing food away if not finished during the meal enrages the Thai god of rice. She is the deity who watches over the people to ensure everyone is fed. Bad luck or famine may result.

So lets get to it! What are the traditional foods of Thailand that you MUST try?

  • Sticky Rice with Everything
  • Phad thai – Rice noodles with fish sauce, sugar, lime juice, peanuts, egg. Choice of meat.
  • Khao tom – Rice soup with pork, chicken or shrimp

    Pad thai (ผัดไทย), served in Bangkok.

    Phad Thai

  • Khao khai chiao – Omelet on top of white rice
  • Tom yam – hot & sour soup with meat
  • Kaeng khiao wan/Kaeng phanaeng/Kaeng phet  – Curry – Green, Coconut, or Red. Green chillies, basil, and chicken or fishs.
  • Som tam – Papaya salad
  • Khao phat  – Fried rice with any of: Chicken, Shrimp, Beef, Pineapple, Crab, Coconut, Veggies.
  • Khao soi – Chicken curry soup with crispy noodles
  • Stir-fried prawn with curry powder
  • Kai Med Ma Muang – Chicken with cashew nuts
  • Lots, Lots More!
And for Dessert?
  • Khao niao mamuang – Mango & Coconut Sticky Rice

    Thai mango with glutinous rice.

    Mango Sticky Rice!

  • Ruam mit – Water chestnuts in coconut milk.
  • Deep Fried Banana drizzled in Chocolatee
To Drink?
  • Sang Som – Whisky Thai style – Cheap and toxic!
  • Fresh Squeezed Juice: Mango, banana, Orange
  • Coconut Milk
  • Chang Beer

Thailand is an extremely vegetarian friendly country. All foods come in vegetarian options, and with the abundance and diversity of vegetables, if vegetarianism is ever being considered- Thailand is the place to start! Thailand is known for its amazing street foods which comes at amazing value. There is a less formal dining experience required, but if you want to enjoy a sit-down meal, it will cost you more, but here is a list of some of the restaurants I’ve been and I’ve loved!

  • Cabbages & Condoms (Sukhumvit soi 12) $$$
  • Soi 38 street food (After 19:00 there are stalls open with everything) $
  • The Mango Tree (Soi Tantawan, Surawongse Road) $$$
  • Doo Dee (Siam Square Soi 4) $$$

$ = 0 – 100 THB      $$ = 100 – 250 THB      $$$ = 250 – 400 THB      $$$$ = Too Many THB

Overall, Thailand food is some of the best in the world. I can’t wait to return!

Koh Chang!

I went to Koh Chang this weekend. It is an Island 5 hours East of Bangkok near the border of Cambodia. It was one of my best times I’ve had so far in Thailand!! I went solo mission to the island.

I stayed in a place called Jungle Way. The sign is above! They are stilted huts in the middle of the jungle!! Which is amazing!! So I wasnt on a beach, which is more expensive, and way more hot. I dont really enjoy spending hours on a beach, so the jungle was a better choir for me!! I met a whole bunch of people also staying there, a couple from France, and the girl, Nathalie, came to the animal foundation with me so it was great, and then two guys from Switzerland!! 🙂 And Pet, one of the workers there, was a huge Bob Marley fan, dressing all Reggea and playing his guitar for us in the evenings as we sat around the table on cushions and did what Bob marley does best. It was great evenings with all these other travellers and hearing all their stories.

So, I went there since I heard about the Koh Chang Animal Foundation which has volunteer positions. And since we all know I Love animals….I went to help out. And I really really did!! The lady who runs the organization is named Lisa, and she is from New York, she operates the foundation off of donations and does most of her work for free. It was great. I was allowed to watch and slightly help with a dog neutering and 3 cat spays! Now that MAY sound really gross to some of you – but to me it was amazing because I always wanted to be a vet!! SO it was an amazing opportunity to learn about the profession on the surgical aspect, and an opportunity I could NOT receive in Canada without attending University for it!! SO I spent the day at the foundation with the animals. I spent the afternoon socializing with the kitties. 🙂

In the evening Lisa invited me to attend a party with her, the party was mainly adults (40 plus with kids) so I didnt enjoy the party much, but the food was great, and I did not stay long. Other guys who volunteers, Justin from Colorado and Dan from Sweden, also left early, so we went out onto a pier and sat and watched the stars and chatted for awhile. It was nice to meet strangers.

Then Sunday I went to the Elephant Santuary! 🙂 I just walked over by myself at 11AM and they told me it would be 1PM before I could start my ‘elephant experience’! I said that was fine, I would just lounge on the inviting hammocks and read a garfield comic book I found of a table. But 20 minutes later, they said I could go now cause other people bailed and I could spend a long time there since I was talking to them about me being a Thammasat Student! What advantages!! So I spent about 3 hours with the elephants!! I started out in the sultans chair with a driver for my elephant named Chorlie! But about 5 minutes in my driver jumped down and said I could come up and sit on the elephant and drive it myself!! It was amazing!! I just tapped with my right or left foot and Chorlie would move in that direction!! Yelling Who-Eh made Chorlie go faster. ahha but he didnt like when I said that and he would blow air at me from his trunk, jog about 3 meters, then slow down again. It made me laugh!!

Then after my hour long elephant ride we had to Clean Chorlie up cause he was all dusty!! So we took Chorlie into the pond and got to scrub him down all clean!!! haha But then Chorlie pooped in the pond and I had to get out!! hahah

Then we went back and fed Chorlie and the other elephants. But they only had green bananas and NO yellow ones, so Chorlie wasnt having it. Apparently Chorlie is a picky eater!! haha But that sok.

All the rest of the people who had rides with the elephants all left but I was allowed to stay and hang out with the elephants some more since I was just by myself and they kept asking questions about me and Canada. I loved talking to them!!

Then I spent the afternoon uptop the central hut in a smaller ceiling hut with a small grass roof on a hammock and took the best Nap of life! 4 hours in the cool tropical breeze! The beautiful smells of the forest just rocking on my hammock! Such an amazingly relaxing afternoon I had!! Pineapple Juice next to me. Yes – Thailand is luxury!

Then on Monday, I decided before I left that I should see a beach since I WAS on an island!! haha So I walked along the beach for about 30 minutes and I was bored. So I grabbed a taxi and went to Treetop Adventures!! It is an aerial park and ziplines!! So I went alone again, So I just went me and the guide instead of with a group which is time consuming!! My guides name was Mokmin he was alot of fun, he took my camera and took a bunch of photos for me!! It was fantastic!! But because I was alone, I got to do both the easy and the difficutl course instead of just one of the courses!!

Then I took the fairy home and a bus. And I am returned to Bangkok!!

Overall, it was by far one of my BEST weekends in Thailand so far!!! I had so much fun and met so many new people!!

Rice Harvesting

The University took 10 of us to Harvest Rice at the other Campus, Rangsit. It is a 45 Minute drive from our downtown campus out into the middle of no where. But this campus is HUGE and very very nice!! So why did I harvest rice? WHY NOT?!?! hahah So we were given these sharp hooked gadgets and told to grab a hold of the rice and then cut it near the bottom and pile it up. We did an entire field! See all of the people helping?? That entire field was all cut by the end!! How fantastic! And and and! Our exchange student group were the frist ones to cross the entire field!! 🙂 Yay us! It was a very nice experience! But it was extremely hot! And that one handful of rice I am holding….that huge amount will ONLY make about one bowl of rice!! There must be ALOT of rice workers slaving away! It is HARD work!! But definitly a fun experience! Also, there were water buffalo just strolling around us as we worked. haha, what a life. they were watching us work wondering why we were taking over their job for them!! haha

Cooking Class/Flat Tire/Pool Party

OUr univeristy hosted a cooking day for us. they took us to a fantastic market and then took us to the head coordinator, Pi Maa’s, house to cook. I was in charge of peeling the shrimp! I could handle that. We were shown how to cook Pad Thai, Tomyum Soup, and Mango with Sticky Rice!

This is mango with sticky rice! OMG it is faaaaaaaaantastic. It is basically just rice coconut milk and sugar, but it sure makes for one delicious snack!!

On our way back from Pi Maa;s house, just as we were crossing the bridge to our apartment, we hear a HUGE bang and our driver pulls over. This is what the bang was! Our tire blew!! haha. So the driver started to call people to come help, but two of our exchangers, Dhruv and Bruno, busted out the manly skills and changed out tire for us!! Who knew boys were so handy!! haha it was great!!

Last week we all went to a pool party hosted by the other university, Chula, in Bangkok. It was a pool party hosted at a hotel with the pool on the rooftop! How amazing. This is a shot of the pool with a bunch of people around. There was free alcohol and food for the evening at a cost of…..zero dollars!! They were charging 500 Baht ($15), but there wasnt anybody at the pay table when I entered so a group of us just got in for free!! It was great!! This is Eli and I at the pool party. Eli goes to Western in London Ontario. My fellow Canadian!! Woot! haha

Khao Yai National Park

So we went to the Khao Yai National Park over the weekend! Lions and Tigers and Bears oh MY!

There were actually Tigers there. So between 5 and 6 PM we werent allowed to wander too far since that is Tiger feeding time. Woot!

We slept in tents since that was the cheapest. And really…it WAS the cheapest….since it rained for about an hour. and when I say rain I mean flooding rain – cause thats what happens here. So it was just storming away and Paige and I are sitting in our tent and then it starts to drip on us. haha From the top centre and every corner leaked. So we shuved out towels in the corners and put a towel in the centre. Just to soak it up. It was manageable and we did not get wet.

Later when it cleared up we went for a 3.4KM hike. This was a nice journey to a waterfall which was in the movie “The Beach” with Leonardo DeCaprio. Woot! But along the entire route were signs that said Beware of Crocodiles! We were walking ALONG side a swampy area with nothing but a little rope blocking the way into the swamp. One sign wouldnt of been to bad. But these signs were every 20 feet. So we picked up the pace a little since we were getting hungry and didnt want to be somebody elses lunch! Ok at times we started to run. So what. Crocodiles are creepy. But we did not run into any luckily. haha.

Around the park we just hitchhiked everywhere. Sounds strange but the security gaurd said to us “No, dont walk thats dangerous. Hitch hike; its safer”. haha Not every day you hear that. So basically we flagged down vehicles and asked them to take us where ever they were going. Since one of the waterfalls was 23KM away. It was the huge 5 tiered one too! There are photos of the group of us at it. But you can only see the one tier of it since the other tiers were closed down, atleast the viewing points were.

Then Lonely Planet told us there were Bat caves 3KM outside of the park. So we started to hike there. Along the way we talked to street vendors who told us it was 3KM to the entrance, but another 3KM in that road. So ugh. it wouldnt be possible to hike that far with the bats coming out around 6PM. Then we ran into a vehicle with Angeline and Hafidz inside, and the guy was nice enough to drive us out to the bat caves, atleast, we thought it was the bat caves. Instead we got taken to somebodys house, and there, we spoke to the people living there and they said they’d take us up to mountain. Oh yay! Well, up the mountain, really does mean UP the mountain. It was STRAIGHT up, full out rock climbing, with no gear, and multiple trees that we had to swing around and hope that we did not fall to a bumpy rocky death. haha It was VERY exhilerating, but WOW! haha so we got to the top, and had to wait for about a half hour until the bats emerged. They came out in SWARMS!! They were SO tiny! but they came out for like 15 minutes straight. Just this HUGE straight line of bats. But the cooelst thing was, from above, owls and hawks were diving straight down through the path of bats trying to catch them to eat them!!! It was such an amazing thing to see!! Then we had to get down the mountain again while the sun was about a SLIVER left in the sky. By about half way down this steep rocky death trap, the sunset and we had to go via flashlight. haha It was extremely tricky and extremely scary, at times I thought I would fall off the mountain. But alas, we all are safe and sound and I cant promise I wouldnt do it again. 😀 sorry mom. haha.

Then we got on a bus. and I feel bad for every person on this bus. because they had to sit next to the 10 of us who must of smelt SO SO SO terrible. Like sweat and guano (bat shit). Just so so so stinky. Poor people. hahah.

WAIT WAIT WAIT. LOOK AT THE MIDDLE PHOTO OF THE CHINESE GUYS! THERE WAS THIS DEER THAT WAS WITHIN TOUCHING REACH,AND THEY HAD THESE GIGANTIC CAMERAS TAKING PHOTOS OF IT FROM SO CLOSE! It was an AMAZZZZZZZZZZZZING morning. like WHO needs a camera THAT big. bhahaha. Compensating much??? hahahha And Deer. Lots of Deer in the park. I really wasnt all that excited to see them. Only the other kids from Ontario and Minnesota were not excited either since well….we see deer all the time. hah. nothing new there. but those cameras…..oh god…..what a morning.


Chinese New Years in Chanthaburi

I went to Paige’s host family for the weekend to celebrate chinese New years with them. Paige lived in Thailand four years ago on a rotery exchange in Highschool for one year. So, she took me to her host familys house to celebrate since they are chinese. It was somewhat difficult since I cannot speak Thai, but Paige speaks Thai so she translated for me whenever it was necessary. The familys father is the mayor of the city and they have a massive family. They live in a 5 story house next to the mercedes benz dealership and the ice factory that they own.

This is the shrine that they have on the 5th floor of the house. There are tons of buddahs here and elephants and in the room just next to here are portraits of their recently passed relatives that they pray. They light incense and pray with them to their ancestors, then put the burning incense in a pot infront of their portrait. Paige and I were allowed to pray and sit in meditation position in front of the buddahs to think about our ancestors. It was a very nice experience.

These are 3 of the neices within the family that we hung out with all weekend. From left to right is: Suwichaya, Paige, Rainny, Kirada, and myself. We are all holding a chocolate that spells out Love <3.

This is a fish they had within their house. I thought he was pretty amazing! Look at those lips and eyes!! haha 🙂

During the day on valentine’s day a group of us went to the beach. Get me a tan!! 🙂 haha Left to right: Pi Jang, Pi Bong, Kiranda, an Aunt, Suwichaya, Rainny, then Paige’s arms. haha. We brought a feast with us and ate an feast all weekend!! So much food!!

They served us a fish that was still burning below it! 🙂 haha it was pretty funny, but difficult to get some fish because the flames would flicker out through the bottom and lick your wrist. haha.

This is a picture of the beach that we spent the day on. It was beautiful. The water was SO SO SO warm!! Lovely Gulf of Thailand!! 🙂

This is me, an aunt, and Paige on the beach! Im not even that white anymore!! 🙂

This is us bananaboating!!! 🙂 Paige, me, and Pi Wow. It was alot of fun! but everytime we took a corner – we all went down!! haha.

This is Paige and I. Paige’s mouth is filled with food. haha What yummy food!!

We went to a toy factory and we got to pick out toys we wanted. I picked a little Pooh bear obviously 🙂 We had to wear masks because of all the dust. Those masks are SO SO hot – you want to pass out they make everything so much hotter. It was already about 33 degrees this day! Ps. I have been climatized!! At night we turned the A/C on and at 24 degrees I was too cold to sleep!!! bahaha! How wonderful!!!

This is a shrine on the first floor of the house. It is pretty. I did not learn more about it.

These are the tastiest treats!! 🙂 They are all multi coloured. and they are like a sweeter bread!! Paige and I got to help make them, we just put the batter into the cups so they could be steamed! 🙂 The family made TONS of food to give to all their employees.

Also! One of the traditions on Chinese New Years, is for adults, or those who are married, to give Red envelopes to those younger than them. These envelopes are filled with money. Paige told me about this tradition, but I did not expect anything from the family, but since they are so wonderful, they gave me envelopes as well! So I made 3,700 Baht ($123) this weekend. 🙂

So overall – it was a great weekend!