Have you ever been to the small Koh Chang in Thailand? It’s a tiny island located in western Thailand, close to Ranong and one of my best friends runs a bar there. It was her birthday soon, so my friend and my me plotted a surprise visit, she had not expected. I had told her about some issues i had with airlines, mixed the truth with some lies and said that I was sorry we couldn’t see each other again this year. Less did she know that all had already been organised by Buba and me to meet up with her. Bookings had been changed from the Philippines to Thailand and I had one day plus a lot of stress to catch all of the flights. I had booked carry-on only to spare some more and be faster at changing airports.
I went Frankfurt to Bangkok (BKK), took a free skytrain to Dong Mueng Airport (DMK) (1hour) and flew down to Ranong (UNN).
The night I had left Germay had ended with my uncle and me binge watching Fear the Walking Dead.My plan to travel tired, so I can sleep in the plane does not really work when you can play Plants vs. Zombies online. China Airlines was so funny, they also had a public plane chat. I changed my chat name to “crew” and typed „Please deposit unwanted dessert at Seat 52K“
I got a reply in Chinese. Great.
From Bangkok to Ranong I had booked the cheapest airlines and I could have guessed they would weigh my hand luggage. Unsurprisingly 7kg had soon happened to be 11kg and they wanted to charge me a lot. DMK is way to strict to sneak through, so I persuaded them to empty my bad (Said it’s all food and liquids) and told them to check in after. So I ran to the bathroom and tried t wear as much as I could, tried to hide my laptop in a bag under my jacket and went out the door to face my reflection in the bathroom mirror: NO FUCKING WAY this was going to work! I looked like the Hunchback of Notredam.
Back to the cabin it was rearranging stuff until I finally gave up. I figured I needed someone to watch my stuff whilst I checked in and had them high my carry-on. I walked along the airport for ages trying to find a person I felt I could trust. Nope. No. No one.
Families normally don’t support stuff like that, the shop owners weren’t that helpful either, possibly fearing i had a bomb or drugs in my bag, and single men couldn’t be trusted, haha, Damn I was desperate until I saw three German girls. Germans! Hell yeah! Germans are nice, Germans are supportive and when they say “yes” they totally mean it. I told them my problem and the agreed to watch some of my stuff. I went back to the counter, checked in, ran back to the Germans and was on my way to Ranong! Ha! Easy as that … hadn’t there been the security check….
My uncle had given me this rad tiny solar power bank with 50000mAh. BAM! This thing was awesome! And solar based! Loved it!! The security did not as they did not allow me to take it into the plane. I knew they were not allowed in checked in baggage, but I did not know that the limit was 32000mAh Carry-on. So there I was surrounded by Thai securities admiring my power device.
Please why! It was a present… oh no don’t ….
No chance! This wanted this thing as much I I did, but I was not going to give up that easy! I will send it home I told them, they kind of had to agree and escorted me back to the beginning of the line. Of course I was not going to send this thing anywhere, but went to the bathroom and hid it in my bra. Would it beep when I walked though the security gate? Well yes, probably. Damn!! What could I do?
I frantically called a lot of friend and my uncle. No one got on the phone. I reached my uncle and we figured the only chance was to try again and try to change the security. So I got back in line and screened the assembly lines. Overly motivated security staff was to be avoided and then … hell yeah!! A sleep girl behind the computer screen! That was my chance. I put down my luggage, went though the xray gate and HA! Noone realised my illegal power bank!! Damn yes!!!
I actually still have it and used a black EDDING to cover the front. If they now ask me how much it is I will just say “I got it on eBay and they said it’s 32000, but that thing is shit, I guess they ripped me off. In case they realised someone had painted over it, at least I had an alibi.
My flight from Bangkok to Ranong was mouth open coma sleep. Got in the plane. Slept. Woke up. No coffee. TURBULENCES! Holy fucking shit! Landing in Ranong is hard! The airport is close to the coastline and cold and warm air mixes, which causes a hell of a turbulence!!
I am pretty sure the pilot was drunk! I had heard that Ranong airport was a bit hard to fly into but I hadn’t expected a flight like that. Bumping into the airstrip really harsh whilst the airline was thanking us for our trust,I started to laugh. What an irony!
In the plane were around seven people including me, the airport was empty when I arrived. No free WiFi, no SIM card yet, I had no idea where to go, so I got a cab for 250 Baht (toooo much!).
The cab driver took another German dude with him in the car. Damn he was an asshole. When he laughed my stomach hurt, so I tried to avoid talking to him at all. I pretended to be American. I wanted him to be German on his own.
They dropped me at the pier where a fisherman was supposed to wait for me. It was dark. There was no fishermen. Some cats passed the roads and I made my way to some Thai family who ran a small store at the side of the road.
„A boat here? Too late. Waves too high. No no.“
I wanted that boat, but since no one was here to pick me up I started to doubt my plans to reach the island on time.
Suddenly a Thai girl came on a scooter and she was looking for me. She smelled of weed and I liked her.
Yes. Me here haha.
„Your boat is coming“
I went to the pier where a guy with his son was waiting for me in the dark. I thanked him for driving me over there, gave him 3000 Baht and jumped in the small wooden boat. He was lighting the way with a flashlight – the stars shimmering above us. It took about an hour from Ranong to Koh Chang. The regular ferry would have been 200 Baht but I wanted to surprise my friend on her birthday and I had been lucky to get a boat.
The dude on the boat spoke only Thai and mine was a bit too rusty to talk to him properly. He smiled. Everyone was smiling, so did I.
I was so tired from my travels my eyes fell shut and I fell asleep on the boat. He saw it and handed me a cigarette and some green leaf. He took another leaf and chewed on it.
I did the same and my mouth kind of went numb.
“What is it?” I asked him.
He smiled and started to dance.
„Wake you up!“
Ha! Nice one that was what I had needed and it actually worked. I felt more awake.
We reached the pier and a guy I had never seen before was approaching us with a scooter. My boat man smiled and pointed at the scooter. I got my backpack on and jumped on the back. The guy was smelling of alcohol and my heart was racing. Not sure if it was because of the leaf or the darkness that was surrounding the jungle road, I was on with a guy I had not known.
Where was he driving me?
Another guy with a scooter passed us. He stopped and waved towards me!
Yes that was my friend’s name.
I changed the scooters and drove off with the second guy. I had absolutely NO idea where I was. He was talking in Thai to me and I did not understand a single word. He was friendly though.
In front of us was a military car with men inside holding machine guns. As Koh Chang borders Burma there was a lot of military positioned at the island. The road was bumpy and we were surrounded by jungle. It was dark and the stars were glazing above us. I liked the feeling of not knowing what came next.
He stopped the scooter and signaled me to follow him. We walked along a narrow wooden plank. Below us some kind of lake. He showed me the way with his flashlight whilst I tried to hold the balance with my backpack and not fall into the water.
In the distance I could hear some music and saw some lights. I was there – I had seen this place on her Facebook pictures. She wa standing behind a bar when she spotted me.
„Happy Birthday!“ I said whilst we fell into each other’s arms.
Dann! It’s great to see your friends again! I was happy. Those three days were going to be worth the trouble I told myself.
If you want to visit Koh Chang you can do this by boat. It is around 200 Baht and takes you either to the Pier or to the beach. Second one is closer to my friend’s bar, which is called “Thai Bar”.
LONG TAIL BOATS RANONG- KOH CHANG
DEPARTURE: 8.30AM , 1PM (200 BAHT)
SPEED BOAT: 12.30PM, 5PM (300 BAHT)
LONG TAIL BOATSKOH CHANG -RANONG
DEPARTURE: 8AM, 1PM (200 BAHT)
SPEED BOAT: 8AM (300 BAHT)
There are also some nice bungalows you can rent for around 250-300 Baht a night. If you’re three people sleeping inside you pay around 2,50€ per night and have a funny bottle shower.