Posted by: James Shannon | November 25, 2010

Motorbike Madness: James Circuits Koh Chang On A Honda Scooter … It Was Badass

View of Lonely Beach in Koh Chang, looking north … not my photo, fyi


The time for me to leave Koh Chang is fast approaching.  My last night camping at Ice Beach Bungalows is tonight … after this, I will head up to the White Sand Beach area for a couple of nights to get a place with free wi-fi so I can upload those photos and videos I have been promising.  I’ll also buy my bus ticket back to Bangkok, spend a couple of nights on Khao San Road, and then head north, with the eventual goal of meeting up with my work friend Katie from Jasper in the sleepy mountain town of Pai in Northwestern Thailand.  Apparently it gets cold enough at night that a jacket/hoodie is advisable!

The last couple of days have been fun, save a pesky sunburn I got when I missed a spot on my neck, and the earlobes.  I checked out the southerly town of Bang Bao two days ago, which has a huge market centered on the fisherman’s pier.  Restaurants, bungalows, shops — all set over several hundred metres of shallow water. Cool stuff, but I have seen this countless times since arriving in SE Asia. Eventually though, the stalls cleared, and the view opened up onto countless tour boats docked at the concrete wharf. Massive boats capable of accommodating close to 100 paying customers; others, only 6 or 7 in a small speedboat. It was one of those said speedboats that roared past me at full throttle when I was kayaking three days ago, forcing me to make a dicey wake crossing in a open-faced kayak (at least the water wasn’t Maligne Lake cold!)

After climbing the lighthouse, I made my way back through the market, and into the main town. I walked out to the main highway, and saw something that stopped me in my tracks. An actual Thai junor high/middle school, with students out playing volleyball at recess. Doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary, but when you’re in a foreign country, especially one that is different in many respects from your own, seeing the familiar and seeing normal people going about their lives is comforting and fascinating. After exploring a backroad for some time, I passed the school again; this time, their teacher was leading what seemed to be Tai Chi!

Yesterday was motorbike day! Rented a sweet Honda scooter from a travel agency in town, but it wasn’t easy psychologically … it was the first time in my journey I had to surrender my passport. Very hesitant, but I figured that everyone else was doing it, here and all over the country, so why not me? After getting the hang of my gas-powered steed, I was off. My bike riding (and driving instincts) kicked in very quickly! Of course, this meant I erroneously turned into the right lane when making a left turn (Thailand drives on the left) a couple of times, but I learnt fast enough 😛

I took pictures from a scenic viewpoint (Koh Chang is very mountainous, think BC Coast Mountains minus a couple thousand feet) and of a sweet waterfall, but I had an ultimate destination in mind: the only beach of significance on the Eastern side of Koh Chang, Long Beach. Now this was easier said than done … it seems the access road got battered and abused by the monsoon season this year. There was landslide debris restricting the road to one lane in spots, places where the roadbed was washed out entirely, leaving rough rocks as the “road”. It was all worth it in the end, as Long Beach has exactly one (two?) bungalow resort in this very remote corner of the island, and the beach is indeed long, and the sand fine as sugar. This may turn out to be the proverbial “beach”, although it is way too early in my travels to proclaim a winner.

I will be back when I re-enter Thailand in February … next time I’m taking the speedboat ferry from Lonely Beach though!

And with that, I sign off on this fine evening, to the sounds of dance music pouring out of the latest party … Himmel Bar is offering 3 Chang Beer for 90 baht tonight!



  1. Very interesting post James … but I would be very leery of handing over my passport to anyone. Have you met up with many westerners yet? It sounds like you’re in a resort village/town. Btw, don’t break the speed limit on those scooters .. you might end up in a small, damp Thai jail cell where the only way out is to bribe the local police officials. You know how corrupt these burgeoning democracies can be! 🙂

    • It was a little unnerving, but every single place required it, and everybody was complying … it was a trust thing! I have met tons of Europeans and some Canadians/Americans, hanging out with an English couple this evening … loving the Changs!

  2. Well, yes I agree with Chris, but I suppose if everyone else is doing it then you have to as well. They really are making sure that you come back with their scooter ! I may not be messaging you on facebook for a couple of days because I am working nights on the 27th and the 28th 90 baht is approximately $3.00 I assume. So that would be really cheap at $1.00 per beer, but don’t get too enebriated or you won’t be able to find that Rustic Cabin of yours

    LOVE MOM ❤ ❤ ❤

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