So, a couple days ago when I did the visa run to Myanmar it was very interesting. As expected, it was kinda hectic with a lot of people wanting some money, or trying to get money from you somehow, and a wierd procedure getting the visa. I booked a boat trip through a tourist thing at the guest house I was at, so I had a ride to and from the pier and the boat trip was paid for. I needed 10 dollars US for the Burmese government, but the bill I had was too old, so I paid 500 baht. I met a really nice guy who was staying on Ko Phan-gan (where the full moon party was) and he made me want to go back. I felt like I didn't see the island before, but just the party, so I was thinking it was a good oportunity to see it.
I spent the rest of the day contemplating what to do, stick with my plan of the laid back small Ko Chang, or go back to Phan-gan. In the end I chose Ko Chang but I changed my mind about 10 times through the day. I also went to the Ranong hot springs for the entire afternoon and evening. They were really nice, and free because they are government owned. It was all paved and tile but the pools were good temperatures (controlled by valves) and there were a lot of locals there. Some locals told me stories of how the spring water had saved peoples lives. I don't know if I believe the stories but I do believe hot springs in general have good health benefits.
The hot springs source
the soaking pools
The girl at my guest house said I shouldn't walk at night to the springs because its a little out of town and its dangerous, but I did stay until past dark. So I figured I'd test my luck, but I met some nice thai people before I left and they gave me a ride back to the guest house. It didn't seem dangerous but I guess in a boarder town there is more danger than in other parts of thailand.
The next day I got a boat in the afternoon to Ko Chang. It was a cool ride in a large long tail boat and I met a nice guy from Finland on the boat that I've been hanging out with. I didn't know where to stay but the guy I met knew about one place and a thai woman promoting her place was next door to the one the guy knew. We looked at both and chose the one the woman owned. At first I thought I'd spend a couple days here and then go to Ko Phayam but I like it here too much to leave so soon. Now I'm thinking I'll skip Ko Phayam and move on to other places in a few more days.
This island is what I think many people are imagining when they think about a tropical island. Not very many people a long nice beach and really nice places to relax at and get food at all along the beach. There is not much internet here so even right now I'm at a guest house down the beach and can hear the waves and see the water. One strange thing is that the island you can see in the distance are in Myanmar. I kinda like it though.
The view from my bungalow (high tide)
The first day I found the mellow place to hang out almost right away. Its a bungalow a couple places down the way from me with an incredibly kind thai woman as the owner. Yesterday I hung out all day and into the night and she just told me to pay later because it was late and she trusted me to pay the bill before I leave the island. That first night I went back from her place and hung out with a group of Russian people, really one Russian, one German/Russian, and one girl who is more like a europeon gypsy from Equador (she has lived all over and speaks over 5 languages). They were very cool people and I hung out with them all night until pretty late.
The following day (yesterday) I also hung out with the russians and the guy from finland. The German/Russian had some wonderful music he was listening to and that night burned me a DVD with some of the music. Also the Russian guy used to be in the Soviet army so he was very interesting to talk to. He said I was the first American he hung out with and became friends with and realized that Americans are not that different and deal with the same problems as Russians. I thought that was a really nice thing for him to tell me. The group of them actually decided to leave today and go back to Ko Phan-gan because that is their favorite place in thailand and they said this beach was too quiet for them.
Today I haven't done much besides hang out with the guy from Finland, and an older guy from Australia. Both of them walked with me to the internet place we are at right now. I think the next few days here will be really nice to get some reading done and just swim and relax on the beach. I also think I'm really meant to travel alone. The group is nice just because you get closer to your good friends and connected in a very special way, but alone I meet more new people and have more experiences that I think will stay with me forever. Its not just a holiday when your alone, but an experience to help shape my life and personality, and teach me about the world and other cultures in a way that could not happen if I was with other friends.
Anyways thats all for now, and I'll add pictures when the internet is not as expensive after I get off this island. Peace and love to all!