After reading the news about what happened to a Danish family during their vacation in SriLanka just one day after we had arrived safe and sound back from our vacation in Thailand, I can't stop the feelings of sadness, gratitude, fear and anger - rushing through my head, all mixed together. These days it really seems being a question of "wrong place, wrong time" and it makes me sick. This could have been our loved ones or even us. But I don't want to loose myself in this anger, because I don't want to give these sick people anything from me. They might believe they end up in paradise, but I know once they are gone, they will discover, they just ended in hell.
Why we chose Thailand
After Egypt being advised not to travel to if necessary right now by the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, this unfortunately was not an option anymore. We wanted to give our kids the opportunity to see corals and fishes under water by snorkling.
Thailand had been on my wish list for a very long time - however my hubs was not very keen on visiting Thailand, he had so many other ideas where he would rather want to travel.
Regarding our situation with small kids, I still am not in backpacking mood and needed a place where I still felt safe in case we needed to leave the resort with a sick kid or other unpredictable things that might happen. And Thailand was the place where infrastructure and health system were what I was told I could feel safe with.
Our final plans - Koh Chang recommended
We had planned on staying 7 nights on the island Koh Chang, 6 hours by car south from Bangkok and another 8 nights on an Island next to Koh Chang, called Koh Mak, which can only be approached by speedboat. We would find out later, that these plans would change drastically. But I will get back to that later. It just is a reminder that there are so many things that are unpredictable when traveling - especially with small kids.
The Journey: Denmark - Hamburg - Munich - Bangkok - Koh Chang
Due to the very expensive offers we had received from a travel agency in Denmark, we decided to book flights from Hamburg via Munich to Bangkok ourselves and find our accommodation via booking.com.
We drove to Hamburg the day before and spent the night at our friends house, which was lovely and gave us a little break before take-off on April 3rd. The flight was supposed to be 11 hours and from there we would hop on a pre-ordered taxi which would bring us to Koh Chang - travel time 6 hours including ferry from Trat Natural Bay Pier to Koh Chang. We left Denmark on April 2nd around 4pm and arrived at K.B. Resort on April 4th 4pm. It was a hell of a tour but it went smooth and we did not really have any issues. The boys did very well but for such a long trip, we wouldn't have made it without the iPads. ;)
Due to the time difference we had a hard first afternoon, as we did not want to go to bed too early, but at 6.30 pm we all were asleep and slept until the next morning 9:30 - this was 15 hours straight and our personal family record. Never ever had we slept that long as a family.
Our Starting Point: K.B. Resort at Kae Bae Beach in Koh Chang
We found a resort with very good recommendation rate called K.B. Resort, Koh Chang, directly located on Kae Bae Beach. A very beautiful place with almost no tourists and a lot of Thai people coming for their holidays from Bangkok to relax here. The cost was 3.000 Baht per night for four people including breakfast.
The beds were exceptionally good, the curtains were blocking out all sunlight which was a dream with small kids who have a tendency to wake early the more exciting it gets.
Furthermore we did not hear much of the other guests during the whole first week even though we were surrounded by three other parties. The staff was very friendly, they adore blonde children (I have no clue how many people wanted to photograph them because of their hair and eye color) and the kitchen/food was extremely good.
The only two minuses I have was
the breakfast - the missing dark bread, we just can't live of white sandwich toast for 14 days and there was the same 3 kind of fruit for almost two weeks
the hidden garbage (like under the sun deck by the pool or under the stilted bungalows). It was not in sight, but when we dropped a toy under the sun deck, we considered getting it back by crawling under the deck, but this was impossible. Our Schleich Zebra is still there and might remain there forever...
The Climate - Heat - Skin Issues
30 degrees and high air humidity made it impossible for us to stay in the sun longer than for a swim. Our oldes can develop severe sun allergy, has eczema and we had to be very careful with him. So we stayed in the shade most of the time, which was easy at Kae Bae Beach. The trees and bushes spent shadow until noon at the beach which was perfect for building sand crocodiles and sand castles and catch fishes and crabs. An old part of a tree being washed up our beach was perfect for that.
Between 11am and 3pm we always planned lunch break, means food, sleep/rest and relax inside to avoid the harshest sun during the day. After that we went on to use the pool, which was in the shadow during the afternoon.
Down the beach the elephants were taken for a walk and swim regularly so we could see them from very close. (We did not book riding on an elephant as we did not want to support this business. And for us it was exciting enough watching them being fed and during their walks.)
We both LOVE thai food, ever have! And from our perspective we couldn't be happier with Thai curry, Tom Ka Gai always. But our kids of course, they could not even taste as it was way too spicy for them.
Luckily the resort also provided other dishes and everything was really tasty. Mostly they would want to order Chicken-Sar-Tay with mango and rice or fried potatoes, but they would also eat fresh fish and were happy about all the apple juice they were allowed to order. Our oldest even finally discovered lemonade (sodavand) and fell in love with Fanta/Miranda.
We met a very nice couple from the Netherlands and their three children during our first days who live and work in Thailand. They luckily told us that the island we were planning to visit next was currently having sand fleas, which really can spoil your holidays so we cancelled the hotel there, extended our trip at our current Resort for 3 nights and wanted to book something else for later. The couple took our family picture in the bottom, and we did the same for them. We connected through Facebook and I really like following people you once met further on. If you read this, it was a pleasure meeting you, thanks for all your input and btw. - our oldest is still talking about your daughter. <3
For a week we took turns in getting a massage down the beach, that is what you HAVE to do, when you are in Thailand. Those ladies know their deal and it really was a pleasure. We tried different massages, THAI, Oil and I forgot the names, but each of them took 60 minutes and every other day when it was my turn I woke up with a smile on my face.
I really enjoyed this and so did my man.
We took the speedboat from the pier by our resort which took us 20 minutes over to the island Koh Yuak - for 3 hours of snorkling.
We were a bit unlucky as the water was so shallow so the corals were close to water surface and i was difficult to swim out without scratching your skin.
My man and our oldest finally found a way and were gone forever. Our son was amazed, however the fish and corals are not to compare with what we saw in Egypt. But it was a very nice experience.
Thai New Year Celebrations
We were not aware of the fact that the Thai were celebrating their new year in the middle of our stay for a few days. They go crazy and you will get wet whenever you go out on the streets. We do not have a picture because this was too dangerous for electronic devices or photo gear. But man, some evenings when my man bought us some local food, he came home totally soaked.
One afternoon, he took our oldest with him who really thought this was fun. They both came home laughing and soaking wet. But with 30 degrees this is not a problem at all. However it was nice once they were done celebrating.
At some point we noticed our little one having a fever, which got higher and close to 40 the next morning. We saw a doctor and discovered he had developed a tonsillitis, which made sense because he did not want to eat very much a few days prior. He never told us he was in any pain, we even asked him. His ears were also affected and he got straight on antibiotics.
We had a few rough days with him as he developed severe belly pain from the antibiotics, which was reasonable because of his empty stomach. And we got to know: No swimming and no sun for 7 days. At that time we had 6 days of vacation left. :( I really felt sooo sorry for him.
We extended our stay at K.B. Resort once again, and unfortunately had to cancel our jungle trip that was booked for the end of our stay, near Bangkok. We could not imagine driving with him like this for 7 hours.
I still feel sorry for my man as he is not the type of person who just wants to stay in a resort for 2 weeks. He loves to see and experience culture and areas so it was a shame we had to cancel, also for the kids.
After a few rough days our little one (who really had lost weight) eventually got better so we were able to enjoy our last days in paradise (in the shade, dabbling in the water - ears over the water) to get ready for the long journey back to Denmark.
Our experience with the health system was excellent and we felt really safe.
Love to come Home, too.
No matter where we are, we always feel happy to return to Denmark. This has always been like that for me, the smell of my own place is jut not to beat by anything in the world.
But first we had to get there, with our oldest developing an infection in a misquito bite in his face and the antibiotics that needed to be cool all the way back we really were occupied with ordering ice packs in the plane and wherever we went.
But everything went well in the end apart from some traffic jam on the way to the airport/hotel. Our flight was at 1am in the morning so we did not have any problems, but if we had planned to hop on the plane right from the taxi, we would have missed our plane, as we arrived 3 hours later than planned.
We even had a few hours in Bangkok to go out for dinner (we were so tired already and the big journey was yet to come).
We really made it home without any other issues. Our car in Hamburg was still driving, even if our friends' car had been attacked by a marten in the meantime.
There was almost no traffic jam on our way to Denmark event hough there were easter holidays, and when we finally were able to eat our beloved and missed rye bread again, we were happy home.
When I asked the boys what was best about our vacation?
Their answer: Ice Cream.
It still is the simple things in life. After all. Isn't it?
And then - old gear - surprising me.
I had brought my oldest camera with me, which I bought in 2007 to photograph with something a little bit better than an iPhone but I must admit, I was surprised when I loaded the RAW images on my computer at home.
When I packed it I really said to myself, it would not be a problem if I lost it or it got stolen, the lense was an old zoom lense and very bad in low light, the cam has a crop sensor, but the pictures I took during daytime still amaze me.
Most of the pictures I posted in this article are shot with that old camera, however here and there some iPhone images made their way in anyways, which I edited, so they match the style. I will not dump it though. It will live on. I might keep it forever.
We love how the Thais treated us, we felt safe and secure all the way through. The area we stayed was very relaxing, there were almost no people at the beach even when the hotel was fully booked during the Thai New Year celebrations.
It was a pleasure, even by the pool, there was nothing like fighting for deck chairs or people occupying them with towels. The same for buffet/breakfast, no lines, no ignorant people. We could just really be us.
What is your favorite spot in the world?