Moving On from Koh Chang

Our bungalow on stilts

Our bungalow on its tall stilts

And already, after just four days, we’re packing up. It’s beautiful here on Koh Chang but it wouldn’t be island hopping without some hopping. So, tomorrow, we’re getting on a speedboat and heading off to Koh Phayam, just a few miles to the south of here.

It’s hard uprooting ourselves. Not least because within moments of arriving anywhere, our rucksacks are empty and our room is suddenly stuffed with clothes, sarongs, hats, a kettle, tea cups, tea (Earl Gray and redbush – thanks, Mum!), sun lotion, a medical bag, a wash bag, a dirty washing bag, packing cubes, games, cards, diaries, pens and pencils, school books, various electrical gizmos, cameras, a multitude of chargers for the gizmos and cameras, inflatable mattresses, sheets, snacks, bottled water and all the other paraphernalia apparently essential to travelling light. It’s surprisingly easy to unpack all that stuff. And surprisingly daunting to somehow fit it back into our bags.

Whenever we stay still too long in any place where there’s not much more to do than wander the same jungle paths or strip of beach, a Groundhog Day effect comes into play, each day blending with the one before. The later days offer diminishing returns of experience.

And, I’m pretty sure there’s something psychologically beneficial to moving on like this. It’s not the house that makes a family. And it’s comforting knowing that we can survive in relative comfort with just what we carry. Or maybe not. Maybe it makes us feel rootless and unconnected and we’ll return to the UK psychologically shattered. I don’t know.

Whatever. We’ve decided to island hop, so it’s time to move on.

Most importantly, though, even more so than the impending mega-pack and possible psychological implications of abandoning the comforting familiarity of our resort, I have a very practical reason for wanting to move on. Our bungalow is one of the most dramatically-located we’ve yet inhabited. It’s perched atop stilts over a rocky outcrop jutting out to sea, directly facing the amazing sunsets you get here. As you sit on the decking, the waves lap the rocks below, crabs shuffling among rock pools. It’s stunning.

But it also scares me. We’re just recovering from one disastrous five-metre fall, and the balcony rail here is so low that every time my girls stand near it I find myself tensing to sprung and catch them should they fall. Even with strict warnings about acting sensibly near the edge (together with constant reminders), I just cannot quite relax. The rocks below are sharp, and of course, very hard.

I really don’t want any more accidents. And Koh Phayam looks like it has very soft beaches.

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