We arrived at Koh Chang excited to finally – after almost one year – meet Anna’s parents, enjoy family vacation and have some days off from cycling. One day before their arrival we were already on the island to find a place for us and to see what the island has to offer for the next days. First of all we were shocked, that a small island can have such steep roads which would definitely make cycling difficult or … impossible. We really tried hard and did our best to cycle the way to our bungalow but 18% steep climbs, sharp curves and a very narrow road forced us to push the bikes for around two hours. Once we have started to push, there was no place to stop and hitch hike, the only possibility would be to turn around and go all the way down, where a car could stop for us. But for this we were too optimistic about the road finally becoming flat and too stubborn to go back after hard work of pushing.

Koh Chang is the second biggest island of Thailand and is covered by a deep jungle in the inner part and beautiful white sandy beaches as well as mangrove forests along the coast. With only around 5000 inhabitants it has no dense population, but has been discovered by many tourists already, which makes it a crowded place here and there – though for now only one part of the island is touristy while the Eastern part has less hotels and is widely populated by the Thai people.

Koh Chang flag

Nice beach - Koh Chang

Finally after such a long time we could hug and kiss each other and tell thousands of stories sitting together instead of being on the phone or via the internet:

Hugs and kisses

A lot to tell eachother

We brought different local fruits to let Anna’s parents try some exotic delicacies, which they did not know before – a nice introduction to a new culture…

Trying mangosteen

Meeting each other after such a long time was a deep experience. For us it was also a bit like celebrating our birthdays as a lot of new things made all the way from Europe to Thailand. Among them some bicycle parts, our packrafts, gifts from the sponsors, a GoPro camera, a lot of food and snacks and many, many other things:

A lot of gifts - gettingnowhere

The time on Koh Chang we spent with cosy lunches in different bars and restaurants to try the variety of Thai cuisine and to enjoy some cold beers to cool ourselves down:

Lunch at Koh Chang

To explore the island we decided to rent motorbikes as cycling would probably kill us. A lot of fun and excitement not only for Anna’s parents…

Poltoraks on the motorcycle

…but also for us. Suddenly we could move much faster and easier than on the bicycles and could enjoy all the adventures of having an engine:

Mat ready to ride the motorcycle

Although your body does not sweat as much as on a bicycle because you do not have to use your own muscle power to get forward, it is still quite demanding to sit on a motorbike when it’s +40°C outside. To not burn our bottoms and legs we cooled the seats with some water before the ride…

Cooling the seat

…and made several stops in the shadow, so we could get some cold drinks as well as talk about the impressions of discovering the island on a motorbike:

Ready to jump on the motorcycle

Riding a motorcycle - Koh Chang

Thanks to the freedom of having two vehicles we could explore less touristy parts of the island such as fishing villages,

Koh Chang fishing village

with houses standing on stills…

Fishing village - Koh Chang

…next to mangrove forests:

Mangroves - Koh Chang

The island also has three Buddhist temples which we could visit, to show Anna’s parents the colourful Thai architecture…

Temple Koh Chang

Sightseeing Koh Chang…as well as various types of Buddha sculptures…

Buddha sculptures - Koh Chang

Poltoraks visiting a temple - Koh Chang

…and monks in their daily life:

Monk cleaning buddha sculptures

Besides discovering the island, we spent many hours being lazy on the beach:

Palms - Koh Chang

Ewa on Koh Chang

Piotr on the beach

Breakfast on the beach

Koh Chang, which means “Elephant Island” is home to this amazing creatures. We were not really interested in attending an organised trekking tour through the jungle but wanted at least visit one of the elephant camps and share pineapples with them:

Feeding an elephant - Koh Chang

Elephant - Koh Chang

With an elephant - Koh Chang

The island has a lot of different fruits which we do not have back home, so we definitely had to stop here and there to admire huge jackfruits hanging from the trees…

Gigantic jackfruits

…or taste the smelly and spiky durian:

Tasty durian - Koh Chang

The days of having fun together passed by very quickly….

Tasty coffee shakes - Koh Chang

Enjoying Thai food - Koh Chang

Night food market - Koh Chang

…and soon we had to say goodbye. It was nice to have a family feeling again, to hear stories from home and just to be together. We were happy that we could have holidays with Anna’s parents and are looking forward to see them again somewhere else during our trip. We also hope to meet Mat’s family  – maybe in New Zealand – or some of our friends, who would like to spend the time with us somewhere on this planet. After nine days we were again, only the two of us…

Since the suitcases of the parents were emptied on the island, we had to fill them up with our souvenirs. We finally got rid of seven (sic!) Chinese and Vietnamese hats that we carried for four months on our bicycles. We also send a replica of a Thai Buddhist master; now he is occupying an honourable place in Anna’s parents home.

Monk sculpture