A Travellerspoint blog

Taipei City Adventure

Taipei Botanical Garden & National Museum of History

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Strolling along the Taipei Botanical Garden on the early morning was so refreshing because this garden was filled not only with tall trees but also has such a diverse ecological system where you can find ponds, aquatic plants, flowers, bamboo garden and other interesting nature wonders all came together in this unique garden. The most convenient way to get here would be through the Taipei Metro getting down at the Xiaonanmen station. Taipei Botanical Garden was created during the Japanese colonisation period in Taiwan was first being a nursery known as Taipei Nursery and later being enlarged and renamed as Taipei Botanical Garden and was the first botanical garden in Taiwan. Taipei Botanical Garden was formerly a site an ancient city in which main activities during the historic era centred around here. Apart from the natural plants and ponds that were unique to Taipei Botanical Garden, another major attraction at this garden was the Bu-Cheng-Shih-Sz Museum. This museum was formerly a provincial administration hall when Taiwan was under the rule of China during Qing Dynasty, where Taiwan was a former province of China. Other than functioning as a provincial administration centre, it also served as guest house to government officials during their visit to Taiwan.

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Exit information at Xiaonanmen Taipei Metro Station to get to Taipei Botanical Garden

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The entrance to Taipei Botanical Garden

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The trees lined the walkways of Taipei Botanical Garden

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Taipei Botanical Garden was filled with many plants and trees

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Palm trees seen at this section of Taipei Botanical Garden

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Purpose-built walkway bridge for visitors to stroll within the lush trees at Taipei Botanical Garden

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Fern garden at Taipei Botanical Garden

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The lotus pond at Taipei Botanical Garden

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Visitors to Taipei Botanical Garden could sit and relax while reading books

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Many pathways were filled with trees at Taipei Botanical Garden

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The entrance to Bu-Cheng-Shih-Sz Museum

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The main entrance gate to Bu-Cheng-Shih-Sz Museum

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The main hall of Bu-Cheng-Shih-Sz Museum seen from the main entrance

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The main hall of Bu-Cheng-Shih-Sz Museum

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Flanked by left and right hall

THE INTERIOR OF THE MAIN HALL OF BU-CHENG-SHIH-SZ HALL AND ITS SURROUNDINGS
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THE MAIN BUILDING OF NATIONAL MUSEUM OF HISTORY WHICH DISPLAY ARTEFACTS AND RELICS FROM CHINA. NO PHOTOS ALLOWED INSIDE.
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The National Museum of History seen from the Taipei Botanical Garden
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Posted by kidd27 00:32 Archived in Taiwan Comments (0)

Taipei City Adventure

National Palace Museum & Jingmei

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The National Palace Museum in Taipei should not be mistaken as a royal palace building turned into a palace museum for visitors both locals and international tourists admirations and learning experience. This version of palace museum was in fact a museum which displays the artefacts from Beijing under the administration of Kuomintang. As Kuomintang was losing its influence in Beijing, its leader, Chiang Kai Shek was worried that these invaluable artefacts would fall in the hands of the communists rule. To avoid such precious artefacts from being taken away by the communists regime, Chiang Kai Shek who escaped to Taiwan after the defeat of Kuomintang to the communists took together with him these artefacts in which they are now being kept here at the National Palace Museum today as an education centre on Chinese treasures dated during the several dynasties in China . I did not actually entered the exhibition halls to check out those artefacts not that I was not interested with such great items but perhaps I was not a big fan of it either, so I decided to give it a skip. But taking a tour around the museum's sizeable territory can be very interesting by itself. The museum building was being designed and built to match its name "National Palace Museum" where the architecture and layout of the building resembled the royal palace at the Forbidden City in Beijing albeit a smaller version in comparison with the one in China. I enjoy taking a slow tour just to experience such nice buildings in particular those that were rich in history and great stories. Though the National Palace Museum in Taipei was not exactly a palace building that came with it historic values, the fact that it was modelled over the Forbidden City palace was enough to gain my attention to its beautiful architecture. Its not difficult to get to National Palace Museum. First, take the Taipei Metro to Shilin Station. Exit the station at Exit 1 and walk straight until reaching the main road before turning right where there was a bus stop for bus to the museum with bus number 304 or 255.

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The exit information at the Taipei Metro Shilin Station

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Exit 1 at Shilin Station and walk straight before turning right to board a bus to National Palace Museum

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Inside the bus to National Palace Museum from Taipei Metro Shilin Station

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The staircase to the main arch of National Palace Museum

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A directory map of National Palace Museum

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The main arch of the National Palace Museum

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The main exhibition hall of National Palace Museum from afar

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The National Palace Museum was surrounded with lush greeneries with beautiful green hills background

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One of the outdoor decorations at National Palace Museum

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The wide and long walkways leading to the main exhibition hall @ National Palace Museum

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The staircase leading up to the main exhibition hall @ National Palace Museum

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A view from the higher level at the main exhibition hall area @ National Palace Museum

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The administration building and Exhibition Hall 2 @ National Palace Museum

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Another view of the administration building and Exhibition Hall 2 @ National Palace Museum

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A view from the main exhibition hall area @ National Palace Museum

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The main exhibition hall of National Palace Museum

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The concourse at the main exhibition hall area @ National Palace Museum

THE MAIN EXHIBITION HALL BUILDING @ NATIONAL PALACE MUSEUM
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The lush greeneries surrounding the side walkways @ National Palace Museum

From National Palace Museum, I took a short trip to Jingmei, a small town which was not exactly a tourist spot and accessible by Taipei Metro Jingmei Station. There was nothing much to do here but just a stop for a visit to Jingmei Jiying Temple, a noodle lunch trip, sample Taiwanese pancakes and bubble tea and a stroll along the Jingmei fresh market. Jingmei was located within the Wenshan District, an area which was covered by massive tea plantations.

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Arriving at Jingmei through Taipei Metro

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Jingmei fresh market

JINGMEI JIYING TEMPLE
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Enjoying Taiwanese pancake in Jingmei

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A bowl of hot noodle in Jingmei for lunch

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The clean and organised Jingmei in Wenshan District

Posted by kidd27 10:28 Archived in Taiwan Comments (0)

Taipei City Adventure

Taipei 101 & Xingtian Temple

rain 19 °C

Mentioned 101 and you will never be wrong in associating this to the world's tallest tower until 2004 when it was replaced by Burj Khalifa of Dubai in 2010. As with the other tallest towers in other parts of the world, Taipei 101 is situated within the financial district of Xinyi, in which it also housed the Taiwan Stock Exchange Corporation. The tower was originally named Taipei World Financial Centre which was then changed to Taipei 101. It has 101 floors above ground and 5 floors below ground. Due to frequent earthquake and typhoons incidents that hit Taipei, the tower was designed to weather such natural disasters. Apart from the Taipei 101 Mall that occupied the Taipei 101, which was also the tower's largest tenant, there were numerous multinational companies that tenanted Taipei 101 including financial institutions, wealth management companies, lifestyle and fashion corporations, corporate advisories and management companies as well as cafes and restaurants. Taipei 101 also claimed the Guinness World Record for its fastest passenger elevator from ground floor to the 89th floor which was where the tower's Indoor Observatory Deck was located. There was also an Outdoor Observatory Deck located two floors above the indoor ones on 91st Floor. The observatory decks allow for a 360 degree views with large glass panels as well as providing hand-held recorded voice tours device complete with microphones. Taipei 101 was designed to withstand the strong typhoon winds and earthquakes with the placement of a 660 -tonne steel pendulum which was round in shape and gold in colour suspended between 92nd and 87th floor. This steel pendulum would offset any movements that caused by strong winds. Taipei 101 was built with 101 floors symbolising the beginning of the new year of January 1st 1-01 and also going beyond 100 percent in tasks to be accomplished.

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Its easy and convenient getting to Taipei 101 with Taipei Metro

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Taipei 101 after exiting Taipei Metro station

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An outdoor decoration near one of the Taipei 101 entrance

TAIPEI 101 MALL
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The ticketing counter to access the observatory deck located on 5th floor of Taipei 101

SOME OF THE INTERESTING WALL DECORATION AT THE TICKETING COUNTER on 5th FLOOR OF TAIPEI 101
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The Taipei 101 observatory deck ticketing counter

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A souvenir shop at Taipei 101 observatory deck ticketing floor

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Souvenirs available at the Taipei 101 ticketing floor

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Visitors queuing up to board the fastest elevator from the ticketing floor to the observatory deck on 89th floor of Taipei 101

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Marketplace, a popular supermarket in Taipei 101

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Spacious and comfortable food court at Taipei 101

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Having lunch at Taipei 101 food court

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Taipei 101 Mall Christmas decorations

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The entrance to Taipei 101 Observatory Deck ticketing floor

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Ticket for entrance to Taipei 101 Observatory Deck @ NTD500

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It took only 37 seconds to reached 89 Floor of Taipei 101

SOME GREAT TAIPEI CITY VIEWS AND INFORMATIONS ON DISPLAY ON 89 FLOOR OF THE OBSERVATORY DECK @ TAIPEI 101
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The steel pendulum which act to stabilised the Taipei 101 tower from strong winds

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Xintian Temple is not just any ordinary temple in Taipei city. There was an underground pedestrian tunnel which was connected to Xingtian Temple and what made this temple distinctive was that the underground walkways was lined with a row of fortune tellers eagerly waiting for customers. The temple was built in honour of Guan Gong, a former army general during AD 162-219 who emphasised loyalty and righteousness during his life. Xingtian Temple of Xingtien Gong was easily accessible with Taipei Metro alighting at the Xingtian Temple Station.

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The entrance to Xingtian Temple

The grand entrance to main hall of Xingtian Temple
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The main hall of Xingtian Temple

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The red doors of the grand entrance to Xingtian Temple

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The praying hall @ Xingtian Temple

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The side halls @ Xingtian Temple

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XINGTIAN TEMPLE GRAND ENTRANCE GATE AT NIGHT

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The underground pedestrian tunnel at Xingtian Temple

SOME OF THE FORTUNE TELLERS AT XINGTIAN TEMPLE
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Queuing up under the rain near Xingtian Temple

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For this Taiwan mochi

Posted by kidd27 19:57 Archived in Taiwan Comments (0)

Hua Hin

The Royal City of Thailand

sunny 40 °C

Hua Hin is a beach city located in the province of Prachuap Khiri Khan, south of Bangkok. This city is also known as the Royal city as the Thai King, King Bumibhol Adulyadej, the King Rama 9 would take a rest at the Klai Kang Won Palace as and when The Majesty would like to do so. As such, Hua Hin is a symbolic of the Royal city of Thailand and over the years this beach city has seen massive developments that attracted many foreign travellers from abroad to visit and relax. In comparison to Pattaya in Chonburi province, Hua Hin offers much laid back atmosphere, perfect for those who seek for calm, peace and quite retreat. It is not as commercialised as Pattaya and Phuket but offers and matched the kind of beach holiday retreat expected of within the Thai hospitality and quality.

There are several activities you can do when in Hua Hin. Of course Hua Hin itself offers the good and nice beach relaxation, but if you like, you could also travel quite a bit to another beach town of Cha Am, which is popular among the local Thais where you could sample some great and affordable seafood. Cha Am is a very tiny beach town with shops, convenience stores, restaurants and pubs dotted the main beach street of the town. Just like most of the beaches in Thailand, you would could hire the beach chair equipped with standing umbrella at various spots along the beach. In Cha Am, this is of no exception. I was in Cha Am few years back and nothing much has changed since then. Coming from the main road from Bangkok before turning into the other section of the road to reach Cha Am beach, there are several restaurants famous for the grilled chicken and roast pork which still dotted the side of the road. If you would like to try some seafood, most of the seafood restaurants are located at the north of Cha Am beach.

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The main beach street at Cha Am

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Beach chair for hire at Cha Am beach

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General view of Cha Am beach from a seafood restaurant north Cha Am

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Another beach view from the seafood restaurant in Cha Am

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Enjoying seafood in Cha Am: Deep fry fish cake, deep fry grouper fish and sour & spicy squid

One of the very important and distinctive symbol of Hua Hin other than Klai Klang Won Palace is the Hua Hin Railway Station and its never a mistake to visit this unique heritage railway station of Thailand and is known to be one of its kind in this Land of Smiles. What makes Hua Hin railway station distinctive is that it maintains the heritage wooden buildings within the station including the main station building which also serves as ticketing office and waiting lobby for passengers. There is also an old stationery train coach which the railway authority placed on the opposite of Hua Hin Railway Station as a form of heritage display for public views. It is a well worth visit and never be missed when you are in Hua Hin. The most notable feature of Hua Hin railway station is the station's signboard which is a wooden structure with Thai ancient design being in red and white paint. This signboard is phenomenal and has been used as a design for souvenirs available in Hua Hin.

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A nice, good place to stay with affordable rates would never be too difficult to locate and booked if you want to be in Hua Hin for a beach holiday. There have been many new cosy boutique hotels springing up in Hua Hin as a result of increasing demand from holidaymakers and you should checked in one of this in particular the south of Hua Hin, which is much more peaceful and less congested than the northern side of Hua Hin. I had a stay at G Hotel, at the south of Hua Hin and this is an eco friendly hotel in which the lobby of the hotel has an open concept, without air-conditioning while the corridors of each floors of the hotel is also with similar concept minus the air-condition. There is a pool beside the lobby that comes with a small cafe and also a gym located at the edge of the pool. The room is spacious with large balcony equipped with a small bed cum sofa overlooking the pool, where guest could sit, relax or even take a nap on enjoying the breeze of outdoor fresh air day or night time.

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The sigboard at G Hotel, Hua Hin

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The entrance and open concept lobby at G Hotel Hua Hin

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The room at G Hotel Hua Hin

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The small bed cum sofa at the balcony of the room at G Hotel Hua Hin

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The pool view from the room at G Hotel

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A general view of G Hotel Hua Hin

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The swimming pool and the gym at G Hotel

Take a walk at the Hua Hin Night Market which is a heaven if you enjoy seafood as you can find some very large lobsters and other fresh seafood available at restaurants within this night market. This is also a place to sample some thai street food and dessert on a budget and also you can get nice little souvenirs for loved ones and friends here as you stroll along this market street.

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Stalls and crowd at Hua Hin Night Market

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A roti (paratha) vendor stall at Hua Hin Night market

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Deep fry egg with oyster vendor at Hua Hin night market

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Thai-styled ice cream at Hua Hin night market

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Deep fried seafood vendor at Hua Hin Night market

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Souvenirs available at Hua Hin night market

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Seafood restaurant at Hua Hin night market designed with Hua Hin railway station in mind

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Have your take at these giant lobsters when in Hua Hin night market hunting for seafood

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Old heritage building in Hua Hin near the night market area

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Hua Hin night market street

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Enjoying coffee at The Coffee Club Hua Hin after a walk at night market

Khao Takiab or Chopstick Hill is located at the southern tip of Hua Hin and is known among the Thais for the massive Buddha statue located on a hill at the edge of the beach. This beach area on the south of Hua Hin is far less crowded with large open beach area and a good place to get sunbathing as well as for swimming.

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The Khao Takiab beach

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The Buddha statue at Khao Takiab beach

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Plernwan Village is a small tourists attraction and popular among the Thais which is specially designed with wooden structures which resembled the old traditional house of southern Thailand. There are several restaurants serving Thai food and drinks, several souvenir shops ideal for those who wants to get something home for family and friends and stalls specialising in t-shirts and related accessories.

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Posted by kidd27 08:43 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

Koh Chang

Trat Province

rain 27 °C

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Trat province is where Koh Chang is located in Thailand and is also neighbouring Cambodia where the entry point is through Koh Kong through the Centrepoint pier in Trat by ferry. Koh Chang translated into English means Elephant Island and elephant is a symbol synonym to Trat province where even the Trat Football Club (Trat FC) use the elephant as its kit's logo. Koh Chang is still very much less popular among foreign tourists and that means massive parts of the island remain less commercialised in comparison to other islands paradise within Thailand including Phuket, Krabi, Koh Samui & Pattaya. Nevertheless, over the years, the situations have changed and Koh Chang had seen the increasing number of foreign tourists flocking into the island for a nice, quiet yet interesting island getaway holiday away from the hustle and bustle of overly commercialised island holiday spot in other parts of Thailand. One thing that is distinctively different in Koh Chang that I noticed is that travellers or holidaymakers could drive straight their vehicles into the ferry, which would carry their vehicles and other individual passengers on board from the Centrepoint Pier to Koh Chang. The ferry journey from Centrepoint Pier to Koh Chang takes about 45 minutes.DSCN1238

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This ferry would carry passengers' vehicles and other individual passengers from Centrepoint Pier in Trat to Koh Chang

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Waiting in the car to get into this ferry that would cruise to Koh Chang from Centrepoint Pier, Trat

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A view from the ferry to Koh Chang from Centrepoint Pier, Trat

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The ferry leaving Centrepoint Pier heading towards Koh Chang

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The ferry reached Koh Chang from Centrepoint Pier, Trat

Koh Chang is quiet a sizeable island and certain stretches of this island are extremely steep and dangerous even for cars and for those who are on motorbikes on amateur basis, Koh Chang can be a fatal place for such riders. Much of the activities focused mainly on the western part of Koh Chang, particularly north west of it to be exact which is along the White Sand beach. White sand beach is in fact the longest stretch of the beach along the west coast of Koh Chang, followed downwards by Klong Prao beach, Kaibae beach and Lonely beach. On the south west coast is where the Bang Bao pier is located. Bang Bao pier is where travellers would board ferry or boat to get out from Koh Chang to other islands for diving or snorkelling trip. The most common island day trip for snorkelling would be the 5 island trip namely Koh Yak Lak, Koh Rang, Koh Mapring, Koh Wai & Koh Yak Yai. This full day snorkelling trip is affordable and inexpensive at THB600 per person depending on the tour company you engaged with. Some would charged between THB650 to THB700 but the tour should not cost anything more than this range. It includes lunch and snacks as well as drinks such as drinking water, tea and coffee on board throughout the trip. Over at White sand beach, this is where most of the souvenir shops, bars & clubs, thai & seafood restaurants, western f & b establishments dotting the main road on this part of Koh Chang. Pharmacies as well as mini markets such as 7 Eleven and Tesco Lotus Extra are also available here for the convenience of travellers to get everything they need. Hotels and accommodations are also widely availablke over at White Sand Beach. Over at the beach area, most of the seafood outlets cum beer bars can be found here at White sand beach and for a romantic dining or simply to relax and chilling over some cold beers, White sand beach has all it takes for such enjoyable night outing.

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The main road at White Sand Beach, Koh Chang. Motorbikes are available almost everywhere here for rent.

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Another view on the main road at White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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The White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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The sea conditions at White Sand Beach, Koh Chang during the raining season

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Beach goers swimming at the White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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The beautiful stretch along White Sand Beach, Koh Chang during sunset

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Sea Bar restaurant and bar along White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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The bar area at Sea Bar restaurant & bar, Koh Chang

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Enjoying cold Leo beer at Sea Bar along White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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Seafood at Sea Bar restaurant, White Sand Beach, Koh Chang. Seafood at Koh Chang not to be missed due to its freshness

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Deep fry squid served at Sea Bar at White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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Sunset at White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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Variety of fish and other seafood for diners to choose from at Sea Bar for barbeque seafood dining at White Sand Beach, Koh Chang

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Dining table set up at Sea Bar restaurant along White Sand Beach where diners can enjoy and chill with the fresh sea breeze while dining and enjoying cold beers

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Grilled baby octopus stall along the main road of White Sand Beach. Several food and fruit stalls are set up during night time at White Sand Beach main road. Try to experience inexpensive street seafood here in Koh Chang

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Coffee chain along the main road the White Sand Beach, Koh Chang. This stretch of the road in Koh Chang is becoming increasingly popular for foreign travellers with foreign theme bar, restaurants and souvenir shops can be found here

When in Koh Chang, there are several activities that will keep you busy throughout the vacation at this island which you can engaged in. The 5 island tour is one of them where this is a typical island hopping snorkelling trip available just as in any other islands in Thailand. But, anyhow, that is also the reason why you are here in Koh Chang - for an island getaway and you don't want to just be here doing nothing or simply just to swim at the beach. Snorkelling is one of the activity that is always in the itinerary to add in the fun of an island vacation. It may be the "been there done that" sorts of thing but each snorkelling trip would be different depending on how you enjoy the trip to make it a fun day out. Let me just say that of the snorkelling trips that I had been to within the islands in Thailand such as Phuket, Krabi and Trang, this one in Koh Chang to-date provided one of the best service and the name of this island tour joint is Perm Boon Sub company. Why would I rated it as the best thus far? The service crew on board were just simply friendly, funny and helpful where they try their very best to entertain the customers with their jokes, funny acts and magic stunts. Everyone on board was being served promptly with variety of services that needed their prompt attention. You can get free medicine for sea sickness where you would be asked if you needed any and they will be happy to give it to you to ensure you won't be bothered with such sickness while on board. Drinking water was being served to you promptly each time you need it and you would also be pampered with light snacks, fruits and biscuits. While getting into the sea for snorkelling activity, the service crew would help to bring you around in the water through a life jacket. This is how each service crew member would do. He will be holding on a life jacket while between 2 to 4 snorkellers would held on to the life jacket while he swims around with breads to feed the fish, you could just snorkels and watch the beauty of the corals and fish that would flow with your group as the service crew feeds the fish. He would also show and stop to explain to you on the marine life objects while the group snorkel around. On board the ferry, the service crew would entertain the passengers with some magic stunts and fun activities which would engaged the passengers to play along with them. All I can say is Perm Boon Sub company has done a good job and definitely has created a great and fun atmosphere for its customers, which also help to bring back what is it all about in Thai tourism culture, which may have over the years lost its lustre to due the hectic demand in the country tourism industry. I have always believe that when credit is due, credit should be recognised and Perm Boon Sub Co. deserved the 5 star rating in terms of its service culture. Not only that, it also provided jobs for those who need it by hiring such helpful and entertaining staffs who are still young and should be groom to train those new members who join the company so that such commendable service culture would stand along with the time.

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Ticket for 5 island snorkelling trip in Koh Chang with Perm Boon Sub Co.

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At the Bang Bao Pier, Koh Chang for 5 island trip with Perm Boon Sub Co.

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This ferry of Perm Boon Sub Co. would cruise out from Koh Chang to 5 islands for day snorkelling trip

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The captain deck on the ferry of Perm Boon Sub Co., Koh Chang

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The ferry of Perm Boon Sub Co leaving Bang Bao Pier in Koh Chang

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Cruising out from Bang Bao Pier in Koh Chang for 5 island trip

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The interior of the upper deck of Perm Boon Sub Co. ferry in Koh Chang

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Ready to get into the water for snorkelling at Koh Mapring, off Koh Chang

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Koh Rang beach from Koh Mapring. Snorkel around at Koh Mapring with service crew of Perm Boon Sub Co. all our way to Koh Rang beach

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Back from Koh Rang beach, off Koh Chang to the ferry of Perm Boon Sub Co.

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Koh Wai beach off Koh Chang

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Koh Wai map

Posted by kidd27 19:59 Archived in Thailand Comments (0)

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