One of my absolute favorite memories from our latest trip to Thailand was when we decided to get out of the city for the weekend and stayed in a little bungalow on the island of Koh Sichang.
We woke up early to catch a bus that would take us 3 hours outside of Bangkok – to the little town of Siracha. From there we took a Tuk Tuk to the pier and bought tickets for the ferry.
While we waited for the ferry to arrive, Joey and I explored a Chinese Buddhist Temple that was nearby. I really love the architecture on this one, it reminds me of a carousel. There were a lot of people visiting the temple to give alms to the monks and pour water on the statues in celebration of Songkran – the Thai new year.
Soon we heard a loud honking coming from the ferry, as it summoned the rest of the passengers. We rushed for the dock so we wouldn’t miss our ride. It took about 30 minutes for us to arrive at the island. I’m not going to lie, the ride over was kind of sketchy only because the ferry was super old…but it’s all about the experience right? After docking, asking for directions from a local, and walking down the street a ways, we found Charlie’s Bungalows where we would be staying the next few days. The rooms there are simple and cozy. The owner also has motorbikes you can rent to get around the island a lot more conveniently.
The first day on the island was a gloomy one so rather than heading to the beach, we explored some of the sights the island has to offer. We spent a few hours walking the grounds of the Rama V Temple gardens and the Asdangkhanimit Temple, which I thought was nice because it was super secluded and surrounded by trees draped in silk – my favorite! We walked through the tiny aquarium that houses the local aquatic life and made friends with some of the soi “street” dogs. I must also add that during our visit on the island, I had 2 of the best meals I’ve ever eaten. The first was from a little restaurant that simply had a sing out front that read “Food”, which had the BEST banana pancakes and banana smoothie I’ve ever had. The second restaurant, called Pan and David’s, had a really good tuna melt and fresh, fried lobster bites that were to die for!
Luckily the next day was beautiful and we spent it well, swimming and getting sunburned at the beach. There’s really only one beach worth swimming at on the island, called Tham Phang Beach. It’s located on the west side of the island and can easily be reached my motor scooter. The beach had the most crystal clear water I’ve seen and felt like a straight bathtub. There are a couple of really good places nearby to grab a bite to eat and you can rent kayaks or snorkeling gear from the little shops nearby. After a while at the beach we decided to check out the other sights the island has to offer. We rode our motor bike up to Buddha’s footprint where we were greeted by a monk. After chatting a while, he asked us to kneel before him on a mat and he proceeded to fling water on us and chant a blessing, in honor of Songkran. It was such an amazing experience and one of the highlights of our trip to Ko Sichang. Afterwards we hiked up to the tallest point on the island to admire the stunning panoramic views. We also had the chance to walk through the grounds of a meditation center and the Shrine of the Father Spirit of the Great Hill – a truly incredible Chinese Buddhist Temple located inside a small cave on the island. We even saw a few monkeys on the side of the road, he was just chilling and drinking a bottle of orange juice!
When planning a trip to the island, you should keep in mind that it’s more of a get out and go do stuff, sight seeing destination rather than one of those luxurious Thai beach destinations you read about in magazines. Ko Sichang Island is an ideal island to visit if you don’t want to be surrounded by tons of tourists. I probably saw 3 westerners the entire time we were there. The rest of the time we were surrounded by the local fishermen, shop owners, and kids playing. I highly recommend visiting this Island if you’re ever in Bangkok and need a quick getaway from the bustling city-life.
Here is a link to the unofficial Ko Sichang website if you’d like more info.