Travel Guide and Tips: Koh Chang

Koh Chang is Thailand's second biggest island. It's located on the east side of Thailand, closer to Cambodia. It's a great pit stop if you're travelling to or from Siem Reap

We stayed at Lonely Beach in Koh Chang. It has more of a backpacker's vibe, which is great for people on a budget. 

Things to do 

Hang out at Lonely Beach

Just a short walk from the town, Lonely Beach is a great place to relax and cool off in the water. It's not a long beach, but the water is calm and shallow, so it's the perfect place to swim. 

Klong Plu Waterfalls

If you're feeling adventurous, head to Klong Plu waterfalls for hiking and swimming. Just take a taxi over to the waterfalls. You'll need to take a short 600-metre hike in, but you'll be greeted by a waterfall. Jump in to swim and cool off. There's fish that nibble at your feet. 

There's an entrance fee of 200 baht for adults or 100 baht for children under 14 years. 


Lonely Beach is known as the party beach and it really is. If you head into the centre of town or the beach, there's tons of bars opened late. You might be able to catch a fire show as well! 

Where to Eat


Located in the centre of town, this is a quirky restaurant filled with interesting (and phallic) chandeliers. The owner has two dogs and also plays the drums! We usually grabbed breakfast here at a decent price. 


Cafe Del Sunshine

This cafe is opened early, which is great for those who are catching an early bus. Their prices are a bit more expensive than Stonefree. They also serve a delicious lava cake with cookies and cream ice cream! 

Where to Stay

Stonefree 3 Guesthouse

We ended up booking a double room here for 450 baht. It's a very basic room right in the centre of town. The room is small with a big bed, mosquito net and ensuite washroom. Just note that the washrooms in this area aren't flush toilets. You'll need to use a bucket and pour water to clean it out. It's not so bad. 

Part of the room is open, so insects will probably get into your room. We used duct tape to cover a hole where ants kept coming in.The walls are really thin, so you'll hear everyone. The guesthouse is also located right near the bars, so it's definitely not ideal if you're looking for a quiet place. Otherwise, it was fine. 

Paradise Cottage

Had we known of the conditions of Stonefree 3 Guesthouse, we probably would've booked here. It's 400 baht for a private bungalow. And from what I heard, the conditions are very similar. It's just located five minutes from the town, so there area is more secluded. They also have hammocks to relax on with a beach view! 

Happy Travelling! 

Biking to Pai Canyon

Situated in the picturesque countryside of Northern Thailand is Pai Canyon. It is located 8km south of Pai and can be reached by scooter, bike or taxi (you would need to hire one for the day). The views it offers makes it worth a visit if you're already in Pai. Although, I don't think it's worth it to venture out to Pai just to see the canyon. 

How to get there

It's quite easy to get there. From Pai, follow highway 1095 south for 8km. Along the way, you'll see Coffee in Love, The Container in Pai and Love Strawberry. The canyon is located on the right side of the road. You can park your bike there and head up the stairs to the canyon. 

We rented a mountain bike for 100 baht/24 hours and took about 1 hour to get there. Granted, we took a few stops along the way and walked the bike up most of the hills. Just note that there is a lot of uphill, downhill and winding curves on this road. It's quite the workout, but definitely doable. 

The Canyon

At the top of the stairs lies Pai Canyon.  The reddish hue of the canyon along with the backdrop of the mountains makes it a unique site to see. There are dangerous 50 metre steep drops on either side of the canyon, so be careful when exploring. There are a lot of paths to wander on if you're daring enough. 

Happy Adventuring!

Playing With Elephants: Ran-Tong (Save & Rescue Elephant Centre) in Chiang Mai

Please do your research and find an elephant camp that is ethical for a meaningful volunteer contribution. Elephants should not be ridden with a saddle. 

Ran-Tong is one of the many elephant rescue camps located north of the city centre. Established in 2009, it's one of the newer camps that offers bareback riding, no riding, rehabilitation and elephant spa programs.

We opted for the no riding program where you spend your time with baby and younger elephants. In this program, you can play and wrestle, walk, prepare snacks (chopping sugar cane) and bathe the elephants. 

Our Experience

When we first arrived at Ran-Tong, we received a change of clothing, a hat and a satchel with a water bottle. We were then taken down to where the elephants were kept. From the first glance, you could see two younger elephants tied to a pole and the mama elephant in her pen. 

Baby Ran-Tong was extremely friendly and ran up to greet us. As the first baby elephant born, she was named Ran-Tong after the centre. At four months old, she was already 110 kilograms! You can definitely feel her weight when she wrestles with you or playfully sits on you. 

We spent some time getting to know baby Ran-Tong and learning more about the history of the centre. Our guide was quite knowledgable on elephants because he spent the last 18 years working with them. 

We were then put to work and taught how to cut sugar cane as a treat for the elephants. Be careful as the knives are pretty sharp. Sugar cane to elephants is like candy to us. Since it doesn't come naturally in their habitat, they should only eat it in moderation. 

After stuffing our satchel with these sweet treats, we were ready to walk them. The elephants knew what was going on and were a little too excited to walk with us. With their keen sense of smell, they would try to snatch the goodies from our bag. 

The short walk eventually led to a pond where you bathe the elephants. Like us, elephants don't like cold water. So, it was really hard to get the both of us into the water. After splashing the elephants, they accepted bath time and submerged themselves into the water. 

We then walked back to the main centre, changed out of our wet clothes and had lunch waiting for us. 


  • We lucked out and had a small group of only four of us. We heard it can be as little as two people and up to about 10 people. 
  • We noticed that you don't really walk the elephants. It felt like it was more feeding than walking the elephants. 
  • The hostel we're staying at (Teeraya Boutique Guesthouse) has an affiliation with Ran-Tong, so we booked it through them. It cost us 1800 baht each for a half day (morning/afternoon). 
  • Remember to bring sunscreen, bug spray, camera and a swimsuit! You will get pretty wet so consider wearing a swimsuit underneath.
  • You can purchase their photos on a CD (300 baht), USB (500 baht) or Dropbox (300 baht). We ended up buying the Dropbox, but we noticed the picture quality isn't that great since they're not professional photographers. 
  • Please note that the mama elephant is in her pen the whole time. Otherwise, she would be very protective of her baby and dangerous to us. Ran-Tong does not separate the mom and baby. Baby Ran-Tong was initially following us for the walk, but when Mom called her, she ran back home. 

Fun Elephant Facts:

  • Asian elephants have large brains like us! They also have an insanely large amount of muscles in their trunks - all 100,000 (and more?) of them.
  • Their major predators these days are bees and snakes. Asian elephants have thick skin but their blood vessels are closer to the top. Tigers are no longer in the wild.
  • Asian elephants perspire through their toes and sometimes their eyes. They will lose most of their fur as they learn to regulate their body temperature by throwing water and mud onto their backs.
  • Their growth rate and life span is similar to humans. 

Happy Volunteering! 

Day 2: A Taste of Germany, Cathy's Edition

My flight ended up being rebooked to 2:30 p.m. day of. With this new flight path, I had a 12 hour layover in Frankfurt, Germany.

I ended up buying an all day train ticket and wandered around the city for a few hours. I would've spent more time there if it wasn't as cold or if I had warm clothing. Highlights included grabbing a Rindswurst sausage and checking out the Christmas market at Romerberg. 

Day 1: Nightmare at the Airport

Let's set the tone: We were on our way to our three-month backpacking trip in Southeast Asia. Our flight path was Toronto - Newark - Toyko - Bangkok. 

Everything was going smoothly when we left home: we had our bags all packed, breakfast bagels prepped and snacks for the flight.

After getting to Toronto Pearson International Airport and checking in with United Airlines to grab our tickets, we headed to U.S. customs with all of our baggage. This seemed unusual, since our bags are usually checked in at the beginning. While at customs, we ended up being separated into different lines. 

Cee's line ended up being on schedule. She was pushed onto her flight or she'd lose her money. On the other hand, my line was excruciatingly long because there was only one person working. 

Long story short: I missed my flight by a few minutes.

Now we know to always arrive extra early if you're heading to the U.S.! 

While Cee was heading to Bangkok, I was stuck in Toronto trying rebook my flight. Thank goodness there was no charge because it wasn't my fault that I missed the flight. 

In the end, everything worked out and we ended up flying solo to Bangkok. 

Cheers to an interesting start!

A happy start! It just went downhill after this picture.