Monday, September 23, 2013

Koh Mak

Mary had a four day weekend from school this weekend, so I took some vacation and we decided to check out an island we hadn't been to before.  It's the rainy season in Thailand now, so not many tourists come to visit.  This means good prices and minimal crowds.  This was our first time to Koh Mak, in part because it's not easy to get to.  It's far from major population centers, and airport, so it is not a common tourist stop.  The trip was difficult, but well worth it.  Koh Mak is by far the most unspoiled island we've been to in Thailand.

Getting there:
We packed our bags into our car early on Friday morning and headed southeast out of Bangkok.  There is only one speed boat per day to Koh Mak from the mainland this time of year, so we didn't want to be late.  We allowed our selves some extra driving time, and we were glad we did.  Bangkok traffic, heavy rain, and even some road flooding turned what could have been a 4 hour drive into 5.5 hour drive.  The boat to the island was a large speedboat, and was packed full with over 50 people.  The same tropical depression that made driving a hassle in the morning, turned the boat trip into an hour long thrill ride with 3-5 meter high waves.  I enjoyed it, although I think Mary was rather glad when the trip was complete.

Yes, 50+ people fit on this boat.

We stayed at Ao Kao White Sand Beach Resort, one of a handful of resorts on the island that is open this time of year.  We stayed 3 nights, and the last night there were only 2 other guests at the entire resort.   We had a beach front bungalow and miles of beautiful beach almost entirely to ourselves.

On Sunday we rented a motorbike for the day to explore the island.  Although we have both taken motorbike taxis regularly in Bangkok, driving one was a new experience for me (Mary chose to ride along, and didn't drive).  Although the roads on the island are crude, there was very little other traffic to worry about.  We checked out some other beaches, explored winding roads through the jungle, and got a good look at the rubber, coconut, and pineapple plantations in the interior of the island.

We found this rather interesting statue while cruising around the island.  It seems out of place in the middle of the jungle.  Then again, it would probably seem out of place in most locations.

Like most places in Thailand, Koh Mak had plenty of dogs running around.  For the most part the dogs here were quite friendly and well taken care of compared to elsewhere in Thailand.  We even allowed a couple of them to come sit by us on our porch in the afternoon while we did some reading.  This curious pup was our favorite.

Sadly we couldn't stay forever.  Monday morning we were back on the speedboat at 8 AM.  The boat was less crowded and the sea was much calmer.  This made Mary quite happy.

Hopefully we can go back some time soon!

Friday, September 13, 2013


Highlights from my week at school: (Inquiry Theme: We are Unique; Week's Theme: Our National Anthems)

Throughout this week we have been listening to everyone's national anthems. With the help of YouTube, you can find videos playing the song with images from around the appropriate country rotating in the background. It was a great way to take a virtual field, hear the languages kids speak at home, and learn how to show respect when you hear these songs.

Here is Thailand's National Anthem. It's played everyday at 8am and 6pm in public train stations. Most schools play it before the day begins as well. Click Here!

Yesterday during show and tell one of my Japanese students made an origami whale. She did it with the whole class watching- it was amazing. Then with the paper she brought- everyone got their own try.

On Wednesday one of my Korean students brought in a Korean drum he made from Cup-of-Noodles containers, a shoe string, and chopsticks. This was after I suggested in a newsletter that they could email me a picture of a traditional instrument. His mom did email a link to a video of someone playing it.

In other news...

1) Our sea shipment has cleared customs and our things arrive on Saturday. No more sleeping on an air mattress!

2) Next weekend (long weekend with Friday and the next Monday off) we'll be headed to the beach, Koh Mak. Click here for images and to know why YOU should come visit us!

3) Missing the beginning of fall and Hawkeye Football Lots! Go Hawks!

Now off to school....TGIF!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Good Morning Bangkok

5:50am, 3rd September 2013, the city says good morning.