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The island of elephants... or Lost?

The island of elephants... or Lost?

Sa wat dee ka! (this is the Thai greeting for hello)

This week I travelled to the island of Koh Chang, which literally translated means the island of elephants. It is the second largest island in Thailand and the closest to Bangkok, only 7 hours away by public transport. As soon as I saw it the first thing that came to my mind was that it reminded me of the island of Lost, it has a 75% of almost completely virgin jungle so the blue of its waters contrasts with the green of its forests. 

I came to visit the project of an American woman who works with animals, it is a very small project but it moves a lot of pets. As you can imagine, the concept of pets that we have in our country is not the same as the one they may have in Thailand, but in spite of this, the Thais are people who treat their animals quite well. The project is basically dedicated to carrying out free sterilisation and vaccination campaigns, but on many occasions they receive animals that have been run over, abandoned...
It was very ironic the way until I got to the project because the project is not indicated at all on the road and when I found what I thought was the project it turned out that it was actually a cockfighting place that is almost next to it so when I went in and asked for the animal foundation they told me: "Yes, sit down for 5 minutes..." but when I saw the atmosphere I knew I was in the wrong place. Fortunately I left before witnessing a fight and within 10 minutes I was with Lisa who is the founder talking about her project.
What this project really needs is a more professional type of volunteer, vets, animal nurses, etc because it is a project without a coordinator so it is important that the volunteers are as independent as possible. They could also get a type of volunteer to take care of the easier tasks like feeding the animals they have (cats, dogs, a pig and a monkey) and playing with them but their priority is to get volunteers with a more professional profile.

Here you can see one of the cats in the project, Honey, who had to have a piece of one of her front paws amputated.

And this one of my motorised one on the way to the project 🙂

I have been sleeping in a place in the south of the island, the western part of the island is quite developed with hotels and luxury resorts and a lot of noise and I preferred to be in a quieter place. The place where I stayed is called Cliff Cottage and it is located in a privileged environment where you can see both sunrise and sunset and it is absolutely recommendable. It is also next to Bang Bao, which is a fishing village, so in the evenings I would take a stroll here to have fresh fish for dinner. 

I show you a sample of the spectacular sunrises and sunsets that I have been able to enjoy...

The island in general is quite touristy like most of Thailand and you see a lot of Europeans/Americans with Thai girls. In fact a couple of days ago I met three Swedes in their fifties in the restaurant who had survived the 2004 tsunami that caused thousands of deaths in this area. One of them was with a Thai woman and he said he loved her because she gave him everything he needed but she seemed totally out of place and unhappy and that made me sad. Thailand has one of the highest rates of prostitution in the world and moves millions of baht with sex tourism. I am not going to go into the subject in depth but I read a piece of information that surprised me and that is that there are some organisations that estimate that there are 800,000 minors in Thailand who are involved in prostitution. In case you are interested, there is a very interesting organisation that has been fighting against child prostitution for years. You can find more info in the following links

I am now writing this post on my way back to Bangkok. Today is a very special day as the festival of Loy Krathong has been celebrated since the 23rd century and the major cities are filled with stalls selling Krathongs, an ornament made of banana leaves, lotus flowers, incense and candles. Whole families throw these offerings into the river while thousands of oil-lit rice paper lamps are thrown into the starry sky, making it a spectacle for all the senses.

Tomorrow I'm flying to Indonesia to visit the project of a Spanish guy on the island of Sumbawa, which is very close to Bali. I'll keep you posted!

A hug


  • Vanessa
    Nov. 17, 2013

    How cool Monica! We are amazed with your project! And what places and ngos you are getting to know! We want a photo session when you come back. A big hug from almu, aida and vane from Colombia.


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