“Life happens on the street,” said a friend after returning from his trip to Thailand. I only really realized how right he was on Ko Sichang. The small island a good hundred kilometers south of Bangkok is hardly touristy. Westerners rarely stray here. That’s why life here is as original as it could be.
Ko Sichang, February 14, 2020
The streets are narrow, the houses colorful, the flowers in full bloom. There is a police station, a water company and an electricity company. I also discovered a school and a sports field. Early in the morning, the fishermen go out fishing in their brightly painted boats, deliver to the local fish restaurants and the countless street food stalls that are scattered along the streets from the island’s one big crossing in the evening. When it gets dark and finally cool enough that it is worth washing the day’s sticky sweat off your skin, the people on the island become particularly visible. Whole families –from grandmothers to grandchildren – then sit in front of their brightly lit houses, eat, play, talk, laugh, sometimes even wearing pajamas. The roadside becomes a living room – and in the rooms behind you can see kitchens and TV corners. Restaurants and private rooms merge seamlessly. And also in the small kiosk opposite my accommodation, which sells chips, bag noodles and beer in cans, people cook in the back room and sit together at the big table in front of it. How different this is compared to Germany and big parts of the western world, where everyone tries to shield themselves from the neighbors’ eyes with a large hedge or opaque curtains.
What did I do on Ko Sichang? Not much. I rented a small bungalow – with a private bathroom, a large, soft bed all to myself, veranda and hammock. I spent most of my time there, reading, writing, meditating and playing ukulele. I had pancakes or French toast for breakfast, ate burger or turkey breast with chips late in the afternoon and had a beer every evening. I didn’t meet new people and I hardly spoke. I took a vacation from traveling, tried to process the past four weeks in Thailand and thought a lot about myself. The knowledge I gained was not all beautiful, has boxed its way to the surface through the subconscious and is now uncomfortably present like a stinging headache. Treating yourself and others with loving kindness – Buddhism always recommends. It’s easy when it comes to the things that I like about myself. But difficult when it comes to things that I would rather suppress. Sometimes you have to practice acceptance. That’s a lifelong task. 😊
How to get to Ko Sichang:
By bus from Bangkok (Ekamai, East Bus Terminal) to Sriracha. It’s best to let the bus driver or fellow travelers know where you want to go. It’s always very important to everyone that tourists arrive at their destination. So, a fellow traveler immediately organized a tuktuk for me on arrival, which took me straight to the the small ferry – and at a frantic pace so that I didn’t have to wait for the next boat.
You can go back by boat and bus in the same way. But I was lucky: Aunt and niece, who had also spent a weekend on Ko Sichang, put me in their car and drove me to the door of the hostel in Bangkok. The hospitality of the Thais knows no limits. 😊