Koh Chang is south-east of Bangkok. Most people just go to Pattaya along the eastern seaboard for a beach holiday. However, if you keep driving you reach better beaches. First Rayong and Koh Samet. And then towards the Cambodian border you will find Koh Chang. That is where we went for our holiday last week. Things didn’t really go to plan because there were storms and then the power went out. We almost checked out in the morning but we decided to wait until noon.
The power finally came back on at 10 a.m. It was also a lot brighter by this time though no-one was swimming. We decided to stay for one more night so that we could do a bit of exploring. As I told you yesterday, we were staying on Gai Bae Beach on the West coast of Koh Chang. As we walked along the beach we soon discovered some more bungalows that were even better situated than our own. They were literally on the beach. I am not sure how much they were, but I will guess if it was fan only, they would be 500 baht upwards. The back of the bungalow had concrete to the ground so it looked like even these had toilets and showers despite being right on the beach.
In the distance we could see some people walking over some rocks and others doing some fishing. Obviously fish is a big item on the menu. We decided to go and take a closer look. However, a few more steps and we reached an open sewer – this was rather smelly and was staining the beach black. Yuck. I was going to give this beach three stars out of five, but I was now tempted to downgrade it. Obviously paradise comes at a cost to the environment. Here we are insisting that we get a bungalow right on the beach, but we don’t realize that in doing so we are encouraging the resort owners to pollute the water. If the bungalows were only built further back then they could build proper sewage pipes.
We made a big diversion around this environmental disaster and carefully washed our feet in the sea. As we got closer we could see that the people clambering over the rocks were using hammers. I guessed straight away that they were looking for shellfish – possible mussels. I had seen them doing something like this when I visited the beach in Bangkok the other week. On closer inspection I could see it wasn’t really rock. On the outskirts I could see a lot of broken coral on the sand. It looks like this used to be a coral reef. The locals hammering away were wearing thick rubber boots. We decided not to join them as we were barefoot.
Instead we walked back to the bungalow and rested up. We spent the rest of the afternoon swimming and sleeping! Well, it was a holiday and we deserved a break. We had decided by this time that we would leave in the morning. The weather hadn’t really cleared up that much. What I was interested in doing now was heading back to the mainland and then driving up the coast towards Rayong. This province is famous for the resort island of Koh Samet. However, this wasn’t our intended destination. What I wanted to do was explore the beaches on the mainland as I had heard that they were quite good. Lonely Planet doesn’t give them much of a mention though they have been popular with Thai tourists for a number of years.
The next morning we checked out and caught the car ferry back to the mainland. [Continued…. ]