Padding Around Koh Chang and other Islands
Although the scenery isn’t in the same awe inspiring league as the limestone karsts on Phang-Nga Bay in Krabi, there is some decent sea kayaking to be had around Koh Chang and some excellent islands to visit. Over the years I’ve made it to all the islands in the Marine National Park by kayak – but you may not have time to do that whilst here on holiday. ( It took me over 2 years to find the time to get to all of them. )
Most resorts have sit-on-top Feelfree kayaks for rent. Usually for around 300 baht/half day or 500 baht for a full day. If you are staying in the Klong Prao or Kai Bae areas then you have six small islands offshore which can easily be visited by canoe. The three islands closest to the shore are pretty sheltered but if you decide to head out to the furthest island – Koh Yuak, which also has the best snorkelling, be prepared for the sea to get a bit bumpy.
If you plan on heading around the island to either Salakkok or Salakphet Bays then you’ll find places to rent a kayak there too, in Salakkok bay look for ‘Salakkok Kayak Station’ from where you can rent a kayak and paddle through the canals in the mangroves and out into the beautiful Salakkok Bay. You will see very few signs of tourism here as you paddle past ramshackle houses where local fishermen still live.
In Salakphet village, Island View Resort rents out kayaks and it is easy to follow the canals past boats moored alongside waterfront houses and out into the mangrove lined bay. In the centre of the bay are two islands, the southernmost of which has a nice little sandy beach where you can stop for a swim and to enjoy the views. If you head further out of the bay you’ll get to the private island of Koh Laoya.
For anyone staying in Bangbao it is relatively easy to explore Bangbao Bay and also get to the remote Wai Chek beach, midway along the remote south coast of Koh Chang. Paddling out to Koh Klum, the large island at the mouth of the bay is also not too strenuous as it is only a kilometre or so across the open water. Some small beaches can be found on the south east of the island and pretty good snorkelling of the northeast shore.
The western side of Bangbao peninsula is also home to a troop of monkeys that, regular as clockwork, come down onto the rocks by the sea around 4 or 5pm to wait for the fruit that is thrown to them from tour boats heading back up the west coast of Koh Chang. The boats will pull in and stop close to the rocks. You can do the same in your kayak.
South East Asia Kayaking ( formerly Kayak Chang )
If the thought of heading off into the unknown in a sea kayak is a little off-putting then it’s well worth considering the guided kayak trips offered by the one professional sea kayaking company on Koh Chang.
SEA Kayaking is a British run business that employs experienced UK and Thai kayakers as guides and uses new Tiderace Xcape expedition boats and equipment is all imported from the UK. Safety is the main concern and everything is done to the same standard as it would be in the UK.
At present they offer everything from beginners sessions and day paddles to multi-day expeditions to the islands south of Koh Chang.
They also offer the BCU 3* and leader kayaking training and assessment courses. I took the BCU 3* course with them a couple of years ago. Read about my experiences here.
For more details and prices visit the SEA Kayaking website