The Red Bridge Walkway
One of my favourite spots on the island is the way down in the south-east in Salakphet. Back in 2006 the authorities had the idea to build a walkway through the mangroves so that visitors could see a part of the island that is usually inaccessible. ‘Miss Thailand’ contestants visited and planted mangroves. Tourism big wigs were photographed saving the planet with cute girls and it was awesome.
And for a while it was a very pleasant walk. Then the footbridge began to collapse in places as it wasn’t maintained. Fast forward a couple of years and the bridge was fixed. Visitors rejoiced. But yet again it wasn’t maintained.
However there was some good news a few years ago. The entire walkway was rebuilt in concrete and an additional section added. Plus a small office and toilet block was built at the entrance. And for a while visitors to the walkway enjoyed it once more. Despite the office never being staffed and the toilet block not having any water.
After a couple of years it began to deteriorate, as no maintenance was every done. And so after a few people had fallen through holes or off the edge of it, it was decided to close it and fix it properly. And in late 2019 it re-opened. Again. Looking better than ever. The toilets are still closed and the office has been refurbished but is still unmanned. But the views from the rust red walkway, which weaves around mangroves and leads visitors on a 500 metre walk to the head of the bay are stunning.
The highlight for me is the halfway point where you are greeted by a 360 degree ‘sea of green’ with views across the mangroves to hills in the distance, with barely any traces of civilization or development in sight.
The walkway has also been re-named the ‘Red Bridge’ and signs have been placed roadside on the east coast of the island so that it’s now easy to find. Dotted along the walkway are signs, all in Thai, explaining a bit about the habitat, which types of mangroves you can see and also the fauna that lives there. In order to help visitors access the walkway, the track leading to it has been concreted, making it easy to drive. However the parking area is small.
December 2020 Update
A small coffeeshop has been built by the entrance and there’s now a 20 Baht car parking (10 Baht for scooters) fee. However the walkway itself is still free. The toilet blocks haven’t been re-opened. The walkways itself is showing some sings of needing repair. This is due to money not being spent on securing the slats to concrete frame properly. So some are now starting to come loose.
Entrance is free.
In case you are interested, this is my original post from 2007:
You may have already seen the concrete disaster that is Salakkok Mangrove Walkway. Fortunately, the guys who built that didn’t build this walkway.
It is located in the south east of Koh Chang, you’ll see signs pointing you in the right direction from the ferry piers onwards. But these peter out just when you need the i.e. in the last 2km.
Drive through Salakphet temple, take the first turning on the left, over a wooden bridge and along a narrow paved road.
At the end of the paved road, follow the track around to the left, just follow the concrete poles carrying electric cables along the dirt track. Head past a shack on the right and then you’ll see disused fish farming pools on the left with a mountain backdrop. Another 400 meters further on and you’ll reach the end of the dirt road and the start of the walkway. Here’s you’ll see two small concrete buildings – a toilet and what looks like it could one day be a ticket office or information booth. But now currently totally empty.