Not many people take time to explore Klong Son Bay. But it is worth half a day of your valuable time. By road it is easy enough to see the inland valley and head around 3km inland to a small waterfall. But the bay itself is home to a few ‘hidden treasures’. To see these you’ll need a kayak. (Although the Sea Adventures catamaran does head up this way and stop by the islands for snorkelling and lunch. But at 1,500 Baht per person this isn’t for everyone.)
Points of Interest:
1) Klong Son Village. At the crossroads in the centre of the village you can head inland towards Baan Kwan Chang elephant camp and the small waterfall or head in the opposite direction towards the small fishing community, shown as ‘4’ on the map. For the purposes of this little tour you will keep going on the main road.
2) When you get to the signposted turning to Siam Royal View, take it and head down to this partially completed, lulury housing development. You’ll also have seen a sign to ‘Little Sunshine Resort’, this is a boutique resort run by a Swiss-Thai family who own three adjacent beachfront properties in Siam Royal View.
3) You can rent a kayak from Little Sunshine for your adventure, expect to pay around 300 Baht for a half day. They also have a small restaurant so its a good place to grab some food or a cold drink and relax when you return from your exertions.
4) Most people make their way down to Bangbao to see a fishing village, however there is still a small fishing community in Klong Son and you’ll see a far more authentic way of life on the small pier here than you will in Bangbao which is becoming a bit of a tourist ghetto. Paddle around here in your kayak and you should get some good views of the stilt houses with fishing boats moored outside and the village temple in the background. Close to the temple, Siam Royal View have their dry berths for yachts. Some very nice speedboats there.
5) Continuing on out of the estuary the luxury Aiyapura Resort is on the left. Marvel at the two small artificial beaches guests can use and wonder to yourself if they actually realised there was no real beach when they booked it.
6) But this isn’t to say that there aren’t any beaches on this side of the bay. As you head towards the mouth of the bay you’ll pass by three small deserted beaches. The last of which, also the nicest, has an old wooden house built on it. Park your kayak here and have a swim or laze around.
7) This small island is Koh Mapring, there’s nothing much of interest to see if you paddle round the island. But there are corals just off its northeastern shore.
8) Head across the mouth of the bay, pausing to take some photos looking into the bay – great views with the inland mountains as a backdrop. This island, Koh Chang Noi, is under the jurisdiction of the Thai Navy. On the southern side you’ll find coral and some pretty good snorkelling. Paddle around the opposite side for a 100 metre long beach. The only sign of life being a large sign in Thai telling you that if you go on the island you could end up in jail for 5 years or paying a 20,000 Baht fine. I’m pretty sure this is aimed at tour boats rather than someone in a kayak., so I ignored it. At the south end of this beach there are black volcanic rocks, similar to those found on Koh Kham, near Koh Mak.
9) More interesting rock formations await at Three Elephants Beach. This small red sand beach was slated for development by Siam Royal View but fortunately that plan seems to have been scrapped. A partially built structure is at the southern end of the beach which is named after the three huge boulders at the opposite end. The rocks are of far more interest than the actual beach which is rough red sand.
10) More massive oval boulders line the headland around the far northern tip of Koh Chang. Some of these are pretty spectacular and I haven’t seen them in any other parts of the island.
Now it is just a matter of heading back to Little Sunshine. The only thing to bear in mind is that the bay is very shallow, so if the tide goes out while you are away you will have to pull the kayak 50 metres or so back to the land.