For most tourists a visit to a fishing village on Koh Chang entails hopping in a pick up truck taxi down to Bangbao in the south west of the island. Here you will see a pier, a handful of fishing boats but the vast majority of fishermen are now running tour boat businesses, working for dive schools or lazing around while other family members sell trips, tours and souvenir junk to tourists.
Bangbao used to be a fishing village . . . it isn’t now.
So, for a tad more authenticity you will have to make the effort to go around to Salakphet in the far south east of the island. There’s nothing in the way of public transport that will take you from the west coast beaches right around to the south-east. But if you can get to Ao Sapparot pier, the main pier for ferries to the mainland then you will find shared taxis to Salakphet several times a day. Every hour from 9am-1pm and a couple later in the afternoon. Coming back from Salakphet there are two shared taxis in the afternoon from Salakpeht back to the ferry pier – these leave Salakphet Seafood restaurant at 3pm and 4pm. Price each way is 100 Baht/person.
But it is probably easier to rent a scooter.
To find the main walkway, which runs for a few hundred metres alongside the mouth of the estuary at the head of the bay, follow the road into Salakphet village, go past the temple, and on for another kilometre. Head past a small resort with a few bungalows – opposite this is a local minimart. Another couple of hundred metres you will see the longstanding, German owned ‘Urai’s Place’ guesthouse and restauraht on your right. You are now getting very close. Keep an eye out for a small fish packing business on the left. Outside you will see piles of red, blue and orange cold storage boxes. adjacent to this is a concrete paved road that goes 30 metres to the jetty. This brings you out the centre of the jetty. ( Or just nosey around and walk down some of the narrower wooden walkways you come across.)
Wander along the jetty and you will seea more authentic way of life for Koh Chang natives. No-one will try to sell you any souvenir t-shirts, some people will smile and say ‘Hello’ and most will just ignore you and get on with drying fish, fixing nets, sorting crabs or whatever they are doing. For anyone visiting early in High Season, crabs are the catch everyone is after. You will see crab traps piled high on fishing boats and people making simple wooden traps outside their homes.
Continue exploring and then head backon the scooter and towards Baan Rong Tian, the village where the road ends on the southwest side of the bay. En route the new pier is worth a stop, you will see the lighthouse is the same design as that in Bangbao. There is also a monastery, but nothign really interesting to see, the skulls in a perspex box were the only highlight for me.Park up at Salakphet Seafood restaurant and then take a look at the amazing views from deck and then follow the footpath along the back of nearby houses to get a few more insights into the way of life in this corner of the island.
The resolution isn’t so good but you should be able to zoom in to get an idea of where the jetty, where most of these pics were taken, is.