After a morning kayak in the boats provided for free by the hotel in Bang Bao, Koh Chang we and our luggage were given a ride on a motorcycle sidecar to the main road. We waited there for a local share taxi (B300 each) to take us to Khlong Phrao which is about halfway down the island. By Thai standards getting around Koh Chang is expensive because there is no public transit. The cheapest way to get around the island is to rent a scooter but the roads are very steep and include some remarkable hair pin turns. Not a good place for an inexperienced rider. We saw lots of evidence of that people with broken arms, legs, road rash and as we were leaving the hotel a German tourist trying to find accommodation for an extra week because he had broken bones in his face!
We stayed at a hotel off the beach in Khlong Phrao. It was pretty empty but it was clean, they had free coffee in the morning and the building was air conditioned. If we went back we would try and stay at KP huts, very funky, basic but right on the beach.
The beach at Khlong Phrao is very long. It has a number of high end resorts but all of them except one are off the beach so you can wander. One of the resorts goes right out to the water when the tide is in and had security but we cut through it a couple of times and no one said anything.
We did some comparison shopping looking for travel arrangements to get to Cambodia overland and to go on an Elephant ride. We found M&J travel on the beach. The owner was from France so most of the conversation was in French. We booked the more expensive B800 each van transport to Seim Rep and a B1300 each elephant ride which included swimming with the elephants. We wanted to book with the Ban Kwan Chang tour which looked like the best but we were told it was full and ended up booking with Chang Chutiman we were assured it was “same, same”.
At night restaurants set up all along the beach. The sunsets were amazing and there were regular fire shows which often included the restaurant staff!
Rude tourist of the day award went to an older British man with a much younger Thai “girlfriend” who was being so loud and obnoxious about the service a German family sitting next to him offered him some of their food.
The next morning. Breakfast was not included at the hotel so we walked to the Magic Resort which was right on the water. A popular hotel with Thai families. We paid B150 each for the breakfast buffet which had a good variety and was all you could eat but it was every man for himself! Every time they brought a new plate of food from the kitchen it was gone in minutes! There were also no knives so we buttered our toast with spoons!
We were scheduled for the 9:45 elephant trek and they were supposed to pick us up at the hotel. At 9:45 no one had arrived for us so we got the hotel to call the number M&J travel had given us in case there was a problem. It appears they forgot us but once the hotel called someone came to pick us up.
We rode our elephant “Star” with a guide who called us mama and papa (the reason for the subtitle mama and papa in Thailand as 90% of the time we were old enough to be everyone’s parents) through the jungle, past rubber plantations and through a small cluster of huts. When we arrived at the “Crystal Clear Rock Pool” to swim with our elephants it was a sort of murky poll full of elephant poop (elephants poop a lot) but we went in anyway. We sat on the elephant’s back while his handler gave him verbal directions on land. These included spraying us with his trunk and dunking us in the water. It was probably not the smartest thing we have ever one from a hygienic point of view but we had a blast and I would do it again in a minute! If you are going to do the elephant ride it’s definitely worth paying the extra for the “swim”.
We then headed back on our elephant. Which is cool but to be honest riding an elephant is not something I would want to do all day they sort of lumber along eating trees as they go. Our handler took some great pictures for us. When we returned to camp we were a bit disappointed that we did not get to feed our elephant which was promised at the camp we wanted to book with. They also wanted to sell us various things some of which were made of Ivory. We had a great time and as with the snorkeling trip we did not get exactly what we were promised but what we got was great!
The tour included return transportation to our hotel but we negotiated getting off at the corner so we could walk up to Klong Plu waterfall. It’s a national park so we had to pay B200 each to get in. There is a nature trail with signs in English and a refreshing cool rock pool at the bottom of the waterfall. The rock pool was full of good sized carp and there was a national park ranger dropping fish food on to unsuspecting swimmers who were immediately surrounded by fish much to the amusement of everyone.
We walked home along the road with a stop at a fruit shake “stall” in front of a family’s home. Mom made us a shake while her daughter did her homework.