12 day Expedition
Klong Koi – Koh Klum -Koh Wai 18KM
Klong Koi is a lovely beach on the south coast of Koh Chang. It is the starting point for all of our Multi-day expeditions. From the beach we are afforded a panoramic view of the Islands that await us. Once we have packed our kayaks and orientated ourselves we set out for Koh Klum, an open water crossing of 7km. This is a challenging start in terms of distance but none the less very achievable. Before you know it, the first of numerous Islands has been reached.
Koh Klum has no human population, however it does have a dog, which is probably the most photographed dog in Thailand. It is a constant within our expeditions. Any food that is left over, she eats.
Having eaten and had a swim we continue our journey to Koh Wai. The crossing to Koh Wai is a 4km crossing and is done in only a short time. On arriving on the West coast we turn left along the north coast, which is well populated with various resorts and several piers for all the tourist boats to land at. We, however, are happy to paddle on leaving the throngs of people behind. Our first destination on Koh Wai is probably one of the best snorkelling spots in the whole park. It is situated on the far Northeast coast and apart from the odd speed boat it is usually empty.
From this point we have just 2km to our resort for the night, Koh Wai Beach Resort. Hot water, AC, Wifi. www.kohwaibeachresort.com
Koh Wai – Koh Kra – Koh Rang Yai and Circumnavigation 23km
As we peek our bows around the east tip of Koh Wai a notorious looking island sits proud on the horizon, Koh Rang Yai is a protected National Park island inhabited only by the Thai navy. 12 Km of open sea lies before us, this section of the trip is where we are mostly likely to encounter exciting weather and sea state. As we approach the collection of 8 islands covered in dense vivid jungle, you gain a scope of how wild our surrounding environment is, a playground of mass rock, deep water coral reefs and stunning views. Koh Kra serves as an idyllic island for lunch with a front row seat view of Koh Rang Yai’s east coast, allowing us to soak up the full scale of its beauty.
From Koh Kra, a short 2Km paddle gets us to the turquoise bay, being the view from our campsite for the next 10 hours. Spacious, well kept Military surplus tents await our arrival set back just off the beaches edge, a contrast from all the other evenings accommodation but provides a great outdoor experience with comfy roll mats and sleeping bags. Once we have unloaded our overnight bags, we then have the option to explore the island further, circumnavigating Koh Rang Yai is a delight, with each sister island comes more interesting rock formations and wild flora, and the west coast of the island is a sea kayaker’s heaven. This final section of the days paddle adds 10 km on to the days total, but it’s worth every stroke.
Koh Rang Yai – Koh Mak 10km
A morning of underwater exploration waits just around the corner from our departure off Koh Rang Yai, fuelled by breakfast pancakes on the beach. Two first class snorkel spots are sustained by Koh Yuak Nai and Nok perching in the crystal clear water less than a 1 km off the coast. A deep water entry allows us VIPs access to the lively coral reefs which inhabit a huge amount of fish. When we have all managed to re-enter our crafts we begin the 8 Km open crossing to Koh Mak, with a breathtaking northerly view of the islands visited so far and the ones still to come, this crossing is one to remember. As we approach the west tip of Koh Mak, we gain an insight as to what lies ahead on day 5, overwhelmingly sheer volcanic tubular rock shoots out of the water, creating cavernous openings and playful wave spot.
One last push into Koh Maks southern bay brings us to our place of rest for the evening and day 4.
The Makathanee provides a perfect location with stunning views, close access to the local cafes, restaurants and bars and great facilities aiding us to rejuvenate our energies ready for the second half of the trip.
Day 4 Rest day
Koh Mak to Ao Salat, Koh kood 22Km
Departing Koh Mak we head east towards the southernmost tip of Koh Mak, from here we set out to Koh Kood, the second largest island in the national park. After a 7km open water paddle we finally reach our beach. On reaching Koh Kood the first thing that you notice is the clarity of the water and the sparseness of population, this is the theme for the next 4 days.
Kayaking to Koh Kood is magical. Very few tourists go there by speed boat or other means, so to kayak there, according to the Thai community is “BA” (crazy). We continue our journey heading North around the top of the Island, then down the east coast to Ao Salat. On arriving at Ao Salat , a stunning fishing village, with all the homes and businesses set out along the pier, you quickly become aware that the locals see very few tourists and never see sea kayaks, so we soon become the centre of attraction for the locals. Our accommodation is a beautiful home stay owned by a local government official. The next 3 days are spent hugging the coast line and playing in the varied rock formations that are presented to us. Proper sea kayaking!!
Ao Salat to Ao Prao 30KM
After a good night’s sleep we (literally) launch our boats, this is both a refreshing start and a source of entertainment to the local fisherman. This is the longest day of the expedition, however it is easily managed as the wonderful variety of scenes that we encounter along the way and the numerous opportunities that we get to explore them, take our minds off the distance needed to be covered. The east coast of Koh Kood is all, but for a few hardy souls, uninhabited. For 25km we see nothing but lush jungle. Only in the far south of the Island in Ao Yai do we get to civilisation (and a cold Coke). On leaving Ao Yai, refreshed, we set out to round the southernmost point of Koh Chang Marine Park. On the way we pass a navy outpost – we assume they are there to watch out for illegal immigrants from Cambodia as Koh Kood is the nearest Thailand Island.
The final few kilometres are in the bay of Ao Prao, it is a pleasure to behold – with a pure white sandy beach and clear water, it is an oasis. Our resort, ‘For Rest’ is in the furthest western corner of the bay. On arriving it is worth the effort; based on the river it is a calm, tranquil and beautiful resort.
Ao Prao – Ao Klong Chao 12Km
A day of leisure, relatively speaking. We are presented with an opportunity to meander around the coastline soaking up all the vistas that are on show. We make our way to our next two night’s accommodation (Day 8 is a rest day) via a series of stunning white sand beaches. It is only right and proper that we set foot on the places, for several reasons, for a swim, to take a photo and the main reason because we have earned the right!
Very quickly we have arrived at our resort, The S Beach Resort, which is on the beach. Not only is it a wonderful place to stay, it is also well located to make the most of your rest day.
Ao Klong Chao – Koh Mak 26Km
Having had all our aches and pains massaged out, we are fit and ready to go on yet another long day. Today is about kayaking back to the point where we first started our journey around Koh Kood, so that we can say ‘we did it’. The only way I can describe the remainder of our journey up the west coast, is that it is like travelling through a holiday brochure of, ‘The beaches of Thailand’. You will be compelled to stop and take photos. The kayak becomes purely a means of transport, enabling us to get to these magnificent places and it ceases to be the primary activity.
Having reached the starting/finish point, we break out west into the open water back to Koh Mak. On arrival we are back in familiar territory, the splendid accommodation of The Makathanee. A well deserved hot shower and perhaps a little Air Conditioning will rejuvenate us.
Koh Mak-Koh Kham-Koh Bai Dang-Koh Chan-Koh Maissi Yai-Koh Ngam 23.5 km
Boasted as one of the best days offered on our longer expeditions, an island hopping adventure lies ahead with supreme opportunities to practice developed paddling skills along the way. As we creep around the west coast of Koh Mak taking advantage of every nook and cranny a natural playground presents itself, this environment is where our quality sea kayaks perform at their best. 6 Km from base, around the corner, nestled in the shallow lagoon off the north shore of Koh Mak, is the Island of Koh Kham, a pristine white sand island awaiting our landing.
After lunch and a swim we set out North, heading for the Island of Koh Bai Dang a 7Km open water crossing that presents the opportunity to ‘Name the Island’. It usually ends up a guessing game as once easily recognised Islands, are now transformed in light of our new positional perspective. From one paradise to another our day continues to provide interest and activity. From Koh Bai Dang to Koh Chan and then Koh Massi Yai we continue to have fun. Our final destination for the day is Koh Ngam. Entering the southern bay of Koh Ngam in the late afternoon light presents wonderful photographic opportunities. Our wonderful accommodation for the night is The Tantawan
Koh Ngam-Koh Lao Nai-Koh Chang 16.5 km
With Koh Chang shadowing over us in its enormity, we begin with a short morning paddle 5km to a beautiful set of islands Koh Lao Nai, with possibilities to snorkel, explore or just lay back and enjoy the sun. After lunch we set off on a coastal adventure, by now everyone is kayaking on form and making the most of the scattered rocks creating lovely play areas. A total of 11km guides us along the south coast of Koh Chang where we can visit Secret Beach only accessible by boat. This evening is spent in the delightfully bustling fishing village Bang Bao (Bang Bao Paradise Home Stay) full of traditional Thai markets, a great place to gather souvenirs.
Koh Chang West Coast 14.5 km
The west coast of Koh Chang has some of the most breathtaking rock formations in the National Park. With 8 Km of inaccessible coastline ahead, our journey up the west coast offers us ample opportunity to express ourselves. Gliding between rocks, carving turns testing our skills against the waves, there are challenges for all abilities during this first section of the day. Playing in and with both the conditions and the environment we find ourselves in, is what kayaking is all about.
Alas the excitement ends as we make our way around, Bailan Bay headland, one last flurry of interest presents itself as there are several shallow caves that have extensive bat populations. Lunch on Lonely Beach, is our next port of call. The remaining 3km back to The Emerald Cove offers us a time to reflect on our journey and revel in our achievement.