Koh Chang East Coast – Salak Phet – Explore with our Guide

Salak Phet at a Glance

Likely to meet:
Thai weekenders, couples, lost bookings
The Beach:
None apart from the very difficult to access Wai Chek
Accommodation:
Thai homestays with couple of boutique resorts, guesthouse
600bt for rooms to 5,000bt or more for superior
Restaurants:
Seafood options, cheap local Thai or where you stay
Nightlife:
None
Other:
Mangrove walkway, waterfalls, offshore islands
Highlights:
Local life, lack of development
Lowlights:
Lack of accessible beach, isolated

Salak Phet at an Island Pace

Salak Phet, lies on the opposite side of the bay to to Chek Bae down in the south east corner of Koh Chang, It is another rural community of fruit farmers and fishermen, spread out along the water and among the rubber tree plantations and orchards.

With the 744 metre mountain peak of Salak Phet and its smaller counterpart, Kheeri Phet, providing the stunning natural backdrop at all times, Salak Phet comprises three distinct areas; the temple and fishing village with its jetty at the top end of the bay; the long winding road that skirts the bay to the far outlet to the sea, with its vast orchards, hamlets, waterfalls and viewpoint; and the village at that outlet to the sea, Baan Rong Than, as it is known locally.

salak-phet-koh-chang

Though mostly catering to Thai weekenders with homestays, there are a couple of resorts and guesthouses, a small marina with sailing facilities, a seafood restaurant and other local spots to eat, but as with elsewhere on the east coast, there is no readily accessible beach.

Salak Phet – The Village

Ignoring the turning to Salak Khok, Chek Bae and Long Beach, the road continues on for another few kilometres until it reaches two large stores opposite one another. Look out for the signs for Chang Noi Kitchen and Salak Phet Marina to get your bearings. Taking the right here, puts you on the route for the waterfalls, the marina and Salak Phet Seafood, the restaurant at the very end in Baan Rong Than, but carrying straight on, loops you round past the temple to Salak Phet village on the water.

Salak Phet Koh Chang temple

Opposite this temple and by the tiny museum, the street over the bridge ultimately reaches a great mangrove walkway, tucked away past the shrimp farms and worth a visit if you have time.

The road meanwhile narrows and bends round to follow the water’s edge at the bottom of the bay with houses on either side. In truth, this is not the most scenic of spots, with buildings in different stages of either decay or renovation, but it is as local as Koh Chang comes. You’ll pass Ban Chan Lay, a Thai guesthouse and the resort, The Mangrove Hideaway, somewhat incongrously sandwiched in the middle of it all.

salak-phet-koh-chang-village

If you cut through along here, you can get onto the walkway that runs along the backs of the houses, with the boats as always moored up and the mangroves-lined inlet opening out onto the bay beyond. The road itself carries on still further, with the Swedish owned Fishermen’s Hut restaurant, just before a small humpback bridge, which leads to more houses and a Thai homestay at the very end.

Down one of the walkways, you’ll find a tiny Finnish guesthouse and at the end, Baan Yemaya, a restaurant and cafe on the water’s edge, with a couple of rooms out back, all squeezed in amongst the densely packed stilt houses. From here, the views across the bay are wonderful.

salak-phet-koh-chang

Salak Phet – The waterfalls

Back at the main junction by Chang Noi Kitchen and taking a right, the road sets off towards the far side of the bay. Immediately on your right again, another smaller road leads into the interior. This is the route to Klong Neung waterfall, Koh Chang’s tallest and least accessible falls, which are found at the every end of the road, completely unmarked.

At the final small bend before the end of this back road, however, another track climbs straight uphill and like a long forgotten secret garden, reveals itself to be a fully paved, landscaped route to an abandoned viewpoint, with amazing views across the bay, over the offshore islands and far out to sea.

On you way back, you can also swing down the road to the left and this takes you through the rubber trees, bamboo copses and orchards to Klong Sip-Et, a very nice drive.

salak-phet-koh-chang-viewpoint

On the main road again, it carries on past the school and other local houses until an interior road to the right, perhaps best spotted by the minimart on its corner, leads to the second of the waterfalls, Kheeri Phet.

Like Klong Neung, the falls were seen as an attraction in the early days of Koh Chang’s tourism, and money was invested in the roads to them, car parking and even small kiosks. With the building of the west coast road, the number of visitors to these attractions has become almost negligible and so, they have been largely abandoned and left for nature to take its course, the road of this one in particular, strewn with coconut fronds.

salak-phet-koh-chang-waterfalls

That said, once you have parked up, the Kheeri Phet waterfall is far easier to reach, at least to the lower level, than its neighbour and even in the drier months, when the water level is likely very low, the peaceful walk through the forest and the orchards is in itself a great escape.

Salak Phet – Around the bay, the broken back road and Wai Chek Beach

After the route to the falls, another few hundred metres more brings you to a soi on the left, Salak Phet 1, which branches into Salak Phet 2. This allows you to join up with the village by the water, with Salak Phet 2, for example, bringing you out near to The Mangrove Hideaway.

Along the main road, meanwhile, a small village is concentrated around the bridge at Klong Thum, with some cheap restaurants and a minimart. Further still, another kiosk with a barrier that is sometimes up and sometimes down, sits on the corner of the unfinished back road to Bang Bao, which also leads to Wai Chek Beach.

wai-chek-beach-koh-chang

You can whip up here to explore, a steady curving climb to the top on patchy and in places washed out tarmac, followed by a section in much worse condition down the other side. If you choose to walk instead, it is a good 45 minutes until you reach the point where it stops, utterly collapsed and impassable.

The back road near Bang Bao is in a similar state, with the bit between them about 4 kilometres, so despite the talk, this completion of the island’s circumvention will not be completed anytime soon. Just before the broken down bridge and its chasm, a sandy track to the left leads via a river crossing and some tall grass fields to Wai Chek Beach, the completely undeveloped strand on the next bay around the coast from Salak Phet.

wai-chek-beach-koh-chang

This is a lovely long stretch of sand with great views across to Koh Klum, the first large uninhabited island which all the boats from Bang Bao go pass on their way to Koh Wai, Koh Mak and Koh Kood. A pretty lagoon sits behind the beach at one end, while thre is a newly constructed house up on the hill at the other.

Like Long Beach, there is a sense in Wai Chek Beach’s wildness and remoteness of how the island and its beaches used to be, before tourism arrived. Here, in particular, one cannot resist the hope that the two sides of the island stay unconnected, for this untamed atmosphere would sadly disappear, once the road was joined.

Salak Phet – the far corner of the bay at Baan Rong Than

After passing this old Bang Bao road, the Salak Phet route now starts to hug the shoreline and after the now abandoned Jab Jab Seafood Restaurant which sits in its small lake, you reach the long concrete pier, which offers great panoramic views of the islands in the bay and back to the mountains behind.

salak-phet-koh-chang-pier

Koh Chang Marina, shortly afterwards, has a small collection of yachts moored, with rooms on the other side of the road.

The road passes a monastery set back on the inland side, which is currently raising funds (43 million Baht to be precise) for a huge Buddha statue to look over the bay. Finally, you come to a halt at Salak Phet Seafood, a large restaurant built on stilts over the bay, with teak floors, fish in pens and accommodation. Next door is another typical Thai homestay, Sangarun, and then various other houses, which all stretch back over the water.

salak-phet-koh-chang-sailing

Beyond them, down a narrow path, sits Island View. A German owned, long established resort, it has its own rooms over the sea at the end of a wooden pier and a swimming pool and bungalows on the mountainside, with Gulf Charters, the second of the sailing companies, also based here. You can walk around the headland and there rather surprisingly, you find an outward bound centre for children from the international schools in Bangkok.


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