Ban Kwan Chang, generally considered to be the best elephant trekking camp on Koh Chang, is located in Klong Son at the end the narrow road that leads to the waterfall, Klong Jao Leuam.
The Early Years
Some 15 years ago, Pittaya Homkrailas set up the original Ban Kwan Chang on a small piece of land near the turning to the main Koh Chang waterfall at Klong Plu, with the camp’s only two elephants clearly visible from the road.
Whilst this might have been good for business, it soon became apparent that the proximity of the traffic upset the animals. It was a situation that would only worsen as Koh Chang developed. He, therefore, took the decision to up sticks and move the camp into the interior, an environment well away from the hurly bury of island life.
Happily, things have flourished and today the camp, now located deep in the forest, has ten contented, well cared-for elephants overseen by their friendly mahouts.
The Treks at Ban Kwan Chang
At Ban Kwan Chang, bookings are taken as either 1 hour or 2 hours, with the 1 hour a trek only and the 2 hour, the trekking of course, but this time followed by swimming and washing with the elephants in a small river.
The trek itself takes about 45 minutes, heading off into the natural forest and the rubber trees surrounding the camp. You sit on the two-seater chair that is lightly strapped to the animals’ back.
As the trek progresses, the mahout will offer you the chance to sit right behind the elephant’s head and ears. Nothing is too strenuous so it’s fine for small kids and oldies and there are plenty of photo opportunities too.
On your return, you cam feed the elephant snacks, with pineapple stalks very popular. It explains the small trucks piled high with them that you frequently see on the ferries.
Swim and Wash
If you go for the 2 hour session, after the trek, you walk with the elephant down to the river.
The elephant is led into the water first and once fully submerged, you get to join her. The animals are happy for you to clamber on board, love having their necks scrubbed. They may even paddle off themselves for their own bit of fun.
It takes about 30 minutes to complete the ablutions.
Trek or swim and trek all finished, Ban Kwan Chang then delivers you back to your resort.
Times and Prices at Ban Kwan Chang
The camp runs four trekking sessions a day, with times of 09.00, 11.00, 13.00 and 15.00.
Costs are 500bt per person for the 1 hour, with the 2 hour at 900bt. Children under 10 are 350bt and 650bt respectively, under 3 are free. Pick-up and return is included, all areas up to Bailan Beach.
There is no restaurant on site but you can help yourself to water, coffee and tea.
If you sign up for the swim and wash, remember to wear something suitable as you will get wet.
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