Koh Chang’s premier cycling area is around the bays down in the far south east corner at Salak Khok, Chek Bae and Salak Phet.
Here, the road is relatively flat, the cars are not overbearing and the locals still smile at the oddity of a farang on a bike.
One of our favourite jaunts is nothing too fancy, along the eastern side of the bay in Chek Bae. It’s a round trip distance of about 15km from the main road. Have some lunch, throw in a swim and you’ll be feeling very self-satisfied that you made the effort.
Directions to Chek Bae
You get to Chek Bae by heading all the way down th east coast road from the ferries – past Dan Mai, Than Mayom Waterfall, the shooting gallery, The Spa Koh Chang and the shrimp farms. When you see the signs for Long Beach after around 25km, take the left turning. You are now heading towards Salak Khok, Chek Bae. Straight on without turning takes you to Salak Phet.
You pass the school Wat Wat Cha Kham Kot Cha Tha Weep on the bend, the mangrove walkway is on your left. At the end of the road, the OTOP shop marks the point where the road splits, left fork to Salak Khok or for our trip, the right fork to Chek Bae.
You pass through rubber trees and plantations before crossing under an archway with two model metallic boats, a reminder of the Battle of Koh Chang, which took place down in this corner of the island in 1941.
Fishing Community on Chek Bae
There’s a paved road on your right which is worth nipping down to see Chek Bae’s very local fishing community, boats moored up by the recently completed concrete walkway, nets and crabs traps piled up in the mangroves.
At the end, you get a great view of the islands in the bay – the tiny Koh Mapring, nothing but a rock, Koh Phrao Nai, uninhabited bar its solitary fishing hut at one end and Koh Phrao Nok (or Koh Sai Khao), the white spur of its fine sand beach clearly visible.
Continuing along, you’ll pass the odd resort, a clinic, football pitch, local life pottering along away from the tourist glare and more tracks down to the sea, any of which give terrific views across to the islands in the centre of the bay or glimpses of Salak Phet on the other side.
The road to Baan Ao Luk (what we know as the road to Long Beach) is clearly signed near to the luxury Parama Resort. You could call in here for an extravagant long lunch, with a half decent wine list one of the attractions. Next door, you really should take a quick peek at the ongoing development, again by Parama, Nio one is quirte sure what it will be yet but it already has Easter Island statues and a very deep swimming pool.
You’ll could also nip into the other cafes, Cafe 62 and Kokomo, once of Klong Prao Beach. Alternatively, another great spot for a simple fish lunch is the charming wooden terrace at Rommai Chailay. Try the white snapper steamed in lime or baby squid (with squid eggs) in garlic and pepper. The views out into the bay are stunning.
The Far End of Chek Bae
Finally, you reach the very end of the road, with the homestay Journey’s End down by the ocean and some decent bungalows for rent on the headland.
Best of all, though head along the track to Karang Bay View Resort. If the tide is high, you can take a dip off their tiny beach, It’s really the only place along the whole bay on either side where swimming is possible. They also have a cutee restaurant so you can get a shake or cold beer to while away the afternoon.
That’s that, a simple bike ride along Chek Bae completed, a great day out.
Of course, you can equally do this on a motorbike but some of the resorts here do hire them out.
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