Next week sees the arrival off Koh Chang of its very first cruise ship, the P & O Pacific Eden. After heading from Singapore to Sihanoukville in Cambodia, she will drop in for one day only, before continuing up the coast to her next ports of call at Bangkok, Singapore again, Koh Samui and Phuket.
Despite most islanders being blissfully in the dark about this slightly unusual occurence, early indications suggest the ship will drop anchor near to Ao Sapparot Ferry Pier.
Small tenders will then bring ashore up to 1,500, mostly Australian, tourists for a day’s sightseeing. It could all work perfectly or it could be utter chaos, but if the island can cope with the hordes descending on New Year and Songkran, it will probably take it all in her stride.
The Old Koh Chang Cruise Ship
Strictly speaking, Koh Chang has been able to boast of its very own cruise ship for some considerable time. Around 15 years ago, The Galaxy, as she is or was known, was deliberatedly beached at the very end of the west coast beyond Bang Bao Beach.
Alongside a motley collection of house boats and a floating swimming pool, she formed the main 7 storey 70 room hotel section of a magnificently surreal resort that still exists today, currently going under the guise of Koh Chang Boat Chalets.
The Galaxy herself was forced to permanently shut after an inebriated Russian met an unfortunate and untimely end, falling overboard from the top floor, but the remainder of the resort still operates.
To get there on a motorbike, head for Bang Bao Beach (Klong Kloi) at the far western end of Koh Chang and keep following the narrow road behind the back of the beach. Do not turn off until you reach the entrance booth, where someone will appear from nowhere to request a 100bt entrance fee. For this, you get a drink and the chance to wander around the whole complex and hang out on the beach.
On our visit, there were actually 3 guests staying in one of the boat houses but in a place of this size, it still felt utterly deserted, eerily reminiscent in fact of that hotel in The Shining. Staff are on hand to answer any questions and there’s a restaurant which can knock up a plate of fried rice in no time at all. The beach too is a really nice stretch of sand, with great views back up toward Bang Bao bay and as you leave, there is a small waterfall a few hundred metres into the forest.
So if you are not sure what to do one afternoon, make the time and effort to explore this, the original Koh Chang cruise ship. It’s a folly of truly gargantuan proportions which will leave you more than a little bamboozled and most certainly awe-struck.
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