Wai Chek Beach down near Salak Phet in the south east of the island is one of the last remaining undeveloped spots on the island.
Though few people are likely to visit it or even know of it, many have most probably clocked it when going out on a snorkeling or diving trip as the wild and empty beach is clearly visible a couple of bays along from Bang Bao as you head out to sea.
The Unfinished Road
There is a road which quite a few erroneous maps suggest goes right past Wai Chek Beach but this is actually the unfinished back link from Bang Bao to Salak Phet. It was a project that was abandoned some 20+ years ago when the money ran out and it became clear that they could not get past get past the mountain which sits in the middle.
No, to reach Wai Chek beach by road, you need to to go all the way around the other side of the island to Salak Phet via the east coast road, a good 30km from White Sand Beach.
Directions to Wai Chek Beach
Directions wise and everyone gets confused and lost, keep going straight the whole way (25 km) along the east coast road. Ignore the turning to Salak Khok, Chek Bae and Long Beach. After a few more minutes, you will arrive at two large shops on either side of the road, one with a sign for Chang Noi Kitchen.
Take the road to the right and follow it for about 10 minutes until you spot a round white hut with green windows. To its side, you’ll spot one of those striped red barriers which can be raised to let through vehicles. You are now at the start of the other end of the abandoned road.
This climbs and curves through the forest with some very tricky, dangerous eroded sections along the way until after about 7km, you’ll likely surmise you can go no further at the bridge which, you guessed it, has totally collapsed.
This is not the other side of the collapsed one at Bang Bao, incidentally, there’s a good few kilometres in between.
About 200 metres before the bridge, you need to take the dusty track leading off to the left. This will soon bring you to a dry riverbed, forget the first possible crossing and continue on, you could take the second one but best to stay on and take the third. A little further through the tall grasses and you have arrived at Wai Chek Beach.
At the southern end, there’s a freshwater lagoon and usually a couple of tents, intrepid backpackers and Thai hippies returning to nature, guitars and campfires, that sort of thing, though the ever present smart-looking SUV gives the game away a bit.
At the northern end, up on the hill, Ting Tong Bar, yes that Ting Tong Bar from Lonely Beach have set up a few bungalows, Wai Shak Bungalows. Basic thatch numbers and no electricity, together with the small accompanying restaurant and chill-out area, they may well be a harbinger of what is to come should the road ever be restarted – Lonely Beach MKII would be our guess.
The island offshore, by the way, is the uninhabited Koh Klum. As you leave, you’ll notice other tracks and these are fun to follow, some heading towards the lagoon, others, newly cleared, wending their way back to the road, but unfortunately none lead towards any as yet undiscovered hidden nirvanas.
Wai Chek Beach is a lovely place to drop in on, have a swim and escape the crowds, chances are it will be just you and a couple of others and long may it continue that way, wild and undeveloped.