Beaches

Beachcombing

I recently read a post about beachcombing by Global Housesitter X2 and it reminded me how much I love it. When I went travelling in 2008, wherever I went I would take time to stroll up and down the beach in search of things that had been washed ashore. Beautiful shells, interesting pieces of driftwood or coral, anything that would catch my eye. The only thing was I had to be careful how many things I collected as it was so easy to get carried away and have at least 1kg or more added to my already full case. Even before this, many years ago, I would beachcomb when I was on holiday and I collected hundreds of shells and small stones, all from different countries, all different colours and shapes, which were taken home and placed in a large glass jar.

Things to find on a beach
The beginnings of my new collection

I remember once, my girlfriends and I took a trip to Puerto Banus in Spain and we had spent the day on the beach where I went in search of more treasure, so I could add to my collection at home. I found this pebble, it was big, I’d say about 7-10 inches across, but it was so beautiful, smooth and black, I couldn’t resist it, so in my bag it went. At the end of the holiday we got ready to fly back to the UK and I put the pebble in my hand luggage, not really thinking about it. When my bags were scanned to board the plane, the woman at security asked me to unpack my bag and I remembered my lovely pebble was in there. She wanted me to hand it over. I looked at her, as if to say, “please can I keep it?” but, not saying anything, she gave me a look that said “really?!” Not wanting to be the person that got arrested for having a large, potentially deadly weapon (pebble) in my bag, I, sheepishly, parted with it.

So that particular find never made it home and, when I moved to Thailand, the glass jar, by this time brimming with my beach finds, was handed over to my parents who kept it in their conservatory. I thought it was still there until a few weeks ago when I casually asked my mum if they still had it. “Oh no,” she said, “we had to throw them away because the shells had started to smell.”  I couldn’t expect my parents to continuously wash the contents of the jar for me.

Things to find on a beach
The beginnings of my new collection

I know there are more important things in life, but, I have to say, I was a little disappointed. But, not to worry I have the beginnings of a new collection right here in Thailand. And, back home, even my mum and dad have indulged in my treasure finding hobby for themselves, but their little stash never leaves the garden.

Things to find on a beach
My mum and dad’s beach treasure

Best Beaches on Koh Chang

I visited Koh Chang earlier this year and I have to say it’s my favourite island in Thailand to date. The island is big and covers just over 420 sq km, and around 70% of it is unspoiled rainforest, steep hills and cliffs, waterfalls and long sandy beaches. I went to stay with my friend Mark and he was my tour guide for the few days I was there. We drove all over the island and spent time on a few of Koh Chang’s best beaches.

Klong Prao Beach
On the west coast, Klong Prao Beach is a long sweeping stretch of soft, golden sand lined with tall trees and gorgeous mountain views surrounding the bay. It wasn’t that busy when I visited, but it’s long enough to be able to find a private spot all to yourself. The water is warm, calm and shallow, so it’s perfect for swimming, and the blue colour is irresistible in the heat of the day. It’s a fabulous place to spend the day before you grab a beer and watch the stunning sunset disappear below the horizon; we did just that, and more than once!

Koh Chang Beaches/Klong Prao
Klong Prao Beach, Koh Chang

Kai Bae Beach
The next beach to the south on the west coast is Kai Bae, another long sandy beach, but smaller than Klong Prao and even less crowded. We parked the bike at one end and walked through a forested area, with charming wooden huts, before hitting the beach. The tide was out, so it was a few extra steps into the warm, blue water. But that didn’t matter we were there to relax under the swaying palms. In the distance, we spotted elephants wallowing in the water, so we went to investigate and sure enough, there were a few adorable little baby elephants splashing around in the water, but they were being burdened with humans on their backs. After one of the babies said hello with its trunk and wandered off into the waves with its load, I could only feel sorry for the poor things.

Koh Chang Beaches/Kai Bae
Kai Bae Beach, Koh Chang

Long Beach
On the locally named “dark side” of Koh Chang, because it is less developed than the west coast, is Long Beach. Right at the bottom of the southeastern tip of the island the beach doesn’t really live up to it’s name. It’s not very long at all, in fact, this beach should be called Lonely Beach because there are no crowds here. The road there turns from tarmac to dirt and there are some very steep hills and hairpin bends to contend with, and, once there, there is just one beach bar serving food and drinks. Apart from that, all you’ve got is a beautiful tree-lined sandy beach, calm blue water lapping its shores and a secluded bay with views of the mountains around. Totally unspoiled and wild, it’s worth the effort of getting there.

Koh Chang Beaches, Long Beach
Long Beach, Koh Chang

Chang Noi Beach
We didn’t go to Chang Noi Beach for the beach, we went to have a few drinks at Shambala Beach Resort, but that didn’t stop us admiring the views of Koh Chang’s widest beach with not a soul on it. The sandy expanse is protected from winds by a large horseshoe-shaped bay, tree-covered mountains and slopes on either side, and the water is calm and mesmerising. It’s a fabulous spot for sunset gazing and the beer is refreshing as well!

Koh Chang Beaches, Chang Noi
Chang Noi Beach, Koh Chang

Bang Bao Beach
On the southwest coast is Bang Bao Bay; two beaches with the same name and we visited both. One crowded, with people swimming in the warm water, relaxing on the sand with drinks in hand or asleep under the creaking palms. The other, a deserted strip of white sand that sits at the far end of a disused resort in the shadow of a 7-deck cruise liner called The Galaxy. We sat and gazed out to sea for a while contemplating the fate of this abandoned ghost liner.

Koh Chang Beaches, Bang Bao
Bang Bao Beach, Koh Chang

Lonely Beach
On the west coast, a little further than Kai Bae, is Lonely Beach, a golden sandy beach with a young crowd. This is Koh Chang’s equivalent to Ibiza’s sunset strip, just a little sleepier. Gorgeous guys and gals enjoying themselves on the beach, sunning themselves or drinking cocktails as they listen to funky tunes coming from the beach bars. This place is so cool, international DJs, like, my all time favourite, Danny Rampling, come here to play their sets every year. When we sat down to enjoy the atmosphere we were most put out when a young guy, who was handing out party flyers, bypassed us and didn’t give us one. He obviously thought we wouldn’t be interested in partying the night away, but, as my friend pointed out, we’ve done our fair share of partying in the past and could probably party that young whippersnapper into the ground! 😉 Ah, the joys of getting older! 😉

Koh Chang Beaches, Lonely Beach
Lonely Beach, Koh Chang

Have you been to Koh Chang before? What’s your favourite beach on the island? 🙂

For more photos of Thailand’s beaches click here