During my island hopping adventures in Thailand my first destination was the Elephant Island of Koh Chang in Trat archipelago. I stayed the first 5 nights in the small village of Klong Prao that lies on one of the few flat areas of land on the west coast of Koh Chang.
In Klong Prao the beach is split into three sections by lagoons and inland waterways, the klongs. This means a river estuary in the north and a channel in the south. Looking inland from the beach the scenery is absolutely stunning with green mountains rising high in the background. At low tide it was possible to wade through the narrow river estuary and continue walking on the white sandy beach for kilometres after kilometres. Klong Prao Beach is a beautiful and quiet long stretch of fine sand that continues for several kilometres. Even though some hotels and resorts are located right on the beach there is still plenty of undeveloped stretches of jungle that allow the beach to retain a spacious and natural atmosphere.The waters at Klong Prao beach are calm and fairly shallow, at some parts of the beach sand completely disappears at high tide whereas at low tide vast areas of sand are again revealed making the beach look fabulously wide but a bit tricky for swimming since there is not that much water.In Klong Prao I stayed at hotel The Gallery @Koh Chang located along the main road, a 7 minute walk from the beach. The hotel had a nice swimming pool area but I used it only once as hotel guests had the chance to use the swimming pool and beach chairs at the Emerald Cove, one of the best hotels in Klong Prao. They had the longest swimming pool ever (50m) and a beautiful garden right on the beach, so I ended up spending most of my days here, just chilling out on the sun lounger, walking along the beach and enjoying easy life in the sun.Every night at around 6 pm I came down to the beach to watch the sun set and oh boy we did see pretty amazing sunsets!At dusk beach side restaurants would spread tables and chairs on the sand with plenty of beautiful lights making it a very atmospheric and romantic setting for dinner.Klong Prao village is a quiet little village that extends quite a way inland and here the main road deviates further from the sea than in other villages. The village stretches for a couple of kilometres along the main road dotted with small supermarkets and restaurants. In the evening it was very quiet in the village and it seemed that at least half of the restaurants were closed for the season or possibly had closed down business completely. However, I found a couple of good and very inexpensive restaurants with delicious Thai food from just 40–50 baht.There were also some interesting places to see in the village. Klong Prao Temple with green grounds in the centre of the village was stunning from the outside with golden gates and lions, but from the inside it was actually fairly modest and small.Just down the road from the temple there was a regular little local market with food and fruit stalls, clothes and household ware.Several elephant camps are based in Klong Prao. Just seeing the elephants all chained up and being on display just for tourists to take photos and do expensive trekking on them made me feel very sorry for the animals as I had read lots stories how the elephants are tortured on the camps. So there was no chance I would have gone elephant trekking. And I hope no one else will either.
I also visited the Klong Plu waterfall 3 km inland from Klong Prao village. Entrance fee to the national park was 200 baht and the 2 km hike up the small hills to the waterfall in the scorching heat was very sweaty and seemed to last forever. As it was the end of the dry season there was just a tiny bit of water coming down the waterfall, but enough water to form a small natural pool where some people took a dip to cool down. During the rainy season the waterfall supposedly looks totally different and a lot more attracting.
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