In the good old days Bang Bao village in the southwestern corner of Koh Chang used to be a traditional little Thai fishing village where life concentrated around a long and narrow pier with traditional wooden stilt houses and fishing boats moored up ready for sea.In the recent years most of the original Bang Bao village has changed due to the growing number of tourists to Koh Chang, and sad but true, by now tourism has replaced fishing as the main source of income.Today the 350 metres long pier resembles an indoor market with plentiful souvenir shops, ticket booths, minimarts and restaurants. The pier is also home to several dive shops, a police station and a health care centre.Walkways and sub-piers branch off the main pier leading to hotels, guesthouses and restaurants. I did not have any prior expectations of the village, however I was expecting something a bit more authentic instead of a very commercial and touristy place.It was very exciting to explore the shaky little walkways off the main pier and to see how the bottom of the sea was exposed under the wooden stilt houses at low tide.Bang Bao pier is also Koh Chang’s main point of departure for a countless number of day trips to the archipelago. The pier is very narrow and not more than two people can walk side by side so this means that it gets overcrowded on the pier especially in the morning when tourist boats head out to the sea and also in the afternoon when thousands of day trippers return.I went on a day trip to the small paradise island of Koh Wai. From Bang Bao you can also catch a ferry to Koh Mak and Koh Kood.At the far end of the pier by the white light house I found some peace and quiet away from the tourist crowds. View from here across Bang Bao Bay and the sea was absolutely stunning. This is also the place where you might see a few fishing boats arrive and unload their catch.A couple of kilometers east of Bang Bao village I found a very nice and long beach, Klong Kloi Beach, with white sand and great views over the small islands and Bang Bao Bay. After exploring busy Bang Bao village Klong Kloi Beach was a nice and quiet place to chill out for the rest of the afternoon before returning back to my hotel in Bailan Bay.
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