Our Wai Chaek expedition turned out to be something special.
Date: Unknown, May 2014
Deadline: 4 hours later (hotel check out)
Starting point: Khlong Kloi Beach, southern Koh Chang
Armour: Kayak, camera, ½L of water
Weather: Clear blue sky, calm water
Mission: Hunt down Koh Chang’s Wai Chaek beach
The evening before, we had spotted a long yellow strip on our Koh Chang map on the very south of the island. On the map it said “Wai Check Beach”. According to the map, no roads let to the beach, but since we were already on Khlong Koi Beach just a “map inch” away, we decided to check it out the following morning.
Our idea was to rent a kayak, visit the beach in the morning, and get back in time for check-out at our resort at noon. We paddled along rocky shores of the island with the sun beating down on us with increased intensity. After about half an hour of intense paddling we arrived at a small bay. The beach was covered with rocks and pebbles, so we decided to continue on for another 15 minutes. We arrived at another bay where we stopped to cool down in the sea and try to figure out if this was Wai Chaek Beach.
We hoped it wasn’t, because this bay was also filled with rocks and pebbles, and didn’t look like the long sandy beach portrayed on the map. We decided to continue for a bit. Because of the curves of the island and the cliffs sticking out of the water, we could only see as far as the next little cape along the island. Every time we passed a new cape, we were disappointed to see that there was no beach to be found. The sun felt a little more merciless, and we began to doubt that we would get to the beach in time – if it even existed.
Patience and perseverance are central to hunting expeditions, so we continued. After curving around yet another island cape without a beach on target, we decided to paddle to the next rock and turn around from there, if Koh Chang bid us yet another stretch of rocky island coast with no beach. Just as our turning point approached, the spectacular view of a long, sandy, palm-fringed beach appeared. Wai Chaek Beach! What an absolutely wonderful view. The beach lay outstretched before our eyes with nobody in sight to take away the feeling of arriving at an absolutely deserted Robinson Crusoe beach.
We lost time on the beach, in the sea, and while investigating the beach from all possible corners and angles.
Deadline not met.
- Wai Chaek?
The beach is somtimes spelled Wai Shak, Wai Chek or Wai Check. Surely, there are more transliterations out there. In Thai, luckily, Wai Chaek Beach has always been spelled หาดหวายแฉก.
- Is there no other way to get there?
Yes, a few days later we found our way on a small bumpy path guided by our GPS. Without this aid, we would never have found it. As the main road on Koh Chang is a reverse U-shape, you have to go all the way to the northern tip of Koh Chang and then down along the eastern side. We zig-zagged along bumpy dirt roads and barely visible paths to get there, but apparently, there is a bigger road leading to Haad Wai Chaek. Ask the guys at Ting Tong Bar on Lonely Beach, Koh Chang.
- Is there accommodation at Wai Chaek?
Yes and no. First, define accommodation (yes, it’s that “rustic”). Travel Fish recently (2015) reported that the bungalows are now closed, and that it was unclear whether this was a temporary situation. We checked this information by contacting the owners of Ting Tong Bar who also run the bungalows at Wai Chaek. They informed us that we could just let them know when we desired to visit and they would open. So, if you plan to spend some nights at this beautiful place, be sure to contact them first either directly at the Ting Tong Bar on Lonely Beach, Koh Chang or through their facebook page.You will find some simple bungalows on a hill at the western end of Wai Chaek Beach. They were in the middle of adding a few more bungalows when we came. The old bungalows actually hardly qualify as such. They are more like shaky shelters with no facilities whatsoever. The newly build ones are equally simple but bigger and better built. You get a mattress and a mosquito net. Toilet and shower room (the cold water scoop style shower) are shared. They serve meals there, and they managed to cook really delicious food for us. There is a nice chill-out area with wooden chairs a few hammocks and a superb sea view. Electricity, not much. If you need to charge any electronic device there is a plug at the bar cum restaurant cum reception. Air-con, fan, tv, hair-dryer – forget about it. Lighting at night? – nope, but you get a kerosene lamp. Amazingly, however, they do manage to keep cold drinks in the bar.
- More information on Wai Chaek?
A fantastic resource on Koh Chang, explorekohchang.com has an interesting story on finding the beautiful “Haad Wai Chek”.
Here are a few images of the Wai Shak Bungalows. This should get you an idea of whether spending the night here is for you:
In short, if you plan to stay at Wai Chaek Beach, you have to love the simple, back to nature kind of experience. The beach is stunning, the sand is smooth, the sea is clear, and you are likely to have a 400 meter beach to yourself. If Robinson Crusoe beach charm is your thing – Wai Chaek Beach will send warm sun rays of bliss through your entire being. That’s what it did to us.