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Cruise in style on Koh Chang’s Gondola
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Cruise in style on Koh Chang’s Gondola

 

Although Koh Chang is well known for its white beach and crystal clear water, the island also has another highlight that can bring you back to the century-old ambiance.

Located about 20km east of the ferry on Koh Chang, Ban Salak Khok is the old fishing village which is also famous for its eco-tour programs. The community offers a river cruise by using a vintage boat called Ruea Mard. It is also known as "Thai-style gondola."

The boat is a rowing boat like the gondola in Venice. But instead of having a flat hull, the Thai-style gondola has a round hull. It is a dugout boat made from Ton Takhian (Ironwood tree). The origin of the boat can be traced back to the Ayutthaya period when people dug out their own boats to commute along the river and canals.

With an attempt to bring back to good old days, the locals joined hands to set up Salak Khok Community Tourism Club. They offer gondola cruise along the river flanked with dense mangrove forest.

To facilitate tourists, the boat cruise has a paddler who also dons a traditional Thai custom dating back to the period of King Rama V, imitating the time when the king visit Koh Chang more than 100 years ago. The boat has a set of rectangular table with seats for up to four passengers and a big umbrella in the middle. During a one-hour boat ride, you will be able to relax while the boat slowly cruises along the green atmosphere of the community, passing fishing villages and mangrove forest to Salak Khok bay.

The club can also offer snacks or a dinner set for two. If you plan for a special occasion or for celebrating with your loved one, the gondola can be decorated with flowers for a romantic cruise, especially during the sunset.

 

How to get there: Ban Salak Khok is located at the southern edge of Salak Khok Bay, on Koh Chang Island, Trat. Call Salak Khok Community Tour Club at 087-748-9497.