Thailand, Chon Buri to Rayong

Having flown back to Bangkok and taken a couple of days off, I arranged a drop off in Tourist Van at Chon Buri to start my next paddle

I was dropped off late afternoon Bang Saen, it was still very busy with small cities of deck chairs and umbrellas at the head of the beach. The tide was out and has deposited huge amounts of rubbish at the top of the beach. It was really quite depressing and I was close to turning round and heading back to Bangkok

It was too late to build the kayak and push off, I decided to sleep over and await the next high tide.

The following morning saw the arrival of the clean up team, half a dozen labourers working with tractors to load a huge trailer, really hard to understand.

I was happy to leave as early as possible, my plan was to paddle past Pattaya during the evening / night time which is the safest time considering the number of fast speed boats, and jet skis. It was going to be a bit of a slog.

The first stage was from Bang Saen to Si Ratcha, A little over 20K and then sitting out the hot day on a small beach.

Once again the rubbish was awful, I’d started photographing the beach to highlight the amount of damaging plastics evident, but just got so depressed with it all that I had to stop.
I really was surprised at how much waste was on the coast, in fact whenever close enough it was plain to see. I’d done just 22K. but already boats were tearing around, and time to stay off the water, I found another 7 / 11. along the road and restocked my food

As well as being a particularly long paddle I had already seen that Laem Chabang was a huge industrial area with New Cars parked up for shipping as well as the many large shipping containers, I was also wary of trying to navigate under the many long piers, I could not see underneath and with even a small amount of swell could prove quite disastrous in a PVC boat

Finally clear of the heavy shipping I was able to relax and enjoy the cool night air, another 38k was to see me arrive at the rural suburbs of Pattaya district

After some much needed sleep I tucked my boat out of sight in some grasses at the head of the beach and took a short walk into the village to resupply. the choice was simple, fresh fish or dried fish, the nearest 7 11. was a taxi ride away and I was not really keen to leave the boat for that amount of time, so it was a packet of dried fish. Unfortunately, the smell was such that I just could not bring myself to eat it. I did manage to get some apples though, ( incredibly expensive) but would do for my lunch

My original intention was to explore the islands to the South of the Rayong headland, but closer viewing of the charts revealed a large Thai Naval base and Exercise area. The small print on the chart indicated that the Thai authorities would announce any training of note, I decided to check with some locals, and learnt that there was very little activity to the North of Rayong and that the locals used the area very much for fishing

My next destination was a small island about 10 K from the mainland, I set off on my bearing and after an hour or so I could discern a nice looking beach which left me feeling optimistic for a good landing spot and hopefully somewhere suitable for a bivi

As I got closer to the beach I could see a good number of animals on it, at first I thought dogs, but then I saw they were monkeys

There were loads, with a few actually in the water, I had never thought of Monkeys being swimmers, as I approached rather cautiously, their interest in me became apparent

They started to swim towards me, so I split one of my lunch apples and tossed it to the nearest, he stuffed it straight into his mouth and very nimbly climbed up on the deck of my kayak

He sat there quite happy eying up the rest of my lunch

A quick ‘hip flick ‘ of the boat put him back in the water when another came for some fruit

This one stayed on the deck even after paddling 50 or 60 meters ofshore, was not at all bothered.

A few more of these monkeys visited me on the boat, posing for photos in return for some apple

I landed away from the group of monkeys, 60 or so meters along the beach, but was soon joined by a youngster who clambered up the deck and tried to steal my water bottle, I had secured under some much upgraded elastics and he missed out

I subsequently found a Monkey free zone at the opposite end of the Island to land and then bivi.

That evening was to be my last on this side of the coast. I was very disappointed with the amount of trash and here large parts of the coast with what appeared to be oil. I decided to head back up to the mainland the following day and make arrangements to get back to Bangkok.

The interaction with the monkeys really salvaged the trip for me and was quite a lift after the continuing problems of pollution.

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