About Koh Chang, Thailand
Koh Chang is Thailand’s second biggest island, and is the biggest in Eastern Thailand. The island is not heavily populated, however tourism has increased over the last ten years. Koh Chang is still being developed & is quieter than the popular tourist spots like Phuket, as well as Koh Samui.
Prior to World War II, Ko Chang was little known to Westerners & lightly-populated. The few families there made a living by growing coconuts, as well as fruit on the mainland. From the 1970’s the first backpacking foreigners arrived. In 1982, Ko Chang, along with surrounding areas, became part of Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park.
‘Koh Chang’, means ‘Elephant Island’, named for the elephant shape of its headland, although elephants are not indigenous to the island.
Ko Chang has the same seasons as Bangkok. The best season to go, is the (comparatively) cool season between November and February. March to May are roasting hot; Between June and October it rains (a lot!)
HOW WE GET YOU THERE:
There is no airport on Koh Chang, the nearest airport is in Trat city, on the mainland. A road transfer is necessary from Trat, either to one of the two ferry piers or direct to your accomodation on Koh Chang.
In the daytime, you can catch a songthaew (adapted passenger taxi), on its route around the main road, for 50 or 150 baht/person, depending how far you go. The rates are generally much higher than in other places, but the vehicles are almost new and in excellent condition. Starting from 5.00pm, many of them start to ask “taxi” price, telling you that they operate as a public transport only until that time; Then they may quote prices as high as say 500 baht, from Lonely Beach to the Dan Kao pier (bargain if you choose to hire, do not support silly prices!). These taxis are also waiting at the Dan Kao Pier (50 baht/person to White Sand beach, 100 baht to Lonely Beach).
Small motorcycles can be rented for 150-300 baht per day. You can also hire cars / 4×4’s.
WHAT TO SEE:
- Klong Plu – the most popular waterfall, and the only one on the west side of the island;
- Klong Nonsi – waterfall on the east side of the island;
- Klong Nueng – said to be the most breathtaking waterfall;
- Khiri Petch – medium sized waterfall, about 3 kilometres from Salak Petch village;
- Kongoi – 5 waterfalls near Bang Bao;
- The Thanmayom – near Thanmayom pier;
- The Mu Ko Chang National Park – National Marine Park comprising parts of Ko Chang and 46 other islands;
- War memorial monument – in the very south of the island;
WHAT TO DO:
Scuba diving and fishing are the most popular activities, because there are many beautiful corals, as well as many kinds of fish for fishing. Go Jungle trekking in the North or South!
Plenty of Island Sightseeing is to be had. Or why not learn to cook Thai food? There are boat charters; opportunities for snorkelling charters; as well as opportunities to learn how to do a Thai massage. The island has plenty of incredible sites, as well as awesome locations for street and sunset photography.
EATING & DRINKING:
There are many restaurants, on any given beach open both daytime and evening. There is a strong concentration of tourist-minded facilities, in (Hat Sai Khao) White Sand Beach.
Other Beaches offering dining, are Klong Prao Beach, (Hat Tha Nam) Lonely Beach, Bang Bao Pier, as well as Kai Bae Beach.
The beaches of Koh Chang are all dotted with restaurants, dishing up some delicious seafood, as well as offering romantic evening views. And don’t forget to try Ko Chang’s very own wine, which comes in a variety of fruity flavours including: mangosteen, pineapple, as well as grape.