Koh Chang (aprox. 5,500 inhabitants) is an island in the Gulf of Thailand. It lies near Cambodia, more than 300 km from Bangkok. This island is the second island of Thailand in size. The name of the island comes from the Thai Word Chang, which means elephant. The island has somewhat the shape of the head of an elephant. The highest point on the island, with a height of 2440ft, is Khao Salak Phet. Koh Chang is part of the Koh Chang Marine Park. This park consists of 47 Islands and has a total area of about 250 sq mi. In this park the sea is beautiful and a must see for divers. In particular the South-Eastern part of Koh Chang, where sunken warships lie waiting. Of course there are beautiful beaches on this island as Hat Sai Khao, known as White Sand Beach. In addition to the sea and beaches, the nature is very beautiful on Koh Chang. In the forest you can visit beautiful waterfalls and there are stunning viewpoints.
Sights and Tourist Attractions
Hat Sai Khao
Location: 5mi from city center - 15 minutes drive | Category: Nature
Hat Sai Khao beach is known as the "White sand beach" because of the beautiful white sand. The 1.5mi beach is the longest beach in Koh Chang. Especially around sunrise and sunset it is very beautiful here. On the road that runs parallel to the beach are several hotels and restaurants. Some restaurants / hotels offer the opportunity to dine on the beach during sunset.
Namtok Khlong Plu
Location: 3mi from city center - 10 minutes | Price: 200 THB | Category: Nature
Namtok Klong Plu is the most visited waterfall on Koh Chang. The waterfall is located in the Khlong Phrao Park and is easily accessible from the entrance on foot. The walk from the entrance to the waterfall takes about 15 minutes and is about 550yd. The waterfall is 100ft high and ends in a small lake.
Namtok Khlong Nueng
Location: 25mi from center - 1 hour drive | Category: Nature
The Namtok Klong Nueng waterfall in the southeast of Koh Chang is the largest on the island. Because it is difficult to access the waterfall, it is not really crowded with tourists. But once you reach Namtok Klong Nueng, you can take a refreshing dip in the lake. It is a beautiful waterfall in a beautiful setting and it is worth the trouble of getting there.
Bang Bao Fishing Village
Location: 7mi from city center - 15 minutes drive | Category: Culture, History and Nature
The Bang Bao Fishing Village is located at the south coast of Koh Chang. The houses lie in the water and are connected by bridges. It has become quite a tourist attraction with lots of souvenirshops and stands. Some of these houses have been converted into guesthouses and restaurants. From this location also lots of diving excursions depart.
Hat Tha Nam
Location: 6mi from city center - 10 minutes drive | Category: Nature, Sea and beach
The Hat Tha Nam beach has a length of 0.6 mi and is also known as the "Lonely Beach". For decades this indeed has been a lonesome beach, but it has gained quite the popularity. Nowadays it's anything but "lonely". This beach has many hotels, guesthouses and restaurants located near or close to Hat Tha Nam beach. The beach itself is still beautiful. In particular, the northern part provides a feeling of paradise because of the fine white sand and palm trees. Please keep in mind if you go swimming the currents can be treacherous and strong. Before you know you can be in a lot of trouble.
Hat Khlong Phrao
Location: 1mi from center - 5 minutes drive | Category: Nature, Sea and Beach
The long Hat Khlong Phrao beach has plenty of hotels, accommodation and facilities. This beach is particularly suitable for hiking and enjoying the sunset. In the north this beach ends in the rocky Laem Chaiyachet. The sea itself is, due to the strong currents, not really suitable for swimming.
Mu Koh Chang Marine Park
Location: Koh Chang and surroundings | Category: Nature, Culture and Sea and beach
Mu Koh Chang Marine Park consists of 47 islands and has a size of 250sq mi. Only 60sq mi is land and the rest is sea. On these islands you have beautiful beaches, nature and marine life. Obviously this park is perfect for diving and snorkeling. One of the most popular divesites is at the southern tip of Koh Chang. There are sunken warships that attract all sorts of marine life. The rest of the sea has more than enough divesites where you can find all sorts of marine life and coral reefs. Other islands that are part of this park include Koh Kood and Koh Mak.
What to do
As Koh Chang is part of the Marine Park Koh Chang, it's almost self-evident that a lot of dive sites can be found in this region. At almost all these locations you have to dive out of a boat. Some examples where you have a beautiful underwater world are; Koh Chang warships, Hin Luk Bat and Koh Wai. In these areas you can see sharks, rays, beautiful coral reefs and more.
Out of Koh Chang you can book several snorkeling excursions. During these excursions you will visit different islands with snorkeling sites. This is an ideal way to discover the sea and its marine life, when you're not a certified diver. During this tour you will see all kinds of tropical fish, corals and other marine life.
Due to the extensive nature on Koh Chang it is a good location to make brisk walks. Many trails in the parks on Koh Changare are clearly marked and lead to beautiful places such as the many waterfalls on the island. It is also possible to book tours with English speaking guides. They will also show you the places where the normal paths do not lead to. These walks are intended for the experienced hikers. Walking on the beaches at sunset is a must.
On many beaches of Koh Chang it is possible to rent kayaks. With these kayaks you can go to the open sea. From here you explore the sea in an active way and you can see the islands from a different point of view. Note that you can burn pretty fast this way, so sunscreen is no luxury.
Different types of fishing trips can be booked on Koh Chang. There is for example extreme fishing and night fishing. Here you have a chance to catch that huge and tropicals fish which you will never encounter back home. Some fishes you can catch are: mackerel, barracuda and stingrays.
Koh Chang is very touristic, especially at the beaches. So around these areas is the most entertainment such as karaoke bars, pubs and discos. If you go to this island with your family and you want a nice and quiet drink in the evening, you best can go to the vicinity of Khlong Phrao. Here the nightlife consists mainly of quiet pubs, where enough activities are organized for children.
On Koh Chang there are all kinds of restaurants. You can enjoy traditional Thai cuisine, and you can order pizza at the neighbours. There is something for everyone. What is highly recommended are barbecues on the beaches. During these barbecues freshly caught fish is prepared. On almost all the beaches you can enjoy delicious seafood with a beautiful sunset every evening.
How to get there
Out of two locations you can fly to Trat (Trat Airport), the closest city on the mainland. Bangkok has twice a day flights to Trat airport. Additionally from Koh Samui (Samui International Airport) a flight departs once a day to Trat. Note that the flight times could change at the last minute. Therefor make sure that you check the flight times one day in advance. From Trat airport you will still need about a half an hour drive to take the boat to Koh Chang.
Car - Boat
If you want to drive to Koh Chang, you have to drive from Bangkok to Laem Ngop. This is a journey of about 300km and will take about 6 hours. From Laem Ngop several ferries depart daily to Koh Chang. These boats often also go to Koh Kood. The boat trip takes about 45 minutes and arrives at the eastern part of Koh Chang. A singletrip with this boat costs about 80THB.
Out of Bangkok (including the airport) several buses depart daily from multiple companies to Koh Chang. he final destination of these buses is Laem Ngop. The bus ride takes about 5 hours and costs about 270THB. From Laem Ngop you still need to arrange a ride to the pier where boats leave for Koh Chang.
Where to stay
On Koh Chang you can find accommodations for all budgets. Most are located on the western part of the island. The cheaper lodges are the guesthouses. Prices vary here from about 250 to 800 THB per night. For the middle class hotels and resorts on this island, the prices will be around 1.500THB per night and up depending on the degree of luxury and comfort that is desired. If you are looking for luxury hotels, resort and spas, you can also go to Koh Chang. The prices of these luxury resorts start at about 4.000THB and can be up to 13.000THB, offcourse depending on the needs and demands.