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KOH CHANG, THAILAND
The beautiful island of Koh Chang, is Thailand’s second largest island. It is about 30 kilometers long and 14 kilometers wide. You will find elongated beaches lined with palm trees and clear sea. The interior is hilly and lushly green; the island’s highest peak is over 700 meters! Of course, keeping something as grand and beautiful as Koh Chang a secret doesn’t work for long. But there are still spots to be found where you can completely unwind.
Things to do Koh Chang
The best sight of Koh Chang is actually the island itself. Koh Chang is an island that you have to discover for yourself. The biggest tip we want to give you is, rent a scooter or car and be amazed by the beautiful waterfalls, paradise-like beaches and beautiful nature!
Snorkeling and diving
Koh Chang belongs to the Koh Chang Marine National Park and consists of as many as 52 inhabited and uninhabited islands. Koh Chang, Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Wai are the most famous islands of the national park. A snorkeling or diving trip should be high on your list of things to do when visiting Koh Chang. We spent a whole day out, uhm at sea with BB Divers and visited a shipwreck with a length of 100 meters that you can see even if you only snorkel, super cool!
Koh Chang waterfalls
Koh Chang has several beautiful waterfalls; the Khlong Phlu waterfall is the most famous, but there are other beautiful waterfalls to discover on Koh Chang, such as the smaller Kai Bae waterfall and Si Tho waterfall, for example. These are all small earthly paradises, perfect for a refreshing dip. Most waterfalls are most beautiful during the rainy season from June to October, but Khlong Phlu waterfall is known to have enough water year-round for a refreshing swim. We enjoyed swimming here in the crystal clear water in December!
Ko Ngam island
Have you ever seen such a dazzling little tropical island in a travel brochure? That just might be Koh Ngam! The islet of Koh Ngam consists of a narrow strip of white sand with palm trees and green hills on either side. The island has a sort of H shape, which allows you to dive into the unreal blue sea from the beach on two sides. Except for a few rangers, the island is uninhabited. So back to paradise!
Bang Bao Pier
The Bang Bao Pier is dotted with souvenir shops, tour agencies, restaurants, where you can book cool snorkeling and diving trips. On the pier are several seafood restaurants overlooking the beautiful west coast. It is also possible to stay overnight in basic rooms on the pier. More towards the end of the pier the atmosphere becomes more authentic, here the fishing boats are moored and you meet fisherman men who proudly show you the catch of the day. Of course, a photo of the lighthouse at the very end of the pier is not to be missed for the famous Instagram shot.
Explore the west coast by scooter
The west coast of Koh Chang consists of winding, steep hairpin bends and beautiful views. Driving around here is magical! For us, this was the most beautiful part of Koh Chang. Along the way you stop at small waterfalls, temples and local restaurants. When you visit this part of the island, you are far away from the touristy part of Koh Chang. Most people (namely) stick to the popular beaches like Lonely Beach and White Sand Beach. Understandable, but trust us, it’s worth getting off your lazy beach chair! Assume a full day of driving around to discover the highlights of the west coast.
The abandoned ghost ship resort
A luxury resort in the shape of a ship the size of the Titanic. Many people probably saw themselves standing on the foredeck with the famous words; “I’m the king of the world!”, but like in the movie, that is history. What exactly happened nobody knows, but the resort now lies totally abandoned and dilapidated and nature is increasingly taking over. The whole area has a somewhat strange mysterious atmosphere, the abandoned boat resort is therefore recommended for people who like a little excitement and adventure.
Kai Bea Viewpoint
From Kai Bae Viewpoint you have a beautiful view of the offshore islands Koh Man Nai, Koh Yuak, Koh Pli and Koh Man Nok. In addition, it is a super nice place to watch the sunset. At the viewpoint is a platform with a small restaurant for a snack or drink. However, the area is also home to a family of monkeys who are happy to have a snack with you. From time to time they come out to claim their share. Fortunately, there are park rangers who will come to your aid if the monkeys claim too much! The viewpoint is free and you can get there easily without climbing steep hills or stairs.
Salakphet Mangrove Walkway (Red Bridge)
Across the vast mangrove forest on Koh Chang runs a raised wooden path half a kilometer long. The Salakphet Mangrove Walkway is also nicknamed The Red Bridge because the entire path is painted red. The red bridge gives you a special glimpse into the mangrove forest, because normally this area is impenetrable. In some places you have a wide view of the entire mangrove area, very beautiful! The walkway ends at a beautiful serene spot overlooking the sea, so it’s worth walking the whole path!
Beaches Koh Chang
Koh Chang’s most visited beaches are on the west coast, where you’ll find plenty of stores, massage parlors and street stalls. Less crowded but certainly no less beautiful are the beaches on the south coast. For those looking for peace and quiet, there are still a few pristine beaches on the southern tip of Koh Chang with few or no amenities.
On Koh Chang you will not be short of anything. From Kebab to phad thai and everything in between, Koh Chang has it! Especially near the popular beaches, the choice is ample. So one day you eat a luxury dinner and the next day a sate at a small local restaurant.
Hotels & accommodation Koh Chang
As Koh Chang has become increasingly popular, more and more luxury hotels and resorts have been added. As a result, if you want, you can swap your ramshackle bungalow on the beach for a luxurious five-star resort, complete with spa and pool. A disaster for some and the ultimate vacation for others. We like the variety of staying in a simple bungalow and sometimes in a resort with all the frills.:
Riding a motor scooter on Koh Chang
For the ultimate freedom, rent a scooter and explore the island independently. You can find a scooter rental company in every town. The roads are generally narrow but good. On Koh Chang, there are some challenging sections though, think steep hills and sharp turns. Also keep in mind that the roads can get slippery when it rains. Scooter experience and an appropriate dose of caution are not unnecessary here. Before hitting the road, check if the brakes are working properly and if the scooter is powerful enough for the steep hills.
Taxi / songthaew
A common form of transportation on Koh Chang is the Songthaew, a small open pickup van that you share with other passengers. The vans run fixed routes around the island, and you can stop them along the road. Prices from beach to beach are often displayed on signs. Bargaining / haggling is of little use.
How to get to Koh Chang?
Koh Chang is located 300 kilometers from the capital Bangkok in Trat province, not far from the mainland with Cambodia. Because of its quick accessibility by plane from Bangkok, Koh Chang is also a good destination if you don’t have much travel time or don’t want to descend south. You fly from Bangkok to Trat airport in an hour, from there you take a cab or songthaew to Aow Thammachat Pier. Then it’s another half-hour boat ride before your feet hit the soft sand of Koh Chang. From Bangkok there is also an express bus to Koh Chang. From Pattaya or Jomtien, Koh Chang is also easily accessible.
For the most up-to-date bus and flight times including prices, check 12GoAsia and/or enter your departure date and city in the table below. Have a great trip!