Here you will find the best things to do in Ko Chang, where to stay in Koh chang, how to get around & everything you should need to know before visiting the island!
The island, shaped like an elephant and hence its name (Chang = elephant), is the second-largest island in Thailand, one of 52 Trat Islands.
It covers 429 square kilometers, is located not far from the border with Cambodia, and is 310 kilometers southeast of Bangkok.
The island is beautiful, the seawater temperature is warm and clear, and painted in green emerald colors.
The beaches are whitish, and inside the island lies a mountainous, rocky, and forested national park, which covers about 70% of the island's area.
The highest mountain on the island, Khao Salak Phet, rises to a height of 744 meters.
Most of the beaches are in the west of the island, each with its character and adaptation to a different type of visitors, and each of them offer accommodation, entertainment, activities, and shopping options.
Ko Chang is suitable for families, honeymoon couples, and backpackers will find what they are looking for.
The beaches have undergone extensive development in recent years, mainly in the center and northwest coast, but it still has more basic bungalows than luxury hotels.
However, Koh Chang Island has not yet reached the order of magnitude of places like Phuket and Koh Samui, and it still offers pristine views and plenty of magical, quiet, and uncrowded beaches to relax on.
Koh Chang Island has no airport, so it can only be reached by ferry from the mainland (Trat Province) - and here are two piers that I will expand on later.
Trat District and the ferry to Koh Chang can be reached by all types of public transport - buses, vans, taxis and of course by private car.
The distance from Bangkok is about 300 km.
It's about 5-6 hours of continuous travel to the pier + about an hour (boarding the ferry and sailing) + travel within the island itself - so it is about 7 hours at least from the moment you leave Bangkok until you reach your hotel in Ko Chang.
Trat Province has an airport that can be reached by flight from Bangkok and from there, a shuttle to the pier and a ferry to the island, but since the flight with all that accompanies it does not save much time - most visitors to Koh Chang reach the piers by car (public or private).
Two piers and two companies operate ferry services for people and vehicles between the mainland and Ko Chang.
The two piers are about 10 km from each other.
1. Ao Thammachat Pier - The company that operates the ferries from this pier is called Ferry Koh Chang, and the pier at Koh Chang you will reach is called Sapparot Pier.
(From this pier - the sailing time to the island is the shortest (about 30 minutes). This pier is closer to the main road from Bangkok, so most shuttle buses, taxis, and private cars arrive at this pier.
On the line between Ao Thammachat on land and Sapparot Pier in Koh Chang, there are always 2 ferries - one in each direction, and the frequency of cruises is about every 45 minutes.
The ferries here are active all year round, from 06:30 until the last departure at 18:30.
The ferries are large and comfortable with a deck with an air-conditioned area and benches for passenger seating as well as toilets and a buffet.
2. Center Point Pier - the operating company is called Centerpoint Ferry. The pier in Koh Chang you will reach is called Center Point Pier (also Dan Kao Pier) and is about 3 km east of Sapparot Pier.
The sailing time from this pier is longer (About 45 minutes)
The frequency of the ferry is once an hour when from the mainland to the non-sailing every hour (08:00, 09:00 and so on) and from the island to the mainland, the sailing is every mid hour (08:30, 09: And so on).
The service starts at 06:00 and ends at 19:30
From the pier to the hotel - if you arrive by private car or shuttle bus to the island itself - after getting off the ferry, you will continue to the beach and the hotel you booked.
If you arrived by shuttle only to one of the piers on land - when you get off the ferry the same taxis/pickup (Songtaew) will be waiting for you, and you can travel with other passengers at a cost of a few tens of baht per person or rent a private shuttle at a cost of a few hundred baht.
The weather on the island behaves according to the three seasons in the rest of the country, but the amount of precipitation on the island is the highest in Thailand and can reach in the wettest months of June, July, and August an amount of about 1000 mm for one month!
During the rainy months, a significant part of the tourism business on the island is closed, and the island is completely deserted.
The best time to visit Koh Chang is from November to February.
It's the driest and least humid. On the other hand, the beaches will be the busiest.
Koh Chang is surrounded by a ring road (truncated in the south) that is 80 km long.
There are no tuk-tuks or taxis in Koh Chang.
To move from one place to another, you can join a Songtau (a kind of service taxi that travels on the main road that surrounds the island) for 20-50 baht.
But as mentioned, if you are planning many trips to the island, seeing different beaches and nature sites, the most recommended means of transportation to save money and time and gain maximum enjoyable experience is a motorcycle.
At 5:00 pm, the Songtau starts traveling like much more expensive private taxis, and then the price of the trip along the island can already reach 500 baht.
You can rent a car or motorcycle and get around the island very comfortably, but the roads on the island are problematic, with steep slopes.
Most of the motorcycle rental shops that can be found on the island are located on the most popular beaches among tourists and travelers: White Sand Beach, Lonely Beach, and Long Prao Beach.
Some hotels also offer motorbike rentals, but it's more expensive.
The price of renting a motorcycle per day is 100-150 baht + 60-100 baht on fuel for a full-day trip.
You can find fuel on almost every corner of the island.
It is best to refuel well in advance, in a more central location where you know it is easier to find gas stations.
Here is the place to mention that in Thailand, and generally in Southeast Asia, there is no control over motorcycle licenses.
Many backpackers travel in the area on motorcycles for the first time in their lives, without a license.
However, it is advisable to be very careful on the first rides (and in general) and ride if you feel confident on the motorcycle and skilled enough.
If this is your first time on a motorcycle, it is also advisable to start with an automatic motorcycle (simpler to operate) rather than a geared motorcycle.
Also, note that in Thailand, you drive on the left side of the road (don't worry, you get used to it pretty quickly).
Another critical thing is helmets -; You will see the locals driving without them, but it is highly recommended that you also demand a helmet and use it when renting.
Ko Chang has a wide range of accommodation options - from good and quality hotels to fairly mediocre resorts to simple and basic lodges.
Although it is a less touristy island compared to other islands, in recent years more accommodations have sprung up.
So whether you are looking for a cheap hostel, a pampering resort, or a luxury hotel, you will find accommodation for your satisfaction, and as you book your rooms in advance and enjoy attractive prices.
If you want to stay close to the beach, you should look for accommodation at Lonely Beach, White Sand Beach, or Klong Prao Beach.
Those beautiful beaches offer cheap accommodation such as hostels and bungalows, along with luxurious resorts with well-kept pools and excellent spa complexes.
The most popular and developed beaches in Koh Chang, White Sand Beach, Lonely Beach, Kai Bae Beach, and Klong Prao Beach, are all in the west of the island.
In the east and south of the island, you will find much quieter, secluded, and pristine beaches.
White Sands Beach - is located on the northwest side, about a quarter of an hour's drive from the ferry pier.
It is the most modern, crowded, and popular beach among visitors.
At night, the beach is bustling with barbecue restaurants, fish, and bars.
The main beach is lined with hotels, restaurants, shops, travel agencies, and tourist services.
It is hard to believe that only ten years ago, there were only a limited number of bungalows on the beach and only a dirt road.
This beach is suitable for those who like to be on the main beach and less for backpackers with a low budget.
Anyone still looking for some quiet will find it at the northern end.
Klong Prao Beach - which means "coconut canal" - is located south of White Sands Beach.
In recent years, it has become a center for the more prestigious resorts and spa centers.
It is the longest beach and stretches for 5 km with a variable quality beach.
It is divided into three areas by two rivers that cross it.
The feeling of congestion here is lower than on Kai Bae beach and probably less than on the white sands beach.
The beach is known for many cooking schools located at its southern end.
Kai Bae Beach - has become one of the better areas for those looking for good restaurants, nightlife, and tourist services, but is still less crowded and developed than White Sands Beach.
The 2.5-kilometer-long beach offers a variety of accommodation options on every budget, and its street is packed with restaurants, bars, and shops.
The village is divided in two by a bridge flanked on both sides by bars and seduction girls who will try to persuade you to enter. The beach is very much affected by the low tide, and the water that is about 50 meters deep leaves behind a not very appealing sight.
The coast overlooks several neighboring islands, and during low tide, you can walk to the nearby island of Man Nai from the southern end of the coast.
Lonely Beach - is the backpacker paradise, despite the surge in its popularity and the accelerated development that is causing more and more bamboo huts to be converted into luxurious bungalows.
During the day, there is a strong rural feeling, and when it gets dark, the image takes over so badly that some people call it "Hadrian of the East", after the party village from Copenhagen.
The coast is one kilometer long, and its shoreline is quite rocky.
The main street contains a variety of businesses and shops and climbs up and away from the beach as you travel south, so to get to the beach, you have to go down the hill.
The good part of the beach is in the north, but it is already more expensive.
South of there, the beach is rocky and not suitable for swimming.
The beach is still considered a relatively cheap beach for accommodation.
Klong Plu Waterfall is the most popular waterfall on the island and the only one accessed from the west side, from Klong Prao beach.
The park offices are about a 2 km drive from the beach and there are several restaurants, shops, and toilets.
From the parking lot, a light walking path in a 600-meter forest leads to the bottom of the waterfall, which is 20 meters high, which creates a refreshing pool and a great swim at the bottom.
There is a stunning view from the top of the waterfall.
Location: Located about 2 km east of Klong Prao beach.
Hours of operation: Daily from 08:00 to 16:30.
Rasta View: This is a cafe/restaurant located on a cliff on the southside of Koh Chang right next to Tranquility Bay Residence and next to an excellent but lesser-known beach of Koh Chang - Klong Kloi Beach.
The truth is that I came across the place quite by chance when it was on Klong Kloi beach and when we passed the road near the Rasta View, caught the eye of the simple but colorful structure of the place - we stopped to take a look and wonder at the place's jar and immediately fell in love with it.
As I mentioned, this restaurant has a great vibe and a spectacular view that I think is the most beautiful vantage point in Ko Chang. The place is quite simple and basic but creates a pleasant atmosphere.
The charming view makes the place, in my eyes, a unique place that should not be missed when visiting Ko Chang.
Bang Bao Pier is located in Bang Bao Bay - at the southernmost tip of Koh Chang Island. In the past, there was a fishing village, and most of the livelihood of the locals was fishing.
There was a pier (which still exists today).
On either side of the pier, you can see wooden structures on stilts that were used for residence.
Bang Bao Pier is considered one of the most famous attractions of Koh Chang, and almost no tourist misses the place.
As has happened in many places in Thailand, the tourism boom did not miss this place, and it changed its face and became very touristy and commercialized.
Some will like the change, and some will like it less - still it's worth a short visit to enjoy the open pier from which you can overlook the entire bay.
Koh Chang Island is the center of a marine reserve - Mu Koh Chang Marine Park - consisting of about 40 islands, some large and some tiny, some inhabited with resorts and some uninhabited.
The larger islands (such as Ko Kut and Koh Mak) - are great for resorts with various resorts while the small islands near Koh Chang (such as Ko Rang and Ko Wai) are especially suitable for day trips and snorkeling.
Those who want to see life under the sea up close without diving can choose to go on one of the many boating and snorkeling trips offered on the island.
Most trips will include a stop at 3-4 small islands where you can snorkel to their shores and enjoy the beautiful scenery and pristine beaches.
In Ko Chang, they went one step further and did something unusual - they built elevated walking trails in the heart of the mangrove forests to encourage eco-tourism.
The boardwalk allows visitors to experience the nature of the mangrove forests without significant damage to nature.
The length of the winding path in the mangrove forest is about 500 meters.
At some points along the way, there are signs with explanations of the types of vegetation in the place but in the Thai language only.
The views along the trail are breathtaking and at the end expectant
To your surprise - the trail ends right in the bay and on the sea in the form of a terrace from which there is a great view in all directions - just real nature that has not been harmed yet and it is a unique experience.
Ko Chang falls under many other threats in terms of its nightlife - you won’t find mass beach parties the size of Koh phangan, Ko Phi Phi, or even Koh tao.
After all, it is still an island that visitors come to mainly for rest, relaxation, and seeking tranquility.
And yet, even in Koh Chang, you will find some not bad spots at all for entertainment and parties on Koh Chang nights. Especially on the more touristy beaches of the island -; Lonely Beach and White Sand Beach -; Most of the celebrants drain there.
If you wander in the evening along the beach in Lonely Beach and further north, you will find some beach parties.
There is usually a dance floor located inside the bar/guesthouse but the dances and parties are also on the beach.
These parties are not crowded with people like on more touristy islands, but if you are looking for a large concentration of travelers celebrating on the island, this is one of the places where you can find it.
Kai Bae ViewPoint is the most famous lookout point in Ko Chang.
Located on the south side of Kai Bae Beach as the road makes its way to Lonely Beach.
Kai Bae ViewPoint is already a neat lookout point with convenient and paved parking, and many of the visitors to Koh Chang come here before sunset to be photographed against the backdrop of the setting sun and the small islands that are west of Koh Chang.
The most interesting dive sites in Ko Chang are on the west coast, and at its southern end, between Ko Chang and Koh Kut, here you can see coral reefs growing, sea roses, countless species of reef fish, and occasionally eels.
Hin Luk Bat and Hin Lap have coral reefs.
Further south, near Hin Phrai Nam, white-tailed sharks can also be seen.
Koh Mak is a 45-minute speedboat ride south of Koh Chang.
Koh Mak is not a big island and can be surrounded in about an hour and a half by bike.
Koh Mak has been mapped as one of the ten most beautiful islands in the world by the London Guardian magazine. Koh Mack offers a perfect solution for anyone looking for quiet.
On Koh Mak, there are three fishing villages where most of the local population lives, a clinic, an internet cafe, and one ATM.
Accommodation options are in guest houses, but there are a few resorts - all hotels are directly on the beach, and most are concentrated on the island's west side in the bay.
There are several diving schools and several nearby islands that can be reached with kayaks that you rent on the beach.
You can get to Koh Mak from Ko Chang and the ferry pier in Trat.
The only option to get between June and October is by fast boat - the cost of a boat trip to Koh Mak can also reach 500 baht each way.
Also, some hotels are closed between the end of June and the beginning / mid-October.
You can rent kayaks and sail to the islands nearby where you can snorkel and see the coral reserves.
Hike to the mountain where there is an observation point from which you can see a fantastic view of the whole island and the nearby islands.
Koh Chang Island must definitely be on your list of destinations for your next vacation in Thailand. The island has many advantages: proximity to Bangkok, convenient and short flight, and of course, nature in its beauty makes the island comfortable for everyone.
Ko Chang is suitable for families looking for a tummy tuck vacation at resorts on the sea, combined with attractions on the island.
Also, fit for couples looking for a vacation on the clear sea and white sands of this tropical island combined with exotic walks in the many waterfalls on the island.
Koh Chang is a fun island with a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere that has not yet experienced the tremendous commercialization boom of islands such as Phuket and Koh Samui.
Since it has no airport, it is not a destination for herds of tourists coming directly from China, India, and other places.
Those who are already fed up with commercialization on islands such as Phuket and Koh Phangan and prefer a calm and authentic atmosphere - but with a sufficient variety of entertainment, activities, attractions, nightlife, a variety of restaurants, and more - Ko Chang will be suitable for you.
I hope this blog about the best things to do in Koh Chang will help you plan your trip to Ko Chang, and I am sure you will enjoy Koh Chang - one of the coolest islands in Thailand!
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