Koh Chang – The Elephant Island. Its name is coming from the fact that the island looks like a swimming elephant. It is a second largest island in Thailand after Phuket. Koh Chang island is situated in Southeastern region of Thailand near the border to Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand It consist of the Koh Chang island, which is about 30 kms long and 14 kms wide and another 51 smaller islands arround the main island. Koh Chang is about 320 kms far from Bangkok and 8 kms from the province centre Trat, where is also situated the airport with daily flights from Bangkok. Ferry from Trat pier takes about 30 minutes. Koh Chang was given the natural protection status and since 31st of December 1982 it became the National park. Most part of island is covered with the original and undamaged trophical rainforest and its highest peak is Khao Jom Peasat, Salak Phet with height of 744 m. You can find 7 natural waterfalls here and many beautiful sandy beaches. The rainforest is full of wildlife and if you will explore Koh Chang island there will be many things to see.
It is deffinitely one of the last seaside places in Thailand, where the original natural environment has been preserved, and not only on the land of the island but also in the sealife. Koh Chang island has never been so much negatively affected by massive tourism as some other islands of Thailand (eg. Koh Samui, Koh Pangan, Phuket etc.). And right because of the National Park much has been preserved untill now. Eventhough there is tourism well developed already in Koh Chang, of course, island is still natural oasis of peace, with nature nearly untouched.
Because Koh Chang is the island, the prices of everything are a bit higher then in the mainland of Thailand. However, comparing the prices with other Thai holiday places such as Pattaya, Phuket, Samui etc., the prices are still much less in Koh Chang, which makes it very affordable place. Therefore Koh Chang, can be recommended as one of the best and cheapest holiday places in Thailand, without a doubt. You can spend your holidays here either passively relaxing on the beaches, or actively choosing many of adventures which Koh Chang island offers. Everybody will find their favourite cup of tea in island of Koh Chang for sure.
All life and events on Koh Chang are virtually on its west coast, where you can find these beaches and villages:
Khlong Son – Is the first inhabited village of the west coast. In Khlong Son lives most of the locals and it is also a fishing village. It has only a few resorts, most of which are empty. Surprisingly, on the coast of Khlong Son is probably the most beautiful beach in Koh Chang and is completely accessible from the residential area of Siam Royal View. There is also a new PTT gas station. Tourists would be probably not recommended to stay here, because it is not very interesting place, however worth it to make a visit.
Had Sai Khao or known also as White Sand Beach – This beach is considered to be the center of Koh Chang and you can find not only a beautiful white sand beach there (after which it was named), but many nice resorts and hotels, restaurants with excellent food, famous music club Sabay Bar, where you can relax on the night beach smoking water pipe and listen to great live band from the Philippines or watch the fire show, etc.
Khai Muk – Place with the rocky coast, with only few resorts. There is located a main post office of Koh Chang.
Laem Chaichet – Village with many bars and girls You can refuel your motorbike there at the main gas station of the west coast. You can make a good shopping at Coconut Plaza or VJ Market which is the largest supermarket on the island. You can spend the night in the cheapest (but very basic) Hotel on the island V.J. Island View or spend a holiday in the famous resort Coconut Resort.
Khlong Prao – Probably the longest and one of the most beautiful beaches on the island. There is a lagoon, which you can explore in a kayak or watch the fireflies at night there. Khlong Prao has some of the best restaurants serving seafood. And there are several expensive resorts on the island.
Gai Bae – Is known as place packed with shops, stalls and restaurants on both sides of the narrow road, with the tourists passing through there who are often difficult to pass with car or motorbike. From Gai Bae beach you can walk across to a nearby island at low tide and above Gai Bae Beach there is a view points with beautiful scenery view.
Lonely Beach – Originally sought mainly beach of “backpackers” and “natural people” with simple bungalows. Currently probably the craziest place on the island. There’s plenty of bars opened until early morning hours. It is a place, which is literally famous for marijuana and various parties. At night, it’s just pumping place and therefore it is popular beach for those, who arrived mainly to party on the island.
Bailan Had – very quiet and lazy village with small beach. There are only few restaurants and nearly no shops. Location of one of the most expensive resorts on island – Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway.
Bang Bao – last village of west coast of Koh Chang, which is mainly fisherman village. The Bang Bao depart daily not only fishing boats, but also boats, which take tourists for diving and snorkeling and boat connections to other islands around Koh Chang. The big attraction of Bang Bao is plenty of shops and restaurants, located on both sides of the concrete pier. There is a small and quiet beach naer the village of Bang Bao. I definitely recommend visiting the wooden sun deck (turn right before the Bang Bao village) reachable from Nirvana Resort, where you can watch the most beautiful sunsets.
On the east coast of Koh Chang are living mainly local people and resorts which are located here you can count on fingers of one hand. But it is deffinitely worth it to make a one day trip here. You can visit a mangrove forest with nature trail in Salak Khok, Buddhist temple in fishermen village Salak Phet, or beach Long Beach which is cut off from civilization. There is also located the local Koh Chang´s government hospital, municipal office, police headquarters and the headquarters of electricity distribution company.
I can recommend the following hotels and resorts on Koh Chang island:
- Banpu Koh Chang Hotel
- Kacha Resort & Spa
- Alina Grande Resort
- Koh Chang Resort & Spa
- Coconut Beach Resort
- Coral Resort
- Cookies Hotel
- Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway
- Flora I Talay
- Nirvana Resort
- Siam Royal View
- Thai Garden Hill Resort
- Aunchaleena Koh Chang
You can book other great hotel deal in Koh Chang here.