Koh Chang or “Elephant Island” in English is a green tropic island in the far northeastern part of the Gulf Of Thailand close to the Cambodian border. After the 5 km (3 miles) on the ferry, you reach Koh Chang which immediately gives the impression of being a small destination even though it is the second-largest island in Thailand, but that isn’t strange at all since the island only has just above 5,000 inhabitants.
The vegetation grows close onto the narrow beaches which gives a very natural feeling and here you can live right on on the beach no matter which one you choose. Koh Chang is a National Park with flourishing wildlife. The kind of forest found here is not the same as found on most other destinations but more of a real rainforest.
On Koh Chang, you will not have to search for a calm place to spend your time but every year the island expands and there are plenty of opportunities when it comes to finding your dream bungalow.
The west coast of the island is where the many popular beaches are set while on the east coast the beaches are few.
The island has many waterfalls, some smaller than others and some of them are quite easy to get to while others you have to take a jungle hike to reach. Koh Chang can be the perfect location no matter if you just want to stay around on a resort or if you want to have some adventure.
There are several islands located south of Koh Chang, small ones that can be a perfect target for a day trip and also bigger ones a little further away. These islands will blow your mind away if Koh Chang hasn’t already done that.
On the mainland an airport is located only minutes away making it easy to get here by air, another option is to go by bus from Bangkok or other places. South of the island there are some beautiful islands which are perfect for day trips or even for longer stays. The close distance to Cambodia also makes it a great option to see the huge ancient city, Angkor Wat. Koh Chang is located in Trat province.
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It’s very easy to get around at Koh Chang. Either by Song-Taews or motorbike taxis. Remember to always have the price set for your transport before you take off, this is only to prevent you from getting a price you did not expect.
You can also rent a car or a motorbike to explore the areas by yourself. Remember that the traffic is probably not what you are used to and accidents are common.
If you’re curious about renting a motorbike while in Thailand, visit our Booking Page for more details.
Weather Stats – Koh Chang has very strong seasons. Between November and April, the weather is normally very good with blue sky and not much rainfall at all, while during the summer a huge amount of rain not like any other place in Thailand will fall with a peak from June to August. The typical rainfall for August reaches about 1000mm (more than 3 feet) which makes the rainforest here magnificent.
White Sand Beach – This is the first beach to enter when coming from the ferry. The road leading through Khlong Son and further down to the White Sand Beach area offer a stunning view and right away you realize that this island is covered with mountain structures. White Sand Beach is the most popular beach destination on the island and the hotel options are very good no matter what style suits you.
You will find all the necessary things such as ATM, the classic 7-eleven stores that are very common in Thailand and of course a wide range of restaurants. The classic tourist shopping like and suit sellers and optician stores aren’t hard to find either. The beach is a bit longer than 2 km (1.3 miles).
Behind the beach are bungalows and resorts and you have walking distance to everything. The long white beach is ideal for sunset walks or why not jogging.
The far southern end of the beach has a lot of rocks which can be good to know about when you make your hotel reservation. If you choose to stay at this end you will probably have to walk a bit to take a swim if you do prefer the ocean instead of the pool.
Khlong Prao – About 3 km (almost 2 miles) south of White Sand Beach you find Khlong Prao. The beach measures almost 3.5 km (more than 2 miles) but is divided by channels in two places. The north and south areas are where you will find most of the commerce. In the central part, there is a lowland area, one of the very few ones on Koh Chang.
At this part the main road is as far as 1 km (more than half a mile) from the beach this is where the village is set and the further south you end up closer to the beach again. Like many beaches at Koh Chang, this beach disappears when the tide is high. The feeling of being in a jungle gets very strong.
Kai Bae – This beach is set only some hundred meters (100 feet) south of Khlong Prao. The north side is somewhat flat while the south side has high mountains rising all the way to the shoreline making this part very limited when it comes to constructions.
Here you will find beach huts as well as mountain accommodations with stunning views. Tailors and clothes shops are of course available here as well and also you find a crazy golf course that might be a good way to either start or end the evening. Kai Bae beach is just over 2 km (1.3 miles) long but this beach is one of the most narrow ones on the island and t places the forest literally grows all the way to the water.
Lonely Beach (Hat Tha Nam) – The classic Lonely Beach has been the most famous beach on Koh Chang for being a tropical hideaway. Not that long ago it actually was and the road leading down the steep hill to the beach was also not long ago only a walking path.
Today you will have a good range of options when it comes to resorts and dining however you don’t have to fear ending up on a beach packed with people even if the chance of being all alone is kind of eliminated. Lonely Beach is still a very relaxed location which just a breath of harmony. The beach is only about 700 meters (2400 feet).
Bailan Beach (Ao Bai Lan) – Within walking distance from Lonely Beach this beautiful and tranquil place is found. It is an area stretching for about 2 km (1.3 miles) with bungalows and resorts. This place is the least exploited on Koh Chang and the reason for this is that the beach doesn’t have very much sand.
Most of the seafront is covered by cliffs and rocks, however, some of the luxury resorts have managed to build their own beaches. You will not only find exclusive resorts here but also low priced bungalows. The dining and shopping are limited but for a truly relaxing vacation, this might be what you been longing for.
POPULAR TRIPS AND ATTRACTIONS
Bang Bao – This village is an old original fisherman village that has become very popular among tourists to visit during their stay at Koh Chang. Nowadays the tourist industry has reached this location as well with souvenir shops and other classic shops.
The village has a pier reaching out as long as 400 meters (1300 feet) from the shore. At this pier, there are houses, stores, and restaurants of different shapes and qualities. At the end of the pier, there is a lighthouse and this walking path from the mainland to the pier is very popular.
Bang Bao is also the home of many diving companies why this is a good place to start if you plan on going for a diving trip.
Long Beach (Haad Sai Yao) – This is one of the more secluded beaches on Koh Chang. It is set on the far southeastern end of the island and it is just over 400 meters (1300 feet) long. The road leading towards this narrow natural beach is very curvy and one of the island’s best viewpoints is just north of the beach.
Continuing about half a km (1700 foot) south from Long Beach you reach the end of the island and you are only about 200 meters (650 foot) away from the small beautiful island Koh Ngam which rises 100 meters (325 foot) above the water.
Haad Yuthanavy – Just a few hundred meters (less than 100 feet) south of Long Beach this small beach is set. It is only 600 meters long (200 feet) and as the name claims it has to do with the Thai Navy. Outside this beach, a Thai Navy ship sank in 1941 after having a battle with the French Navy.
Salak Kok Mangrove Park– This is a pure Thai village set on the east coast where the tourist commerce yet reached. Here you also find a big area with mangroves and you are also able to see them up close by walking on a many hundred meters long wriggling concrete path.
Koh Lao Ya – This is a small island, less than one km (just over half a mile) long with a very beautiful beach on the east coast. A perfect destination for a day trip.
Koh Wai – Another small pearl just 3.5 km (2 miles) south of Koh Lao Ya. This island is bigger and also have a few resorts so you can stay here for pure relaxation. During the high season, many people come here, yet it keeps its charm and untouched feeling.
Koh Mak – 1.5 km (about 1 mile) from the south end of Koh Chang Koh Mak is located. This is a very popular destination and even more calm than Koh Chang. Here you won’t find any loud bars but only wide white beaches and a clear sea. This island has two main beaches, Ao Khao Beach which is about 2.2 km (1.4 miles) long, and Ao Soun Beach which is about 1 km (0.6 miles) long.
Resorts are found in many different locations and it is possible to walk between these to main beaches on the west side of the island where most resorts are set. Koh Mak is a very child-friendly location with perfect beaches.
Koh Kood (Koh Kut) – Heading 25 km (17 miles) south from Koh Chang you will come to Koh Kood. Koh Kood is a big island measuring 22 km (14 miles) long and 8 km (5 miles) wide and has plenty of wonderful beaches. Just to have something to relate to Koh Samui the famous tropical paradise island Koh Samui is about 18 km (11 miles) long however it is almost as wide. Koh Kood only has a few thousand inhabitants and the island can, without doubt, be considered to be very quiet.
That was our Koh Chang Travel Guide! If that was helpful and you want to learn more about Thai Islands click here.
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