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Koh Chang is an island in the Gulf of Thailand and is the second largest island in the country. It is located southeast of the capital Bangkok, not far from Cambodia. The name means Elephant Island, which refers to the shape of the island. Koh Chang is gaining importance as a popular tourist destinations, as the island has splendid scenery, boasting rainforests, waterfalls, beaches and good hiking trails.
Koh Chang is a mountainous island with the highest peak at almost 750 metres above sea level: Khao Salak Phet. The island is over 200 square kilometres big and is part of the Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park which covers a total of around 650 square kilometres. Apart from the great diving and snorkelling, the island itsel is covered with rainforests, although the relatively recent boom in tourism means that this rainforest is under pressure right now. Much has to be done to prevent things from getting worse.
There are no real cities on the island, but mostly small villages. These include Salakpetch, Salakkork, Jekbare, Baan, Danmai, Klong Son, Klong Praw and Klong Nonsri.
Like most of South East Asia, Koh Chang has a pleasantly tropical climate with generally warm to hot weather and humid conditions. Average temperatures are around 30 °C year round, with nights generally still above 20 °C. The best time is the slightly cooler and dry season from November to February. From March to May, temperatures start to rise and although it is mostly dry, temperatures can rise to over 35 °C, which together with the high humidity can feel unbearable. From June to October is the rainy season, with again lowering temperatures but huge amounts of rainfall being possible. Still, you can enjoy a visit and have nice days as well.
Koh Chang itself has no airport, the nearest one is the airport in Trat, which has flights to and from Bangkok.
Buses between Bangkok and Trat take around 5 hours and usually leave once every hour or so.
There are 2 ways of getting to Koh Chang by boat:
All of the piers are located in or near Trat. Taking a car is about 150 THB.
Songthaew is a public passenger pick-up vehicle and they run around the island's main roads. You can either hop on and off or hire the vehicle privately. Motorcyles are for rent and widely available.
Long-tail boats can be hired to take you to nearby islands or to go snorkelling.
|Cliff Cottage||Cliff Cottage Bang Bao Bay||Guesthouse||84|
|The Sunflower||4/1 Moo 1 Lonely Beach (Hat Tha Narm)||Guesthouse||-|
|Noren Resort||31/1/1 Moo 4 Klong Prao||Hotel||-|
|Ice Beach||4 Moo 1 Aumper||Hotel||-|
|Baan Rim Nam Guesthouse||29/3 Moo 4 Klong Prao||Guesthouse||-|
|Sofia Garden Resort||Klong Phrao Beach, Trat||HOTEL||79|
|Lonely Beach Resort||4 / 24 Moo 1 Tambon Koh Chang Taii||Guesthouse||70|
|Panviman Resort Koh Chang||8/15 Klong Prao Beach||Hotel||-|
|Paradise Bungalows||98/12 Moo 4 Kai Bae||Hotel||-|
|49 moo 1 bang bao||Guesthouse||11.969639||-|
|Tropical Beach Resort Koh Chang||42/1 Moo 2 Koh Chang Tai||Hotel||72|
|The Stage||19/19/1 Moo 4 T. Koh chang Koh Chang, Trad 23170||HOTEL||-|
|Paradise Cottage||104/1 Moo.1 South Koh Chang trad||GUESTHOUSE||80|
|Lazy Republique||37/7 Moo 1 Bai Lan||GUESTHOUSE||-|
|Gu Bay||Bailan Bay||GUESTHOUSE||-|
There are countless internet bars across the country in big and small towns. Internet cafés are widespread and most are inexpensive. Prices as low as 15 baht/hour are commonplace, and speed of connection is generally reasonable, but many cafes close at midnight. Higher prices prevail in major package-tourist destinations (60 baht/hour is typical, 120 baht/hour is not unusual). Keyloggers are all too often installed on the computers in cheap cafes, so be on your guard if using online banking, stock broking or even PayPal. Remember that in the smaller towns and more traditional areas the owners and staff of internet bars prefer if customers take off their shoes at the entrance and leave them outside. This might seem strange although this gesture goes a far way to make friends and give a positive image of foreigners to Thai people.
Outside the most competitive tourist areas, free Wi-Fi is not as common as in neighbouring countries in many budget hotels and guesthouses and they may charge small fee for Internet by LAN or Wi-Fi even if you bring your own laptop. Wi-Fi is commonly available in cafes and restaurants serving Westerners.
See also: International Telephone Calls
The international code for Thailand is 66. 999 connects to all emergency services. Standard GSM emergency number 112 is supported in mobile networks. 911 for Tourist Police Department, English available.
For mobile phone users, Thailand has three GSM mobile service providers - AIS, DTAC and Truemove - which may be useful if you have a mobile phone that will work on either one or both of the GSM 900 or 1800 frequency bands (consult your phone's technical specifications). If you have one, you can buy a prepaid SIM card for any of the Thai carriers in any convenience store for as little as 50-200 baht and charge it up as you go. Using your own mobile phone while on holiday with a Thai pre-paid SIM card can save a lot of money and lets you give your number to family back home, so they can have an emergency contact number.
Thailand Post is the Thai postal service that deals with all local and international mail in Thailand. The business is operated from local post offices. Post offices are easy to recognise with their red white and blue motifs and the words 'Thailand Post' in English and Thai above the entrance. They are open from Monday to Saturday, usually 8:30am to 4:30pm (main ones until around 8:00pm), though keeping shorter hours on Saturdays (usually until 1:00pm). They are generally closed on Sundays and Public Holidays. Each post office offers a comprehensive service which includes an Express Mail Service (EMS) and parcel post. They also have a price calculator for letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. They also have a track and trace system and money transfer services. If you want to send packages, it might be a good idea to check with private courier companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, as they are fast, reliable and generally quite competitively priced.
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