Koh Chang

Travel Guide Asia Thailand East Thailand Koh Chang

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Introduction

Tree Swing, Koh Chang

Tree Swing, Koh Chang

© sam.m.

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.

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Geography

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.

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Cities

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.

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Sights and Activities

  • Hiking in the rainforests with the chance to see wildlife, including monkeys, civet and mongooses. The routes Klong Son to Kai Bae and Kai Bae to Bang Bao are very impressive.
  • Namtok Khlong Phlu is considered to be the most beautiful waterfall on Ko Chang with water cascading down 3 tiers.
  • Beaches like Hat Kai Bae and Hat Khlong Phrao
  • Villages like Bang Bao Fishery Village with houses on stilts
  • Diving and snorkelling
  • Yoga, Reiki, Meditation
  • Thai cooking school
  • Canoeing
  • Elephant trekking - Ban Kwan Chang Elephant Camp at Klong Son.
  • Visiting the surroundings 51 smallers islands.

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Events and Festivals

  • Ko Chang Yutthanavi Day - late January at the Ko Chang Yutthanavi Memorial on Laem Ngop, commemorates the Royal Thai Navy’s engagement against the French at the Battle of Ko Chang on January 17, 1941. There is an exhibition by the Royal Thai Navy, and merit-making and tribute rites are performed.

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Weather

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.

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Getting There

By Plane

Koh Chang itself has no airport, the nearest one is the airport in Trat, which has flights to and from Bangkok.

By Bus

Buses between Bangkok and Trat take around 5 hours and usually leave once every hour or so, from there a minibus.
There are also minibuses from Bangkok usually with the ferry included in the price.

By Boat

There are 2 ways of getting to Koh Chang by boat:

  • Koh Chang Ferry via the Ao Thammachat Pier to Ao Sapparos on Koh Chang. There are 9 boats a day between 7:00am and 7:00pm, costing 80 THB per person and taking around 30 minutes.
  • Center Point Pier, which has ferries hourly between 6:30am and 6:30pm to Dan Kao Pier.

All of the piers are located in or near Trat. Taking a car is about 150 THB.

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Getting Around

By Bus

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.

By Boat

Long-tail boats can be hired to take you to nearby islands or to go snorkelling.

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Eat

Menus are similar to the rest of Thailand, but the high island prices are due not so much to higher transportation costs, but because of high demand. There are many restaurants on any given beach open both daytime and evening with a strong concentration of tourist venues on White Sand Beach.

The beaches of Ko Chang are all dotted with restaurants dishing up some delicious seafood as well as offering romantic evening views. Try Ko Chang's own wine which comes in a variety of fruity flavours including mangosteen and pineapple.

Sunsets can be watched in style from the terrace at the Top Resort on south White Sand Beach from the vantage of a cliff top. Bring an appetite and your camera, no reservations needed.

  • Ton Sai Restaurant Kong Prao, next to Tropicana Resort entrance Tropical garden, Great Thai food , cool music, tel: 08 98 95 72 29.
  • Kati culinary restaurant tel: 081 9030408.
  • Saint Tropez Guest house - Restaurant " La Provence ".
  • Nok Noi Sea food restaurant - Excellent sea food.
  • Apple (แอปเปิ้ล บังกะโล), 7/4 Moo 4, ☎ +66 39 551228. Su-F 08:00-24:00; Sa 08:00-01:00. Probably the cheapest restaurant/bar along White Sand Beach. It has a good location in the middle of the beach. Don't expect anything special, just the usual Thai and Italian dishes common at tourist spots. Upstairs there is a small hut where you can chill out with a beer on pillows. Closing times are early, but if you order before closing time you can keep sitting there as long as you want. They also have 21 small wooden bungalows available for 800-4,000 baht/night.
  • Nong Bua Seafood (White Sand Beach, opposite Ban Pu Resort), ☎ +66 39 551595. 07:00-22:00. If you pass by, you might wonder why this place is busy every night. A family-owned restaurant open for more than 30 years. Thai, Chinese, Western food, and especially fresh seafood.
  • Rock Sand Restaurant (N White Sand Beach. Turn right on the beach by the 7-Eleven). 07:00-22:00. Thai and Western food. Speciality: Taste of Thailand and finger licking good.

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Drink

The drink you have to try is Chang beer, even if its only for the name. If you have a busy schedule ahead of you, better stick to Tiger beer as it doesn't give as much of a headache (yet it is slightly more expensive). Each village offers something different, but taken as a whole, Ko Chang's nightlife is fairly mellow compared to other islands. There are some quiet beach bars dotted around White Sand Beach with amazing sunset views. Lonely Beach's nightlife and bar scene is gaining a reputation among the backpacker community. It is the place to be for "full moon" imitations, bucket parties, and dance till you pass out disco bars. The rubbish left over from the parties are barely cleaned up, so the next day you can see exactly where the party took place from the main road. The party location generally rotates among several different bars depending on the day of the week, and is usually heavily advertised which bar is "the spot" for each night.

  • Jungle Queen Live Music Bar (Next to Alina Grande). The house band plays from around 20:00-24:00, and plays music from Rihanna to AC/DC. People come from all over the island for the live music hour, so be sure to stop by when they are on. They also have free pool, and the place doesn't close until 05:00, so it's a good place to take the party after the nightclub and the other bars start closing. Service is good, and the staff are friendly and efficient.
  • Cafe del Sunshine (Lonely Beach. Walk towards sunset, on your left), ☎ +66 85 6773993. 07:00-24:00. Thai food and a great selection of Western brunch and lunch dishes. Set in a nicely designed and relaxing building. 50-100 baht. .
  • Rock Sand Resort (White Sand Beach). Right by the sea with a terrace over the sea to sit and watch the Ko Chang sunsets. Special: Taste of Thailand. Just above and behind the restaurant Rock Sand has rooms for backpackers and flashpackers. .
  • Siam Hut. Hosts a large dance party every Friday night in their large outdoor deck on the beach. Happy hour specials on Friday until 23:00.

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Sleep

Most hotels are on the west side of the island, with many resorts and guest houses all along the road that leads down the coast. Generally speaking, prices drop off the further away from the port you get. Supply far out-strips demand, so finding a place to stay should never be hard, though the best or cheapest places may fill up at weekends.

Following a great deal of development, the name "Lonely Beach" has become something of a misnomer. Lonely Beach is the party capital of the island and each guesthouse on Lonely Beach takes it in turns to hold "party night," during which the partying and attendant thumping music goes on until about 05:00 and all the revellers on the island come to your guesthouse. If you do not want to be kept awake then Lonely Beach is definitely not the place for you. Most guesthouses giving "Lonely Beach" as an address are not located along the actual beach, but about 500 m down the road. From the village access to the sea is not possible as the coast is rocky.

View our map of accommodation in Koh Chang

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Keep Connected

Internet

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.

Phone

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.

Post

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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Quick Facts

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Coordinates
  • Latitude: 12.0820667
  • Longitude: 102.3120304

Accommodation in Koh Chang

We have a comprehensive list of accommodation in Koh Chang searchable right here on Travellerspoint.

Contributors

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This is version 37. Last edited at 12:16 on Jan 9, 19 by Utrecht. 4 articles link to this page.

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