Koh Chang Island:
an essential guide to The Elephant Island
Blog on Travel
Koh Chang Island: an essential guide to The Elephant Island
The largest and most famous island in eastern Thailand is Koh Chang Island, part of the Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park. It is the third-largest island in Thailand but is far from as developed or busy as the two biggest islands, Phuket and Samui. It’s much cheaper and much less popular.
This means that Koh Chang certainly deserves a visit if you want to avoid crowds. Many nice beaches, a large number of accommodation facilities and a wide variety of restaurants and bars are available.
This is a lot of info, however, so the highlights are here.
Where to begin?
If you have been planning a beach holiday in Koh Chang, (You want to spend some time at the beach even though you’re a wired nomad)
Here’s a short run down the main beaches of the island. Both are on the west coast and the beach is on White Sand in the north and the sand Lonely in the south. Between you, the longest beach on the island, and the beach of Kai Bae are Klong Prao.
Please note that the atmosphere of each beach is different. And Ko Chang doesn’t have the best shore. It is something that has its own opinion.
Many smaller parts of the beach on the island and in the Island Guide you can find out more about them, including all the island’s corners, not just the main beaches.
The White Sand Beach
The nearest ferry piers and the island’s most touristy beach by far. All you need is just a stone’s throw from your resort. The accommodations at the beach are mainly two to three-star resorts, except for the KC Grande Resort and Kacha Resort. The vast array of restaurants and beer bars, the omnipresent Irish pub, and several other watering holes are also open.
Koh Chang’s first beach backpacker. It’s moving upmarket now, however. The beach itself has only four spots. In a busy area, most accommodations are located a few minute’s walk south. There are also many cheap guesthouses and cabins here. Yet Nest Sense and Warapura Resort are the places to live. The city is going upmarket. And with ‘flashpackers,’ Oasis and Little Eden are very common.
Beach of Kai Bae
Only Kai Bae is a two-half beach. It has the strongest sand stretch in the south by far. But the north has three of the best adjacent islands-the Chill, the Gajapuri Resort, and the AWA Resort. All are nice places to stay, but the real beach is not nice outside.
The south is where bungalow resorts, such as KB Resort, Kai Bae Hut, Kai Bae Beach Resort, are located. Over the years this has grown and provided now a decent 3 * accommodation level. At the back of resorts is the main road and is bordered by small stores and restaurants. But it’s a little more romantic and less commercial, compared to White Sand.
Beach of Klong Prao
The longest beach on Koh Chang is cut in three by the major estuary of the river in the middle and the shortest in the south. Mostly in large resorts, you will find accommodation here. Some of the best resorts on Emerald Cove Lake, Centrara Tropicana, and The Dewa Island are located to the South end of the beach. Two budget cottages – KP Huts and Tiger Hut – sit in the middle of the beach.
The length of the beach is fairly low and thus it is easy to walk and also find a peaceful spot to swim in the high season. The village is a short walk from the beach to the south. Near the north, on the side of the road are many small shops and restaurants.
We listed a couple of places to rest your weary heads. However, this is a comprehensive overview of Koh Chang ‘s best accommodation if you don’t want to read hundreds of reviews on this blog. This includes all the 5-star resorts and villas with swimming pools, guest houses, and plain beach huts.
On the island, you will find all sorts of accommodation. There are some great hostels for visitors on a tight budget. Otherwise, Koh Chang has a broader variety of luxury resorts for those who want to skip big resorts and enjoy some home comfort. See some of the best of them.
How to get there:
Just to find out how to hit Koh Chang from Bangkok or elsewhere after having settled on an island holiday and checking out a few hotels. You will find all the information you need in the Transportation section if you want to travel by bus, plane or private car or minibus.
On the road
In a few words, there are frequent bus services to the mainland ferry piers from Ekamai Bus Station, Bangkok. You can also book tickets for a shared minibus that will pick you up and drop you off at your hotel in Koh Chang, Bangkok or Pattaya.
Bangkok Airways offers three or four daily flights to Trat Airport, which is a short ferry and minibus journey from Chang. As the guide indicates, passengers can easily take a minibus to their hotel on Koh Chang from Trat Airport.
Also, the Suvarnabhumi Airport in Bangkok, which is Thailand’s entry point for most visitors in the west, is also a very useful location. Find out the layout of the airport and how to get to the town center or to Koh Chang etc. to change the fuel.
Koh Chang boats are all large car ferries, wooden passenger boats are gone. The latter travel every year between 6:00-19:30 and leave two piers on the mainland. They travel every day. This bus and boat schedule page offers comprehensive schedules and statistics.
Coming from Cambodia
Koh Chang and a trip to Cambodia to either Angkor Wat or the islands in the south are being combined by an increasing number of people. Fortunately, getting to Koh Chang from Siem Reap or Phnom Penh is relatively simple nowadays. You’ll find more on this in the transport section.
Things to do in Koh Chang
A holiday is all about sunshine and sunset drinks for many people. Yet the pool and the beach have plenty to do away with.
There are several things to keep you occupied when you don’t sunbathe. This includes sailing, boat snorkeling, jungle climbing, cooking classes, ATVs, adventure park, spa, scuba diving, and elephant sailing.
And if you wish to explore the island ‘s interior, take a scooter and discover numerous waterfalls easily reachable on foot. Or walk to one of the mountains on a rough walk. You might then need a cheap Thai massage to relax your sore limbs.
What is the perfect time to visit?
What is the perfect time to visit this year?
In February it was the right time for us to scope out the Trang Islands. We had cloud-free skies all over the day, it was roughly 28 ° C/82 ° F and there was no storm.
During the rainy season — May to October — the Trang Islands are pretty dead and at this time many ferries are not running/shut down because of the bad weather and the absence of tourists. Thus, from November to April, the dry season is when you want to go.
One season, China’s New Year is at the end of January to stop going. Thailand is a popular tourist destination in China and the Trang islands are tumbling with travelers from all over the world.