There ain’t no place like paradise.Tupac Shakur
If you are thinking about where to travel in Asia, Ko Chang is an island paradise with its jungle-covered mountains, sparkling blue bays, vibrant coral reefs, and cascading waterfalls. It’s the second largest island in Thailand, meaning there is plenty of space to escape the crowds.
The island has seen a rise in tourism over the last few years and while it is still a relative “secret” to most tourists, the word is out – at least with the backpacking / budget traveler scene. Because of this, you’ll find plenty of affordable budget accommodations with a few luxury options scattered across the island. This mix means there is something for every budget.
Prices in Koh Chang are much cheaper when compared to other popular islands and its relative size and location means that even when the island is busy, it doesn’t feel that busy.
Getting to Koh Chang
If you’re coming from Bangkok, the easiest way of getting to Koh Chang is by private car, which takes about 6 hours including the ferry ride. Although there’s no airport on Koh Chang, the nearby airport in Trat is a convenient way to get to the island without spending several hours in the car. Private transfers from Trat Airport to Koh Chang are available and start at about $20 USD per person including the cost of the ferry ticket.
When to Go to Koh Chang
Koh Chang’s “cool” season is from November to the end of February, and this is when the island is the busiest. Each day has plenty of sunshine and blue skies. The average daily temperatures during this time are between 80-85F, so it’s not exactly cool. If you don’t mind the crowds, this is a good time to go visit.
The hottest days occur from March to April, where temperatures are above 91F and the humidity index is high. During this period is when a lot of Thais also choose to vacation, so the island will still be busy.
The rainy season happens from the end of May until the end of October. Koh Chang is much quieter during these months, and prices are also a lot lower. Rainy season doesn’t mean there’s a constant downpour, either. Most likely you’ll experience rain each day for a brief amount of time. If you just want to hang out and relax, this is the perfect time to visit.
Top Things to See and Do in Koh Chang
We’ve rounded up some of our favorite experiences –
- Go Diving – Koh Chang is part of a marine park that provides many different options when it comes to getting under the water. For divers, this marine park is excellent. There are a lot of reefs nearby and due to Koh Chang’s relative seclusion you’ll find most of these reefs are still in tact and not overfished.
- Hang Out At Lonely Beach – Here’s where you will find the lively backpacking crowd with cheap accommodation, decent shops, and a relatively nice beach.
- Eat At The White Sand Beach Night Market – Every evening there is a night food market at the center of White Sand Beach. Vendors set up on the beach side of the road selling everything from BBQ meats to fruit and other Thai dishes. It’s cheap to eat here, and you can easily fill up on kebabs and sticky rice. You also can’t go wrong with the fresh seafood.
- Escape To Other Islands – Make a break for the day and head to the other islands nearby including Ko Kood, Ko Maak, Ko Khlum, or Ko Rang.
- Explore Waterfalls – There are seven main waterfalls to visit on Koh Chang, the most popular being Klong Plu. Its accessible and has a large swimming area.
“To Awaken Quite Alone In A Strange Town Is One Of The Most Pleasant Sensations In The World.”
Getting Around Koh Chang
Songtaew – There are no metered taxis on Koh Chang, and the only public transport available are the pick-up trucks called Songtaews. Fares are usually listed inside the cab, and most drivers are good about charging you the proper prices. You should be able to get to anywhere on the island for about $6.50 USD or less.
Motorbike / Scooter –
Renting a motorbike or scooter is a popular way to get around Koh Chang, but you should feel comfortable enough driving one before you rent. They offer greater flexibility and cheaper rates that taking Songtaews everywhere. You can rent a motorbike or scooter for about $10 USD per day, but prices tend to decrease the longer you book.
Main Areas of Interest on Koh Chang
White Sand Beach – Koh Chang’s most popular beach, White Sand Beach is conveniently located relatively close to the ferry terminal. Home to a good selection of resorts and restaurants, White Sand Beach is a pretty beach that, while crowded by Koh Chang’s standards, is still a great place to relax.
Klong Prao Beach – Located just south of White Sand Beach, Klong Prao Beach is home to several luxury resorts and a selection of great seafood restaurants. Far less crowded than White Sand Beach, Klong Prao Beach is great for sunbathing, swimming and enjoying the sunset.
Kai Bae Beach – White sand, clear water and beautiful sunsets make Kai Bae Beach a great place to stay on Koh Chang. This small, quiet and relatively undeveloped beach is home to a mix of luxury resorts and cheap backpacker accommodations.
Lonely Beach – Lonely Beach is Koh Chang’s backpacker central, offering some of the island’s cheapest accommodations and drinks. Cheap bungalows and all-night parties make Lonely Beach a good choice for backpackers, but not the best place on the island for rest and relaxation.
Bang Bao Bay – Located on Koh Chang’s southern coastline, Bang Bao Bay is a quiet beach that is rarely crowded. The nearby pier is where most diving and snorkeling tours around Koh Chang depart from.
Where to Stay in Koh Chang
Nest Sense Resort overlooks Lonely Beach and offers an exclusive getaway at a prime location. The resort provides the perfect jumping off point for Koh Chang’s many attractions.
Nest Sense offers 18 rooms comprised of 5 Seaside Pool Villas, 5 Sea View Pool Villas, and 8 Deluxe Rooms. All villas have a private balcony with a breathtaking sea view.
The resort offers an infinity edge main swimming pool, guest service and information desk, Thai + International restaurant, full service bar, wireless internet, and much more.
Where to Eat & Drink in Koh Chang
Sharky’s Restaurant – Experience modern European cuisine and attentive service with a personal touch. Sharky’s Restaurant & Lounge is conveniently located in the heart of Kae Bae Beach, and is a must try.
Chill Out Cafe – Thai-Fusion seafood restaurant with an incredible view that is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Marco – There are several Italian restaurants on Koh Chang, but none of them stand up to the quality of Marco’s. If you are missing a good Italian plate of pasta or pizza, this is the perfect place to stop and enjoy.
Kati Culinary – This local spot is close to Klong Prao Beach and serves a great selection of Thai dishes.