There ain’t no place like paradise.Tupac Shakur
When it comes to choosing an Asian travel destination that encapsulates the essence of paradise, Koh Chang stands out as an unrivaled gem. This enchanting island boasts a pristine landscape adorned with lush, jungle-covered mountains, shimmering blue bays, vibrant coral reefs, and cascading waterfalls. As the second largest island in Thailand, Koh Chang offers an abundance of space to escape the bustling crowds and immerse yourself in its natural splendor.
In recent years, Koh Chang has witnessed a surge in tourism, yet it remains a well-kept secret among most travelers. However, backpackers and budget-conscious explorers have already discovered its allure. The island offers a delightful mix of affordable budget accommodations and scattered luxury options, ensuring there is something to suit every traveler’s budget and preferences.
One of the most enticing aspects of Koh Chang is its affordability compared to other popular Thai islands. Despite its growing popularity, Koh Chang’s relative size and location ensure that it never feels overcrowded, even during peak periods.
Getting to Koh Chang
For those starting their journey from Bangkok, the easiest and most convenient way to reach Koh Chang is by private car. The journey, including a ferry ride, takes approximately six hours, allowing you to soak in the beautiful scenery along the way. Although Koh Chang doesn’t have its own airport, Trat Airport, located nearby, provides a convenient alternative for travelers. Private transfers from Trat Airport to Koh Chang are readily available, starting at around $20 USD per person, ferry ticket included.
When to Go to Koh Chang
To make the most of your visit to Koh Chang, it’s essential to consider the island’s seasonal variations. The cool season, spanning from November to the end of February, attracts the highest number of visitors. During this time, Koh Chang basks in abundant sunshine, clear blue skies, and daily temperatures ranging from 80-85°F. It’s an ideal time to visit if you don’t mind sharing the island with fellow travelers.
March and April mark the hottest period on Koh Chang, with temperatures soaring above 91°F and humidity levels peaking. Despite the heat, many Thais choose to vacation on the island during this time, ensuring a lively atmosphere and a chance to immerse yourself in local culture.
The rainy season, which spans from the end of May until the end of October, showcases a different side of Koh Chang. The island adopts a more tranquil ambiance, and prices drop significantly. Don’t let the term “rainy season” deter you, as showers are usually brief and intermittent, allowing plenty of time to explore and relax. If you’re seeking a peaceful retreat away from the crowds, this is the perfect time to visit Koh Chang.
Top Things to See and Do
Koh Chang offers a plethora of captivating experiences for all types of travelers. Here are some highlights that should not be missed:
- Go Diving – Explore the underwater wonders of Koh Chang’s marine park, where pristine reefs teem with diverse marine life. With its secluded location, the reefs remain untouched and provide an excellent diving experience.
- Hang Out At Lonely Beach – Join the vibrant backpacking crowd at Lonely Beach, where affordable accommodations, lively shops, and a beautiful beach await. Embrace the carefree atmosphere and create unforgettable memories.
- Eat At The White Sand Beach Night Market – Every evening, the White Sand Beach Night Market comes alive with a tantalizing array of street food. Sample BBQ meats, fresh fruits, and other mouthwatering Thai dishes at affordable prices. Don’t miss the opportunity to savor the freshest seafood delicacies.
- Escape To Other Islands – Venture beyond Koh Chang and discover the neighboring islands of Ko Kood, Ko Maak, Ko Khlum, or Ko Rang. Each island offers its unique charm, allowing you to explore diverse landscapes and indulge in serene beach experiences.
- Explore Waterfalls – Koh Chang boasts an enchanting collection of seven main waterfalls, with Klong Plu being the most popular. Accessible and featuring a large swimming area, these cascades offer a refreshing escape into nature’s embrace.
“To Awaken Quite Alone In A Strange Town Is One Of The Most Pleasant Sensations In The World.”
Navigating Koh Chang is a breeze with the following transportation options:
Songtaew – The primary mode of public transport on the island, Songtaews, are pick-up trucks with fixed fares. You can easily reach any destination on the island for approximately $6.50 USD or less.
Motorbike / Scooter – For greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness, renting a motorbike or scooter is a popular choice. Before renting, ensure you have the necessary skills and confidence to ride safely. Prices start at around $10 USD per day, with discounts available for longer rental periods.
Main Areas of Interest on Koh Chang
Koh Chang presents several distinct areas, each with its own unique appeal:
White Sand Beach – As the island’s most popular beach, White Sand Beach offers a range of resorts and restaurants. Conveniently located near the ferry terminal, it serves as an excellent base for exploring Koh Chang. Despite its popularity, the beach retains its natural beauty and provides ample space to relax.
Klong Prao Beach – Located just south of White Sand Beach, Klong Prao Beach exudes tranquility. Luxury resorts and exceptional seafood dining options await those seeking a more serene beach experience. Enjoy sunbathing, swimming, and breathtaking sunsets in this idyllic setting.
Kai Bae Beach – With its pristine white sands, crystal-clear waters, and captivating sunsets, Kai Bae Beach offers a slice of paradise. This small, quiet beach strikes a balance between luxury resorts and budget-friendly accommodations, catering to various preferences.
Lonely Beach – Known as the backpacker central of Koh Chang, Lonely Beach entices budget travelers with its affordable accommodations and vibrant nightlife scene. It’s the perfect choice for those seeking an energetic and social atmosphere. However, if you’re looking for a peaceful retreat, you may prefer other areas of the island.
Bang Bao Bay – Located on the southern coastline of Koh Chang, Bang Bao Bay offers a serene beach experience away from the crowds. The nearby pier serves as a departure point for diving and snorkeling tours around Koh Chang, allowing you to explore the vibrant underwater world.
Where to Stay in Koh Chang
Nest Sense Resort, perched above Lonely Beach, offers an exclusive getaway in a prime location. This remarkable resort features 18 rooms, including Seaside Pool Villas, Sea View Pool Villas, and Deluxe Rooms. Each villa boasts a private balcony with breathtaking sea views, allowing you to embrace the tranquility of your surroundings. Additional amenities include an infinity-edge main swimming pool, a guest service and information desk, a Thai and international restaurant, a full-service bar, wireless internet, and more.
Where to Eat & Drink in Koh Chang
Sharky’s Restaurant – Located in the heart of Kae Bae Beach, Sharky’s Restaurant & Lounge offers modern European cuisine accompanied by personalized service. Prepare to be captivated by their delectable creations.
Chill Out Cafe – Nestled in a picturesque setting, this Thai-Fusion seafood restaurant serves delectable dishes throughout the day. Enjoy breathtaking views while savoring the harmonious blend of flavors.
Marco – Amidst Koh Chang’s selection of Italian restaurants, Marco stands out for its outstanding quality. If you’re craving a sumptuous plate of pasta or authentic Italian pizza, this is the perfect culinary haven.
Kati Culinary – Situated near Klong Prao Beach, Kati Culinary offers a delightful array of authentic Thai dishes. Immerse yourself in the flavors of Thailand while savoring the warm hospitality of this local gem.
Embark on a Remarkable Journey to Koh Chang
Koh Chang beckons with its untamed beauty, inviting travelers to explore its diverse landscapes, vibrant culture, and captivating underwater realm. Whether you seek thrilling adventures or peaceful serenity, this tropical paradise offers an experience tailored to your desires. Plan your journey to Koh Chang today and discover the irresistible allure of this hidden gem in Thailand’s island crown.