So Why Should You Come to Koh Chang?
Let’s start at the beginning. If you’re interested in visiting Koh Chang but have never been there then let me help you decide if it’s the place for you.
After all there are a lot of Thai Islands to choose from – why should you pick Koh Chang?
I’ll try to help you decide that without getting into all the tourist brochure “beautiful island paradise” stuff (although there might be a little bit of that since it is an island and it is beautiful!)
And I’ll admit that I’m biased because I’ve lived here for 16 years.
But let me give you some info about Koh Chang that will help you to decide for yourselves.
Koh Chang is Big
It really is.
Koh Chang is Thailand’s third biggest island, just a little smaller than Koh Samui. What that means of course is that there’s lots to explore and see.
Also it means that some parts are more developed and busy than others. So if you want busy you can have that at places like White Sand Beach or Klong Prao, but if you want peace and isolation then you can go to the sleepy East Coast, where there is very little tourist development.
And there’s plenty in between. There’s waterfalls, little villages – some on piers over the sea, temples, beaches of course – lots of them, and mangrove walkways and sheltered bays and hidden away spots and some really nice viewpoints… There’s a lot!
Koh Chang is Developed, but not too Developed
Everyone has different take on what is too developed and what is not developed enough so where Koh Chang sits on this scale depends on you really.
But since real tourist growth has only happened in the last 15 years Koh Chang has far less development (or overdevelopment) than places like Koh Samui, Pattaya, Krabi and Phuket.
But equally there are now plenty of banks, supermarkets, etc. etc. which make things a little easier for visitors.
Also because of its National Park status there is hope that Koh Chang can keep this balance and so far it seems to be managing reasonably well.
It‘s a Jungle Out There!
All of the interior of Koh Chang is a mountainous jungle. You know, proper tropical rainforest stuff. You wouldn’t be surprised to see Sir David Attenborough emerge from the leafy depths.
And there are loads of mountains rising to over 700 metres. It really is stunning to look at and it certainly doesn’t resemble any other Thai island.
Budget and Luxury Side By Side
If you want real luxury and classy hotels then Koh Chang has them.
But also if you’re a budget traveler then there are still plenty of options to stay and eat and drink cheaply on the island.
Some islands go upmarket across the board as they develop but Koh Chang has kept a pretty good mixture of options.
My next mail will help you to choose a good place to stay at the right price in the right place (If you just can’t wait then look here.) But for now bear in mind that there is a wide range of accommodation at all price levels.
It’s (Fairly) Close to Bangkok
It can be a real mission to get to some of the Thai islands, but not Koh Chang.
Getting to and from Koh Chang is easy, whether you want super-budget (around 300B from Bangkok) or super-luxury (more!) there’s an option. And at just 300km from Bangkok you can get down in just a few hours.
And the island is only 8km offshore so the ferries will get you over in about half an hour.
Or you Can Fly
Okay, Okay, Koh Chang does not have an airport. But Trat airport is just 17km away on the mainland. It’s a one hour flight from Bangkok and then a simple minibus connection to the island. Basically you fly in, buy a transfer that will take you across to Koh Chang and drop you off at your hotel.
(And no you won’t miss the last boat if your flight is late – Bangkok Airways and the ferry companies work together to ensure you always get there).
I’ll send you some good ideas on how best to get down to Koh Chang soon (but if you can’t wait then go here.)
If you want to relax: Why not be a beach bum or lounge by the pool. Have a massage or do a massage course. Or have a tattoo.
Be a bit active: Elephant trek, do a boat trip, try archery, or shooting, learn Thai cooking, explore the island on foot/bicycle/motorbike, try the offroad ATV, play beach cricket
Be a lot active: Dive, snorkel, swim, jungle trek, Go to the gym, try the Treetop Adventure Park or have a go at kite-surfing, learn to sail
Eat, Drink & Party: There’s all kinds of restaurants with food from every country you can think of, cool hotel bars, old-school beach bars, beer bars, live music, discos and parties – especially in Lonely Beach.
Is that OK for you?
So, What do You Think?
If you want endless parties and the convenience of McDonalds then more developed resorts like Pattaya, Koh Samui and Pattaya might be a better choice for you.
But if you want a good mixture of resorts, activities and facilities in a beautiful place that hasn’t yet been completely concreted and commercialized then Koh Chang is here, a jungle-clad gem sitting in azure ocean (sorry couldn’t help myself!)