Koh Chang or the Elephant Island, is part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park and encompasses an archipelago of 52 islands, of which Koh Chang is the largest island.
More than 70% of its terrain is covered with pristine rainforests , and there are many wild beaches, including the vital trinity of a tropical island – white sand, palm trees, and temperate blue water – where you can escape from your daily life and leave your worries on the continent.
Which coast to choose: East or West?
For your stay you will choose between the exuberant West side, and the nonchalant East coast . Let us moderates a little however our remarks, the West side is the most developed but one will still find very calm places such as the village of Bai Lan or Bangbao .
For repeat revelers, we will head to the villages of White Sand Beach (Hat Sai Khao) and Lonely Beach .
West Coast: from the ferry to Dan Mai
Some good reasons to choose Koh Chang
We come to Koh Chang to relax, swim in the turquoise waters of the white Sands or Klong Prao beaches, or treat ourselves to some adventure thrills as we hike the land with a seasoned guide .
We will appreciate the typical activities of the island such as fishing or elephant rides in an inextricable jungle populated by a rare flora and fauna such asJava mongooses, goats living in trees, and dozens of species of birds.
On the seafront , restaurants, and seaside bars offer kayaks, bodyboards, windsurfing and catamarans to explore the small visible islands of Koh Chang or just for a bit of exercise. Finally, when you have toured all the nearby activities, you can take off and organize a day trip (or for several days) to nearby islands such as Koh Mak and Koh Kood .
The offer of accommodation on the island is as varied as it is complete, with as many 4-star hotels and more than accommodation options for travelers in search of very low prices. For those who are allergic to mass tourism, the villages of Salak Phet and Salak Kok will delight travelers in their quest for a more authentic Thailand that has preserved its local traditions with its charming fishing houses and fruit restaurants. Sea held by locals .. for how long longer?
No one knows, so hurry up!
Koh Chang , in the Gulf of Thailand, a designated National Park, is approximately 300 kilometers south east of BangKohk. To prevent environmental damage the Government of Thailand has ensured that no roads will lead to Koh Chang . The island is connected to the mainland by ferries only.
Koh Chang – เกาะช้างThe largest island in the Koh Chang Marine Park archipelago, Koh Chang was named for the elephant shape of its headland, although elephants are not indigenous to the island. Best visited outside of the monsoon season — which runs from about June to September — the sea is warm and clear, the beaches for the most part white and sandy and the interior is filled with National Park protected forest and craggy, picturesque mountains.
Most of the beaches are on the western coast, and each has built up with a distinctive atmosphere based on shopping, activities, partying or chilling out. Accommodation offers a style to suit every type of traveller, from independent low budget backpackers to those wanting a touch of luxury. There are plenty of activities to be organised from almost anywhere on the island: snorkelling and diving trips to nearby coral reefs, jungle treks and elephant rides, not to mention various beach sports.
With it’s long stretches of sandy beaches and bay, Koh Chang’s west coast has become the focus of the development boom, and that’s where most foreign travellers stay on the island. Beaches such as Haad Sai Khao (White Sands Beach), Khlong Prao and Kai Bae have developed more in the past few years than most of Thailand has in the last few decades. If you want to party, swim, dive or do practically anything else you’ll find somewhere that’s perfect for you.
There are three different and definitive vibes from each of the three main west coast areas; White Sand beach, Kai Bae/Khlong Prao and Lonely/Bailan. White Sands is more modern than the others, reminiscent of Kuta in Bali, or indeed its aspired cousin, Phuket. The Kai Bae and Khlong Prao strip is gorgeous on the eye with its quaint village appearance, plenty of quirky shops and bars — certainly more of a tropical island vibe. Lonely Beach and Bailan Bay continue on the topical island theme, but are far more traveller orientated; less souvenir shops, more bars playing Bob Marley. No Italian restaurants, but an abundance of affordable Thai fare. Ultimately it’s a backpackers heaven.
The east coast is home to major Thai villages but few beaches and so attracts far fewer foreign travellers. This side of the island is popular with Thais from cities such as BangKohk and Chiang Mai, who might never have seen the ocean before and want to join in traditional Thai seaside life.
Sea Eagles, monkeys, epic views and jungle noises are all around, and if you’re lucky you may spot the majestic Great Hornbill, resident of Koh Chang but rarely seen. Koh Chang is somewhere you can let your hair down a little, where perhaps those who hit the road in years gone by can capture the spirit of this wonder that we call travelling, yet enjoy the facilities that they yearn in today’s society… namely air-con, hot water and a comfortable bed, and all found in abundance in White Sand, Khlong Prao and Kai Bae Beaches. At the same time, the old scene still exists at places like Lonely Beach, a reminder of what got the ball rolling in the first place.
A word of warning, the roads on Koh Chang are treacherous. The steep gradient of the hills can be very dangerous, particularly during the rain, and every year there are fatal accidents; during our research through mid 2008, three people died in road accidents in one week — serious statistics. If you’re not an accomplished and experienced driver then this is not the island to start to learn. Cars and minibuses travel at breakneck speeds around the island and coupled with the hundreds of motorbikes whizzing about it becomes quite hazardous. Particularly bad stretches of road lead from the ferries to White Sand Beach, between Kai Bae and Lonely Beach, and the stretch from Bailan Bay to Bang Bao. With numerous hairpin turns up high on the cliff there is no room for mistakes. Taxis are a far better and safer option for getting about for the inexperienced. Also worth bearing in mind is that the clinic charges a 4,000B fee just to walk through the door for accident victims, even if all you need is a light bandage and some antiseptic.
Through the last decade, a wave of travellers, both international and domestic has washed over Koh Chang in ever increasing numbers, and its popularity will only continue to grow towards its government driven target of becoming the ‘next Phuket’. That said, Koh Chang has much more of a tropical island feel than its larger cousin Phuket. Phuket Island is a province in itself, with an intricate network of villages and roadways — Koh Chang didn’t even have a main road ten years ago!
Hotel Listing by beach