A 40 minute ferry boat ride off the east coast of mainland Thailand, would have any first-time traveller to this area understandably feeling as if they were heading in the direction of a remote island, secluded from all forms of modern civilisation to enjoy a truly natural holiday escape, but the approaching Koh Chang Island offers a totally different experience to one imagined in this way.
The Mother Nature aspect is very beautifully maintained on the island, but it exists as a complement to the various developments that were mainly driven by the tourism industry, although this development seems to have been overlooked by the tourism gods in collaboration with Mother Nature, in that the developers have managed to maintain the natural element very well and not disturb it much with their developments of restaurants, bays, nightclubs, resorts and retreats.
Everything fuses together rather beautifully and if the Western influence depicted in the construction and operational structure of the new-age spots like European-style restaurants, Wi-Fi connected coffee houses and loud and packed nightclubs gets too much for you, a quieter side to the island can be enjoyed, away from White Sand Beach.
Lonely Beach and Klong Son Beach (Had Klong Son) make up the other side of the coin, complementing the modernistic appearance and way of life of areas like White Sand Beach, even though White Sand Beach still integrates a very unique holiday experience which is exotic to Koh Chang Island.
Lonely Beach and Klong Son Beach are favourite spots for honeymooners and couples, both for lodging as well hanging out, characterised by long, deserted stretches of white beaches, punctuated by the occasional romantically-inclined dining spot or bar as well as the allure of the seclusion and privacy fit for the romantics.
For those who seek to get a little closer to the more natural side of Koh Chang, experiencing a true taste of ancient Koh Chang cultures and traditions in the process, Bang Bao Bay and Ban Klong Son Village make for the best places perfectly suited to fulfill such desires, particularly Ban Klong Son Village.
While Bang Bao Bay Beach slowly seems to have embraced development geared towards the tourism industry, with a tourist fishing boat departing daily to give tourists a taste of the traditional, local fishing scene, Ban Klong Son Village houses the Ao Klong Son Bay community, which is a group of people who tend to stick a lot closer to their heritage and ancient traditions, as demonstrated by the style of their houses and their way of life.
Rounding up the scope of what Koh Chang Island has on offer, some favourite tourist activities include the likes of snorkelling, hiking, kayaking, elephant back riding and swimming, amongst others.
The local, exotic way of life of some of the villagers in the quieter side of the island, mixed with some aesthetically pleasing stretches of true holiday beaches and the Western influence depicted by some of the restaurants and entertainment venues all make the Thai island of Koh Chang an entire world in one island.