Koh Chang (meaning ‘Elephant Island’ in Thai) is the third-largest island in Thailand, after Phuket and Koh Samui, and is situated in the Gulf near Cambodia and is part of an archipelago of 52 islands that sit within Mu Ko Chang National Park. From lush green tropical forests and rugged mountains to sweeping bays and white sand beaches, an abundance of cascading waterfalls to flourishing coral reefs, Koh Chang has many things to suit all tastes, making tourism a bustling sector of its economy.
The cost of living in Koh Chang is a lot lower than in other popular islands. Ko Chang tourism has risen (before the covid pandemic) but it is still relatively more “peaceful.” Accommodation tends to be reasonably priced in the mid-range level. Food options are varied and readily available and also reasonably priced. Koh Chang isn’t the cheapest Thai island but it certainly isn’t the most expensive like Koh Kood or Phuket.
More importantly, our travel specialists can share their expertise with you and help you arrange a holiday to your desired destinations to fit your budget!
Klong Prao beach
Mu Koh Chang National Park Viewpoint
Khiri Phet Waterfall
There is no one perfect Koh Chang beach. Instead, the island boasts many impressive powder-soft sandy beaches with waters reflecting various shades of turquoise.
The White Sand beach is the most popular on the island and so attracts the highest amount of tourists. Found towards the north of the island, some of the island’s best resorts are situated close to the beach.
Klong Prao and the nearby Kai Bae beach are great options for families looking for a good value beach resort. They boast a mix of large 4-star hotels, resorts and mid-range bungalows. If you’re feeling adventurous, spending time on the southern end of Klong Prao or Kai Bae beach gives you a fantastic view of the closest islands of Koh Suwan and Koh Rom, where you reach them in a kayak in under 30 minutes from the Klong Prao beach shore.
The soft white sand beach with clear water towards the south of the island is known as Lonely Beach. Most hostels, budget hotels and bungalows can be found here but they are not beachfront but instead nestled between reggae bars and cheap eateries. This area is also the centre of Koh Chang nightlife during the high season.
Two kilometres to the north of Lonely Beach is the popular family spot of Bailan Beach with several cosy mid-range bungalow resorts near the centre of the small village. Down towards the southern coast of the island you will find the very laidback and gorgeous Klong Kloi beach which boasts picturesque views of the islands to Koh Chang’s south.
If you’re wanting to escape the main touristy haunts and discover a more peaceful life on Koh Chang, then it’s a good idea to explore the eastern side of the island. The eastern side of Ko Chang is less developed and more isolated than the West and the only way to explore it is via rented motorcycle as the public pick up trucks don’t generally venture that way. Salak Phet Bay is the huge u- shaped bay in the southeast of the island with one tranquil beach called Long beach, with only a couple of places to stay and eat. Salakkok Beach is an undeveloped mangrove-lined bay also in the same region of the island. There’s no resort available here and it remains a quiet local spot for fishermen.
Snorkelling is the best way to explore the island’s marine life to discover Koh Chang’s incredible world of colourful coral reefs, aquatic creatures and shipwrecks. Most snorkelling spots are easily accessible and it is also the perfect place to get your diving certification. Numerous excellent dive centres can be found in the main resort areas. Bang Bao in the southwest is the diving hot spot.
A day out to the scenic Koh Chang Archipelago or a chartered yacht trip around the island is the ideal way of getting a different perspective of the island.
Nature lovers will revel in hiking through the dense jungle along lush mangroves and dramatic waterfalls. Klong Plu situated on the west coast about 1 km inland from Klong Prao beach is the most visited waterfall by tourists as it is the easiest to reach in about 20 minutes on foot from the entrance to the national park. It’s popular because you can swim in the large plunge pool at the foot of the falls or in some other smaller pools further downstream.
There are a number of other waterfalls scattered through the national park. On the east coast, you will find Than Mayom waterfall which is a popular destination for Thai royals and tour groups. They come to see the names of the two former kings Rama V and Rama VI who had previously carved their names on the rocks. To reach the falls involves crossing a few small river streams and there are no bridges so your feet will get wet, but once you get there you will be able to swim in the rock pools.
Klong Nonsi is a four-tiered waterfall also on the east coast where visitors can swim in the first two levels but it will require some effort and skill to reach the higher tiers by using only rope rails up the rock face.
Klong Neung is the tallest waterfall on the island but one of the least visited because of the challenging route to reach there which involves navigating slippery obstructed trails through dense jungle. It is not advised to go alone in case you slip and injure yourself because this place is infrequently visited by tourists. Make sure you have experience and skill in hiking routes with higher difficulty levels before attempting this trek.
By contrast, Khiri Phet waterfall is on the way to Koh Chang Marina and easy to reach with swimmable pools so it is a good option for families with children. The route to reach the higher tiers involves climbing some rocks but they’re slippery and it’s an easy climb.
There are a few official hiking trails where you can go on your own and a few lesser-known ones where you will need the assistance of a local to take you there. Salak Phet is the highest mountain on the island situated in a national park and its summit offers some spectacular panoramic views, but it’s not the easiest to reach so beginner hikers beware! It is a challenging 744-metre climb to the viewpoint that will leave you breathless from the gruelling effort to get there, but you are sure to be rewarded by the breathtaking vistas. There are a number of jungle trekking day tours that help you navigate the climb, generally taking 5 hours to ascend and 3 hours to descend.
From Suvarnabhumi Airport you can fly from Bangkok and from Trat airport, it’s about a 30-minute drive to the ferry terminal, for the shuttle service to the island of Koh Chang. The ferry crossing takes around 40 minutes. If you have already booked your accommodation on Koh Chang, many hotels offer door-to-door private transfers from Trat airport to the ferry then onto your hotel on the island. Driving from downtown Bangkok to the port in Trat can take up to 5 hours. The cheapest option to Koh Chang is via public bus which also generally contains the ferry ticket included in the price or another option is by shared minivan to the port in Trat.
There is also a land travel option from Bangkok.
Express bus №392 takes off from Bangkok Airport to Koh Chang island each day. This includes the ferry ride from Trat Pier, where you can purchase your ticket, and get to Koh Chang.
Driving from downtown Bangkok to the port for the ferry terminal in Trat can take up to 5 hours. The ferry crossing, a regular shuttle service to Koh Chang takes around 40 minutes.
About 70% of Koh Chang is covered in rainforests, mountains and beaches, travellers and visitors come to the island to enjoy its natural beauty.
The island is famous for its great diving and snorkelling spots, making Koh Chang one of the popular dive destinations in Thailand. There are also the bounties of nature found on the island, like the majestic and beautiful waterfalls in several parts of the island. Not to omit mentioning the wealth of wildlife, the many species of birds, deer, monkeys, even snakes.
Popular things to do in the island are jungle trekking, kayaking diving and snorkelling.
Koh Chang has seen a rise in tourism over the past five years but compared to islands in Thailand such as Phuket or Koh Samui, it is nowhere as busy. Due to its large size, even when it is peak season, it never feels too busy which is one of its main appeals.
You can take a flight to Trat on the mainland and from Trat airport it is about a 30-minute drive to the ferry port. The ferry journey takes around 40 minutes. Driving from downtown Bangkok to the port in Trat can take up to 5 hours. The ferry journey onward to Koh Chang takes around 40 minutes.
The general consensus is about 3 to 5 days to explore the island, with the longer timeframe allowing enough time for chilled beach time combined with 1 or 2 days trips to the neighbouring islands.
They are a common sight on the island as there are several elephant trekking tours in operation. There are now six elephant camps on Koh Chang. They live within their natural environment and feed on native plants but for the most part, they are domesticated and not wild.
The rainy season is undoubtedly the best time of year to visit the islands beautiful waterfalls because they will be in their full glory overflowing with water.
Koh Mak is approximately 20 kilometres south of Koh Chang. Via speedboat there are daily departures from Kai Bae on Koh Chang, the journey takes about one hour. You can also take a speedboat from Bangbao which takes only 40 mins but it will involve jumping on a local pickup truck to access the pier. Another option is by traditional longtail boat which departs daily from Bangbao and takes two hours. Be aware that Boats from Koh Chang to Koh Mak don’t operate in the low season (June- mid-Oct).
It is approximately 30 km long and 14 km wide.
The distance is approximately 260 km and it takes up to 14 hours to drive plus ferry transfers or just over 1 hour on a flight.
Koh Chang Thailand is more than nice. It is a wonderful place to visit! It is definitely one of the nicest islands of Thailand! The reason why tourism has become a growing industry in its economy! There are so very many things to do, places to visit and explore, activities and events to experience in Koh Chang island. Here are some of them that are mentioned and rated well by travellers and tourists to Koh Chang island.
The beaches. The whole island of Koh Chang is surrounded by beaches, white sand beaches! The most famous are the Lonely Beach on the west coast, Klong Koi Beach, near Bang Bao, Bailan which is near Lonely Beach, popular among backpackers because of its many budget huts in the area, White Sand Beach, Kai Bae Beach, Klong Prao Beach. Lonely Beach is not that lonely, it is full of tourists and travellers and its nightlife is active and exciting. But, one can watch the incredible sunset at this beach – which all tourists to Thailand long to see.
Luxuriate in the beauty and magnificence of nature’s flora and fauna. Koh Chang, or accurately, Elephant Island, is part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park. Therefore, you can expect the best of nature’s gifts to Thailand to be there for you to see and explore and experience.
The island has become home to so many monkeys. They are naughty, yes, stealing things, but they can and are still kind of cute.
The waterfalls, 7 of them, that is awe-inspiring considering the small size of Koh Chang island. There is Klong Plu, the most visited, then Than Mayom, for which an entrance fee is charged. Other waterfalls are Klong Neung, Kiripetch, Klong Nonsi, Klong Jao Leuam, and Kai Bae, the waterfall most challenging to get to.
Hiking. There are some hiking trails around Koh Chang, for a half-day trek through the dense forest toward some waterfalls, or even a multi-day walk. Revelling in the waterfalls, the wildlife, will make the heat bearable.
Day trip-Boat ride to nearby islands. One of the easiest to access from the Koh Chang ferry piers, like in Bao Bang, is Koh Wai, where a slow boat will take 40 minutes, or 20 minutes by speedboat. There are also the islands of Koh Mak and Koh Kood.
Marvel at the breathtaking sunsets on the island. Marvelling at the sunset in Koh Chang beaches is going to be one of if not the most memorable of your experiences on the island. The sun slowly sinks to the ocean or retreats beyond the hills, like a slow-mo moment in a film that leaves you gaping in wonder and awe. Lonely Beach and Klong Koi Beach are among the best spots for this activity.
Frolic in the clear blue waters. The shallow waters around Koh Chang and accessibility to nearby islands make it one of the best locations in Thailand for beginner divers. There are schools and shops for gear in your snorkelling or diving.
Snorkelling to reefs and wreck sites – a full-day trip around Koh Chang and Koh Rang National Park. Best to make this a guided tour, which you can have our travel specialist arrange for you.
Scuba diving for beginners – We can arrange this for you, too.
Kayaking – the calm waters around Koh Chang make kayaking one of the popular things to do. There are several shops from which to rent one. You can also get this arranged by us.
Spa Treatments. Like any other destination in Thailand, Koh Chang has myriad choices of types and classes of spa treatments. Some hotels have this service among their amenities. Spa treatments in Thailand are way cheaper than you’d expect for a rejuvenating, invigorating or relaxing experience!
Food Tripping. Koh Chang is an island in Thailand – equivalent to mouth-watering spicy, tasty, delectable exotic food!
Lonely Beach area and other big villages have international restaurants but hey, you won’t need your regular pizza when delicious Thai cuisine is there at hand. Bang Bao is among the former fishing villages, so you can certainly find seafood restaurants here, fresh and equally delicious. Beachfront restaurants are aplenty near the beach resorts. There will be seafood and other barbecued dishes, as well as music and other entertainment.
Your food trip has two aspects of enjoying Thai cuisine – eating Thai food and learning to make Thai food yourself. There are several cooking classes available in Koh Chang, offered as a come-on among the perks of some hotels and beach resorts, or in some restaurants, too.
The island of ko Chang is part of Ko Chang District in the Trat Province of Thailand. Ko Chang literally means “Elephant Island” and this comes from the elephant shape of the headland. There are, indeed, elephants on the island but these are not indigenous to Ko Chang.
Being smaller in size and relatively new to Thailand’s tourism industry relative to Phuket and Samui, Ko Chang is less touristy and safe.
Guest reviews and comments all mention the safe holidays they had in Ko Chang, even at night. Of course, there is the constant reminder to use common sense (like displaying a thick wad of bills in your wallet) and the standard safety procedures when travelling to a foreign country.
The island has a shuttle service handled in two ferry piers. The Ao Thammachat and the Centerpoint ferry terminal, located at Laem Ngop district, around 30 minutes from Trat. There is an hourly departure starting 6 AM until 7:30 PM, the ride takes 45 minutes.
Ko Chang has no airport but you can fly from Bangkok to the Trat Airport. this is owned by Bangkok Airways. The airport is only a 15-minute drive from the main ferry terminal.
Going to Koh Mak from Ko Chang is by ferry to the mainland pier, from where you can arrange for a pickup by taxi to Trat to the Krom Luang Pier in Laem Ngop district. The Centrepoint ferry pier is closer than the Ao Thammachat pier. At the pier, you can purchase your ticket for the speedboat ride to Koh Mak.
If you want to snorkel off the beaches of Ko Chang itself, these are the places for that water sport.
– Pearl Beach, near Enjoy Resort and Paradise Palms resort on Haad Kai Mook Bay, on the west coast of Ko Chang island
– Chai Chet Resort Pier of Klong Krao beach
– Cliff Cottage cove, on the southwest tip of Ko Chang, with Bang Bao close enough to see
You can also ask our travel specialist, when you prepare your booking to Ko Chang, to arrange for a snorkelling trip to the nearby islands of Koh Rang, Koh Wai, Koh Yak
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