The territory of Thailand is divided between the southwestern part of Indochina, the northern region of the Malacca Peninsula and a huge number of islands. There are more than a hundred of them, and residents have to be creative to give names to all of them. Often the name reflects the shape of the sushi. So the third largest island of Ko Chang resembles an elephant and translates accordingly. Every year the beaches of the resort are becoming more popular, increasing flow of tourists wishing to visit this wonderful place where the water is clear, the sand is white and the summer is all year round.
Geography of Ko Chang
Chang Island is part of a large marine reserve protected by the state. It is preferred by tourists who adore the wilderness with all its amazing discoveries, untouched by human civilization.
Map of Chang Island
Ko Chang is a fairly large island in Thailand, located in the Gulf of Thailand. It is surrounded by several smaller islands, all together they form an archipelago. Another famous island in this archipelago is Ko Wai.
The area of Chang Island is more than 200 square kilometers, comparable in size only to Thailand’s Phuket and Samui. The main hill of Ko Chang reaches a height of almost 750 meters. From here to Bangkok in a straight line is about 300 km.
There are eight villages on Chang Island, where more than 5,000 islanders live. The locals are mainly engaged in collecting tropical fruits and fishing. On the island you will be greeted by very kind and hospitable people.
Weather and Seasons in Chang
It alternates between mountains and impenetrable jungle, gentle beaches, picturesque cliffs. The resort is year-round, the temperature remains stable at 29-33 degrees. The change of seasons is reminded by the increase in rainy days and the amount of precipitation. The high season is the period from November to March. At this time, the sky resembles a curved mirror, no clouds are visible in the piercing blue, and the sea is very calm.
From the beginning of April, the weather begins to change, during the day suddenly came the rain is replaced by sunshine, monsoon winds begin to blow, raising quite high waves. You can relax, but swim with caution, on some days even have to abandon the beach vacation in favor of excursions. During this period, the number of vacationers decreases sharply, and prices fall.
History and Modernity of Ko Chang
Ko Chang is famous for the fact that in the early 40’s of the 20th century during the war between Thais and colonial France near it there was the most serious naval battle of the conflict, the winners of which were the French.
Today, the construction of tourism infrastructure here is largely hampered by the presence of the marine reserve. Environmental laws strictly forbid interfering in the affairs of nature, destroying the untouched jungle, polluting the sea, etc.
According to feedback from tourists in Koh Chang in Thailand bars, clubs, discos and other entertainment venues are built much slower than in other tourist spots in this country. Tourism here is mainly devoted to natural beauty.
Chang Island is a great place for a quiet family vacation with children. Here you will not find drunken students, prostitutes and other charms of modern youth recreation. And the prices on the island are quite reasonable.
You can see the fire shows that are common in Thailand, visit a few bars. Tourists love the elephant rides around the island, and their children love feeding the little elephants.
Sea and river fishing is developed here. Russian fishermen will surely be glad they got to Ko Chang and tasted the amazing fish and seafood. They will enjoy diving, snorkeling, and traveling around the islets of the entire archipelago.
The subtleties of a holiday in Ko Chang
Tourists from European countries have long mastered all the charms of island holidays. Developed infrastructure makes it possible to combine the beauty of unspoiled nature with the comfort of civilization. Sustained interest in Thailand is gradually spreading to many islands, including Ko Chang. Often recreation on them is quite expensive, affecting the need to get from the mainland ferry or boat.
Supply is also by sea, hence the high cost of goods, products and services. Therefore, the necessary things are better to bring with you, and the local markets to buy only small items or fruit. But all costs are repaid by an amazing feeling of unity with nature, tranquility, detachment from global problems.
Arriving on the island of Ko Chang and settled in a hotel, most vacationers go straight to the sea. The beaches stretch across most of the island, varying in comfort level or its complete absence. In total there are 10 beaches, they are concentrated on the west coast. Some of them are chosen by sedate couples, while others are full of noise and fun of youth groups.
Almost all have diving equipment rental stations and diving schools for beginners, and those who prefer calm and idle laziness are offered picturesque umbrellas, awnings, comfortable lounge chairs and freshly squeezed juices.
- White Sand Beach. The noisiest and most popular. Buying a tour from a tour operator, tourists come here. It is gratifying that some of the signs and inscriptions are already duplicated in Russian. It is closest to the pier where the ferry arrives and can be reached in 10-15 minutes. The sandy strip is more of a yellowish color, contrary to the name of the beach. The peculiarity lies in its conditional division into southern and northern parts. In the south the road runs, the hotels are more expensive and pompous, the audience is respectable and does not welcome the noise. The northern part is suitable for young companies, not particularly money, but fun and creative. The prices are lower there and the atmosphere is freer.
- Chai Chet is small and cozy. Located in a picturesque bay, belongs to the coastal hotels. The staff keeps it clean, close to perfect. Perfect for children’s recreation, as the sand is fine and the entrance to the water is shallow, with a long strip of shallow water. Entrance is open to all the main thing, do not take stationary sun loungers and deck chairs.
- Klong Prao is very long and quiet. For 3 km. The narrow strip of sand curves whimsically under the pressure of the waves. Nearby are several expensive and comfortable hotels. The coast is separated from them by a row of coconut palms. They come so close to the edge of the tide that it looks as if they are growing right out of the water. There are no nightly entertainment venues in the immediate vicinity, and there is a quiet, unhurried flow of time.
- Kai Bey is an amateur. Part of the shore is sandy, the rest of the space is covered with pebbles. Very beautiful landscape, convenient for bathing children. Nearby there are cafes and stores, the audience is diverse, a lot of Russian-speaking tourists. In the morning and evening the tide is felt strongly, at this time it is better to refrain from bathing or to tune in beforehand to the new sensations.
- Lonley Beach hid behind a mountain pass. Instead of commercial pavilions, visitors are greeted by the voices of birds, curious monkeys, and the rustle of the surf. There are not many people in the northern part, the picture is slightly brighter in the south, where there are hotels and cafes. There are also inexpensive rooms in hotels, cottages for a day and longer.
- Balian Bay continues Lonley Beach. It has few visitors even in high season, affected by the lack of cafes and stores. At its vastness come for the silence, tranquility, relaxation in nature without the interference of market relations. The coastline is mostly rocky, but there are also sandy fragments.
- Bang Bao does not have comfortable sandy strips. People bathe from the porch of the lodge-hotel. There is an almost staged rustic pastoral, the entourage of an old fishing village is maintained even in minor details. Work small snack bars with a menu of seafood, vegetables and desserts of exotic fruits.
- Kong Koi offers recreation for all tastes. Starting with a fairly equipped area with umbrellas and sun loungers, it gradually leads into the wilds of the virgin forest, where few venture in search of solitude. The sandy strip is not wide, from the sun lounger to the water is only 2 – 3 steps, you can settle under the trees. Very beautiful views, you get great photos. There are no stores or cafes. You have to go to the neighboring village for groceries and necessary small items.
- Grand Lagoon is the only beach with a paid entry or entrance. It belongs to the hotel of the same name, built in the shape of a ship. On the coast there are all the attributes of an advertising image: white sand, pinnate palm leaves, blue sky and clear turquoise water.
- Long Beach is on the east side, hard to get to. It is completely wild, no one is going to clean the shore of seaweed and shells, as the main beaches are concentrated in the west. There are almost no visitors either, except for the curious, no one is in a hurry to swim.
Read more about the best beaches of Ko Chang here.
There are no tall buildings or large hotel complexes on the island. Tourists are offered cottages, bungalows or rooms in 3 – 4-storey buildings hotels. The price policy is flexible, there are very inexpensive rooms with a minimum set of amenities and luxury apartments with the appropriate value.
The cheapest deals start at 150 baht, more reasonable conditions are estimated at 350 – 550, the upper limit of prices depends on the level of comfort and season.
For a 1-night stay, many people recommend The Camping, a hostel near the pier. For a more comfortable stay for a week or more are convenient:
- Tranquility Bay Residence;
- KC Grande Resort.
There is no concept of second or third line hotels on the island. They are stretched in a row on the coast, further begins the possession of the monkeys.
Nightclubs, discos and bars are concentrated near the beaches on the west side. If you want to go with the sun to hear the sounds of nature, but not the merry shouts of drunken tourists, it is worth to choose to stay in hotels near the beaches of Bang Bao, Pearl Beach. Vand Seid employs waitresses who are not particularly burdened by morals; they are happy to continue their work even after serving the customer at the table.
For shopping lovers is not expected. But to find original souvenirs and memorable gifts the range of small 1 – 2 storey stores will do. The cost is slightly more than on the mainland. On the other hand it still needs to get to it, so the benefits are very questionable. The largest souvenir store is located near Vaid Sand Beach. In addition to souvenirs at the shelves not a bad selection of clothes and shoes.
Traditional types of water activities such as skiing, riding a “banana”, scooters on the island are not welcome, because it is included in the Marine Reserve, and disturb the underwater inhabitants, among which there are many rare species, is categorically not recommended. Lovers of outdoor activities can be advised to hike to waterfalls and hiking trails, visiting the rope amusement park.
You can make tours of Ko Chang to see all the most beautiful places of this earthly paradise, take great selfies, do not forget about the extraordinary local waterfalls.
Thaan Ma Yom is one of the most beautiful waterfalls on the island, having four cascades and forming a pool below. Next to it, tourists often set up individual tents or entire campsites and live there for several days.
Klong Plu is the most famous and largest local waterfall. It is located near the beach of the same name, where many tourists relax. It has two cascades and a large bowl, where vacationers love to swim.
Klong Chao Luam also has several small levels or cascades. The waterfall is interesting because it is located near the wild jungle with spiders, this unspoiled nature, which is known for the island of Chang.
Klong Nung is one of the highest waterfalls, it was planned to be a local tourist attraction, but then they changed their minds. Next to the waterfall there is an observation deck and even a toilet.
Kheeri Phet is located near Klong Nung, in the south of Ko Chang. This is a little-visited area where you have to climb uphill to get to the waterfall. Kheeri Phet is low, but has its own bowl.
The island’s waterfalls, part of the local marine reserve, can be viewed for a ticket of 200 baht or $6.40. You do not have to pay this amount for each individual waterfall.
Bang Bao Fishing Village
The houses of the fishermen of this village stand on stilts right in the sea. This is where they fish and process their catch to feed their families. There is a restaurant in the village where tourists can taste the local fish dishes.
In Bang Bao you can get acquainted with the islanders, learn more about their traditions, mentality, way of life. They will teach you how to catch and cook local fish properly. You’re sure to enjoy the hospitality of the locals.
Another peculiarity of the islanders is the sea gypsies living on the island. These are some tribes in southeast Asia that occasionally lead a nomadic lifestyle, i.e. It is correct to call them nomads, not gypsies.
Chao Po Shrine
According to the inhabitants of the island of Chao Po is their deity, the Holy Father. They constantly turn to him in their prayers, they believe that Chao Po helps them, protects them from earthly troubles, is able to perform a great miracle.
This monument is dedicated to the Thai heroes who died during the sea battle with the French colonists in the 1940s. Then the Thai ship was wrecked and most of the sailors died, the islanders honor their memory.
The old Grand Lagoon Hotel is located in Bang Bao Bay. Islanders believe this hotel is a ghost, and vacationers are convinced it was the best hotel on the island. But according to the reviews of tourists inside this hotel on Ko Chang, everything has long rotted and decayed.
Locals believe that this is a very bad, doomed place, because. Many people have committed suicide by jumping off the roof of this mysterious hotel. There is a similar strange abandoned house in Bangkok.
This temple is located on the northern shore of the island and is dedicated to the Chinese sea deity. The temple is quite small, but very beautifully decorated with carvings and covered with colorful paints.
Public transportation in Ko Chang today is underdeveloped. If you want to move around the island, you have a small choice: rent a bike or car, or use the services of local songteo.
According to established practice in Koh Chang bike rental costs about 300 baht, or almost $10 a day. Tenants pay 3,500 baht, or $112 a month, for long-term rentals. A motorcycle helmet is included with the rental agreement as a bonus.
Be sure to bargain with your landlord when you sign a lease for a long period of time. A rental car will cost 1,000 to 2,000 baht, or $32 to $64 per day. Passport is required for paperwork, cash deposit is welcome.
Trips around the island on a songteo certainly cost a lot less. But here, too, you need to negotiate the amount of fare with the driver in advance, haggling persistently, so it is customary. A one-way transfer around the island costs about 100 baht per person.
Songteo is mainly required for tourists to travel along the beaches on the island, which are located at a considerable distance from each other. At night, the prices of this transport seriously increase.
How to get to Ko Chang?
The main ways to get to a Thai island.
There are two ferry piers in Trat province connecting the island to the mainland of Thailand: Ko Chang Ferry Pier and Center Pier Point. Ferries with many passengers depart and arrive here daily.
From Ferry Pier to the island, the ferry takes about half an hour; from Center Pier, it takes about an hour. A one-way ferry ticket costs 80 baht or $2.57, a round-trip ticket costs 120 baht or $3.85.
The nearest airport is located in the city of Trat province of the same name in Thailand, which includes Ko Chang. Bangkok Air flights arrive here. Flight time from Bangkok to Trat City is about an hour. The ticket costs 3,000 baht, or $96.
The official website of this airline https://www.bangkokair.com/ The text on the site is translated from Thai into Russian. Here you can read the flight schedule from Bangkok to Trat and back, other important information, and book a ticket.
When you arrive at Trat Airport, take a mini-bus to the pier at the bus stop near the terminal. The ticket costs 100 baht, or $3.20. Then wait for the next ferry to Ko Chang.
Bangkok has the North and East Bus Stations, and there are decent bus services throughout the country. And the buses are equipped with air conditioning and have a sufficient level of comfort. They can take you to Trat or straight to the pier.
Buses from Bangkok to Trat City run every half hour during the day. From Trat to the pier you can take a sunteo, which takes about half an hour. A ticket on the songteo costs 100 baht, or $3.20.
Not a bad option: rent a bus if you decide to go to the island of a large group. A day’s rent costs 400 baht or $12.8 per person. Tourists still need to contribute money for gasoline, and it costs more than a dollar a liter.
This is the most expensive way to get from Trat Airport to the pier. Cab drivers usually ask at least 4,000 baht or $128 for a transfer. You can try to haggle and, if necessary, reduce the cost of the trip in half.
Tourist reviews of Chang Island in Thailand
Valery Ostapenko, Rostov:
Went to Thailand on Chang with my wife. We were very pleased with the privacy and beauty of this tropical island. Separately, it is worth noting the wonderful beaches.
Natalya Karayeva, Omsk:
The cost of recreation, except for the flight, in Thailand is bearable. And Chang Island is good because they keep it clean. You don’t see that very often in Southeast Asia. We finally got to the real jungle, not the Potemkin jungle.
Ksenia Ustinova, Arkhangelsk:
I can’t say that I liked everything on the island, but you can see that it is developing and being built. I’m used to having fun and entertainment while on vacation, and here it’s like the tourists are afraid to scare the islanders.
Video review of Ko Chang
Chang Island or Ko Chang – one of the many islands belonging to Thailand, which, according to tourists, can safely be called a true paradise. “Chang” in Thai means “elephant,” which is the shape of the island on the map.