Koh Chang (Elephant island) located in the Gulf of Thailand South East of Bangkok is one of Thailand’s largest and prettiest islands. It has a number of great sandy beaches, relaxed atmosphere and is blessed with beautiful natural surroundings.
The island of Koh Chang is much less developed and crowded than places like Phuket and Koh Samui and is a relaxed and natural place. People of this island still mostly engage in fishing and agriculture which adds to the charm of the island.
Koh Chang can be reached by car and ferry in about five hours from Bangkok or by airplane to Trat, where a minibus can be booked to the ferry which takes around 30 minutes. The island is part of the Koh Chang National Marine Park which comprises of dozens of small and largest islands. The interior of the island consists of forested mountains, where visitors can see waterfalls or go hiking.
Beaches and resorts
Most of the resorts and hotels are located on the west side of the island, which has a number of fine, long sandy beaches fringed with large palm trees. One of the longest and most popular beaches is White Sand beach (Haat Sai Kao), which is very suitable for swimming. A large number of resorts and bungalows can be found here, from very basic to top of the line. Many restaurants, shops and bars are located along the beach road.
A Thai massage is a great way to relax, especially after a long plane or car journey and can be had in many spas and hotels on this beach. Herbal scrubs, reflexology, aromatherapy and other treatments are also offered widely. South of White Sand beach are Klong Phrao beach, Kaibae beach and Lonely beach that are less developed and quieter.
Bang Bao fishing village
On the southern tip of the island lies the village of Bang Bao, a fishing villages that makes for a great day trip.
Fishermen have built their wooden houses on long poles over the sea which offers many great photo opportunities. This is also the place to enjoy a fresh seafood lunch in one of the restaurants overlooking the bay.
Bang Bao has a long pier, where regular boats and speedboats depart to surrounding islands, like Koh Wai, Koh Maak and Koh Kood. These islands offer some good dive and snorkeling sites where the water is clear and corals and fish can easily be seen.
On the southern tip of Koh Chang, in Ao Salak Phet lie the wrecks of two Thai navy ships, which is also a great spot for diving. Koh Chang offers a large number of water activities such as parasail, snorkeling, diving, canoeing and sailing. Other popular activities include hiking, mountain biking, elephant trekking and Thai cooking classes.