Ko Chang Island
Where the Sky is Blue, the Air is Crisp and
the Beaches are simply Beautiful
Palm Trees on Koh Chang Island
Ko Chang Island is the perfect getaway where the sky is a lot
bluer and the air is a lot cleaner. Take a dive in the cool, clear waters
at a number of the island's stunning waterfalls, or simply relax on one
of the numerous pristine beaches. Ko Chang is the second largest island
in Thailand and the principal isle of a national marine park
archipelago of some 52 islands scattered around these waters.
The island measures some 30 kilometres (18 miles) from its northernmost point to its southernmost tip and some 8 kilometers or 5 miles at its widest. Some of the many characteristics are the exceptionally beautiful white sandy beaches and the lush vegetation of the island's centrally located jungle-clad interior. The highest peak at Khao Salak Pet reaches over 700 metres above the sea level.
It was only after 2001 that large scale government sponsored development began pouring in as more and more tourists soon discovered an alternative escape route from the more popular islands of Phuket and Koh Samui.
Welcome to Koh Chang Island
People travel to faraway places to watch in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home
Dagobert D. Runes
Prior to this period, Ko Chang was little more than a sleepy fishing
domain frequented by a few locals and the odd adventurous tourist who
happened to stumble upon the island in order to break away for a more
purposeful and peaceful place to rest their weary heads.
Things are a little different now that new money keeps pouring into finance better road systems, luxury resorts and an increasing real estate market for those who want to stay a little longer. Tourists are not the only ones taking advantage of all the crazy development and excitement, as ever so many more Thai's are flocking to Ko Chang, making it one of the biggest growing mainstream destinations.
The Road into Town
Getting to Ko Chang Island
The island of Ko Chang is located along the southeastern Gulf of
Thailand in the province of Chanthaburi and extremely close to the
border of Cambodia.
Take a leisurely drive from Bangkok to the
small fishing village of Trat from where you'll find easy access to
the island. From Trat you'll need to drive a little further south
for about 20 kilometres (12 miles) before reaching the
port of Laem Ngop where various ferry and speedboat services will take
you directly to the island.
Trat is 320 kilometres (200 miles) from Bangkok. A road trip could take you between four and five hours depending on
the traffic and how many other rest stops you might want or need to
make along the way.
Driving around the Island
An alternative would be to sleep over at the seaside resort town of
Pattaya before proceeding to Ko Chang. This is a favourable route as this will
allow you a more scenic passage along the coast as opposed to the drive
inland from Bangkok to Chon Buri and then on through Chanthaburi before
Although the drive from Bangkok to Pattaya is only 100 kilometres or 60 miles, it will take at least 2 hours to arrive due to the heavy traffic out of
the greater city area of the capital. Pattaya is approximately one
third of the total distance.
There is considerably less traffic as you exit Pattaya. I have done this trip myself by road as there is far more to see and experience than with air transport. You could of course, choose to fly directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport to the airport at Trat. The alternative would be to use the regular bus service from Bangkok.
Several new luxury beachfront resorts have been built recently to encourage tourism to the island which was once a hideaway for mainly Thai's. This sparsely populated island makes it the ultimate getaway destination. The western shores of the island are the right spot to be as it is here where you'll discover some of the finest and pristine beaches on the entire island.
Ko Chang Beach Front Setting
Ko Chang Island - The Beaches
Hat Sai Khao or its English name, White Sand Beach is
the most popular destination on the island attracting more and more
tourists every year than any of its closest rivals. Situated on the very
northwestern point, Hat Sai Khao is by far the longest shoreline at
over two and a half kilometres in length.
Apart from its super
wide white sandy beach and its ample shade from a fringe of casuarinas
and palm trees, it also sports an impressive hilly backdrop of lush
forested vegetation. Dozens of luxurious hotels and resorts, scores of
shops and stalls as well as bars and restaurants, line the coastline
between road and sea.
Hat Sai Khao Beach
Hat Khlong Phrae is a stunning long stretch of sloping
shoreline where all good things are possible for total relaxation. The
northern end of the beach connects with Laem Chaichet, a rather splendid
scenic rocky outcrop and popular for sunset spotting due to its natural
surroundings. Not the best place for swimming though. But the
southern end of the beach near Hat Kai Bae offers every kind of water
sports from snorkeling, kayaking, fishing and swimming.
Hat Kai Bae is also a pretty and popular beach destination
situated not far from Hat Khlong Phrao. During high season it can get congested.
Hat Kai Bae Beach
Hat Tha Nam or Lonely Beach as is its other known name
is one of the smaller beaches on the western shore. Due to fairly
inexpensive lodgings in the form of bungalows and beach huts, the area
is frequently over-run by mostly back-packing tourist who love to revel
in the already established party scene.
Ao Bai Lan is the beach of choice should you be wanting to spend
some quiet time. This very laid-back beach is situated a little further
south of Hat Tha Nam.
Sunset over Hat Tha Nam Beach
Best time to visit the Island
It may not always be easy to tell you exactly when is the best time
to visit the island of Ko Chang but I shall pass on my thoughts and the
rest I shall leave up to you to decide. During the peak season between
November and March the island can get pretty much congested and it would
be advisable to book accommodation well in advance. Beach lodgings tend
to fill up very quickly.
Although prices for accommodation and
restaurants are a hell of a lot cheaper from May through to October,
the island is known for its fierce storms and rough seas that tend to
lash the shores and beach huts making it impossible for any water sports
or safe swimming. The upside is that you won't be bumping into any of
your neighbours allowing you some quality time to relax and reflect.
Local Fishing Grounds
Click to find accommodation on the islands of Koh Chang, Koh Samet
and Koh Kood, as well as at Trat, Rayong, Chanthaburi and Pattaya. The site is compiled by a local Thai company and is extremely well
written in English discussing many aspects from beaches, waterfalls,
attractions, trekking, cooking schools and loads of other
Just remember that this
particular southeastern area of Thailand was probably one of the least
visited tourist destinations, but it is now slowly becoming extremely
popular. The next time you are in the country, have time to
spare and want to try something different, then perhaps consider a
special trip in this relatively new area of discovery.
The ultimate place to relax
To see more photos of this island, go to www.pictures-thailand.com
Map of the Island
You may also like these islands and resorts
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