Deserted sandy beaches with great places to stay!
Koh Chang island, near Pattaya, is a secluded, almost secret beach location that’s a magnet to anyone who loves nature, wildlife, and, most importantly, peace. With such a big tourist industry, many of Thailand’s beaches are becoming a bit over-commercial. So it’s such a refreshing change to find an island not far from Bangkok that still has deserted sandy beaches, crystal-clear water and winding quiet village roads.
Not so long ago, Koh Chang was only visited by the hardiest backpackers who hired fishing boats to take them to the island. But the second largest island in Thailand now has plenty to offer the armchair adventurer too and since the winding ring road has been paved and more accommodation sites built, it is now plausible to spend days, and even weeks, exploring beaches and wildlife without having to smell like a fisherman when you get there!
Getting to Koh Chang
If you are arriving in Thailand via Bangkok, you can take take a ferry directly to Koh Chang out of the Trat province. To get to Trat province you have to spend 5-6 hours on the bus from Bangkok’s main bus station – the bus leaves at 6am and arrives about midday. From the bus station in Trat Province you need to take a songthaew (public transport utility vehicle) about 20 kilometres down to Laem Ngop ferry terminal. Here you will find boats leaving for Ao Sapparot town on Koh Chang island hourly between 8am and 5pm. The ferry takes only about 45 minutes to do the trip out to the island and costs about 30 Baht.
Bankok Airways provides direct connections to Koh Chang, as well. There are three direct flights each day on small twin propeller passenger planes and the flight takes about one hour.
Things to do on Koh Chang
Kayaking: Take a kayaking day tour and explore the island by water.
Yoga: Realign your chakras by practicing personally tailored yoga in the lush, tropical environment. There are plenty of places to practice yoga or take a yoga class in Koh Chang, many of which provide a Thai-style hut in which to stretch and unwind.
Tree Top Adventure Park: Channel your inner Tarzan by swinging from the treetops and enjoying the jungle views from long zip lines at Tree Top Adventure Park.
Beach: Why not explore the white sands of Koh Chang’s many beaches? Klong Son Beach provides a secluded beach, minutes from the ferry pier. Kai Mook Beach and Laem Chaichet will also provide you with peace and quiet if you prefer to stay away from throngs of tourists.
Scuba Dive: Behold exotic marine life and colorful coral in the depths of Koh Chang’s bays.
Overall, Koh Chang provides a stunning and peaceful beach atmosphere where visitors can relax and enjoy the scenery. If you need a harmonious and tranquil vacation, this may just be the island for you.
Places to stay on Koh Chang
Ko Chang Lagoon Resort – located on White Sand Beach on Koh Chang, this 3-star economy resort has nicely laid out rooms with polished timber floors and big wide balcony windows so you can take in the view. Pay the extra for the “sea view bungalows” as they are well worth it, almost right on the water’s edge. The resort has a fantastic restaurant right on the beach where you can watch the lights of the fishing boats of Ko Chang while you eat dinner by candle light. If you’re looking for something with more life, try Oodies Bar across the road where you’ll find good food and live music most nights. Rates start around US$80 per night.
Noren Resort – located on Klong Prao Beach on the West side of the island, this is another economical 3-star resort with bungalow-style rooms, but not as nicely presented as the Lagoon Resort with tiled floors and white painted walls. It also has a lovely big swimming pool and is only a short walk to the beach. There’s a 7-Eleven convenience store just up the street with cheap drinks and snacks. The resort owner will help you to organise tours and activities like elephant rides, etc. Don’t recommend eating in the resort restaurant though, the food is not that great. There are better restaurants a short walk away. Room rates start around US$60 per night.
The Emerald Cove (#2 hotel in Koh Chang on TripAdvisor) – If you’re looking for something more luxurious, this 4-star hotel is expensive but spares nothing to make a great holiday. If you book the Suite Rooms they come with a big spa bath that the staff will fill with beautiful fragrant flowers. The huge swimming pool overlooking the beach has lots of room to laze about and they offer welcome cocktails on your first day or arrival and a “happy hour” each day between 4-5 pm. There’s a well-equipped games room for the kids and some very, very nice restaurants to choose from within the grounds of the hotel. You can even have a romantic private dinner right on the beach. The “sea view” rooms are the best. It’s a bit of a walk to White Sand Beach where most of the bars and shops are located, but nice to come back to at the end of the day. Room rates start at US$77 per night.
Video preview of Koh Chang
Take a look at the many things to do on Koh Chang, courtesy of Enrico Fabiani.