It is surprising even to the Thais that Koh Chang is actually the second largest island in the whole of Thailand, behind Phuket. Despite its size and close proximity to the capital, Koh Chang is least known, undeveloped, untouched, forgotten, and left idle for decades. No doubt, all these are a blessing in disguise.
Koh Chang Marine National Park is a secret retreat yet to be explored. Nearly 75% of the Marine Park is protected by law, under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Department of Thailand. This explains how it remains a virtual virgin wonderland shielded from devastating and vigorous developments. Hence, the lack of infrastructure and population. There are few thoughts of modernization.
The locals as well as their regular patrons are pleased the way it is. So, slow and gentle, tranquil and romantic, Koh Chang Marine National Park continues at its own pace, and still, a paradise for those who appreciate nature at its basics more than the sophisticated luxury of modernity.
The coastlines of the Koh Chang Marine National Park is a spectacular work of nature’s art and there are beautiful beaches, coves and bays around the islands. Koh Chang MarineNational Park is indeed a wonderland of fertile virgin rainforests, un-trekked jungles, high peaks, breathtaking waterfalls, beautiful beaches, spectacular coastlines, colorful coral reefs, clear blue sea of warm waters, idyllic islands, fascinating wildlife and an abundance of healthy marine life. All waiting to be discovered.
Realizing the rich tourism resources and the economic potential of the Koh Chang Marine National Park, plans are being carefully mapped out to open up more doors and windows to welcome environmentally-conscious visitors who can appreciate this forgotten paradise of leisure islands. Koh Chang Marine National Park is set to be the new holiday destination within an old natural Marine National Park. Soon it will be a secret no more.
The Chang Marine National Park is comprised of 52 islands, all of which are least exposed and best preserved in nature. Rich in rainforests, well-laden with colourful corals, abundantly stocked with healthy marine lives, encompassed by spectacular coastlines, gorgeous landscape, pristine beaches and crystal clear sea, a visit to these islands is a journey back to nature. Fresh, tranquil and laid-back, these islands are most worthy of a holiday. However, only 10 of these islands are facilitated with accommodation which range from the very basic thatched roof huts of $ 10 a room-night to the more luxurious and sophisticated properties that can cost as much as $100 a room-night.
There are also many island resorts that accept only package tours of full board groups because of its exclusiveness and distance from the mainland. These are well-preferred by those who love isolations. They include boat transfers, full meals, some with side trips and usually at least 2 nights accommodation.
Most of the islands have limited or no development at all. Many of them are uninhabited. The following are some of the best favored islands off the main island of Koh Chang beginning from the north, west and then south of Koh Chang.
KOH CHANG NOI - Laem Chang Noi
Koh Chang Noi is an island off Laem Chang Noi ( Chang Noi Cape ) which is located at the northwestern tip of Koh Chang. The island is comprised mainly of rocks and forest whereas Laem Chang Noi is a cape of purely rocks with no vegetation at all. The beauty of this area lies in the seabed between them where you will find splendid unspoilt virgin coral reefs. Facing the island and cape is the new five-star resort known as the Aiyapura Resort & Spa which has well-appointed rooms with a splendid landscape and superb view.
KOH YUAK, KOH MAN NAI, KOH MAN NOK
Off the west coast of Koh Chang are a small group of islands delightfully visible especially from Klong Prao and Kai Bae beaches. These include Koh Yuak which has a small beachfront of sand formed from decayed corals. The water is clear and shallow qualifying it a good snorkeling spot.
From the shores of Klong Prao Resort the islands form a picturesque view especially during sunset. Next to Koh Yuak is Koh Plee and Koh Suwan, both of which have rocky shores. Around the area of Koh Suwan is an unnamed isle which is found to harbor colourful corals about 6 meters deep. Locals call this Koh Rom which means Umbrella Island because of an outstanding beautiful big tree with an umbrella shape. This is a new-found snorkeling site.
Further down south is Koh Man Nai which is directly facing the shores of Kai Bae Beach and very close to the Sea View Resort. The waters between Sea View Resort or Kai Bae Beach and Koh Man Nai is quite shallow. During the low tide when the island bare its lovely sandy beach one can actually walk amid chest-deep waters from the resort to the island.
Another island called Koh Man Nok looks as if it’s behind Koh Suwan. It is the twin island to Koh Man Nai and is linked together by shallow waters with plentiful of gold-coloured seaweed.