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Koh Chang Attractions

Covering an area of about 429 square kilometers, Ko Chang, boasts a number of amazing natural wonders that blend magnificently with the traditional way of life such as 70 percent undisturbed island rainforest, steep hills, cliffs, waterfalls, and notable wildlife, fine beaches, coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. In addition, numerous fruit orchards dot the island.
koh chang thailand


Most of the scenic (beaches and bays) are on the west side spreading from the north to the south they include Ao Khlong Son , Hat Sai Khao , Hat Khlong Phrao and Hat Kai Bae. A road cuts through the western shore almost reaching Hat Kai Bae where there is a nature trail passing through Ao Bai Lan and Ao Kruat and meandering through wet forestland to Ban Bang Bao, a fishing community on the foot of the hill in the south.

To the east are Ao Sapparot, where a ferry landing is situated and Ao Salak Khok. In addition, along the eastern shoreline is a road cutting through to Ao Salak Phet, a community with a boat pier to the south of the island. Coral ranges worth visiting are at Ao Khlong Son near Ko Chang Noi and around islands south of Ko Chang.

In addition to sea-based attractions Ko Chang has numerous inland attractions including several waterfalls with reasonable access. They are the Khlong Phlu waterfall, 3 kilometers from Ao Khlong Phrao and a further 20 minutes on foot; Khlong Nonsi waterfall, a 4-kilometre walk from park headquarters; and Khiriphet and Khlong Nung falls, which are about 3 kilometers from Ban Salak Phet.

As well as the obvious activities Ko Chang offers many other attractions including waterfalls, temples, the National Park and Museum or the beautiful scenic lookout points, which are all worth a visit. Divers will find fascinating diving areas off of the shores of Ko Chang and the surrounding islands. Besides the many coral reefs, sunken warships, a reminder of times past, can be visited in the Salak Phet Bay.

The Ko Chang National Park occupies an area of 650 square kilometers and is comprised of 47 islets, which spread from Laem Ngob to Klong Yai Districts. . The most popular islands includes Ko Chang, Ko Klum, Ko Ngam, Ko Lao Ya and Ko Rung where natural wonders await travelers. The most popular season for traveling to the National Park is from November to March. The park headquarters are divided into 4 units namely Tha Than Mayom, Ban Khlong Son, Tha Khlong Plu and Ban Salak which provide useful tourist information. At any one of the headquarters, an entry fee of 200 baht is collected.

For transportation to Ko Chang, please refer to the traveling to Ko Chang section.

Wat Bang Bao is on the roadside, next to the turn-off to Ban Bang Bao.

Wat Khlong Prao is located in Baan Khlong Prao, also right off the main road.

Wat Khlong Son is approximately 500 metres from the intersection in Ban Khlong Son, in the direction of the bay.

At the top of the hill after Sapparot Bay towards Ban Khlong Son there is a Chinese temple.

Wat Khlong Nonsi is situated just before the Dan-May Pier in Baan Khlong Nonsi. Turn towards the sea at the intersection on the main road. Proper clothes should be worn during temple visits.

 

Ko Chang Naval Battle Area
This area is located to the south of Ko Chang close to Salak Petch Bay. It is the area where the battle between the Thai and French Naval forces was fought over the eastern border conflict.The Thai Navy holds an annual event to commemorate the combat victory and make merit for the dead naval forces on 17 January.


waterfall koh chang

Namtok Than Mayom
A 3-tiered medium-sized waterfall located behind the park's office. There is a trail situated 500 meters from a durian orchard that leads to the site where King Rama V and VI had visited and signed their royal names on the highest cliff of the cascade.

Namtok Kiri Phet
Located to the south of Ko Chang, approximately 3 kilometers from Ban Salak Petch.

Namtok Khlong Nonsi
This is a little waterfall in the northeast zone of the island. The path to the area lies 3 kilometers from Baan Daan Mai or 3 kilometers from the national park office.

 

Namtok Khlong Nueng
This is a small 120 meter high waterfall situated in a remote area from Salak Petch Community near Salak Petch Waterfall is an ideal place for relaxation.


Ban Salak Petch and Ban Rong Than

These are the largest fishing villages on the island and are ideal venues for visitors wishing to experience or observe their lifestyle. Bungalows and food shops are available.

Bang Bao Fishing Village

Another ideal spot to learn more about the lifestyle of fishermen where residents build up their houses with poles pitched into the sea and the community is linked together via a bridge that reaches every house. In addition, Bang Bao is one of the zones rich in corals.

The main thing to do when in Ko Chang is to relax. Other than that, there are numerous activities for visitors such as fishing, snorkeling and visiting nearby islands. In addition, many resorts rent out kayaks and arrange jungle treks as well as provide all day boat tours to the nearby islands. Moreover, scooters can be rented in most places, which make the island easier to explore independently, however the driver should have some two-wheel experience as the roads have a tendency to fade away to nothing more than tracks.

Beaches
The main beaches on Koh Chang are all on the west coast and are, from North to South, Hat Sai Khao (White Sands Beach), Klong Prao, Kai Bae and Hat Ta Nam (Lonely Beach). There is also a beach past the village of Bang Bao in the Southwest of the island and a couple of others including Long Beach in the far southeast.
beach koh chang

All of the beaches are in attractive settings, with accommodation and facilities. White Sands Beach has the most development and a wide range of dining and entertainment is available. Klong Prao and Kai Bae have fewer resorts but still have a range of restaurants/bars etc. Hat Ta Nam, whilst still having many rooms, has fewer bars and restaurants.

Villages
In addition to settlements at the beaches mentioned previously there are several villages on the island that are worth a visit. Klong Son is the first village reached on the drive to the beaches from the ferry arrival points. Parts of the village are built over the sea in an attractive bay.

Bang Bao is another photogenic village built out into the bay on stilts. There are several small restaurants noted for their excellent fresh seafood and recently guest house and rooms for rent have appeared.

In the far south west of the island, a long way from the most developed areas and resorts is the village of Salak Phet, also noted for good seafood. A recent initiative has been the introduction of home stay accommodation in Bang Bao and Salak Phet. Enquire there for accommodation possibilities.

Also the Koh Chang Discovery club works with local people to offer tours of the island. Visitors can sample the local way of life visiting villages and taking part in fishing and other island pastimes. Call 01 919 3995 for more information.

Diving & Snorkeling
There are some excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities around Koh Chang. The diving in the area is primarily at reasonably shallow depths with good reefs located at 5 to 25 metres. Visibility can reach 30m but is variable. Generally visibility is worse near to the full moon and better to the south of the islands. Diving can be done year round but the best time to dive is between October and the end of May since rougher seas during the rainy season can reduce visibility.
scuba diving koh chang


There are impressive reefs in the area with a variety of soft and hard corals including Massive, Columnar and Stagshorn Corals. These support a range of tropical reef life including Blue Tipped Rays, Moray Eels, Trigger Fish, Grouper and Batfish. Turtles can be spotted and Whale Sharks are also seen in the area from time to time.

There are a series of dive sites offering good diving at 5-18m around the seamounts and small islands to the West of Koh Chang. These include Koh Man Nok and Hin Sam Sao.

The deeper dive sites are located off islands to the South of the Archipelago. Hin Luk Bat has a lot of good coral and some good swim-throughs. Hin Raap is a deeper rocky site with good soft corals. Other good sites lie off Koh Rang.
The Island currently has several dive operations. On White Sands Beach O.K. Diving have offices on the road and the beach, Koh Chang Divers are based at Bamboo Bungalows, Paradise Divers have an office at Arunee Resort, Eco Divers operate from their Dive Resort and . Koh Chang Dive Point is located at Nature Bungalows on Lonely Beach. Seahorse divers are in Kai Bae.

The price for a two-day Introduction to Scuba course is around 3,000B whilst full PADI certification costs around 10,000B. Pleasure dives cost 2,000-3,000B, depending on site, for two dives with lunch. All other PADI courses are also available.

Whilst the beaches of Koh Chang themselves offer little opportunity for snorkelling other islands in the chain can be reached by boat trips and there is some excellent shallow reef for snorkelling at these sites. Additionally the dive shops will take snorkellers on their boats. Contact them for prices and details. Iyara Resort operates a watersports centre with sailing, windsurfing, water skiing etc.

Swimming
It is generally fine to swim off all of Koh Chang's beaches. In the high season conditions are calm and safe. Note, however, that during the rainy season heavy seas with rip tides can develop and people drown every year. Basically, don't swim beyond your abilities and if the sea looks dangerous it probably is so stay out of the water when it's too rough.

Boat Trips
A variety of boat trips are available around the islands. These can be used as a means of travel between the islands or simply to go for a day trip of sightseeing or snorkeling. Chow Lay in Bang Bao have several speedboats available for hire. Call 01-305 6585.

The new Koh Chang Marina (Phone: 01-782-6383) is located near to Salak Phet and offers moorings for yachts in addition to boat tours of the neighbouring mangrove forests, fishing trips and canoe and paddle boat rentals.

Sailing In Thailand offer live-aboard sailing holidays amongst the islands.
Inter-Island Hopper operate boat trips from Bang Bao in the south of Koh Chang to some of the other islands.

Boat trips run from Chai shop in Bang Bao visiting 3 islands with a daily transfer to Koh Wai. Several of the resorts in White Sands Beach, Klong Prao and Kai Bae offer snorkeling trips to the corals off nearby islands such as Koh Yuak. The cost is around 200B. Enquire at the resorts.

Walking
The mountainous jungle interior of the island offers some challenging and enjoyable walking. Several people on the island act as guides and due to the demanding terrain and bad paths it's probably worth taking a guide unless you're an expert.
Treks can be arranged at various places on the island. The best bet is to ask around or look in travel agencies. Costs are around 400 Baht a day. Overnight camping treks can also be arranged.

Wildlife
Most of Koh Chang is covered in rain forest that has been largely undisturbed due to the mountainous terrain of the island. There are also good examples of mangrove forest ecosystems where the island's numerous streams meet the sea. Marine National Park status was awarded to the island chain in 1982 in an effort to preserve the exceptional land and marine environment.

The forests of the island support a large range of wildlife. A survey conducted for Thailand's National Park Service in 1992 recorded 29 different species of mammal on Koh Chang. These included the Stump-Tailed Macaque, Barking Deer, Wild Pig, Javan Mongoose and Silvered Langur. Birdwatchers will be pleased to know that seventy four bird species were found including the Nightjar,

Pacific Swallow, Yellow Vented Bulbul and Oriental Pied Hornbill
Additionally the survey noted 42 different species of amphibians and reptiles. Snakes that inhabit Koh Chang include the Python, Rat Snake and King Cobra. Malayan Mud Turtles, Monitor Lizards and the ubiquitous Gecko are also found on the island. There are also a variety of very vocal frogs. The aptly named Koh Chang Frog is a species unique to the islands.

Waterfalls
There is an impressive waterfall at Klong Plu near Klong Prao in an unspoiled jungle setting. It costs 200B to enter the national park. The waterfall is at the end of a half kilometre jungle path. A swim in the plunge pool is a pleasant way to cool down after the walk to the falls. Than Mayom waterfall is on the West side of the island and is a pretty multi-level falls.

There are two other waterfalls near to Salak Phet in the south-west of the island. Both are clearly signposted. There are also smaller, more hidden, waterfalls up the valleys behind Klong Son, White Sands Beach and Kai Bae. These often dry up outside the rainy season.

Elephant Trekking
You can go elephant trekking at two places on the island. Chang Chutiman operate economical and popular elephant trekking to the interior of the island from Klong Prao village. The treks are a good opportunity to sample some of the beautiful scenery of inland Koh Chang.


trekking koh chang

They also offer island tour packages and can pick you up from your hotel. they have a recent addition in the form of a photogenic baby elephant. Call 09 939 6676/07 135 7424 for bookings. Baan Kwan Chang offer elephant treks that take place in an inland valley to the North of the island. To get there turn inland at Klong Son and proceed for about 2km.

Monkey School
The new Koh Chang Monkey school near to White Sands Beach features highly trained monkeys who perform a variety of stunts and tricks for visitors three times daily at 10am, 2pm and 4pm.


monkey school koh chang


Massage
There are a number of Thai masseurs who operate on all the beaches of the island charging around 200B per hour. Also there are several small massage shops on the road at White Sands Beach. Additionally there is a school of massage in Klong Prao, which offers courses in traditional Thai massage.

Reading
If you run out of reading material there is a second hand bookshop opposite Ban Pu resort on White Sands Beach and at Alina resort. More economically some of the resorts offer book rentals and exchanges. Thor's palace and Tantawan on White Sands have good selections. Kai Bae has a range second hand books available from Kai Bae Internet and both new and second hand books are on sale in Relax Centre. Chai Shop and Kruwa both sell & exchange books in Bang Bao. Ask around for exchange services at other resorts.

Photography
If you're a keen photographer many photo opportunities await on Koh Chang. All types of film can be developed in Trat. Alternatively you can hire a digital camera from Friend Net on White Sands Beach. They also sell CD's with huge numbers of photographs of the island for only 300 Baht. Several of the photos in this issue are gratefully taken from this collection.

Shopping
You can pick up a surprisingly large range of goods, both souvenirs and necessities in Koh Chang. There are a growing number of shops selling souvenir items on the major beaches. These include carvings, jewellery, ethnic clothing and handicrafts, bags, T-Shirts, CDs etc.

Gioni Collection, Koh Chang's first custom tailor has just opened at Sabay Plaza on White Sands Beach (Tel - 09 200 3046).
Koh Chang Grand Tailors is at the Koh Chang Plaza in Klong Prao (01 267 6385).

You can, for the first time, now get your photos developed without leaving the island at Thai Express at White Sands Beach Plaza.
There are also small supermarkets and shops on all the beaches selling a reasonable range of foods, groceries, hardware and the like.



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