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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.