Ko Chang is the foremost tourist destination of Thailanddue to its gorgeous natural beauty, both at land and sea, as well as its white, fine, pristine sand. The island features at its many resorts every comfort imaginable as well asinnumerable activities for tourists. It can be easily accessedthrough its nearby airport and is altogetherreplete with all things required to make a perfect tourist destination.
Ko Chang is the largest of the various islands in the Gulf of Thailand and the second largest in the country after Phuket, with an area of 429 square kilometers. It is situated about 8 kilometers off the coast of the Laem Ngop district. Originally it was part of the Laem Ngop district but currently it represents its own district in the Trat province. Geographically, the island is mostly high mountains and labyrinthine cliffs. Its highest summit is Salak Phet with a height of 743 kilometers above sea level. The summit, rich with rainforests serves as the source of numerous waterfalls and streams, which nourish all the island’s residents, people and animal alike. Part of the island’s surface includes rubber farms and fruit orchards. This aside, Ko Chang is most famous for its beautiful beaches all along its western shores.
Interesting Tourist Attractions on Ko Chang:
Sai Khao Beach (White Sands Beach)
White Sands Beach, located in the island’s southern part, stretches for almost 6 kilometers with immaculate white sands befitting its name forming a bay of lengthy beaches. Beachgoers can swim anywheres along its length though some areas are shallower than others. Tourists can rent bicycles and motorbikes to ride along the paved road that parallels the seashore and which connects to the island’s other beaches. Numerous bungalows populate island along the road and at night one can see the shining lights of restaurants, pubs, bars, and the many affordable guesthouses.
Khlong Phrao Beach
Adjacent to White Sands Beach, lies Khlong Phrao Beach, a long and sloped beachfront. Clean and wide, the beach offers plenty of space for water activities and sports. At the northernmost part of the island is located the Chai Chet Peninsula which is an odd-looking rocky outcrop and the most beautiful viewpoint for the sunset on Ko Chang. This beach has many bungalows for rent andstandard lodging along with all amenities.
Khlong Son Bay
This large bay is situated in the northern part of the western side of Ko Chang. It is private without the crowds, yet the sands are white and pristine and the shore is spacious and beautiful, fit for playing in the water. It’s also the location of Khlong Son village. Close to the bay’s shores, beneath the water’s surface, live coral reefs.
Kai Bae Beach
Kai Bae beach is the most popular beach for tourists because it’s safe for swimming. The shore slopes gradually into the sea. The beach is popular for foreign sunbathers because of its stunning view from which you can see Ko Yuak, Ko Man Nok, and Ko Man Naito which tourists can row boats. Kai Bae Beach has numerous affordable bungalows for rent. Nearby are shops, restaurants, mountain bike rentals, and a taxi pickup/dropoff point.
Bai Lan Bay
Above Kai Bae beach is a footpath cutting through the mountains, taking about an hour to travel up from the beach. On the way you can see the beautiful vistas of the mountain range of Kai Bae beach, which is a long, tranquil beach perfectly suited for both swimming and relaxing because of its tranquility.
Bang Bao Beach –Bang Bao Fishing Village
Bang Bao Beach is a fishing village, fascinating due to its housesbuilt on stilts over the ocean and connected together with bridges. The current residents, for the most part, trace their ancestry back to the people of Salak Petch, who since then have maintained a simple life of small-time fishing at the coasts abounding with soft cuttlefish. The village itself is at the very tip of the island with coral reefs beneath the waters. The area sells many package tours because it connects to the island villagesmore conveniently than other places.
Tourists love the fresh seafood, cheap here at Bang Bao Beach. Both sides of the village feature goods sold by the villagers, laid out neatly for tourists to choose from. Hard to miss especially are the shrimp paste, fish sauce, dried shrimp, and salted fish.
Than Mayom Waterfall
Than Mayom waterfall is behind the office of the MuKo Chang National Park, about 40 meters from the Ko Chang ranger station 1 (Tan Mayom). The entrance is on the opposite side of the ranger station. The entrance path is a paved concrete path and which passes through the village fruit orchards. If you pass the orchards and continue 500 meters, you come to a moderately sized waterfall with 4 tiers, forming a brook that pours down in levels along the black granite gorge and lined with steep cliffs jutting perpendicular to the thick forest surroundings. The cool, relaxed atmosphere is perfect for making camp or playing in the waterfalls.
Historically the site is important because both King Rama V and VI made royal visits to the waterfall leaving their royal signatures, “JPR” and “VPR”, inscribed on the cliffs of the upper waterfall. There is a fishing village nearby surrounded by rich mangrove forests, the largest in Ko Chang. The village, a community carved out of the surrounding forest, follows the remarkable old way of life.
Baan Salak Kok
Baan Salak Kok is in the southern subdistrict of Ko Chang. It’s a traditional coastal fishing village following the old traditions. Other than its traditional customs, the village is noted for its mangrove forests, which, being both the largest in Ko Chang (covering an area of about 260 acres), are also a significant historical site. King Rama V once visited them, leaving in his wake a Buddhist temple, calling it, “Watchakha Makhot Thawip.”
Baan Salak Kok also has a tourist development association providing all kinds of fun activities for tourists, such as kayak expeditions and boat tours to admire the natural beauty of Salak Kok Bay, or to sit on the boat, soaking up the evening glow of the bay, while enjoying dinner.
Khlong Ploo Waterfall
Khlong Ploo Waterfall is located within the Ko Chang National Park about 3 kilometers from the town of Prao Bay. The entrance is about 3 kilometers from Khlong Prao Bay, after which one must hike 20 minutes till you reach the large waterfall, the most beautiful on the island. The waterfall is divided into 3 tiers with the water cascading year round past the cliffs into a basin below.
Khlong Nonthaburi Waterfall
Khlong Nonthaburi Waterfall, in the northeast of Ko Chang, has small tiers, similar to Mae Klang Watefall. There is a 3 kilometer footpath fromBaan Daan Mai or about 4 kilometers from Mu Ko Chang National Park ranger station no.1 (Than Mayom station).
Salak Petch Bay – Baan Salak Phetch
This bay is the largest on the island and home to the island’s largest and oldest community. The bay and its village are located in the southern part of the island. The residents make a living by fishing. The island and its coastal mountains embrace the village, sheltering it from the winds. At the front of the village is an old temple, Wat Salak Petch, built in the time of Rama V when he made a royal visit to the island. Not ony is the bay the largest on the island, but surrounding the bay, servicing tourists, are scattered seafood restaurants and plenty of homestay guesthouses, which, though varied in price, are rustically built in the style of the community.
Baan Rong Thaan
This small community is situated in the area of Salak Petch bay, in the southern part of the island. Tourists enjoy admiring the view of the Salak Petch mountain peaks wreathed in clouds. To the east you can see Maphrao Island (Coconut Island) and a range of mountains on the large peninsula. If you walk up on the hill and enter the monk hermitage at its summit, you can see the whole panorama of Salak Petch Bay.
Sirihet Waterfall, located in the Ko Chang National Park, has a single cascade. If you set out from Baan Salak Phetch, at some point before ranger station no.3 (Salak Phetch station), about 4 kilometers down the way there’ll be a sign on the right side pointing the way to Siriphet Waterfall. If you go in that direction, passing by a rubber tree farm, you’ll find the waterfall after about 3 kilometers. The waterfall is quite high and can be seen from some vantage points in Baan Salak Phetch village. The townspeople use the water from the falls for drinking and general use.
Naval Battle of Ko Chang
The naval battle of Ko Chang happened in the southern part of the island in the territorial waters of Trat in the general area of Salak Phetch bay as well as Salak Kok bay, and are but one page in the history of Thailand’s defense of its sovereignty. On January 17, 1941, while the Thai Naval fleet forced invaders into retreat the Thai naval fleet was completely destroyed. The bravery of the Thai marines is recorded and remembered each 17 of January at themonument for the naval battle at Ko Chang in the district of Laem Ngop.
Travellers can arrive at Ko Chang by a variety of means:
1. By Bus
Regular buses travel between Trat province to the office of the Ko Chang National Park (Laem Ngop), taking about 30 minutes to cover 16 kilometers, after which passengers can board regularly scheduled boats at the Laem Ngop port.
2. By Boat from Laem Ngop Port
In the Laem Ngop district, there are three ports of departure for Ko Chang:
2.1 Laem Ngop Wharf – Ko Chang (Baan Thanramayohm):Ferry or motorboat for hire. Time: 45 minutes.
2.2 Laem Ngop Wharf – Ko Chang (Baan Aow Saparot): Passengers can either take a ferry or motorboat for hire. Four wheeled cars can cross by ferry at a rate of 150 baht per vehicle and 60 baht per person. Takes 45 minutes with boats leaving every half hour. Boats leave for the island between 7am and 7pm, and return between 7am and 6pm. For further details, call 0 3959 7143, 0 3959 7434, or 0 3952 1661.
2.3 Laem Ngop Wharf – Ko Chang (Baan Daan Kao). Both ferry and motorboat for hire, about 500 meters to the south. For roundtrip travel, the cost is 120 Baht per person and free for 4-wheeled vehicles.The trip takes 45 minutes, with boats leaving for the island between 6am to 7pm, and returning between 6am to 7pm.
Another option is to go by modified fishing-cum-passenger boat at 50 baht per boat. The trip takes 45 minutes, with boats leaving every hour between 8am and 5pm, and returning between 7am and 4pm.
3. Travel on the island:
Once on the island, travellers can take songthaew (taxi pick-up trucks) to wherever they need to go next. Songthaewsdepart from the port for Sai Khao Beach, Khlong Phrao, Kai Bae, all for 30 Baht. Other destinations require hiring a driver individually and negotiating the price.
For anyone travelling to Ko Chang, there’s no need to worry about the best season to visit. Anyone travelling there can forget all about the seasons and weather because Ko Chang is worth travelling to year round. Each season has its own beauty and natural splendor. When visiting, there are tons of activities to pick from as you as you choose, whether it be swimming, playing on the beach, exploring waterfalls, climbing the mountains, hiking the jungles, riding elephants, jetskiiing, kayaking, waterskiing, sailing, visiting local farms, rafting, fishing, or diving in the coral reefs amidst the colorful and exotic schools of fish—So considering the options, there’s no excuse not to visit the island of Ko Chang.