Koh Chang is a must-visit island. Have you been yet?
The islands of Thailand are — quite simply — paradise. They all have their own unique character and some are more touristy than others.
Despite being one of the largest islands in the Land of Smiles, Koh Chang in the eastern Gulf of Thailand is much less developed than popular islands of a similar size such as Phuket and Koh Samui, which makes it a haven for travellers who come to explore the steep, lush jungle mountains, breathtaking waterfalls, authentic fishing villages, mysterious mangroves, and the tranquil wide, sweeping sandy bays lapped by gentle turquoise waves — as well as making the most of the thriving party scene and nightlife.
Let’s find out more about this island haven…
- 1 Koh Chang Weather
- 2 Bangkok to Koh Chang
- 3 Things to do in Koh Tao
- 4 Koh Chang Hotels
Koh Chang Weather
There are three seasons on Koh Chang, with high season (the most popular time to visit the island) running from mid November through to mid March.
At this time, the weather is gloriously sunny and fine with daytime temperatures averaging between 27°C and 30°C with very little rain.
Following on from high season, the hot season from mid March to mid May sees temperatures rocketing — often reaching peaks of up to 38°C.
Sea temperatures during this time also heat up, offering little chance to cool off from the hot, humid atmosphere.
If you can handle the sticky heat this can also be a good time to visit Koh Change, as there are slightly fewer tourists than at high season.
Thailand is famous for its rainy season, and the monsoon showers start falling at the end of May and last all the way up until October.
Thunderstorms during this time can be intense and unpredictable, mainly occurring during the night or in the early morning.
That said, in between storms, there can still be plenty of blue skies and sunshine, with high temperatures of around 30°C.
This might not be the most agreeable time of year to visit Koh Chang, but the rain does have the advantage of lowering prices on the island, and with less tourists there is more opportunity to explore this beautiful island in peace.
Here’s a quick video tour:
Bangkok to Koh Chang
Koh Chang is a little remote, but that’s part of its charm.
Despite that, there are still multiple different ways of getting there from Bangkok. The mode of transport you choose comes down to budget, time allowance, and personal preference.
Here’s the lowdown on ways to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang…
Koh Chang does not have its own airport, so getting to Koh Chang from Bangkok by plane is a multi-step journey.
The nearest airport is Trat on the mainland, to which Bangkok Airways fly three times daily from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport.
The flight time is fast (lasting only 1 hour) so this is definitely the quickest way to get to Koh Chang, but it’s also the most pricey, with plane tickets costing around 2500 THB.
The next stage in the journey is to take a ferry across to Koh Chang.
Trat airport is situated about 20 km from the nearest ferry piers of Ao Thammachat and Centrepoint, and travel time to get to either pier is around 30 minutes.
Thankfully, the ferry schedules have been designed with incoming flights in mind, so whichever flight you take you should be able to make it to the ferry without having to wait too long in between crossings.
From Trat airport most people choose to buy a combined shared minibus and ferry ticket which costs 500 THB one way.
The minibuses are also organised in line with flights arriving from Bangkok, so this is the least stressful and most sensible option which is sure to get you to the ferry on time, and the service can be booked in advance.
The alternative is to hire a private car from 1,800 THB (big enough for 2 people) or minibus from 2,300 THB (big enough for 6 people) which also includes the price of the ferry tickets.
By Minibus or Bus
It works out much cheaper to get a minibus or government bus to get you from Bangkok to Koh Chang than the cost of a plane ticket — particularly during high season which sees a hike in prices.
Government bus services leave from Ekkamai, the Eastern Bus Terminal or Mochit, the Northern Bus Terminal.
Minibuses from Bangkok to Koh Chang depart from Khao San Road, and should cost around 600 THB to 750 THB per person.
There’s also a minibus service from Suvarnabhumi Airport, with 4 departures a day. A combined minibus and ferry ticket costs 600 THB one way with the total journey time (including ferry crossing) taking around 6 and a half hours.
Private Vehicle Hire
Hiring a taxi all the way from Bangkok to Koh Chang is a decadent but comfortable option which can cost anything upwards from 4,000 THB, but may still work out cheaper than a plane ticket.
Remember that usually the price of the ferry crossing is not included in these private bookings.
Alternatively, you could book a PGS charter from Bangkok to Koh Chang, which costs 5,280 THB for 3 passengers and 5,830 THB for a 9 passenger minibus which includes the price of the ferry crossing. Journey time is around 4 to 5 hours.
Both Ao Thammachat pier and Centrepoint pier run ferries which take you directly to Koh Chang. Ao Thammachat pier is the slightly more convenient, with ferries leaving every 45 minutes from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm.
Journey time between the mainland and Koh Chang usually takes 30 minutes, and a stand alone ticket from Ao Thammachat pier costs 80 THB for foot passengers.
Centrepoint Pier provides crossings to Koh Chang once every hour from 6:30 am to 7:00 pm. The crossing to Koh Chang typically takes 45 minutes and a one way foot passenger ticket costs 80 THB.
Ferries departing from Centrepoint pier arrive at Dan Kao pier on Koh Chang. Ferries departing from Ao Thammachat pier arrive at Ao Sapporot pier on the northeast coast of the island, which is slightly better placed than Dan Kao pier for most resorts and / or onward travel.
Things to do in Koh Tao
Mu Koh Chang National Park
Koh Chang is the principle island amongst the 52 islands in the archipelago making up the incredible 650 square kilometres of rainforest jungle, sandy beaches, and surrounding ocean of Mu Koh Chang National Park.
Much of the central part of Koh Chang is protected and nominal entrance fees are occasionally charged for certain attractions, such as to some of the waterfalls.
Guides can be hired to explore the park, and it’s well worth taking the trip to Mu Ko Chang National Park Viewpoint which offers awe inspiring views of the surrounding jungle and the Gulf of Thailand. It is also possible to camp in designated areas.
Koh Chang is also the gateway to the other islands in the national park, which are home to large numbers of exotic bird species, animal species including macaques, deer and python — and in the ocean waters diverse marine life including teeming coral reefs and turtles.
White Sand Beach
It’s not mystery how White Sand Beach got its name, and its glorious white, fluffy sands stretch out along 3 kilometres on the west coast of the island.
This is Koh Chang’s most popular beach and the atmosphere is always buzzing.
The sea is calm and excellent for swimming, and there are a number of beachfront resorts on the palm fringed sands, from high end hotels to backpacker bungalows.
There are a choice of chilled beach bars and restaurants on the central section of White Sand Beach, where you can dine by candlelight and watch the sun go down or spend lazy days sipping cocktails.
Inland from the beach there are several streets filled with restaurants, fast food outlets, clubs and bars, souvenir shops, convenience stores, and more to cater for your every need.
Yes, this is a touristy beach, but it still remains very pretty and provides plenty of activities for both families and party people.
Khlong Phlu Waterfall
Tumbling from the top of dramatic craggy cliffs in the jungle, Khlong Phlu Waterfall is a spectacular sight that is loved by locals and tourists alike.
The waters plunge into an upper and lower pool which are popular spots for taking a dip in the refreshing waters.
It’s pretty easy to get here too, requiring a short and easy 600 metre walk on a shady path alongside a babbling stream.
There’s also a nature trail to follow from the waterfall that is well worth exploring.
Access to Khlong Phlu Waterfall is from a car park inside the park rangers’ area and there is an entrance fee of 200 THB for adults and 100 THB for children. Our tip is to visit in the morning when there are fewer crowds.
Ban Kwan Chang Elephant Camp
The best elephant camp on Koh Chang, Ban Kwan Chang Elephant Camp is set amidst deep rain forest near Klong Son in the North West of the island.
Established to give threatened elephants from mainland Thailand a sanctuary and endorsed by the Asian Elephant Foundation, Ban Kwan Chang Elephant Camp is the ideal place to see happy, healthy elephants in their natural environment.
Visitors to the camp can feed and bathe the elephants, or trek with them through the lush jungle. It’s a unique and fun way to spend a morning or afternoon, with prices starting at 800 THB for a one hour trek.
Perhaps the most beautiful Koh Chang beach, lively Lonely Beach is where backpackers, families and those wanting to avoid the mainstream crowd come to soak up the sun and have fun, and is the hub of the party scene on the island.
Only one kilometre long, this beautiful wide sandy beach fades away towards pebbles and a mountain stream which rushes to join the sea at the southern end, with a stunning a backdrop of lush jungle clad mountains.
There is a small choice of beach front bungalow and boutique resort accommodation here, as well as massage huts, beach vendors selling their wares, nice restaurants and blissed out bars.
Lonely Beach village is a short walk from the beach itself, and at night the bars here really come alive and stay open until the wee hours.
There are also a range of other accommodations here, some great restaurants and shops, and a wealth of tattoo parlours where you can get a permanent reminder of your trip.
Overall, Lonely Beach offers a cheap, fun and peaceful retreat perfect for those who are on a tight budget, and who prefer to avoid more built up areas.
Klong Prao Beach
Split by two river estuaries originating from Klong Prao waterfall into three parts, this impressive and peaceful 4 kilometre long beach on Koh Chang’s west coast boasts sensational views of the ocean and river, and is an excellent location for fun activities such as sea kayaking, beach volleyball, safe swimming and more.
There are only a few high end resorts and bungalows along the beach and only a few restaurants and bars, so the atmosphere retains a calm, natural feel with plenty of space to relax and enjoy the stunning scenery in peace and quiet.
For more accommodation options, shops, restaurants and bars, it’s necessary to take a short walk inland on the main road to the village where you will find everything you need, as well as access to the Klong Prao waterfall just a little further on.
Kai Bae Viewpoint
Koh Chang boasts several fantastic viewpoints, but perhaps the most inspiring is Kai Bae Viewpoint on the west side of the island.
Situated right on the roadside in a small parking area high up in the mountains slightly north of Lonely Beach, Kai Bae Viewpoint offers a magnificent sweeping vista out across the azure ocean to four nearby islands; Koh Yuak, Koh Man Noi, Koh Pli and Koh Man Nok. It’s a photo opportunity not to miss.
This gem of an island only a short distance from Koh Chang’s west coast is a natural paradise.
The mountainous jungle terrain doesn’t allow for structures to be built, so the only building you’ll find on this as yet uninhabited island is the park rangers’ hut on a sheltered sandy bay to the north east, plus a small restaurant and some public toilets to cater for day trippers and occasional overnight campers.
This idyllic island is a safe haven for sea turtles who come here to lay their eggs, and the crystalline waters filled with colourful corals which surround the island are a top snorkelling spot.
If you haven’t has enough of paradise on Koh Chang (is that possible?), venture 6 kilometres south by boat across the azure waters to Koh Wai and get back to nature.
You won’t find any cars, scooters, bars, ATMs, shops, roads, or pretty much anything else here. WiFi is patchy at best and electricity is only available for 5 hours each evening.
Bungalow accommodation is available but is quite primitive, and rooms don’t have hot water.
But the remote ‘roots’ vibe of Koh Wai is what makes it so appealing — it’s an opportunity to get away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world and experience the rare joy of wild jungle abundant with wildlife, isolated soft sand beaches, and dazzling tropical marine life — and if you’re not up to staying overnight it makes for a perfect day trip from Koh Chang.
Koh Chang Hotels
Want to know about the best places to stay on Koh Chang?
Here’s our list of the top Koh Chang hotels…
Santhiya Tree Koh Chang Resort
Heart warming hospitality is infused with contemporary Thai tropical design at this luxurious 4 star resort situated on the sandy shoreline of blissful Klong Prao Beach.
50 spacious deluxe rooms are hidden away amongst lush gardens feature elegant Thai furnishings, luxurious bathrooms, and private terraces with lovely views, as well as all mod cons such as LCD big screen TVs and entertainment systems, air conditioning, and WiFi.
Some villas and suites even boast private pools and jacuzzi baths.
The hotel benefits from a free form pool with jacuzzi, a gym, and delectable gourmet Thai and international cuisine paired with the world’s finest wines at the restaurant and bar.
The Ayurvana Beach Massage spa offers massages and treatments using spa products infused with botanical ingredients grown in the resort’s own gardens.
- Luxury beach side setting
- Fitness centre
- Choice of two restaurants
- Outdoor pool
- Spa and wellness centre
Koh Chang Beach Villas
Only a 1 minute walk from from Khlong Son Beach on the west coast of Koh Chang, Koh Chang Beach Villas offer exclusive luxury villas with private pools set in stunning scenery overlooking a 9 hole golf course and saltwater lagoon.
Each villa also features a private terrace with mountain views, fully equipped European standard kitchen, King size beds, flat-screen TV, complimentary WiFi and en-suite showers.
There is a 40 metre infinity pool on site, along with the Beach Club restaurant situated on a private beach where guests can savour the exquisite tastes of the Thai and European menu with a distinct Swiss touch.
The Shambala beach bar serves up Koh Chang’s largest selection of Cocktails at this Swim up infinity pool bar right on the beach. Massages can be arranged on request.
- Villas with private pools
- Infinity pool
- 9 hole golf course
- Swim up bar
- Fitness centre
- Private beach
Koh Chang Grandview Resort
White Sand Beach is just a 2 minute walk from this idyllic 3 star resort which is ideal for those who love sea, sand, and glorious sunsets.
Stylish individual bungalows and villas are set in tropical garden surroundings and benefit from either sea, garden, or poolside views from private terraces, as well as air conditioning, free WiFi, TVs and en suite bathrooms.
Some villas also feature private swimming pools.
Koh Chang Grandview Resort offers guests the use of the outdoor swimming pool and are happy to arrange activities such as snorkelling and elephant trekking as required.
The resort’s Khun Luang restaurant offers a romantic setting to enjoy Thai and European cuisine and fresh seafood and the Ocean Drive Laze Bar is the perfect place to enjoy a cocktail or refreshing beer as you watch the sun go down.
- Outdoor swimming pool
- Villas with terraces
- Close to beach
Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway
This 141-room, modern 4 star beach front resort is located at picturesque Bai Lan Bay in a tranquil area on Koh Chang’s west coast.
Rooms are smart and contemporary with LCD TV and complimentary WiFi, and some have private terraces or balconies with garden, pool or sea views, with others featuring direct pool access or private plunge pools.
The Bay restaurant at Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway combines great international and Thai cuisine with fantastic service in a beautiful setting overlooking the swimming pool and sea.
The Reef bar serves cocktails, wine and snacks from a balcony with sea views.
There is also a massage spa with jacuzzi, and a well equipped fitness centre.
- Fitness centre
- Beach front location
- Outdoor swimming pool
Have you visited Koh Chang yet?