Ko Chang is the second largest island in Thailand and the largest island in the eastern part of the country, administratively part of Trat Province. Only 5,000 people permanently live on the island but with the development of tourism more and more people come here every year.
With its long, sandy beaches, Ko Chang is considered one of the most beautiful locations in Thailand. It is also a habitat for a variety of wildlife: birds, snakes, a variety of deer, and elephants. The island itself and the surrounding area is a great place for swimming, diving, and hiking through the jungle.
Much has changed since the island became a popular tourist destination beginning in 2000. Although life here is still much more measured than on Phuket or Samui, the peace and quiet in high season can only be dreamed of. As for the prices of services intended for tourists, they are so overpriced that they can’t be compared to the prices of the same services in other islands.
How to get there
Want to know how to get to Ko Chang? Here’s a list of transport options for getting to Ko Chang.
Bangkok Airways has 3 daily flights from Suvarnapum New International Airport (Bangkok) to Trat Province. Departure times are 08:30, 11:40 and 17:05. The flight takes 1 hour. Round-trip tickets cost between 3,200 and 3,800 baht. To see how much the tickets will cost for your dates, click here.
Transfers from Trat Airport to Ko Chang Island, which includes ferry fare, are 500 baht per person. A round-trip ticket costs 900 baht. The minibuses that make the transfers are air-conditioned.
If you take the free shuttle bus to the airport bus station just outside the arrival hall of Suvarnapum International Airport, you can get to Trat or Chanthaburi province by bus from there.
It takes five to five and a half hours to get from downtown Bangkok to Suvarnapum International Airport by cab or limousine. Most cab drivers will refuse to take you to the airport because there is a high probability that they will drive back without a passenger and therefore without profit. Most limousines and vans, which are waiting for passengers at the airport, will take you to the hotel or resort of Ko Chang. They will certainly agree if they can make it back to the mainland in time for the same day.
The cheapest way to get from Bangkok to Laem ngop, Trat province, where the ferry to Ko Chang leaves, is to take bus number 999 from Bangkok’s Ekamai East Station. It takes passengers directly to the pier from which the ferry leaves. The ticket costs 275 baht one way (520 baht round trip). The trip takes only 5 hours. The buses are equipped with a quality ventilation system, and each tourist on boarding receives a set of drinks and snacks. Unfortunately, the number of flights is limited to two morning departures. Departure time from Ekamai: 07:45, 09:45. The bus from Laem Ngop arrives at 14:00. Depending on availability, the bus can be picked up at Suvannapum Airport and in Chanthaburi Province.
In December 2009, a new bus route #392 from Suvarnapum Airport to Ko Chang began operating. To get on it you need to take a shuttle that goes to the bus station at the airport. The bus departs from there at 07:30 and the return flight from Ko Chang arrives at 12:30. Tickets can be ordered on the Suvarnabhumi Burapha Bus Company website.
Express buses and minibuses have been operating between Suvarnabhumi Airport and Lonely Beach, Ko Chang since November 1, 2010. The bus ticket costs 308 baht, and the express minibus to Lonely Beach costs 600 baht (800 baht round trip). The price includes the ferry crossing. However, traveling by minibus can be dangerous: they often go overcrowded, luggage cannot be securely secured, and drivers are constantly violating traffic laws. Moreover, there is no absolute certainty that you can also get back by minibus, due to the lack of seats you may have to change to a full bus, carrying people from other places and making long stops along the way.
As an alternative, can be a trip on a bus first (duration of the trip – about 5 hours, the cost – 250 baht) or second class buses that depart from the bus station and the eastern Ekamai Mo Chit (Mo Chit) and operates direct flights to the capital of the province of Trat. From there you can get to Laem Ngop area on numerous sungtau (the trip takes about half an hour and costs 50 baht per person).
There are more buses departing from Ekamai Station than from Mo Chit. The air-conditioned bus number 511 may be a good choice for those who need to move from Bangkok’s southern Sai Tai Mai Station to the eastern one (Ekamai).
Second-class buses by Cherdchai Private Bus depart from Ekamai Station. The fare to Trat province as of March 2015 is 255 baht. The buses leave every 2 hours, the carrier company promises to get its passengers to Trat in 4 hours.
Cherdchai Private Bus also offers travelers first class overnight buses with good air conditioning. The departure time from Ekamai Bus Station is 23:30 and the arrival time to Trat City is 05:00. But it is better not to use them, because they are often overcrowded, the air conditioning does not work, the toilet smells, and the bus itself, to put it mildly, dirty.
Also, if you buy a ticket for the bus to pay at once and ferry fare (prices are always very high) at the ticket office Cherdchai to Ekamai, then you should pay attention to which pier it will be: the pier Centrepoint, located 45 minutes from town or Ao Thammachart – 25.
You will also need to change in Trat if you go to the island from Pattaya (by second class bus for 200 baht, travel time is about 4 hours).
There are minibuses to Laem Ngop from Pattaya (Ban Pe), from the central street Kaosan (Bangkok) and from the Victory Monument (located in front of Phayathai Hospital, Bangkok). However, they are not as comfortable and spacious as those described above and, oddly enough, tickets here can be much more expensive. Such illogical phenomena are quite common in the field of tourism services in Thailand.
There is another option, which, however, depends on many factors, including the time of year and day, and local help: you can get to Laem Ngop by bus from Hat Lek village (Thailand), which is located on the border with Koh Kong Province (Cambodia). You can get from here to the bus station in Trat for 120 baht.
Most ferries to Ko Chang Island depart from Laem Ngop Pier (Laem Ngop or Tha Khrom Luang, or Tha Laern Ngop), which is located about 700 meters west of downtown Laem Ngop. The Centrepoint wharf is located 3.5 km from the center of Laem Ngop. Both passenger and car ferries depart from both of these marinas.
The transport ferry to Ko Chang departs from the marina at Ao Thammachat Bay, located 15 km west of Laem Ngop.
All marinas of Ko Chang Island, including the largest of them – Tha Dan Kao and Tha Ferry Dan Kao, receiving the most traffic and passengers, are located on the east coast of the island.
The ferry from Laem Ngop sails to Dan Kao in about 45 minutes. The car ferry docks at Ferry Dan Kao, which is located 400 meters southwest of Dan Kao, travel time is 1 hour.
The car ferry from Ao Thammachat docks at Tha Ferry Ko Chang, located in Ao Sapparot Bay, 3 km northwest of Dan Kao Marina.
There are also 2 operators who offer ferry services from Ko Kood to Ko Chang. One has an office on Ban Bao beach and the other on Kai Bae beach, Ko Kud. Prices are about the same, but departure times may vary, better to book in advance.
Ferries, car ferries, and marinas offer passengers a variety of food, fruit, and drinks.
The 16 Best Sights in Ko Chang Island
Ko Chang is the second largest island in Thailand. It offers excellent conditions for fans of outdoor activities. Ko Chang is famous for its variety of wildlife.
Many people call this island a paradise for nature lovers. The serene white sand beach and fabulous blue sea water make Ko Chang an ideal destination for weekend excursions. This is why the number of tourists visiting the island has increased significantly over the past decade.
What to see on Ko Chang while on vacation in Thailand?
Bang Bao Fishing Village
Bang Bao Fishing Village photo: Paola Farrera / Flickr.
In this former fishing community, built in the traditional local style of houses on stilts connected to each other by a pier, villagers have swapped nets for rental properties.
They rent out some of the houses for souvenir stores and restaurants. Most tourists visit this village for the excellent seafood and exciting shopping.
At first glance, Bang Bao may seem like just another tourist trap, but the pier is really a great place for exciting walks and the vendors who fill it offer quality local produce.
It’s definitely worth a walk to the far end of the pier to see the white lighthouse and boats sailing to the nearby islands. Unless you plan to spend the night in one of the guest houses at the pier, head back before dark, as you may have trouble finding a cab.
GPS coordinates: 11°58’17.2″N 102°18’46.0″E.
Ban Salak Phet Village
Village Ban Salak Phet.
If you want to see what Ko Chang was like before tourists arrived, visit the village of Ban Salak Phet on the far southeast side of the island.
In this quiet community you’ll see numerous houses on stilts, fishing boats and yawning dogs stretching on the side of the road. It is a suitable place for fascinating walks.
Most visitors head to seafood restaurants or the secluded beach. Behind the village shopping center is Ao Salak Phet, a beautiful blue bay surrounded by rocky islands.
GPS coordinates: 11°59’45.1″N 102°22’12.0″E.
Khlong Kloi Beach
Khlong Kloi beach.
At the eastern end of Ao Bang Bao Bay is the sandy beach of Khlong Kloi. This is a remote location away from the sightseeing routes. Although it is popular with holidaymakers, you can still enjoy a sense of seclusion here.
The beach has everything you need for a comfortable holiday – beer, food, fruit, massage, as well as several guest houses.
The address is Klong Kloi Beach, Koh Chang Tai, Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park
View from Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park.
This park covers the land and sea area of the archipelago, occupying almost the entire central part of the island. The security of the park is fairly haphazard, but you will have to buy an entrance ticket when visiting some of the waterfalls.
The headquarters of Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park is on the east side of the island, near Nam Tok Than Mayom.
It is prohibited by law to sunbathe nude or topless in Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park. This rule also applies to all beaches in Ko Chang, Ko Kut, Ko Mak and Ko Wai.
Address: Mu Koh Chang National Park, อำเภอ กิ่ง Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Ao Salak Kok Cove
Ao Salak Kok Cove.
Dense thickets of mango trees are protected here by local fishermen who realize the ecological importance of these forests. Mango trees are the ocean’s nursery for the next generations of marine species, and a habitat for birds and crustaceans.
This bay is now considered the best place for ecotourism in Ko Chang. The villagers run an award-winning program to protect the environment and traditional way of life. They rent kayaks at Salak Kok Kayak Station and operate a restaurant at the station.
GPS coordinates: 12°01’59.4″N 102°23’41.4″E.
Kai Bae Beach
Kai Bae Beach.
Kaibae is located next door to Khlong Prao Beach. It is a wonderful vacation spot for families with children and middle-aged couples. A narrow strip of sand stretches along the bay separating the beach from the bustling tour groups, and there are numerous bars and restaurants open along the main road.
You can take a kayak to the island and enjoy contemplating the sea waves lapping against the shore at low tide.
Address: Kai Bae Beach, Ko Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Nam Tok Khlong Plu Falls
Nam Tok Khlong Plu Falls.
This is the largest and most impressive of all the waterfalls on the island. It is a three-tiered water cascade with a pool in which you can swim (with fish). It is easily accessible from the beach Khlong Prao: drive 1.5 km on the main road, pay the entrance fee to the national park, and then climb 600 m up a forest path.
The waterfall looks most impressive after a few months of the rainy season, and in the morning before the arrival of the crowds of tourists.
Address: Khlong Phlu Waterfall, Ko Chang, Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Ao Khlong Prao Cove
Ao Khlong Prao Cove.
The beach at Khlong Prao Cove is a slightly curved strip of sand sand sandwiched between giant mountain promontories and separated by two deltas. If you look closely at the sand at low tide, you can see living creatures that have been exposed by the waning water.
Luxury resorts can be seen everywhere, where vacationers spend most of their time sunbathing by the pool, as water floods most of the beach at high tide.
Address: Klong Prao beach, Ko Chang, Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Beach Hat Sai Khao (White Sand Beach)
Beach Hat Sai Khao (White Sand Beach).
The longest and most luxurious sandy beach on the island. “White Sand Beach”, as it is called, is crowded with tourists from beachfront hotels and passionate sunbathers.
Going to the northern part of the beach, you can find a more secluded place. Along the main road you will encounter a village of pesky inhabitants, but try to be polite to everyone.
Address: White Sand beach, Ko Chang, Trat, Thailand.
You definitely won’t feel lonely on this beach – it’s the liveliest place in Ko Chang, especially after sunset when beach parties are held here, during which ladles of vodka are passed around and music is played loudly. Pebbles are only at the south end of the beach, and the rest of the area is sand. The official name of this beach is Hat Tha Nam.
Address: Siam Beach Resort, Ko Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Nam Tok Khiri Phet Waterfall
The waterfall of Khiri Phet.
This small waterfall is located 2 km from Ban Salak Phet village and 15 minutes walk from the road. Its distinctive feature is a small but deep pool where you can dive. Usually there are fewer tourists here than at the larger waterfalls, and it is easy to reach, especially from the neighboring bay of Ao Salak Phet.
Address: Khiri Phet Waterfall, Koh Chang Tai, Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Nam Tok Than Mayom Waterfall
Complex of waterfalls Nam Tok Than Mayom (Than Mayom Waterfall). | Photo: yevgeniy sokurov / Flickr.
The three waterfalls, located along the Khlong Mayom River, can be reached through the park office near Nam Tha Than Mayom. The panorama from the top is magnificent and you can see inscribed stones with the initials of Rama V, Rama VI and Rama VII next to them.
Address: Than Mayom Waterfall, Ko Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Hat Kai Mook Beach
Hat Kai Mook Beach translates as “Pearl Beach”, although instead of pearls they are coarse gravel that covers the shore and reaches down to the headlands, near which hordes of friendly fish swim. You can not swim and sunbathe here, but it is a great place for fans of snorkeling.
GPS coordinates: 12°04’54.5″N 102°16’33.4″E.
Diving in Ko Chang.
If you are looking for the perfect place for an unforgettable diving experience in Thailand, it is definitely Ko Chang. The sea off the island is shallow and clear, with many mesmerizing coral reefs and flocks of colorful tropical fish.
All this makes Ko Chang one of the most popular places in the country suitable for diving. The best time to dive is from October to May, when the sea is warmer and visibility is better. There are stores along the beaches where you can rent diving equipment and take a course with a professional trainer.
Treetop Adventure Park
Treetop Adventure Park.
The tropical island of Ko Chang offers its guests a wide range of exciting outdoor activities. Treetop Adventure Park is an exceptional opportunity to visit the island’s rainforest.
You will have great fun with the original rope rides including rope bridges and trails, bungee cords and tropical slides. If you want to test your stamina, try to overcome the zip line, a rope stretched at an angle between the trees.
Stunning experience! Trained staff accompanies visitors at all times for safety.
Address: Tree Top Adventure Park Koh Chang, Koh Chang Tai, Chang, Trat, Thailand.
Zip N Zorb Adventure Park
Zip N Zorb Adventure Park.
The name of the park speaks for itself – it is a wonderful place in Ko Chang where you will get an unforgettable experience with two extreme rides – zipline and zorbing.
Have you ever imagined what a rainforest looks like from above? This amusement park invites visitors to walk through the rainforest with a rope rope and fly above the tallest tropical trees.
Zorbing is a new type of outdoor activity and entertainment. You are placed in a transparent inflatable balloon of gigantic size, and you roll in it on a distance of about 46 m. The distance does not seem that long, but you will realize how hard it is when you start your descent.