This post was last updated on February 17th, 2020 at 03:17 pm
Koh Chang is an island in close proximity to the border with Cambodia. It is one of the few authentic islands in Thailand where tourism has not yet affected daily life. That does not mean that there is nothing to do! The island is known for the special combination of nature and fun parties.
Koh Chang is also known as Elephant Island. The interior of Elephant Island is covered with jungle while there are beautiful white sandy beaches on the coast. You can really do anything here; from jungle tours to diving or snorkeling and from beach parties to peeling in your hammock. What many people do not know is that Koh Chang is the third largest island in Thailand after Phuket.
Unlike its larger sister, you will not find villages or tourist facilities in the densely forested inland here, but a few rivers, waterfalls and hiking trails that are of paramount importance to the Mu Ko Chang National Park. Many of the waters around the island are also protected because the national park extends over more than forty other islands in the Koh Chang archipelago.
Development of Koh Chang
Koh Chang didn’t see tourists for a long time due to its fairly remote location. Where most travel to the islands near Krabi or around Koh Samui, Koh Chang has only been in the picture for the last 10 years. The green interior combined with the impressive bays and white sandy beaches makes the island a gem among the many islands in Thailand.
Although Koh Chang is the third largest island in Thailand (after Phuket) you will mainly find waterfalls, jungle, hiking trails, villages, and the beautiful Mu Ko Chang National Park here.
Rent a scooter to explore the island. Cheap and fun!
5 Fun Things to Do on Koh Chang
Koh Chang is a large island with more than enough to do. Many travelers only come here for the beaches, but there is much more to do after lying on the beach with a cocktail, although that doesn’t sound too bad! We have made an overview of 5 fun things you can do on this island.
1. Hike to the Mu Koh Chang National Park View Point
Mu Koh Chang National Park View Point is one of the most popular attractions on Koh Chang. And that makes sense because from here you have a spectacular panoramic view of Koh Chang and the nearby islands.
An additional advantage is that it is free and easily accessible. It is a climb but it is easy to do if you have a reasonable condition. Make sure you bring enough water with you.
TIP – Go during a sunset. This will give you the best view of the islands.
2. Explore the Impressive Underwater World
If you are looking for a perfect and dream-like place to dive, then Koh Chang is definitely recommended. The sea that borders Koh Chang is shallow and clear, with many breathtaking coral reefs and colorful tropical fish, making it one of the most popular diving destinations in the country.
The best time for diving is between October and May when the sea is calmer and visibility is high. There are shops around the beaches where you can rent diving equipment and get professional coaching from well-trained staff.
TIP – There are different courses to get your PADI. The courses start at US$410 per person.
3. Visit the Klong Plu Waterfall
If you are a big fan of natural sights, the Klong Plu Waterfall is definitely worth a visit. The Klong Plu Waterfall is the most important waterfall on the island and is easily accessible. There are paths and stairs from the entrance to the waterfall.
It is only a 15-minute walk to the waterfall and you walk along and through beautiful forests. If you have time, take the Canopy Route that will take you through the rainforest.
TIP – Waterfall opening times: daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
4. Enjoy the Sunset
On an island, you are in the perfect location for a beautiful evening of sunset watching. With a beer in your hand, in your hammock and preferably with a few palm trees in sight, Koh Chang guarantees spectacular sunsets. The sky turns beautifully orange. The west coast of the island is the place to be for the sunset.
The best places to watch the sun go down are White Sand Beach, the longest beach on Koh Chang, View Point (as described above) and Kai Bae Beach (see photo below).
5. Learn to Cook Thai Food
A cooking course is a fun way to learn how to make real Thai dishes. There are plenty of cooking schools on Koh Chang where you can learn this. There are various courses ranging from a few hours to several days.
You also have to eat the food you cook, so do your best while cooking 😉 The schools give you the chance to experiment with the dishes and you can also indicate what you want or do not want to cook. It’s a great way to bring home some knowledge and cook Thai dishes for yourself, friends, and family!
We recommend Blue Lagoon on Klong Prao Beach, one of the better cooking schools.
TIP – Prices for a course range from 1,000 to 1,500 baht (US$32.50 to $48.70).
The Best Beaches on Koh Chang
There are plenty of beaches on this tropical island. The beaches on the west coast are the nicest and also the best hidden (so there is relatively little development). All the beaches have white sand and waving palm trees. We’ve listed some of the best-known beaches of Koh Chang.
1. White Sand Beach
The most popular and, according to many, the most beautiful beach. They call this beach Hat Sai Khao and it attracts the most tourists. Here you will also find most accommodations in the form of hotels or resorts. It also has a bustling backpacker area at the north end.
2. Lonely beach
Lonely Beach is known for its nightlife and is, therefore, popular with backpackers. This is the backpacker’s beach among the Koh Chang beaches. It has a small but very pleasant beach and accommodations are primarily aimed at budget travelers with bungalows and hostels, although it also has a few luxury resorts.
3. Klong Prao Beach
Klong Prao Beach, the largest beach on Koh Chang, has a beautiful long white sandy beach, split by two inland waterways (klongs, hence the name). It has the most high-end resorts of all beaches.
4. Bailan Beach
Bailan Beach is the quiet “neighboring beach” of Lonely Beach with local, low key development. Accommodation ranges from midrange to decent small bungalow resorts and backpacker hangouts.
5. Kai Bae Beach
Kai Bae Beach is divided into two halves by a river, with the best beach at the southern end. It also has a decent nightlife with a number of cocktail bars at the northern end.
Best Time to Visit Koh Chang
The best time to visit Koh Chang is from November to March. During the high season it can get quite busy here and accommodations are quickly filled up. Are you traveling in the high season? Then it doesn’t hurt to book in advance.
Between June and October, it becomes quieter here as it can rain and storm considerably. Don’t let this stop you as there are still plenty of sunny days in that period.
Nowadays you can use an ATM at all known beaches or villages. You also have mini supermarkets, shops, and tour agencies everywhere that offer various fun activities.