Last updated on June 7th, 2021 at 11:12 pm
One of the best-kept secrets about Thailand is Koh Chang.
This beauty is located east of Bangkok, close to Cambodia, in the province of Trat. *Not to be confused with the smaller island Koh Chang near Myanmar*
It’s one of the easiest islands to get to, less touristy, and has better prices. Therefore, it should be a part of everyone’s Thailand itinerary. 🤷🏽♀️
You’ll have a more immersive experience.
Certainly, after reading more about Koh Chang, you’ll add it to your list.
Why should you visit Koh Chang?
If you haven’t already seen my vlog of Koh Chang, then you definitely should stop what you’re doing and watch it right now!
This visualization alone will get you amped up about visiting Koh Chang.
But like I said, it’s less touristy than many other frequented islands.
There’s plenty of picturesque sites, trails to get lost on, and spotless beaches to relax. Not to mention, the crystal clear water, affordable prices, and it’s the second largest island in Thailand—so you know there’s a lot to explore.
The further south in Thailand you get, the more expensive it typically is. But not with Koh Chang.
The longest it could take you to get there is 6 hours; which super convenient. Many islands take a long time to get to in Thailand, because the lack of direct flights—meaning you’ll have to take ferries.
✔️ Many activities
What is there to do?
Most of the tourist attractions are on the west side of the island and you can reach them in 30 minutes or less.
They say don’t go chasing waterfalls, but traveling to Koh Chang should be the exception. In fact, you can find some of the most fascinating and peaceful waterfalls here.
Two of the more popular ones are Kai Bae, which is totally free to get into. Be aware people will try to charge you for parking, but there is free parking on the premises.
Klong Plu is the more touristy of the two, but when you visit, you’ll see why. You’ll pay a 200 baht entry fee and trek about 600 meters to get to the falls. There’s an area to relax and unwind under the shady trees. Or take a dip in the narrow river and cool off.
Snorkel or Scuba Dive
BB Divers not only offer excellent excursions, but their prices are unbeatable.
They take you snorkeling at three different sites. Not to mention, the package includes hotel pickup and drop off, lunch, and snorkeling gear—all for 1200 baht.
BB Divers also offer scuba diving courses where you can earn your PADI certification for only 5000 baht ($150). They offer different courses that will depend on your experience with diving. This is one of the most affordable scuba diving courses in the world!
Go to Kai Bae Viewpoint
To take in the views of water, have a moment of stillness, and appreciate where you are—visit the Kai Bae viewpoint.
It makes for a perfect Instagram flick or just admiring the scenery.
Porn’s Bungalows is in the Kai Bae area right by the viewpoint, so after or before you go there, Kayaking would be the ideal activity. It’s only 100 baht/hour ($3) and you can paddle to a deserted island.
Visit the Salakphet Mangroves
If you like getting lost in nature, then you’ll want to add the mangroves to your list. This beauty encompasses different species of plants and has a red pathway to wander down.
The only downside is, it’s one of the furthest attractions. Even if you’re at the southwest part of the island, you’ll have to drive north to get to the southeast part. There’s no road to go from southwest to southeast.
See The Elephants
Koh Chang is known as being the elephant island. So of course you have to visit the Elephants while there.
Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to when I visited Koh Chang. From what I’ve heard, Ban Kwan Chang Elephant Camp is a frequented place.
Koh Chang is the biggest island in Trat and the most populous one, but there are plenty of islands you can travel to in 2 hours or less. Koh Mak, Koh Kood, and Koh Wai are worth a visit so if you want to just visit for a day that’s totally doable.
Volunteer at Dog Shelter
Street dogs are common in Thailand, but especially Koh Chang. So why not volunteer and nurture the dogs back to healthy?
At Happy Dog Koh Chang, they are always looking for volunteers. If you have at least 3 weeks to spare, you can volunteer with them in the exchange for free housing and a motorbike rental.
A win-win situation.
Sunbathe at the Beach
OMG. The beaches in Koh Chang are plentiful, so if you’re like me—you’ll be at the beach daily. I will say most beaches don’t have clear pathways, you’ll have to cut through a restaurant or resort to get to them.
The main four beaches are: Kai Bae, Klong Prao, White sand, and Lonely Beach.
How to get to Koh Chang?
Believe it or not, the easiest way to get to Koh Chang is by the bus.
You can take the 999 Bus from Ekkamai Station in Bangkok and it’ll take you directly to the Trat pier. The buses run every day at 7:45 am and 9:00 am; it’s also the cheapest option, costing 260 baht.
To get to the island from Trat, you’ll have to purchase a ferry ticket which will cost you another 80 baht. All together, it’ll take you 5-6 hours in total to get to Koh Chang.
From Bangkok you can take a flight to the Trat airport. Since there are limited flights and the airport is smaller, it’ll cost you more—at least 2500 baht ($80). Once you arrive, you’ll want to take a taxi from the airport to the pier. Then you’ll pay an extra 80 baht to take a 45 ferry ride to the Island.
How to get around Koh Chang?
Since Koh Chang is an island, there aren’t as many transportation options. But you can hire a taxi, rent a motorbike, or take a songthaew.
Rent a motorbike
Once you get off the ferry, there will be shops for you to rent a motorbike. If you’re comfortable driving, this would be the most affordable route. The standard price is 200 baht/day + security deposit or your passport.
What makes this such a convenient option is Koh Chang is HUGE! Renting a motorbike will give you the chance to wander around as much as you’d like.
As known as the shared pickup trucks. When I say shared I mean, stuffing as many people in the back as possible.
The drivers will wait at the pier gathering tourists to ride with them. Just hop on the back with everyone else and tell the driver where you’re headed. It shouldn’t be over 150 baht ($5).
What area should you stay in Koh Chang?
A popular backpacker area with affordable restaurants and bungalows near the beach. If you’re a solo traveler wanting to meet others, or in the mood for partying, then Lonely beach will be your best bet.
It is further down south, from the pier to Lonely Beach, it’ll take you about 45 minutes. But I absolutely loved staying in this area.
Serene destination that’s ideal for couples or those wanting to be away from the crowd. Klong Prao’s beach is known for its quietness and being pristine. You will find a decent number of restaurants and resorts to choose from.
Probably my favorite area on the island; restaurant galore and plenty to do. There is a walking market, many western and Thai food places to choose from, massage parlours everywhere, and Kai Bae waterfall.
Everywhere is pretty much walkable and you’ll have everything you need.
White Sand Beach
The most popular place in Koh Chang, which makes sense seeing though it’s only about a 15-minute ride from the pier.
You’ll definitely be in an area filled with resorts, bars, shops, and more touristy places..
How much is it?
Certainly, this depends on what activities you want to do, what area you’ll be staying, what your travel style is like, so many factors.
On average, I spent about $46 a day. Got massages most days, western and Thai meals, did some activities, and rented a motorbike.
30 baht = $1
Motorbike rental — 200 baht
Bungalow in Lonely Beach — 300 – 600 baht
Western meal — 200-300 baht
Massage — 400 baht
Local food — 80 baht
Klong Plu Waterfall — 200 baht
Beach — free
Snorkeling — 1200 baht
Thai tea — 60 baht
I could tell you how magical Koh Chang is, but I think you should see it for yourself!
If you’re adding it to your bucket list, drop a comment below.