Koh Chang is the third-largest island in Thailand, best known for being a popular destination for Thai people in search of affordable beach holidays. Koh Chang is also a popular destination for tourists looking to explore Thailand’s east coast, as it is only an hour by boat from both the mainland and Phuket.
While many locals visit Koh Chang, it typically flies under the radar and is missed by tourists visiting Thailand. But, with a sprawling national park, incredible sunsets, and beautiful nearby islands, it would be a pity to skip Koh Chang.
Koh Chang’s seasons are comparable to Bangkok and the rest of Thailand in that tourists can visit all year round. Each season brings with it a unique set of benefits. Some months offer extremely affordable accommodation prices while other months offer a fun and vibrant nightlife.
It pays to be in the know about what to expect during your trip. Choosing the month to visit Koh Chang will determine your holiday experience.
While it is hot all year round in Thailand, some areas may experience torrential rain during the low season. In addition to the rain, accommodations become scarce during this season.
The warm season brings with it the largest crowd of tourists visiting Koh Chang. As such, guests are advised to reserve accommodation months before their arrival. Booking ahead is especially recommended if you’re arriving in Koh Chang at weekends or national holidays.
The shoulder season of March and April bring with it scorching heat ranging between highs of 33 and 35 degrees. While there are fewer crowds during the transitional season, Koh Chang gets very busy during the Songkran Festival and Thailand’s New Year’s Day.
Accommodations during the rainy season are heavily discounted, which is perfect if you’re traveling on a tight budget.
Additionally, you can have the beach to yourself in the off-season. Having said that, the water conditions may not be ideal for light swimming.
Daily temperatures during the peak season rarely drop below 30 degrees. That being said, there’s hardly any rain during the high season.
In the peak season, accommodation prices can go double or triple their usual cost. To save money, book months ahead of your trip.
If you’re visiting Koh Chang during the high season, expect to see crowds of tourists on the beaches and key sites.
Getting to Koh Chang from the capital city of Bangkok is relatively straightforward. Here is a brief rundown of the transportation options to Koh Chang.
There is no airport in Koh Chang, which means direct flights are not available. However, you can fly to the Trat Airport, located less than 20 kilometers from the Koh Chang ferry piers.
There are at least four daily flights from Bangkok to Trat. Each trip lasts 40 minutes and costs between 1,000 to 3,000 THB, according to bangkokair.com, depending on the season.
Once you arrive in Trat, you can take a shared minibus service to take you from the airport, to the ferry piers, and to your hotel in Koh Change. The price starts at 500 THB per person.
The cheapest and most economical way to get to Koh Chang from Bangkok is by bus. While there are many different options you can take, the most popular way is to catch the #999 Bus from Ekamai (Eastern Bus Terminal) in Bangkok. From there, you will be brought to the ferry piers at Laem Ngop where you can catch a ride to Koh Chang.
The bus journey from Bangkok to Laem Ngop takes between five to six hours and costs about 260 THB one way.
If you want to depart Bangkok a little later in the day, you can catch the #9908 bus from Ekamai Bus Station and Moh Chit (Northern Bus Terminal). The #9908 bus will take you to Trat town where you can catch a songtaew to the ferry piers at Laem Ngop. This route will take approximately five and a half hours and cost you a total of 320 THB per person.
Finally, you can take VIP buses from Bangkok’s Khao San Road. The bus will drop you off at the Centerpoint pier in Laem Ngop. This route will take about eight hours in total and cost 450 THB per person.
There are a few transportation options at Koh Chang, depending on your budget and whether you can drive on your own or let someone else do it for you.
A songthaew is a pickup truck converted into a taxi. You can easily flag down a songthaew passing along the main road as well as near beach locations and attractions across the island.
You can expect to pay 50 to 150 THB per person for most journeys. The price you pay for the journey will depend on the time of day, the number of people you are traveling with, and the distance. Many of the popular routes already have fixed prices, which means there’s very little room for negotiation.
Renting a motorbike is a great way for getting around Koh Chang at your own pace. It’s also a great way to save money as you won’t have to take taxis to and from destinations.
The average costs of renting motorbikes are around 250 THB per day for daily rentals, 200 THB per day for weekly rentals, and 150 THB for monthly rentals. Prices are normally non-negotiable.
Note: A few areas in Koh Chang have badly maintained roads, which can be dangerous regardless of whether you are an experienced driver or not. Additionally, potholes are common during the warmer seasons.
There are rental shops across Koh Chang that rent out cars and 4x4s. Most hotels can also arrange car rentals for you.
If you plan to go around Koh Chang, it’s recommended to rent a 4×4 as it will give you more flexibility to drive on dirt roads should you wish to. It could also make the trip to Lonely Beach, a secluded beach accessible by an undeveloped road, much easier.
If you’re planning on renting a vehicle, do the following before the start of your journey:
Koh Chang has many different beaches and villages you can stay in during your holiday. Each area on the island offers a unique atmosphere and appeal that make your vacation truly special.
We have selected five great areas to stay in that cater to a variety of travelers of differing budgets.
White Sand Beach, as locals call it, is one of the first sandy strips in Koh Chang that was developed for tourism. The beach is incredibly beautiful, with the magnificent Chom Prasat mountain set in the background.
White Sand Beach is the perfect area for first-time visitors looking for mid-range resorts and budget-friendly accommodations near the ocean. In addition, it’s also a great place for visitors looking for a shopping paradise, excellent restaurants and bars, and mouthwatering street food.
The White Sand Beach area gets quite busy during the high season. This means you may have a harder time finding accommodation if you haven’t booked months ahead of your visit.
Despite its name, Lonely Beach is not as quite as lonely as it once was. Over the past years, Lonely Beach has become the go-to spot for backpackers and solo travelers looking for a great base to start exploring the rest of the island.
During the day, Lonely Beach is a great place to go swimming and snorkeling. At night, however, the beach transforms into a nightlife hub offering pulsating music and vibrant parties.
The nightlife in Lonely Beach is the loudest on the island, which means you’ll likely find it difficult to have a good night’s sleep if you’re staying within a short distance of the bars.
Some years ago, Klong Koi Beach was an undeveloped sandy strip without any accommodation options available. However, the work put into developing Klong Koi Beach in recent years has allowed it to accommodate a good selection of affordable and mid-range resorts.
There are several nearby islands and attractions, including Koh Mak, Koh Kood, Bang Bao fishing villages, and a bizarre cruise ship “hotel” that offers a “haunting” atmosphere.
Klong Koi Beach is one of the most underdeveloped beaches in Koh Chang. As such, there is very limited transportation and infrastructure on the island. This may prove a difficult area to roam around in if you do not have a rental car or motorbike.
Klong Prao is a family- and holidaymaker-friendly fishing village with a developed mid-range tourism hub that hosts three to four-star accommodations. This area caters more to holidaymakers seeking the convenience and comfort of higher-end tourist resorts.
There isn’t a wide choice of budget accommodation options in Klong Prao, which means you might need to consider other areas if you’re on a tighter budget. Additionally, Klong Prao village is about five minutes away from Klong Prao Beach.
Salak Phet is a local fishing village located on the island’s southeast tip. The area is known for offering a wide selection of authentic Thai food, most of which use fresh seafood as the main ingredient.
The village is home to a lovely temple surrounded by brightly colored sculptures and housing incredible wall murals. The village also sits in the shadow of the Salak Phet mountain. If you’re feeling up for a challenge, you can hire a local guide to take you up the mountain’s 743-meter peak. We’re told the views are absolutely breathtaking and are well worth the effort.
Salak Phet is the least developed of all areas in Ko Chang, which means there are very few guesthouses and homestays in the area. Having said that, the village gives you the chance to experience traditional Thai island living.
Koh Chang is an underrated gem featuring oceanic beauty set against the backdrop of rolling green hills and a range of wildlife. The island is also home to plenty of restaurants serving a variety of cuisines, including Mexican, Greek, Turkish, French, Italian, and German food.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed with choices, here’s a brief guide about the best places to go to in Koh Chang to help you create your itinerary.
It is virtually impossible to talk about Koh Chang without highlighting its beautiful beaches. There are nearly a dozen sandy strips on the island alone. We highlighted five of the most popular Koh Chang beaches.
Much like most of Thailand, Koh Chang is surrounded by lush greenery and glistening waters. If you’re a nature lover looking for an adventure, here are some of the things you should include in your itinerary.
Apart from its natural landscape, Koh Chang also offers activities that give you memorable and unique experiences. Some of these experiences are designed to get your blood rushing, while others aim to help you relax. You can…
Some of the most popular activities include kayaking, diving, snorkeling, and jungle trekking.
Koh Chang is a safe place for individual travelers. That being said, it would be best to still take standard precautions, including never leaving your drink unattended at the bar and never walking home alone while intoxicated.