With white sand beaches, waterfalls and coral reefs and more than 40 outlying islands, uncrowded Koh Chang is a relative newcomer to the scene.
Second Largest IslandPristine rainforest covers rugged, hilly Koh Chang, Thailand’s second largest island. Mangroves and beach forest line the shores, and the whole island supports a huge diversity of wildlife, including macaques, monitor lizards, pythons and barking deer. White-winged terns, nightjars and several species of hornbill are some indigenous birds; many others migrate here.
Traveling to Koh Chang is more convenient than before as Bangkok Airways offers direct, 50-minute flights from Bangkok to Trat, with Laem Ngob pier just 10 kilometres from the airport. The cheaper way is to take a bus from the Eastern Bus Terminal in Bangkok; get off at Akemai BTS sky train station. The trip takes about five and a half hours.
Beaches in Koh ChangHad Sai Khao Had Sai Khao is famed for delicate white sand along a 6-kilometer beach. The beach is dotted with towering palms and coconut tress. The most popular beach in the island, it is not surprising to see a wide variety of resorts and bungalows lining behind the trees.
At night Had Sai Khao is illuminated with lights from pubs and bars, restaurants that are located along its beachside road. There are plenty of grocery stores, car and motorbike rental shops and petrol stations.
Had Klong Prao Had Klong Prao, which means the bay of coconuts, derives its name from a number of coconut trees found along its beach.
This beach begins at Chaiyachet Cape, which offers a good viewpoint of the island at sunset. The beach is less crowded than Had Sai Khao and suitable for swimming and water sports. People staying on this beach can rent a bicycle or take a minibus to Klong Plu Waterfall which is only 3 kilometers from the beach. Accommodations on this beach are simple. Most of them nestle among dotting trees.
Had Kai Bae Fifteen kilometres from Had Klong Prao is Had Kai Bae. It is a popular place among foreign tourists who come here for sunbathing. The beach has a slight slope into the sea that is favourable for swimming. Tourists who want to visit neighbouring islands such as Koh Yuak, Kh Man Nok and Koh Man Nai can hop in a boat from this beach.
Had Kai Bae is more colourful at night with restaurants and pubs vying for customers. For those who enjoy seafood, there are many seafood restaurants overlooking the beach. Accommodations here come in different styles from basic to luxury.
Waterfalls Situated near the office of Koh Chang National Park, Thanmayom Waterfall is the largest waterfall in the island and also a major source of water for islanders. The four-tier waterfall has a historical significance to the locals as it was visited by two Thai kings in the early twentieth century. Even though the fall can be accessed throughout the year, it looks more picturesque in the cool season. Most people stay around the first and second tier of the fall because the path to the third and fourth tiers is too steep and slippery.
Klong Plu Waterfall is another popular tourist attraction for those who stay near Had Klong Prao or Had Kai Bae. The fall is only 3 kilometres from Had Klong Prao and reached by road. The first tier of the fall is the best spot for a dip or relaxation since it has a small pool under the canopy of lush green trees. Like Thanmayom Waterfall, Klong Phu Waterfall is at its best in the cool season which starts from November until February.
Hiking TrailsKoh Chang offers scenic hiking trails that take just a few hours, particularly from Khlong Son to Hat Sai Khao, and from there to Hat Khlong Prao. In the south, the harder and longer Kaibae - Ao Bang Bao trail passes through shady rubber and coconut plantations; the locals can direct you. The three-step Than Mayom Falls, the first of which is less than an hour’s walk from Tha Than Mayom, is well worth hiking to. Rocks on the first and third steps bear the engraved initials of Kings Rama VI and Rama VII, and Rama V respectively.
Arrive PreparedBeach huts and guesthouses of varying standards and prices are the main accommodation on Koh Chang. Most are near beaches like Ao Khlong Son, Ao Khlong Prao and Hat Kalibae. On holidays, Bangkok vacationers reserve the nicer resorts. Change your money on the mainland, as Koh Chang has no banks - only moneychangers offering poor rates for US dollars. There is a clinic at Khlong Son.
Shipwreck DivesDiving around the island is best in the south, from November to April. There are good corals and marine life, and with a guide you can see the wreck of a Thai warship sunk in 1941 off Ao Salak Phet. Koh Chang Divers (Hat Sai Khao) and Seahorse Dive Center (Hat Kaibae) are popular PADI centers.
Reference : http://www.circleofasia.com/Koh-Chang-Thailand.htm
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