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Destination Ko Chang in Thailand

The slow life, that’s what you’ll enjoy on Ko Chang, or Elephant Island (so called because of its pachyderm like shape), in the Gulf of Thailand. Life on this beautiful island moves at a leisurely pace. Not so many years ago, Ko Chang was virtually unknown to Westerners. Then it was discovered by the backpacking set, and today it has become very popular as a tourist destination. You can still enjoy spectacular white sand beaches which are located mostly on the western side of Ko Chang. Ko Chang also still stars amazing scenery in the form of tall mountains, steep stone cliffs, breathtaking evergreen rainforest, sparkling waterfalls and colorful coral reefs. Most of the island, away from the beach area, is protected as part of the Mu Ko Chang Nature Reserve.

Amazing Beaches

In the past decade or so, developers have been hard at work building hotels to offer package deals for tourists from the Western world. Probably the area where this is most apparent is North White Sand Beach – the busiest area of all Ko Chang – which features hundreds of hotels, restaurants and all kinds of stores catering to tourists. (This is great if you want plenty of nightlife and souvenir shopping.) The neighboring South White Sand Beach is less developed but it is lacking the fantastic beachfront which North White Sand Beach is justly famous for.

If you would prefer a quieter beach, don’t worry. Ko Chang is quite a big island, with a number of secluded beaches, ideal for both swimming and relaxing. For a wider variety of water related activities, try swimming with the dolphins at Chantaburi, or undersea fun snorkeling or diving. An exciting Ko Chang experience is wreck diving, descending into the gulf to investigate one of the hundreds of wrecked ships hidden beneath the water. You may also want to rent a sail boat or sign up for a guided sea kayak expedition.

Explore the Island

On land you can explore the island in a number of different ways. Jungle trekking, with a ranger, will give you a chance to admire the natural beauty of Ko Chang. Ko Chang boasts a plethora of stunning waterfalls. How does a “waterfall to waterfall” hike sound to you? This popular full day hike leads from the Than Mayom Waterfall, near Than Mayom Pier, to the Khlong Plu Waterfall, the only waterfall on the western side of the island. Rope and harness tree climbing will provide an exciting bird’s eye view of your surroundings. Alternatively, admire the passing scene from a bicycle – or atop an elephant. Beyond the gorgeous landscapes, Ko Chang is home to some amazing wildlife. Look for exotic birds, snakes, deer, wild pigs, macaques (also known as rhesus monkeys) and wild elephants.

Dining and Accommodations

You will find a good assortment of restaurants on the various beaches. The majority serve traditional Thai cuisine – hot, spicy and flavorful, based on lots of curries, noodle dishes and rice. Locally caught fresh seafood is the centerpiece of many menus. There are also a few places with foreign food such as French or Italian. You’ll also want to check out the beach bars, where you can sit and watch the sun set over the water as you sip a drink. Less of a party island than some of its neighbors, Ko Chang’s Lonely Beach is nevertheless starting to catch on among the younger crowd as a place for beach parties, drinking and dancing.

Accommodation on Ko Chang runs the gamut from upscale luxury hotels to very basic sleeping space. Prices are equally varied, so you should have no problem finding a room to suit your budget and your needs, whether you are a family traveling with small children or a youthful solo traveler.

Ko Chang’s climate is typically Thai, with hot humid weather and temperatures averaging about 35 degrees Centigrade. Monsoon season is in late summer to early fall. The best time to visit is between November and March, when it is relatively cool, and you will be comfortable hiking and touring. Travel to the island by air or ferry boat and once you are there, you can get around by songthaew (a pick up truck with passenger benches in the back for communal public transportation), tuk-tuk (a private motorized rickshaw), a rented motorcycle or hitchhiking.

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Partners:

List your Thailand travel business
Thailand Golf Tours

Partners:

ThailandGuide24 - travel website
Gringos Retsaurant Koh Samui, Thailand