The Best Things to do in Koh Chang – Island on the Gulf of Thailand

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Koh Chang (also written Ko Chang) is one of many islands in Thailand. But since it is not located in the South unlike many other Thai islands it often gets overseen by tourists. Instead, Koh Chang is located in the East of Thailand, near the boarder to Cambodia. Actually, it is a big pity many people don’t know about this island, because it offers everything that the other Thai islands offer: Tranquility and relaxation, but on the other hand you can as well find party and cheap drinks. You see, there is something for everyone.

In the following, you will find the best things to do in Koh Chang and what to do in Koh Chang’s beaches.

Koh Chang Facts

  • Island on the East coast of Thailand
  • located on the Gulf of Thailand
  • Name translated means Elephant island
  • 3rd biggest island in Thailand

Best Traveling Time

Cool season: November – February

High season: March – May

Raining season: June – October

How to get to Koh Chang?

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From Siem Reap to Koh Chang

Price: ca. 12 Euro / 14$
Duration: ca. 13 hours

We decided to go on the long trip from Siem Reap (Cambodia) directly to Koh Chang.
Early in the morning we got picked up at our guesthouse and brought to the travel agency from where our bus was supposed to leave. Just 15 Minutes late a big bus picked us up even though we were just four people traveling on this bus today. Obviously, we had enough space for us and our backpacks.
From Siem Reap it was an about three hours journey until we reached the Thai border.
Every passenger gets a sticker that you can glue on your clothes. But take good care of it because it is your way to prove that you have bought a ticket.
After getting your departure stamp on the Cambodian side and your arrival stamp on the Thai side you have a little break to either exchange money (Surprisingly, the rates in the official money exchange office are actually pretty good) or get some lunch.

Afterwards, you will have to change your bus as in Thailand they have left-hand-traffic. From now on we went on by Mini-Van, which was full of people.
Destination of the journey was Trat.
From there you can go on by ferry. A woman will probably try to sell you a ticket to go on with this mini-van after reaching Koh Chang directly to your accommodation. On the one hand, we were sure to get a better deal when leaving the ferry, on the other hand, after already around 11 hours of journey we were extremely lazy to look for a taxi and discuss prices.

So, in the end, we agreed to keep going with this mini-van. When leaving the ferry later we discovered that there actually was no taxi waiting and we were more than happy having bought our ticket beforehand from this woman.

And finally, we could go on to our accommodation. It took like another hour. Unfortunately, the driver had no idea about the way, so we were pretty happy to have pinned our accommodation in beforehand.

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From Bangkok to Koh Chang

Price: ca. 11,50 Euro /$13,50/ 450 Baht

Duration: 7 1/2 hours

Bangkok is around 315 km away from Koh Chang. The cheapest option is to get there by mini van. If you have a big budget and just few time you can as well take an airplane from Bangkok to Trat.

You can check your tickets from Barcelona to Koh Chang online here.

How to get around Koh Chang?

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There are two main possibilities to get around the island. Either you can go by taxi or you can rend a scooter or motorcycle. The taxis are not really cheap to be honest, but definitely safer than the scooter.
The roads of Koh Chang can get super dangerous. Especially, because the roads contain really sharp curves and go up and down steeply. I’ve never seen something like that before.
When going downhill I really had to hold myself on the motorcycle trying to not fall down from it. And uphill we had to go up really fast to get up the hills with the two of us on the motorcycle.

Even for experienced drivers like Eduardo, it was a really stressful journey getting around Koh Chang. I recommend you to really just take the motorcycle or scooter if you are a confident driver.
Moreover, you should keep in mind to get at motorcycle with a higher CC if you are driving with two people. Otherwise, you might not make it up the mountain.

Related Post: Want to save money while traveling Thailand? Make sure to check out our Ultimate Thailand Budget Guide.

Best Koh Chang Accommodation

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Rock Inn Bailan

A really nice accommodation. The garden in which the bungalows are located is super pretty and invites to relax in it. The rooms are clean and comfortable. Moreover, the guesthouse is about 3 minutes away from the Bailan beach and you can find little shops and restaurants and places for laundry or renting a scooter around.

Check more information, prices, and availability here.

Klong Kloi Cottage

The Bungalows are directly located in the Bang Bao beach area. The rooms are comfortable and offer space to sit in front of the door. Moreover, they have a private bathroom with hot shower.
This accommodation is best for everyone that is looking for a place to relax. Besides a restaurant and a little travel agency, there is nothing around. The next shops and restaurants are within a 20 minutes walk.

Check more information, prices, and availability here.

Where to eat?

We discovered our restaurants for breakfast, lunch, and dinner near the Bailan Beach: Tamarin Restaurant. The food was not only cheap but also really good. We enjoyed especially our breakfast: Musli with fruits and yogurt.
We also loved the local food they offered, such as Pad Thai, but even the burgers were amazing.

Related Post: Your first time in Thailand? Here you can find everything you need to know before your trip.

Best Things to do in Koh Chang

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Koh Chang was our first destination in Thailand after we left Cambodia with a heavy heart. We went to this island in the first place to celebrate my birthday. But in the end, my birthday was totally spoiled by rain.

And there is something else you should know about Koh Chang in raining season: Expect power failures – a lot of them and all the time.

When we arrived on our first day after a 13 hours journey we had to find the way just with candles and the flashlights of our phones. Is there anything else that could better say Welcome to Koh Chang?!

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However, during the afternoon, we had whole 20 minutes break from the rain, that we used to have a nice bath in the sea. Already on the way back, the monsoon rain started again, but we were super happy to at least have had a nice little swim. Anyway, going swimming and having some beach time is arguably the nicest of the things to do in Koh Chang, Thailand.

At night we decided to go have a drink to celebrate in the near Lonely Beach. Therefore, we started our journey by foot covered in raincoats carrying an umbrella and our phone’s flashlight in order for cars and motorcycles to see us.

The Lonely Beach was around 3 km away from our accommodation. But we soon should realize that the way there can get kinda dangerous walking. The locals drive super fast around the corners before they can even see you. Moreover, the road leads through a forest like area which wasn’t illuminated at all. (especially, when the power went off again during our journey)

About halfway, we started wondering whether we should rather go back when realizing that we’ve been walking in total darkness. Suddenly, just when we had more or less decided to go back, some people came walking from the opposite direction showing it was actually possible to keep walking. In the end, we realized we have actually already been much more than halfway and we arrived safely.

The night life of Koh Chang

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While enjoying a filled roti and a fresh coconut, we’ve been approached by several people offering us vouchers for free drinks if we arrive at a certain time in their bar. Why not check out one of these places?

Well, the cocktails were more or less fine but quite strong apparently.
In the end, we spent a nice night in a bar called Himmel Bar. The later the night the more people joined us in the bar.

The next night we even came back here with two super nice Turkish Germans that we met on the bus from Siem Reap: Dilara and Ozan.

This time we spent our night playing pool while enjoying our free drinks. 🙂

Lonely Beach at night

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You won’t find any sandy beach here. But anyway, it is nice to sit down while listening to the waves of the shore. However, you can also hear a lot of mosquitos flying around, so better be covered in mosquito repellent! 

Another thing you can find here are termites. At least suddenly one was stuck in my foot. Eduardo had to pull it out. And trust me, these beasts can bite really strongly.
Therefore, we sat down on the next terrace we could find. It turned out to be part of a resort and the owner was super nice and helped me clean my wound. 
When my foot felt more or less okay again we could continue our way to the bar street.

Anyway, after a short time, we realized that we have forgotten our umbrella on this terrace.

When returning we didn’t only find the missing umbrella but also a big scorpion wandering around.

For the both of us it was the first time seeing a wild scorpion, so we were pretty excited. Especially, when suddenly a little cat approached trying to catch it.

Luckily, the owner was faster catching the scorpion in a big bag in order to set it free again somewhere where it wouldn’t bother any humans.

Fluorescent plankton in Koh Chang

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Another amazing surprise was waiting for us the next day. After realizing that the rain has actually stopped for a while and you could even get a little glance on a piece of blue sky, we decided to have a little swim in the sea before the sun was about to set.

Hence, we used our rented scooter in order to visit our friends Dilara and Ozan at the Bang Bao Beach. After the sun has set and it got completely dark around us I realized something glowing in the water. After having made the same experience before in Taiwan I knew at once what this was. And I got totally excited: Fluorescent Plankton. This fantastic natural spectacle is also known as bioluminescence. It truly looks like there are a thousand stars inside of the water. It is just mesmerizing. We spent at least one hour in the water watching this magnificent act of nature. What a lovely surprise!

Travel Insurance for Thailand

You should never go traveling without an insurance, especially not if you are planning to take a scooter. But don’t worry, World Nomads got you covered in case anything happens. Check out their rates here!

Where to next?

Make sure to also check out our Ultimate Guides to Bangkok and Pai.

More Thai Beaches? Check out Hua Hin on the Gold of Thailand or these Top 5 things to do in Railay Beach, Krabi.

Make sure to check out the best places for snorkeling and diving in Thailand with Greta.

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6 thoughts on The Best Things to do in Koh Chang – Island on the Gulf of Thailand

  1. I used to live in Chanthaburi and on my long weekends, I would always always go to Koh Chang! It is probably one of my favorite islands in Thailand! This makes me want to go back so badly!!


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