Ko Chang second largest island in Thailand and the largest in the East. The increased popularity of Thailand’s coastline has resulted in major growth in recent years both in the numbers visiting on Thailand travel packagesas well as the infrastructure to cater for them. Ko Chang is like something off a postcard; white sandy beaches and a clear blue sea. Inland the forests hold an impressive range of fauna. In the middle of the last century there was a handful of families here selling coconuts and fruit to the mainland. In 1982 the island was included in a marine park of the same name but within the last ten years there has been a huge change from backpacker paradise to modern tourist destination.
The name means Elephant Island because of the shape of the headland though elephants are not indigenous. It is fairly mountainous with evergreen forest, some cliff coast but also those lovely beaches largely on the west side which makes Mu Ko Chang an impelling inclusion on Thailand tour packages.
How to get there
There are domestic flights from Bangkok to the Provincial Capital, Trat which take an hour with plentiful transfers to the island’s hotels.
The bus service from Bangkok takes five hours and there are also bus connections with Pattaya for those moving around on a holiday in Thailand. The ferries leave from Laem Ngop and there are high speed boats as well.
Best time to visit
The average year round temperature is around 30C and low is never below 20C. The monsoon season is May until the beginning of November. Many guesthouses close during these months with the season then coming alive for six months.
Things to see and do
National Marine Park includes Ko Chang and 46 other islands. There is certainly plenty to explore.
Inevitably the major activities revolve around the sea and the beaches. Scuba divers will enjoy lovely coral reefs and colourful fish. On the waves sailing is very popular as is kayaking. Indochina tour packages usually include beach destinations and this is certainly one for consideration.
On the east side of course there is the jungle for those enjoying trekking and climbing. There is plenty of wildlife to enjoy with reptiles and snakes a possibility while walking.
There are several waterfalls worth a visit:
• Klong Plu in the west is the most popular and Klong Nueng probably the most impressive.
• Klong Nonsi is in the east side of the island while Kongoi is actually five waterfalls.
Transport costs mean that the Island’s restaurants are not the cheapest in Thailand though there is plenty of local fresh produce and fish in the cuisine. As tourism has grown so has the number of guesthouses, resorts and hotels on offer, largely in the high season.
Prices often vary with the proximity to a beach but those on organised tours will have already had their arrangements confirmed.
There are bungalows and it is possible to camp while trekking in the east.