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Koh Chang Thailand Is Koh Chang Worth Visiting

Is Koh Chang Worth Visiting?

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Koh Chang is one of the first places I’d choose if I had one week in Thailand. More time is easily spent worrying about where the next sunset should be viewed from or whether a Thai massage would cure a long, stressful day at the beach. The island’s plethora of beaches places to explore and relax made our visit to Koh Chang a truly memorable trip. This place appeals to almost every kind of traveler and I’d have to say that “absolutely yes” is the answer to the question, is Koh Chang worth visiting? Let’s dig into why you should visit, how to enjoy it, and what you should do on one of the best islands in Thailand.

Koh Chang

This Koh Chang travel guide is part of our series on Thailand Travel and Southeast Asia Travel. It was originally created on December 4, 2017. It has been maintained and updated (as of December 27, 2018) to reflect current viewpoints and travel trends.

Fun Facts

Koh Chang Thailand Bailan Beach

Being Thailand’s third largest island with a less developed infrastructure leads to Koh Chang’s presence in the shadows of Phuket or Koh Samui, but “Elephant Island” (aptly named for its resemblance on a map to the beautiful pachyderms) provides visitors with many opportunities to enjoy the Gulf of Thailand’s beautiful mixture of green and cerulean waters but other opportunities await for anybody to enjoy a fun and adventurous Thailand holiday.

Getting to Koh Chang and Around

Thailand Koh Chang Roads

Getting to Koh Chang is fairly easy. Multiple companies offer a minibus service from Bangkok and you can even taxi there for a higher price. To get around the island, there is no need to rent a motorbike but it is harder to get to the less accessible places on the major modes of transport. Taxi-like 4×4 trucks (Songthaew) ride up and down the west coast but are not known to drive along the east coast.

Motorbike and Caution

In order to see the island without the restriction of traveling in the back of a crowded minibus or taxi, we had to rent a motorbike. The caution signs revealed themselves while passing through the first “snakey” curves. We even passed a tall elderly western man who was holding a pair of women’s shoes and, to the right of him, a Thai lady shoeless with a helmet and sunglasses on but with blood pouring all over her face. Nevertheless, I decided to rent a motorbike. It’s an easy process. Just give the nice people your passport and 200 Baht (about Seven Dollars) for a day and they’ll even provide a helmet. Motorbiking around Koh Chang is scary. Simply describing the sloping curves is giving me the chills even right now. As the bandaged man I met while paying for rental said, “Drive slowly. Drive Carefully.”

Koh Chang Hotels

Koh Chang Thailand Scenic Overlook

There are quite a few Koh Chang hotels to choose from and prices range according to what you want. Most are found on the island’s west side and vary from smaller backpacker-friendly hostels to luscious resorts that cater to your every want and need. The island has developed quite a bit over the years, so it’s safe to say the secret is out about it.

Koh Chang Food

Thai Food Koh Chang

Koh Chang’s food scene is a mix, because of the huge influx of foreign tourists. Most of the restaurants offer western food and a lot of it tastes great, but seems almost too consistent. Personally, I’d prefer a hearty bowl of Khang Massaman (Thai Massaman curry) with chicken or some Prad Kra Pao to western food any day of the week. So you have both Thai and non-Thai food on Koh Chang and if it were you, what would you choose?

Koh Chang Beaches

Lonely Beach Koh Chang Thailand

At the end of the day—every day, that is—the goal was to enjoy one of Koh Chang’s beaches. Hat Sai Khao (White Sand Beach) is the most popular and developed of the beaches, with shops right up to the water, literally. Plenty of other options exist along Koh Chang’s west coast and highlights include Hat Kai Mook (Pearl Beach, known for snorkeling) and Kai Bae. The latter is popular for an easy and cheap venture kayaking to surrounding islands through the calm Gulf of Thailand. At the end of the line on the west coast are Lonely Beach and Bailan Beach. The former given its name because of a time that once existed where it truly was “lonely” and secluded. Bailan is very nice and even quieter than Lonely Beach.

Koh Chang Away from the Beach

Koh Chang Thailand Treetop Adventures

Our nervy yet successful motorbike rides gave us exposure to some things to do in Koh Chang, away from the beach. Kong Plu waterfall requires a nice hike through the jungle but gives a nice change of scenery from the warm and cozy beaches. It’s easy to just jump in and enjoy the cool waters of the waterfall. However, the place can grow fairly crowded during the daytime. Not far from Bailan Beach, you can enjoy the very fun and exhilarating Treetop Adventure Park. For those searching for a few hours of climbing trees and zip lining through a lush forest next to the beach, Treetop is perfect. Aside from the busy west coast, the eastern part of Koh Chang has a few options to explore. There are boat tours that visitors can take to mangrove forests and secluded fishing villages.

Is Koh Chang Worth Visiting?

When one’s biggest worry concerns the sun’s position and its relation to the umbrella that is producing a cool and relaxing shade next to the beach, life is surely too nice. Go to Koh Chang for the beautiful beaches. Still, you should try to see some of the local wildlife that is well known on the island. Get a bamboo tattoo or go snorkeling. Above all, try to forget who you are and where you came from and consider that to be a successful vacation from normal life.

What do you think of Koh Chang? Have you ever been? What did you think of it? If you’re still in the planning stages of your Thailand holiday, where do you plan on going? Follow our FREE Koh Chang travel checklist and you’ll have a wonderful time. We’d love to read your thoughts in the comments section below:)

37 thoughts on “Is Koh Chang Worth Visiting?

  1. Ruth says:

    Koh Chang was the first place we ever visited in Thailand on our short 10 day break we spent just 3 wonderful days there. If course we could have stayed for much longer. I tend to get restless at the beach though so I’m not sure I would ever stay much longer than a week.

    This December we visited the nearby Koh Kood and it’s the most beautiful Thai island I’ve been to yet. If you enjoyed Koh Chang I would definitely recommend a visit to Koh Kood:)

    • Duke Stewart says:

      I feel terrible for the lack of things we did while hanging out on Koh Chang. It was a great time but I wish we’d done more, like renting a kayak for a day or something like that. All I felt like we did was lay by the beach for most of the time, other than renting the scooter and doing the treetop adventure. I’ll definitely look into Koh Kood, Ruth. Thanks for the recommendation! I appreciate you stopping by and commenting as well:)

  2. Anna Khan says:

    One of my friends went to Thailand in holidays for a week and she shared a lot with us about its beauty. But I never heard about Koh Chang , I will ask from her about this place , all the pictures are very nice. It seems worth visiting with its mountains , beach etc.
    Thank you for sharing beautiful photos.

  3. Michele Harvey says:

    I have never been to Thailand but you make it sound tempting. It seems as though Koh Chang has everything: pristine beaches, jungle, mountains, waterfalls. Paradise for sure.

  4. Susan Cooper/ says:

    I have heard wonderful things about Thailand. I know of a few friends who’ve visited and came back with the desire to return. Your adventure there has mirrored what they have said as well. I would love to go and spend time on a few beaches. I know I’d have a great time. 🙂

  5. Evan and Rachel says:

    We spent a month in Thailand and never made it to Koh Chang! What a bummer haha I looove your sunset photos. We feel like we’ll go back to Thailand one day and if we do, we won’t miss Koh Chang! 😛

    • Duke Stewart says:

      Definitely go there. It was a great place and there was really no reason for us to travel around, though I felt like laying on the beach with a drink in my hand got old after a while. I’m crazy and get restless though:)

  6. William Butler says:

    Hi Carl,
    Thank you for sharing your Koh Chang adventures with us. It’s nice to vicariously experience this beautiful place. The photos are gorgeous, especially the colorful water shots.

  7. jacquiegum says:

    Beautiful pictures…somehow missed Elephant Island on my trip to Thailand, so I guess I’ll have to go back! Sounds wonderful!

  8. ballnchainz says:

    This is Jay

    I have never heard of Koh Chang but it sounds like a great place to visit. those are some great pictures to go with your great discription. thanks for sharing

  9. Tim says:

    I spent a month on Koh Chang back in 1998. At that time it was nothing but huts on the beach and a few small restaurants. It was an absolute paradise. I have returned twice since and it has changed dramatically but the sea, sand, and palm trees remain the same.

  10. Malachi Mata - Living in Korea for says:

    I’ve been to Thailand so many times but never get tired of it. On my last trip we were going to Koh Samet again but it was shut down due to an oil spill so we ended up in Koh Chang. It was a nice change from our usual tour and I’m glad we went.

    You do a great job describing those hills. They are terrifying to look at on the ride in. That stopped me from getting a motorbike but it seems like you are saying it is worth it. Maybe next time I’ll have to give it a try.

  11. Steve Miller (@qiranger) says:

    Those sunset pictures are amazing. My wife and I really enjoyed our time in Thailand this past winter and long to return. There just wasn’t enough time to take it all in. Plus, I need more spicy Thai food!

  12. Nathan says:

    I met a Thai guy in Koh Samui who had a lot to say about ‘farangs’ who rented motorbikes and were needlessly reckless with them. The advice you got from the bandaged tourist was good advice! “Drive slow, drive carefully.”

    Sounds like a great place to just chill and forget about the world for a while. Thanks for sharing! Love the pictures, as always 😉

    • Duke Stewart says:

      Thanks for the encouraging words man. I know I say that each time but having people like you around to read my stuff makes this process much easier and less scary. Cheers!

  13. Meagan | says:

    I can’t wait for my next beach vacation (just about 2 1/2 weeks away now)! I’ve been to Phuket and really enjoyed it, but I’d love to explore other areas of Thailand as well. I don’t know much about Koh Chang, but I’d love to check it out. That sunset photo is absolutely amazing!

    • Duke Stewart says:

      Thank you so much for the comment. Koh Chang was amazing but we always visit places just once. With that said, Thailand’s got plenty of beautiful islands to visit. P.S. That Sunset photo barely captures our nightly sunsets spent chilling in hammocks with a nice drink.

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