Until recently Chang was ignored by tourists but that is changing with improved highways, fast bus services and convenient ferry links from Trat province.
Koh Chang, the third largest island in Thailand
after Phuket and Samui, stands off the Trat province coastline, representing an area of 492 sq km. Covered in virgin rainforest, its topography is dominated by high mountains rising from shoreline cliffs. This gives the island an abundance of waterfalls and streams, rugged almost impassable interior and rainforests. All the beaches and tourist attractions are located on the west coast that is accessible by road or boat.
HOW TO GET THERE
By car: There are two routes from Bangkok to Trat. Highway 3 represents the longest route - 385 km via Chonburi, Pattaya, Rayong and Chanthaburi. The shorter route on Highway 344 is 315 km via Chonburi-Klaeng-Chanthaburi.
By bus: Air-conditioned buses leave Bangkok's Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai Bus Terminal) on Sukhumvit Road near Soi Ekamai daily from 0500 to 2400 every 30 minutes. Duration is about five to six hours.
TRANSFER TRAT - Ko CHANG
Getting to Koh Chang is not difficult. Just take the bus (songtaew) from Trat to Laem Ngop on the coast for Bt20. Ferry from Laem Ngop to Koh Chang takes from 45 minutes to two hours, depending on the boats used. There are three points from where boats leave for Koh Chang.
Two piers at Thammachat and Ko Chartg centre point. One is a ferry pier for visitors taking their car to the island. Cost of ferry depends on the kind of car. Roundtrip fare for a car is Bt150 (free for driver) and Bt6o per passenger.
The other is just a passenger ferry pier with wooden boats. Roundtrip is Btloo (after 1700, you have to charter a ferry for about Bt1,000). Koh Chang Centre Point pier is about 5 km away. It is also for visitors taking their car to the island. It starts serving from 0700 until 1700. Ferry fare for a four-wheeler is Bt100, six-wheeler Bt200, 10-wheeler Bt400.
The third point is Natural Bay pier, about 15 km from the others. Ferries leave from 0700 until 1900 A car costs Bt150.
Once on the island getting to the beaches is an easy matter. The traditional songtaew costs Bt30 to Sai Kaew, Bt40 to Klong Phrao and Bt50 to Kai Bae (to other places you have to charter a baht-bus). Another way to travel in Koh Chang is to rent motorcycle for Bt400 a day or a mountain bike for Bt40 per hour or Bt200 to Bt300 per day.
From Pattaya an air-conditioned minibus leaves at 0700 daily at Malibu Travel, Pattaya 2 Road. Fare is Bt500 per person (one-way) and Bt1,000 (roundtrip) including boat transfer. To charter a taxi costs Bt2,500 per day and Bt2,800 for an air-condition minibus.
Sai Kaew is one of the longest beaches on Koh Chang. There are lots of bungalows and resorts with reasonable prices. At the back of the beach are coconut plantations and forest. It is easily accessible due to many roads leading to it.
Kai Bae beach is close to Klong Phrao beach. There are also quite a few cheap bungalows in the area.
Sai Yoa beach, one of the longest beaches on the island, is located on the south of close to Salak Petch bay. Swimming is possible. Enjoy fishing and visit the forest, coconut orchards.
Bai Laan, one of the longest and quietest beaches, is located next to Kai Bae beach. It takes one hour from Kai Bae to this place by walking. Swimming is very safe. Klong Son bay is located on the northern part of the island's west cost. Near the bay, there are lots of beautiful corals.
Klong Phrao beach is located on Laem Chaiyachet near Kai Bae beach. The northern part of Klong Phrao is close to Chaiyachet bay with a beautiful landscape. Sai Kaew is one of the longest beaches on Koh Chang.
There are lots of bungalows and resorts with reasonable prices. At the back of the beach are coconut plantations and forest. It is easily accessible due to many roads leading to it.
Koh Chang offers all kind of accommodation, from three-star resorts to simple tents, depending on money and taste. A high-end resort is located on Sai Kaew beach but also has standard accommodation and tents. Rates are from Bt300 to Bt7,000. Resorts on Kai Bae beach cost from Bt300 to Bt3,000 and also have mountain bikes for rent. The best spot to visit during sunset is on Laem Chaiyachet, Klong Phrao beach.
Accommodation there is from Bt1,400 to Bt3,500. Beautiful corals for scuba diving and a hotel with full facilities you find on Klong Son bay. Room rates are from Bt8,000 to BU6,000. You also can enjoy trekking through forests or coconut plantations or fishing at Sai Yoa beach (Long Sand beach).