If you are looking for an island in Thailand that does not require too much travel from Bangkok and has fewer crowds, then Kho Chang is your place. Koh Chang Island has soft white sand, pristine water, and offers lots of activities to visitors beyond snorkeling and scuba diving.
I decided to visit Koh Chang during my two weeks visiting Thailand, considered it is one of the best islands in the country, and it is not expensive. I stayed on the island for four days, and it has everything I was looking for: beaches, mountains, forests, and the beautiful sunset.
If you plan to visit Koh Chang, check out some of my favorite places and activities there.
Despite the name of the beach, Lonely Beach neither gets lonely nor crowded. It is a popular destination for travelers but it is still a fantastic place to relax and spend your afternoon with nature. There are hotels, shops, and restaurants alongside the beach, and its long stretch of shoreline makes it a perfect place for afternoon jogging and yoga practice. The sunset in the late afternoon lights the sky with gold and pink, and the scenery is particularly beautiful. I enjoyed swimming and relaxing on the beach every afternoon, and watching the sun set on the ocean was the best part of my day.
I booked the jungle trekking tour with an experienced and licensed tour guide Tan for Klong Prao Trek to get to know the other part of the island. We started our hike in the morning somewhere near Kong Prao village and spent two hours walking up the mountains through the grassland, rubber plantations, and rainforests. Between the trees and plantations, the path was very narrow, steep and slippery, but a fantastic view of the Klong Prao and Kai Bae beaches on the summit was very rewarding. It was amazing to see more of the island beyond beaches and marine creatures. We even saw a few monkeys and a cobra on the way up, and the elephants on our way back.
Free Cooking Class
At Pajamas Hostel where I stayed, the staff there offered us a free cooking class on one afternoon and taught us to make papaya salad. The ingredients were already prepared so we did not have to make everything from the scratch. The staff demonstrated the process of making papaya salad and we took our turns. Traditionally, the food in Thailand is spicy, and papaya salad is no exception. While we all seemed to use the same ingredients, the papaya salad we made tasted differently because of the different amount of chili peppers we put in. It really depends on your taste and how spicy you can take it. I put only two chili peppers in my salad and it already made my tongue burn; imagine the locals sometimes putting five.
Try the Street Food
I am a fan of Thai food and the food on the island is very diverse and delicious. There are few restaurants on both sides across the street from my hostel offering great Thai food and the staff is very friendly. Five minutes’ walk down the street there are several street food stands that offer noodles, rice, grilled meat and seafood, crepes and smoothies. I also ordered Chinese and Thai food at the hostel. They were affordable and the portion was huge.
Cycling around the Island
You can rent a scooter or bicycle, and travel around the island to discover sites that are rarely explored by most visitors. You can reach the white sand beach, where there are few people and the water is very warm and clean. You can also go to Klong Son Village to meet the locals and get to know more of the island culture and spend your afternoon on the Klong Koi Bay, a small and quiet beach on the southwest part of the island.
Get from Bangkok to Koh Chang: you can reach Koh Chang from Bangkok via bus and ferry. From Ekamai Bus Station, take the Government Bus 99 to Laem Ngop (four hours) and then the ferry (40 minutes) to the island. Bus 99 leaves Ekamai station at 7:45 am and 9 am every day. Once you get to Laem Ngop, make sure to get the return ticket as the bus will be fully loaded sometimes.
Where to stay: I stayed at Pajamas Koh Chang, which is a hostel by name, but is more of a resort with clean rooms and air conditioning that is run by locals. It has a pool, a kitchen, and a huge common area with a TV and computer station, and spacious private rooms facing the pool. Lonely beach is a two-minute walk from Pajamas Koh Chang. The breakfast is complimentary and served in buffet style with noodles, fried rice, waffles, bread, and tropical fruit. To book a room, you can reserve online here.
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