8 Things You Should Know Before Visiting Koh Chang
It is safe to say that everyone wants their vacation to be as enjoyable as possible. We desire a wonderful holiday, but most of the time we don't do enough research about our travel destination, which often leads to some "way-too-exotic" experience. But fear not, if your next destination is Koh Chang, we got all the must-know facts covered in this article. We have picked the 8 most useful things you need to know before heading to this hidden gem in Thailand!
Note: 'Koh' rhymes with 'chock' but without the final '-ck' and means 'island'.
Getting to Koh Chang
Located in the eastern region of Thailand, Koh Chang is the third largest island in the country, yet it has far less tourists which is an ideal hideaway island for your vacation. Unlike Phuket, Koh Chang does not have a local airport, so here are some transportation options that will get you there:
1. Public Bus
Backpackers travelling from Bangkok can use regular bus services from Ekamai Bus Station to the mainland ferry piers. Refer to this website for bus and ferry schedules. Price : THB350.
2. Private Minivan
Travelers can enjoy a hassle free and direct transport to Koh Chang at an affordable price.
Price : Starts THB 3400-4600
Bangkok Airways flies to Trat Airport three times a day, which is only a ferry ride away to Koh Chang. The boats to Koh Chang are all large car ferries, running from 06.00 to 19.30.
Beaches to Visit
As mentioned, Koh Chang is Thailand's third largest island. There are so many beaches to choose from, so here is a brief rundown of Koh Chang's main beaches:
- White Sand Beach - located closest to the ferry piers, this is a perfect beach for those who have just arrived. Most accommodation offered here would be what you'd call 2-3 star resort accommodation.
- Lonely Beach - Don't let its lonely name fool you. It is the original 'backpacker' beach that is now moving more towards 'upmarket'. It is home to many affordable guesthouses and huts, but also offers boutique accommodation such as Nest Sense.
- Klong Prao - This is the longest beach on the island. You can find large resorts such as Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort
What to Eat
Like other places in Thailand, you cannot miss the street food Koh Chang has to offer. Skip 7-eleven and explore the exotic taste of Street Food in Klong Son. Thai street food dishes to try are meat on sticks, kanom krok, banana roti, and of course, authentic Pad Thai. If these delicious meals still do not ease your appetite for Thai food, there are several authentic places you can dine. A Koh Chang Expert IamKoChang.com highly recommends these restaurants: Boogie Chicken, Sun and Soul, 15 Palms, Heatree Seafood and Tonsai. These restaurants offer from traditional Thai food and desserts to fancy fusion cuisine. Your diet can wait.
What to Do
Soaking in the sunset in Mu Koh Chang National Park View Point deserves the first place on the list. This lookout is surely deserving, offering a panoramic view of Koh Chang and its neighboring islands.
- Diving into a sea of coral reefs - for all those divers out there, Koh Chang marine life will not disappoint. The sea next to the island is shallow and crystal clear. It is also home to colorful coral reefs and tropical fish that aren't afraid to swim over to say hi.
- Authentic Thai massage - Tourists who need to relax and pamper themselves can try Traditional Thai massage here. The island hosts several spas that will definitely provide a unique massage experience that cannot be found elsewhere.
- Klong Plu Waterfall - Nature enthusiasts will fall in love with this waterfall. It is the main waterfall on the island and also close to a canopy trail, which will guide you to the rainforest, giving you a chance to explore Thai wildlife.
Koh Chang is an island in a tropical country. Of course, humidity is to be expected. Travelers from other parts of the world should be prepared. Along with the warm weather, the humidity will make it feel way hotter than it actually is. Bring a big water bottle to keep hydrated and a portable fan to cool you down. It will be a little uncomfortable at first but with enough iced water and summer attire, you can still enjoy your trip without a problem!
What to Bring
Aside from the obvious, you will need to bring extra sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and a pair of flip-flops. Remember to pack light as you might need some extra space to pack all the Thai goodies that you'll be taking home! No, you do not need to purchase a sim card from home, it can be easily purchased at the airport or even on the island!
Tipping for any service in Thailand is NOT mandatory. Tips are highly appreciated but again, are NOT required. And no, no-one will stare daggers at you if you don't tip - So enjoy your trip and don't worry about tipping!!
If you cannot exchange your currency to Thai Baht at home, do not worry, currency exchange services are available at most airports in Thailand. Unless you have too much money to spare, do not exchange cash at hotels because it comes with a high exchange rate plus 3% service charge. Exchange agents are available at shopping malls and local banks at a much more reasonable price. Another smart alternative is to withdraw cash in Thailand using your home bank's ATM card. You will be charged an ATM fee and the exchange rate will be at the bank's rate for that day.
Koh Chang is a truly spectacular place, so do your homework before you arrive to make the most of it. Reading this article has been a great start!