About Koh Chang Island
Find out all there is to know about Koh Chang with the best available online guide, We Love Koh Chang Island. Koh Chang is an island in Trat Province, Eastern Thailand. Koh Chang is Thailand’s second largest island, and the biggest in Eastern Thailand. With about 5,000 permanent residents the island is not heavily populated, but tourism and development has increased dramatically over the last few years.
The island is the largest island in the Koh Chang Archipelago. The island gets its name (Chang, Thai for elephant) from the shape of its headland, as it looks like an elephant. Koh Chang island has an area of approximately 429 square kilometres. The topography contains high mountains and complex stone cliffs. The highest mount is Khao Salak Phet which is 744 metres high, rich in fertile evergreen forest which is the main water source. 70 percent of this undisturbed island is actually rain forest, with steep hills, cliffs, waterfalls, wildlife, fine beaches and coral reefs all on offer to be explored.
This has got to be one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands, with so much natural beauty on offer. The island is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including a huge variety of birds, snakes, deer and a number of elephants. The island and its vicinity are great places for snorkelling, diving and jungle hiking. The “discovery” of the island as a tourist destination since 2000 has brought on a large amount of rapid development with new resorts being built, and while still far quieter than places like Phuket or Koh Phangan , it can be busy in high season.
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About Koh Chang History
A little slice of history about Koh Chang and how it has changed over the years. In the early 20th century the province of Trat was regained by King Rama from the French in exchange for the then Thai governed Siem Reap, Sri Sophon and Prataborg. This triumph is still celebrated to this day and the 23rd March is known as independence day to it’s locals. Chang island around this time was little known and the few families that inhabited the island would take to the mainland to grow coconuts and fruit as way of providing for there families.
Between 1940 and 1941 during the indochina war, Koh Chang history would change for good with the French Navy’s attempts to recapture Trat. On 17 January 1941 the French-Thai battle took place on the waters around the island of Koh Chang. The Thai navy were successful in driving the French out of Thai waters but not without cost. A significant number of Thai nationals lost there lives as they fought for there country.
The sunken ships during this time provide excellent wreck diving to this day. As a mark of respect for those that sadly died during the “Koh Chang Naval Battle,” the Thai navy holds a ceremony on 17 January each year.
In the mid 1970’s local fishing boats sailed Koh Chang’s first backpackers to it’s shores in search of the untouched sands and forestation that formed the island. A few years later in 1982 Koh Chang and it’s surrounding area was granted national park status under the name of Mu Koh Chang National Marine Park. In 2001, the then Thai Prime Minister, Thaksin Shinawatra, visited the island to find out what it was about Koh Chang that everyone loved so much. After exploring the place, the Prime Minister was so in awe of the islands natural beauty that he decided he would do everything he could to develop Koh Chang into a destination where the wealthy and rich could holiday. Targeting tourists from all around the globe, Koh Chang soon became a holiday destination for everyone to visit. Today the once traditional bamboo huts that lined the beaches of Koh Chang are being replaced with luxury, high end resorts and hotels, and continues to grow at a steady pace.
Where To Stay
About Koh Chang accommodation – There are a huge selection of hotels and resorts on Koh Chang, ranging from the cheap and basic, to the more luxurious and pricey. Something we love about Koh Chang is that there is something to suit everyone’s budget on the island. Whether you are a backpacker living off a shoe string, or a successful business man with no limits as far as the accommodation is concerned; we have plenty of choice and availability all year round if you book with us in advance.
Lonely Beach is by far the liveliest and busiest beach on the island. Here you have absolutely everything you could possibly need on your doorstep, including beautiful beaches, plenty of restaurants and bars, hotels, shops, banks and much more.
Banks & Foreign Exchange – There are ATM machines placed all over the island, so withdrawing cash at anytime of day or night is no problem. There are many different banks and foreign exchange offices based at the main beach areas. Some banks, including Bangkok Bank and Krung Thai bank, are open on weekends as well as week days. Most of the resorts and hotels will happily change both travelers cheques and cash, but their exchange rates are normally lower than the banks. Many of the resorts and restaurants will accept credit card payments, but be aware that they will charge you a fee for this service.
Internet – Most of the resorts and bungalows on the island offer free Wi-Fi, but if you are staying at one of the very few that doesn’t, then a large number of bars, restaurants and cafes do. Connection speeds are not super fast by international standards but they are good enough for normal internet browsing. If you’re not traveling with your own laptop then you’ll find that Koh Chang has several internet cafes offering access to the internet, all at very low rates.
Health & Safety – Before departing for your holiday to Koh Chang, it would be sensible to check with your doctor that you are up to date with all boosters as recommended for life in your home country. This would also be a good opportunity to ask your doctor what vaccinations you may require for your travels to Koh Chang. Your doctor may suggest the following vaccinations; Hepatitis A, Tetanus, Cholera, Diphtheria, Rabies, Typhoid, Japanese Encephalitis. It is currently not necessary to take any anti-malaria pills during your stay on Koh Chang. A visit to the island does not present any major health risks as long as you take some basic precautions. Standards of health care in Thailand are generally very good but costs in private hospitals for any sickness or injuries can be high so make sure you have suitable travel insurance prior to leaving your home country. Providing you’re insured you don’t have to worry about a thing, just enjoy yourself in paradise.