Attractions on Koh Chang
Koh Chang is Thailand’s second largest island, after Phuket and is situated within Trat Province in eastern Thailand. The island was largely unknown to tourists until approximately 10-15 years ago. Koh Chang is one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands and is the largest in the Koh Chang Archipelago. Due to its unique terrain there are an abundance of attractions on Koh Chang ranging from long white sandy beaches, high mountains and evergreen rain forests to high cliffs, waterfalls and coral reefs. There’s so much natural beauty on the island making it the perfect destination for those who love the outdoors.
In the early 1980’s Koh Chang became part of the Mu Koh Chang National Marine Park. It is only in recent years that it has developed into a major tourist attraction for both foreigners and local Thais. This has led to much development of what was rural fishing and farming villages, to a range of holiday accommodation from luxury resorts to budget backpacker bungalows and guesthouses.
Many of the top attractions on Koh Chang are the stunning beaches. Most of the scenic sandy beaches are on the west coast, with the east coast being mainly rocky with a smattering of small villages and a handful of resorts that cater for those who really wish to escape for some peace and quiet. Each beach has its own unique feel, geography and style with something to cater for everyone’s taste.
The northern most Khlong Son, is a quiet picturesque local village and bay, while the neighbouring White Sand Beach (Haad Sai Khao) is the longest beach offering a magnificent seascape and is one of the most developed with plenty of hotels, restaurants, shops, bars and bungalows to choose from.
Pearl Beach and Khlong Prao offer boutique resort and upscale accommodation , accompanied with some of the best beaches on the island, whereas Kaie Bae the next beach going south, is a favourite for families and older couples. Lonely beach has the reputation for being the liveliest beach on Koh Chang and is the original backpacker destination with parties going on until the early hours. Meanwhile, its sleepy neighbour Bailan Beach, is much quieter and simply offers some comfortable basic bungalows surrounded by a rocky landscape.
Lastly, Bang Bao in the south at the bottom of Koh Chang’s western side is a charming classic fishing village, which has a prominent 700 meter long concrete pier that stretches into the bay. This is the departure point for most of Koh Chang’s diving and snorkelling tours.
TOP RATED ATTRACTIONS
Kai Bae Beach
Bang Bao Beach
Chai Chet Beach
Than Mayom Waterfall
White Sand Beach
Klong Pau Waterfall
Khiri Phet Waterfall
Klong Prao Beach
Mountains and Waterfalls
Other top attractions on Koh Chang include its vast mountainous terrain. As Koh Chang’s interior is made up of 70% tropical rainforest, naturally there are numerous waterfalls that tourists can visit during a trip to the island. Take a guided tour through the deep dense jungle and you’ll discover an abundance of wildlife including macaques, mongooses, reptiles, an array of bird species and elephants (although these are not indigenous to the island).
Klong Plu Waterfall, during the wet season, is one of the top attractions on Koh Chang. The waterfall can be found down a road at the northern end of Klong Prao Beach. It is a short walk to the plunge pool at the bottom where one can enjoy a revitalising swim. Than Mayom Waterfall sits on the east coast, near Than Mayom pier. This is a four level waterfall made famous by two previous kings of Thailand, Rama V and VI. Both kings engraved their initials into a rock at the waterfall and still today tourists visit just to see the famous inscription for themselves.
If you are feeling particularly fit and adventurous, head south to Salak Phet and you’ll find Klong Neung and Kheeri Pet Waterfalls. Klong Neung is the tallest waterfall on the island and although challenging to access, is the most awe-inspiring. Kheeri Pet is a little easier to access and has a cascade that ranges dramatically from two to seven levels depending on the season. A waterfall that is rarely visited is Kai Bae Waterfall and although it is only one level, the drop is simply breath-taking. Opt to enjoy a refreshing swim in its plunge pool at the bottom and you’ll be surrounded by sounds of the jungle, making any challenging hike well worth the effort.
In addition to its majestic natural beauty, should you wish to experience some of Koh Chang’s cultural and historically significant sites, these attractions on Koh Chang do not disappoint either. There are beautiful Buddhist temples in the villages of Klong Nansi, Klong Prao, Bang Bao and Klong Son. Near the village of Klong Son is also the Chao Po Chinese Temple, which houses the sacred shrine to the ‘Godfather of Koh Chang’ – a truly magnificent piece of architecture. According to legend many prayers from locals have been answered in times of extreme hardship by the Godfather of Koh Chang. The Chao Po Koh Chang (Deity of Koh Chang) is highly revered by the locals and is believed to protect the people of the island.
Lastly, in the south near Salak Phet Bay, lies the Koh Chang Naval Battle Area where the Thai and French fought over the eastern border in World War II. The Thai Navy holds an annual event to commemorate the victory and honour the dead by floating garlands into the sea, two battleship wrecks remain in the sea near Salak Phet Bay and make for attractive diving sites.