Koh-Chang – One of the best islands in Thailand – A mini guide – Page 1

Maps – Orientation

Map 1 – From Bangkok to Koh Chang

Map 2 – Main Beaches – Places to Stay

Map 3 – The main road – almost a circle

Map 4 – Google Interactive Map

Why choose Koh-Chang island ?

It is easy to fall in love with this island. It has everything, even elephants.

Koh Chang is relatively big and developed but there is space for everyone. If you want a quiet beach, you will find one. In fact, one side of the island (the right side) is still undeveloped (no massive resorts and beaches). If you need more isolation, you can take a boat from Koh Chang to the nearby smaller islands Koh-Mak and Koh-Kood (south of Koh-Chang). For the rest of us, who want some civilisation there is in Koh-Chang a lot of good food (including authentic international cuisine), beautiful beaches, panoramic view points, good hotels for all budgets, day excursions with a boat, waterfalls, monkeys, elephants, and also a good nightlife in different zones.

Koh-Chang has an advantage of location. It is located relatively close to Bangkok, near the border of Cambodia. You can reach Koh-Chang with a bus instead of taking an airplane (people often take a flight in order to reach the islands in the south of Thailand).

Koh-Chang was late to develop, compared to the islands in the south, but now it is getting more and more popular, especially within the expatriates who live in Thailand.

If it is your first visit in Thailand, then it could make sense to want to visit the islands in the south (see the island page) because you can visit several of them (for example Koh-Samui + Koh-Phangan + Koh Tao), but if you will choose instead to go in the direction of Koh-Chang, you will not be disappointed,  you will still get a wonderful island.

How to Arrive to Koh-Chang ?

Option 1 : By Regular Bus

This is the common way to arrive to Koh-Chang from Bangkok. There are regular buses starting from Ekkamai, the east central station of Bangkok (See location of Ekkamai on a Map). You can reach Ekkamai bus station with the skytrain. There are several buses a day. Usually you can find a seat on the same day, but it is better to buy your ticket one day in advance. The bus is big, air-conditioned and comfortable.

  1. Step 1 : The big bus takes you from Bangkok till the bus central station in Trat (see Map 1 above). Duration about 5 and a half hours.
  2. Step 2 : A bus (a sort of van, Tuk-Tuk) takes you till the pier. A distance of about of 20 Km. These vans are waiting for passengers and when there are enough people, they go. Duration about half an hour.
  3. Step 3  A boat from the mainland to Koh-Chang. Duration : About half an hour.
  4. Step 4 : A van (Tuk-Tuk) from the pier to your Hotel. Duration : about half an hour (depending on the location of the beach you choose to stay). White Sand is relatively close to the pier.

In total : It takes about 9 hours. I took the bus form Bangkok at 9:00 and arrived to my hotel in Koh-Chang at about 18:00.
Total price : About 700 Baht.
Tip : I heard about people who took a bus during the night. It is significantly faster, because during the day, the traffic is slow.

Option 2 : By Private Company bus

There are private Bus companies going between Bangkok and Koh-Chang. You can reserve a place online, with 12Go Asia. You can also ask travel agencies in Bangkok about this service. The Khaosan area is a start point for some of these buses. The private bus may have advantages and disadvantages compared to the regular lines of buses.  The advantage is that it may transport you door to door (from your hotel in Bangkok to your hotel in Koh-Chang). The disadvantage is that the bus may make detours for picking up travelers and also the bus itself could be less comfortable (in some cases it is a mini bus). It is difficult to predict in advance which type of bus will be more pleasant for the ride.

Option 3 : By Airplane

There is an airport in Trat, which is in front of Koh Chang (see Map 1 above). It could be tempting to take a short flight instead of being almost 6 hours on a bus. However, there are 2 disadvantages with this option :

  1. It is expensive. There is only one company operating between Bangkok and Trat (Bangkok Airways) and the price is expensive for the 300 Km.
  2. The second point is that it takes time to arrive to Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok and make the check in.

You can reserve a flight for Trat with 12Go Asia.

Option 4 : By Rented Car

You can rent a car and drive it yourself or you can rent a taxi with a driver for a few days.

The return way (out of Koh Chang) :

While in Koh-Chang, you will see a lot of advertising for a minibus service till Bangkok. It will be tempting to use this service instead of going by yourself to the central bus station in Trat. Look again for the advantages and disadvantages of a private company (option 2, above). There are minibuses also to Pattaya city and to the airport of Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi.

Where to Stay in Koh-Chang ? – Hotels

Let’s look again at Map 2. The developed side of the island is the left one. If you will choose to stay on the right side, you will be far from the activity (people, restaurants, nightlife) and you will be totally concentrated on your resort. The left side is where most tourists stay and I recommend you to do so.

Here are the main beaches to stay :
(Note that there are also Hotels and Beaches between the main beaches. You can see all the Hotels in Koh Chang and read opinion of travelers).

Option 1 : White Sand beach

The most developed and popular beach. It has several advantages over the others :

  1. It is relatively close to the main pier, so you travel less at the arrival and departure.
  2. Everything in White Sand may be a little bit cheaper, because there is more competition, For example renting a motorbike.
  3. Big choice of food and hotels.
  4. Zone animated with people, including at night.

The disadvantage is clear : There are more people in this part of the island. The beach itself is nice but the next 3 following options are nicer. The beach is straight without bays. The name “White Sand” is misleading : The color of the sand is the same as everywhere on the island.

There are hotels on the first line of water (buildings or bungalows) and there are hotels on the main road (sort of motels). You can guess which are cheaper, right ?

At night, the beach is animated with live music.

There are also fire shows and dancing on the beach. The beach in White Sand is a serious competition to Lonely Beach in term of Fiesta.
Overall, White Sand beach is a reasonable choice to stay.
See Hotels in White Sand Beach and read opinion of travelers.

Option 2 : Chai Chet

The next concentration of hotels is in Chai Chet. The beach here is wonderful, maybe the best on the island for a long walk at sunset.

If you walk for about half an hour on the beach, towards south, you arrive to a river. A very nice environment.

As always, there are Hotels on the beach (more expensive) and hotels on the road.
On the road, there is a small concentration of Cafés and restaurants.

The main resorts on the beach in Chai Chet are :

  1. Coconut Beach Resort
  2. Chai Chet resort
  3. Koh Chang Paradise Resort & Spa

See Hotels in Chai Chet – Klong Prao Beach and read opinion of travelers.

Option 3 : Kai Bae

This is the elegant choice. On the main road there are the best restaurants of the island. There are several international restaurants with authentic foreign owners : Italian, Mexican, Indian, Vegetarian and a Swiss bakery called Papa with great breakfasts.

So if you want to eat western food, this is the place to stay.

The beach on the southern part is very nice.

You can stay in an hotel in front of the sea with a splendid swimming pool and do some swimming in the morning, before the kids of the hotel wake up and begin to play inside the swimming pool.

Kai Bae is relatively close to Lonely Beach, so you can go to party there at night (after you had a good dinner in Kai Bae).

See Hotels in Kai Bae and read opinion of travelers.

Option 4 : Lonely Beach

This is the area of Backpackers on the island. A place to party at night. Great atmosphere.
The accommodation and restaurants are cheap. Mostly Thai food.

The following photo was taken during the day, so you have to imagine how it looks at night with alcohol and music.

Some people make a Tattoo here

See Hotels in Lonely Beach and read opinion of travelers.

Option 5 : Stay on the right side of the island

As I said before, this side is the less developed side of the island. From here, you will need  about 1 hour on a motorbike, in order to visit the civilisation on the left side.

See Hotels on the right side of Koh Chang and read opinion of travelers. After you click and fill the dates, use the Map in order to choose hotels on the right side of the island.

There are two places to note on this side of the island :

The Spa resort – A place that is focused on health. There are nice bungalows to stay and a restaurant with healthy food, including Vegan options. Very nice environment in a sort of bay.

Long Beach – A beautiful but isolated beach, far from everything. At the time of writing there is no Internet there (but there are monkeys), so think well if you want to stay in this area.

How to Move in Koh-Chang ?

Look at Map 3, above. The central area of the island is covered with mountains and there are no roads there (except some trails to waterfalls). Koh Chang has a main, circular road, going close to the beaches. The main road makes almost a circle. In the south, there is a small part missing (between Bang Bao pier and Salak Phet). This missing part means that when you are in the south of the island, you may need to drive a lot in order to reach the other side of the island. The length of the circular road is about 50 Km. One reason that the road is not built in the southern point is because of a mountain.

Another possible reason may be that they don’t want to turn the right side of the island into a very touristic zone.

Option 1 : Rented Motorbike

This is the best option in order to move and to explore the island. Without a motorbike it will be difficult for you to explore the right side of the island, the taxis usually don’t go there.

There are rental places in all the beaches. Hotels and shops offer motorbikes for renting. The price for a 125 CC motorbike is usually 250 Baht per day. The price may vary according to the season and also the beach. Shops will usually ask to leave the passport as guarantee, but some of the places accept also a driving license or some cash.

Your Hotel will usually not ask for your passport but you will have less choice of motorbikes compared to the shops on the street.

The roads in Koh-Chang are in good condition, it is an easy drive for a motorbike. There is one sharp curve between Kae-Bae and Lonely Beach, so caution is needed, especially when the road is wet.

Option 2 : Taxi  (Van – Tuk-Tuk)

These are vans that can carry several people (about 10 people). They run in high frequency between White Sand beach and Lonely beach. It can be a private ride or a shared ride, the price will depend on that.

Option 3 : Rented Car

Not very common, but there are some places on the island that rent cars. You can also arrive from Bangkok with a rented car. The Ferry (boat) takes cars.

How is the Nightlife in Koh-Chang ?

The Nightlife is excellent in Koh Chang.
The most notorious fiesta is in Lonely Beach, the backpackers area. At high season, when there are enough people, there are even full moon parties at Lonely Beach. Otherwise, when the moon is not full, there are still parties at Lonely Beach. There is live music in several bars.

Another area for fiestas is at White Sand beach. There are fire shows on the beach in front of some restaurants. One known bar on the beach is Himmel (they exist also at Lonely Beach).

Also at the other main beaches of Koh-Chang (Kai Bae, Chai Chet) there are bars till late. In some cases there is live music. In fact, along the main road, between Kai Bae and White Sand, there are hundreds of bars, animated at night.

Cannabis is now legal in Thailand, so Koh-Chang has Alcohol and Cannabis. As you can see from the photo Cannabis is sold like fruits.

The right side of Koh-Chang is quiet at nights, so don’t stay there if you like to party.

How is the Climate in Koh-Chang ?


Like in all Thailand, the dry season is from November till May. It is the high season for tourism. In the rainy season (June to October) it may be problematic for a tourist because there are no covered commercial centers like in the big cities and it can be boring on an island. There are some big supermarkets and the internet connection is good.

If you arrive on the edge of the rainy season (let’s say Juin), it will be difficult to predict if you’ll get rain during your 1 week of vacation.
The peak of rain is in July :  558 mm rain.
The minimum of rain is in December : Almost 0 mm rain.


As for the temperatures : It is hot in Koh-Chang. It does’t change a lot between the months. During the day the max temp is : 30 Celsius.
During the night, the min temp is : 22 Celsius.

What to Eat in Koh-Chang ?

You will eat good in Koh-Chang. Of course that there is a lot of Sea Food to eat on an island.
Except the Thai Food that is available everywhere, there are some authentic foreign restaurants, especially Italian ones and especially in Kai Bae area. Among the Italian restaurants is Bella Vita at White Sand beach and Little Italy in Kai Bae. When I say Italian restaurant, I mean that you can talk in Italian with the Italian owner, while he brings you the Pizza, in the evening.

In Kai-Bae there is an excellent Swiss bakery called Papa. It is the best place on the island for bread and croissants. They have also cheese from Europe, including Camembert and Gruyere.

If you are vegetarian then Tofu Kitchen near Kai-Bae is excellent

and Poke Bowl at Kai-Bae is excellent.

El Barrio is an authentic Mexican restaurant at Kai Bae. Excellent food in general and excellent options for vegetarians.

At the other side of the island, there is a fishing area to visit with a popular sea food restaurant. It is called Salak Phet Seafood & Resort. Still on the other side of the island, there is a Spa resort with a restaurant focused on healthy food. Some of the dishes are Vegetarians, others are Raw.

There are 2 huge supermarkets in Koh Chang. Big C and Makro food. They are located on the main road, near White Sand beach.

There are a lot of convenience stores : 7 Eleven and Family Market.

Continue to Page 2 – What to See and Do in Koh-Chang ?

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