October 2012
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Ko Chang is an island in Trat Province, Eastern Thailand – Part 1

Ko Chang is an island in Trat Province, Eastern Thailand.

Overview of Ko Chang

• Most of Ko Chang’s beaches are on the western coast.
• Each has built up with a distinctive atmosphere based on shopping, activities, partying or chilling out.
• Accommodation offers a style to suit every type of traveler.
• This ranges from independent low budget backpackers to those wanting a touch of luxury.
• There are plenty of activities. Snorkeling and diving trips to nearby coral reefs, jungle treks and elephant rides, various beach sports can all be enjoyed here.
• Ko Chang is Thailand’s second largest island, and the biggest in Eastern Thailand.
• The island is not heavily populated.
• Tourism (and development) has increased dramatically over the last few years.
• Ko Chang is one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands with long white sandy beaches. Most are half deserted.
• The island is also home to a wide range of wildlife.
• These include a good selection of birds, snakes, deer and a number of elephants.
• The island and its vicinity are great places for snorkeling, diving and jungle hiking.
• The “discovery” of the island as a tourist destination since 2000 has brought on a large amount of rapid development.

History of Ko Chang

• Prior to World War II, Ko Chang was little known.
• During this period, the few families there made a living growing coconuts and fruit on the mainland.
• During January 1941, during the Japanese occupation, the Thai Navy fought the French in a battle in the waters to the southeast of Ko Chang.
• Until the first backpacker foreigners started arriving on the back of local fishing boats in the mid-1970s, there was no change in Ko Chang.
• In 1982, Ko Chang along with surrounding area became part of the protected Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park.
• In less than ten years, Ko Chang has turned itself into a major tourist destination for both for foreigners and local Thais.

Geography of Ko Chang

• Ko Chang is the largest island in the Ko Chang Archipelago.
• The name means Elephant Island which is named for the elephant shape of its headland.
• Elephants are not indigenous to the island.
• Ko Chang has an area of approximately 429 square kilometers.
• The topography contains high mountains and complex stone cliffs.
• The highest mount is Khao Salak Phet.
• It is 744 meters high which is rich in fertile evergreen forest.
• This is the main water source.
• There are many waterfalls, beaches and splendid reefs in the west of the island.
• Most accommodation is located on the western side of the island. This is where the sandy beaches are.
• On the eastern side of the island there are no sandy beaches and this side is far less visited if beaching is priority.
• There are some nice waterfalls on this side.
• The island also offers tall mountains and rock cliffs.
70 percent of this undisturbed island is:
– Rainforest
– Steep hills
– Cliffs
– Waterfalls
– Wildlife
– Fine beaches
– Coral reefs
– Abundance of marine life

Places to see in Koh Chang

1. The Mu Ko Chang National Park
• This is a National Marine Park that comprises of parts of Ko Chang and 46 other islands.
• Mu Ko Chang National Park is located in Ko Chang District, Trat Province in eastern Thailand.
• It is a marine national park.
• It is spread over an area of 650 square kilometers (250 sq mi).
• It covers more than 52 islands.
• The most notable island within the archipelago is Ko Chang.
• This national park was established in 1982.
• It is an IUCN Category II protected area with coral reefs.
• Ko Chang National Park islands are far from the river streams of the mainland.
• This is also true for the sea water around the islands, especially further south, near the Ko Mak islan
• The water is very clear.

War memorial monument
This memorial is in the very south of the island.

Klong Plu Waterfall
• This is the most popular waterfall, and the only one on the west side of the island.
• Klong Plu waterfall on the west coast of Koh Chang is a popular spot to spend a morning or afternoon.
• It is signposted from the main road and easily accessible.
• From the entrance, where foreign adults pay 200 baht and children 100 baht.
• It is a 600 meter walk along a shady riverside path to the waterfall.
• This path does look pretty spectacular.
• Ideally avoid the weekends as waterfalls are a magnet for Thai visitors.
• This is crowded during this time as this is by far the largest waterfall on the west coast.
• At the start of the walk you’ll also see a small visitor center.
• This houses a collection of posters and information boards highlighting the best of Koh Chang.
• For example, this is the signboard for Kai Bae beach.
• One can see the beautiful stretch of white sand with rolling hills in the distance.

Klong Nonsi
• This is a waterfall on the east side of the island.
• Entrance to either of the two main falls on Koh Chang, Klong Plu on the west coast and Than Mayom on the east requires payment of the National Park entrance fee.
• There are other falls that can be visited easily and free of charge.
• Klong Nonsi is one of the free waterfalls on Koh Chang.
• It lies on the northern fringe of Dan Mai village on the east coast of the island.
• A sign requests that you pay 10 Baht for parking your bike, 30 Baht for a car.
• There is a biscuit tin honesty box for you to drop your coins or note into.
• From here, the waterfall is about 10-15 minutes easy walk through fruit fields.
• You will pass through Durian, Longan and Mangosteen fields.
• Just follow the obvious well worn path, which is used by local farmers too, to the river.
• On the way you will pass a couple of hand-painted signs. This says the waterfall is only 50 meters away.
• Once you reach the river bank, go down the moss covered steps and cross.
• The first level is easily visible and a climb up another set of concrete steps by the first fall and this will bring you to the upper levels.
• There are a couple of small pools where you can swim.
• The falls are not huge.
• This is from May to November, when you can be assured that they have plenty of water in them.
• It makes for a pleasant detour on a trip around the island.

Best time to visit / climate

• Ko Chang has the same seasons as Bangkok.
• The best season to go is the (comparatively) cool season between November and February.
• March to May are roasting hot.
• Between June and October it rains, and a lot at that: 4,000 mm in an average year.
• Many guest houses close during this season, so accommodation is limited.

Location on Google Maps

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How to get there?

1. By plane
• Bangkok Airways flies twice a day from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Trat.
• The flights depart at 08:45 and 17:05, and take 1 hour exactly.
• Costs are between 1,800B and 3,300B.
• Direct door-to-door minibus transfers are there from Trat airport to Ko Chang resorts.
• They cost 475 baht/person one way and 800 baht/person return including the ferry crossing.
• From Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, take the free express shuttle bus from outside the arrivals concourse to the airport’s own bus terminal.

2. By Bus
• From Bangkok the most economical way to get to Laem Ngop is to take a 1st class bus #999 from the Eastern (Ekamai) Bus Terminal direct to the Laem Ngop piers.
• The fare is 268 baht and takes just over five hours.
• Departures from Ekamai are at 07:45 & 09:45, and return at 14:00 and 16:00.
• Subject to seat availability, this bus can also be boarded at Chanthaburi and at Suvarnabhumi Airport.
• There is a more comfortable way to travel from Bangkok Airport to Ko Chang.
• The new bus line # 392 starts from the airport at 07:30 and returns from Koh Chang at 12:30.
• Tickets can be bought online at the Suvarnabhumi Burapha Bus Company.
• There are also express shared minibuses running from Suvarnabhumi airport non-stop to Lonely Beach on Ko Chang.
• Tickets are 308 baht for the big bus and 600 baht (800 baht round trip)for the Lonely Beach Express minibus which includes a ticket for the ferry.
• Alternatively, there are 1st class (approx. 5 hours, around 250 baht) and 2nd class services from both the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) and Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) direct to Trat.
• There are frequent songthaew services from Trat to Laem Ngop (approx. 30 minutes, 50 baht/person).
• Departures from Ekamai are more frequent than from Moh Chit.
• If coming by bus from the south, the #511 air-con bus can be used to connect directly between Bangkok’s Southern (Sai Tai Mai) and Eastern (Ekamai) bus terminals.
• Connection in Trat can also be used if coming from Pattaya.
• There are direct minibus services to Laem Ngop from Pattaya, Ban Phe (gateway to Ko Samet), and Bangkok’s Khao San Road and Victory monument.
• It may also be possible to proceed directly to Laem Ngop by minibus or songthaew from the Hat Lek / Koh Kong border crossing with southern Cambodia.
• Price around 120 baht (one way) from the border to Trat bus station.

3. By Boat
• Most ferries operate from Laem Ngop, which has three piers.
• The Laem Ngop (Tha Khrom Luang or Tha Laern Ngop) pier is approximately 700 metres west of Laem Ngop.
• The Centrepoint (Tha Centre Point) pier is located about 3.5 km north-west of Laem Ngop.
• These piers serve both vehicle and passenger ferries.
• Koh Chang vehicle ferry pier is located in Thammachat Bay, around 15 km west of Laem Ngop.
• All piers on Ko Chang are situated on the eastern side of the island.
• The major piers are the two Dan Kao piers, Tha Dan Kao and Tha Ferry Dan Kao.
• To take a boat from Laem Ngop to the Dan Kao piers take around 45 minutes.
• The car ferry from Laem Ngop takes around 1 hour and arrives at the Tha Ferry Dan Kao pier.
• This pier is situated 400 meters southeast of the Tha Dan Kao pier.
• The car ferry from Thammachat Bay stops at the Ko Chang Ferry Pier in the Sapparot Bay (Ao Sapparot), 3 kilometres northwest from the Dan Kao piers.
• Light meals, fruit, fruits and beverages are available at all the piers and on the car ferries.
• There are two operators that provide daily bus services from Ko Kood to Ko Chang.
• One is based in Ban Bao, the other on Kai Bae Beach.

4. By taxi or limousine
• From Bangkok or Suvarnabhumi international airport the ride takes a total of about 5-5.5 hours by Limousine or Taxi.

Some Travel Books about Thailand

Lonely Planet Discover Thailand Thailand PhotoMazing Thailand

Places to stay (hotels / restaurants along with website / contact numbers)

Hotels at wikitravel.org
Hotels at kohchanghotels.org
Hotels at sawadee.com

Blogs / Sites about Thailand – Koh Chang

Blogs at wikipedia.org
Blogs at travelblog.org
Blogs at iamkohchang.com
Blogs and reviews at lonelyplanet.com

Images and photos of Thailand – Koh Chang

Images at google.com
Images at iamkohchang.com
Images at photos.igougo.com
Images at tripadvisor.in

Videos of Ko Chang

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