Located in the eastern part of Thailand, Koh Chang is close to the border of Cambodia. Around 85 percent of Koh Chang along with 50 smaller islands, is part of the Koh Chang Marine National Park. Clear waters of various blue shades surround the island while a terrain of high peaks and steep cliffs provide magnificent scenic points.
In a matter of years, Koh Chang has undergone a huge change. Back then, only the simplest accommodation was offered. But now, Koh Chang is a boom island where the range has extended from economically priced bungalows to luxury resorts. To maintain the landscape of Koh Chang as unspoiled possible, a law has been enforced to limit the height of buildings on the island at 3 storeys. Water treatment system is required for new construction projects whereas island residents are discouraged for cutting down trees.
In 2003, Koh Chang was able to get a special status that meant less bureaucratic management while the government would finance infrastructure like waste water treatment facilities, garbage treatment sites and piers. While it is a place that faces more rapid growth, the community tries its best to maintain an ecologically sound environment.
Majority of the resorts in Koh Chang are thatched roof bungalows sitting on spacious land and long beaches. At the same time, plush hotels and resorts providing luxury services with modern architecture and amenities are fast becoming more numerous.
The beaches of Koh Chang are like characters from a fiction story which have their own trait. The most notable, White Sand Beach, is where most people get together. Restaurants, resorts, bars and pubs scatter the area making it the place to go to for night-time entertainment. Klong Prao Beach (Haad Khlong Prao) is distinct because of its more serene environment. Good for those who seek a calm and quiet vacation. The most popular area for those on a tight budget is Kai Bae Beach. Many backpacker-type accommodation are strewn on the area, but are nevertheless of good quality.
Fishing villages, such as Bang Bao and Salak Phet, incorporate visitors into their daily scene. Homes are built on stilts that sit on the waters and the village itself has a pier that serves as a gateway to satellite islands. Accommodation and small restaurants along the water take effort to blend in smoothly with the local lifestyle.
While the western side of the island has undergone a transformation, the eastern side prefers to retain its traditional face, wherein fruit trees and orchard plantation are generally seen.
In order to get around the island, there are pick up trucks called songtaew that have drop off points on the sole main road. Motorbikes and cars are also available for rent for those who would opt to get on the wheel by themselves.
A wide variety of activities are available on the island. A boat trip to smaller satellite islands of the national park is the most common way of spending free time. The beach is only one of the many places to take a dip into. Trek into the interior of the island, and take a plunge in the cool waterfalls. Aside from getting a tan and a massage, a tattoo is just one of the several things that you can take home with you as a souvenir of your vacation.
To get to Koh Chang by air is a 50 minute flight from Bangkok to Trat and then it is just a local taxi to one of three ferries that will take you to Koh Chang. Car ferries operate and if travelling by car from Bangkok this takes some 4 hours and if you take the bus this is just 5 hours to Trat.