14 important things to know before traveling to Koh Chang
Koh Chang or Elephant Island is the third biggest island in Thailand after Phuket and Samui. This island is famous for its beautiful beaches and mixture of forest and sea, as such many travelers choose to spend their holiday on this fantastic island. In this post, we would like to show you more details about Koh Chang and xx helpful things to know before you travel to this beautiful island.
1. Where is Koh Chang?
Koh Chang is located in the southeast of Thailand in Trat Province. This island is close to the Cambodian border and is a part of Moo Koh Chang National Park. This island is about 300 kilometers from Bangkok and it can be reached by either air or road. Owning 30 km long and 14 km wide, Koh Chang covers 217 km2 with many things for you to explore and enjoy.
2. What is Koh Chang known for?
As part of Moo Koh Chang National park with 70% offshore, Koh Chang is well-known for its rainforests, beautiful beaches, coral reefs, mangrove forests, and waterfalls. It is also famous as a mountainous island with the highest peak of Khao Salak Phet at 744 meters. If you are a fan of hiking, this island also offers you several trails to explore. It is not exaggerated to say this Elephant island can satisfy all types of travelers from sea to mountain lovers. In case you are into both, this island is definitely for you.
3. Is Koh Chang worth visiting?
Definitely, Koh Chang is worth a visit as it has various things to offer: beautiful beaches, an amazing environment for snorkeling, a perfect mixture of forest and sea, and affordable prices for both food and accommodation. Whether you are into mountains or the sea, this island can definitely satisfy you.
4. How to get to Koh Chang?
There are 4 main ways to get to Koh Chang: by plane, by bus, by car, or by taxi/minibus. Whatever way you take, you will end up taking a ferry to get to this place. As Koh Chang is a big island, you can also bring your own vehicle there to use.
The fastest way to get to this Elephant island is by airplane. Wherever you depart from, choose your destination as Trat Province. All flight to Trat Province is run by Bangkok airway, you can book them through their website. Upon arriving at Trat Airport, you can hop on a minibus to get transferred to Koh Chang. Our suggestion is to catch the bus operated by Bangkok airways as they schedule the bus to coincide with the flight schedule to make sure you can be on time for the latest ferry to Koh Chang and the earliest flight from Trat. Traveling time is 2-3 hours in total.
The cheapest way to get to Elephant island is by bus. You can choose to depart from the eastern bus terminal – Ekkamai Bus Terminal (BTS Ekkamai) or the northern bus terminal – Mochit Terminal (BTS Mochit). If you depart from Ekkamai Terminal, bus #999 will bring you to the ferry to take a ferry to the island. Meanwhile, bus #9908 from Mochit only takes you to Trat town. From Trat town, you need to take a songthaew (Semi truck taxi) to go to the ferry. The price for both of these is around 260 THB per way. The bus schedule is 7:45 and 9:00 every day. Traveling time is 5-6 hours in total.
If you have a car, it is much easier. you can drive the car to Trat and take it on the ferry to this island. With this option, you can have your own vehicle to get around. However, only take this option if you are a skillful driver as the island has many sharp curves which should be a challenge for new drivers.
5. How to get around Koh Chang?
There are 3 popular ways to get around Koh Chang: songthaew, motorbikes, or cars.
Songthaew is the main mean of transportation on Elephant island They run through the west coast of the island and stop by several spots. The price will depend on your destination and start from 20 THB/person.
If you want to explore the whole island, the motorbike is one of the best choices as songthaew will not bring you to the east coast of the island. the rental fee for a motorbike per day is around 300-400 THB.
In case you have a car and you wonder if you can bring it to the island, you can definitely do that as Koh Chang is quite big, and the ferry can take your car to the island as well. With the car, you can explore the island further down to the Salak Phet area which is one of the must-do in this Elephant Island.
6. How many days is enough for Koh Chang?
At least 3 days is ideal for Koh Chang. With 3 days, you have enough time to explore and discover this mountainous island. You have time to visit some natural attractions and waterfalls, do some hiking, enjoy the nightlife or just chill.
7. Where to stay in Koh Chang?
Depending on your travel style, there are several places to stay in Koh Chang which is mostly located on the west coast including White Sand Beach Area, Klong Prao Beach, Kai Bae Beach, Lonely Beach, and Salak Phet.
If you are a family, a couple, or a mid-range traveler or above, White Sand Beach, Klong Prao, and Kai Bae are perfect matches for you.
For backpackers and solo travelers who want to party or make new friends, the Lonely Beach area is where they should stay.
For those who love local experience, we highly recommend the Salak Phet area to stay.
We chose White Sand Beach to stay on our trip as it is close to the night market and has many services just at our doorstep.
Details about where to stay can be found in Where to stay in Koh Chang for all types of travelers
8. What are there to do in Koh Chang?
As a mountainous island, Koh Chang offers you many things to do including water and mountain activities such as snorkeling, trekking, and discovering the mangroves, etc. We highly recommend, at least, trying snorkeling, discovering the mangrove forest, and swimming in the Khlong Phlu waterfall.
You can get more details about things to do in Koh Chang in 12 fantastic things to do in Koh Chang
9. What is the best time to visit Koh Chang?
The best time to visit Koh Chang is from November to February when the rainy season hasn’t started. The weather on this island is similar to Bangkok’s hot and humid weather, but this time period can give you a break from sudden heavy rain, grey skies, or scorching sunshine.
Also, it is not very nice to wake up expecting a beautiful sunrise, but all you receive is a heavy morning rain. But if you cannot visit the island during this time, it is fine to come at another time of the year. Our trip was in April. There are suddenly heavy rains on the first 2 days of the trip caused us cannot to do much with the snorkeling, but overall we still got a nice experience.
10. How much should I budget for Koh Chang?
It is better to budget your trip on average per day. Depending on your travel style, your travel budget may be various. You can have a look at mine below and start planning yours. Just a quick note that there are standard prices for several services as below:
- Food: Starting from 20 THB/ portion
- Massage: 250 – 350 THB/ hour
- Water: 20 THB/ 1.5 litter
- Beer: 100-150 THB
- National park ticket: 200 THB/ person
- Motorbike rent: 300 – 400 THB/ day
- Ferry: 250 THB/ 4-seat car
We – 2 people – traveled to this beautiful island by a 4-seat car from Bangkok (more than 300 km from the island) for 3 days. We stayed in a mid-range hotel and ate in a local restaurant with a meal of at least 3 dishes excluding rice, tried a seafood buffet, had a drink in a beachfront bar, try a snorkeling tour, and visited attractions. our budget is as below:
Transportation (Gas+ Ferry): 600 THB/day
Accommodation: 600 THB/day
Food & Drink: 900 THB/day
Tour + Activities: 400 THB/day
=> Total: 2500 THB/day
11. Does Koh Chang have nightlife?
Definitely, yes. Koh Chang’s nightlife includes lively cool bars, live music, and partying. The main area for nightlife on the island is Lonely Beach – the hub of backpackers and solo travelers, White Sand Beach, and Kai Bae Beach areas. However, you can also find many things worth exploring in other areas on the island as well.
12. Can I rent a car in Koh Chang?
A rental car is available in Koh Chang. Depending on the car type, the rate can range from 1,300 THB to 2,000 THB per day. A copy of your passport and a deposit of around 15,000 THB is required.
13. Is driving in Koh Change hard?
Driving in Koh Chang could be hard for new drivers as it has many sharp curves and slopes. If you decide to drive your own car, make sure you are confident enough with your driving. If not, we highly recommend you don’t risk it.
14. What to pack for Koh Chang?
You can pack for Koh Chang as you pack for any beach trip. There are several items you must not forget:
- Sandal/Flip flop
- Light clothes
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