The Guide For Independent Travelers to Koh Chang »

Island Guide

December 21, 2013 – 8:36 AM | Comments Off

The island of Koh Chang . . . to some it’s the ‘Maldives of Thailand‘ to others ‘The Oriental Eden of the East‘ or even the ‘Last Paradise of Natural‘ but to anyone who has ever been here, or who lives in the real world, this is all marketing nonsense. What you want to know is ‘What is Koh Chang really like?‘ The good, the bad and the stuff hotel booking sites ‘forget’ to mention. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to find out.

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Accommodation

Koh Chang resort and hotel reviews. Room rates and locations of over 70 Koh Chang hotels, resorts, guesthouses and slummy chipboard huts from 300 - 30,000 Baht/night. Book online or through a reputable local tour agent.

Activities

Koh Chang activities. You'll probably want to leave the confines of your hotel at some point. But what will you do? Where will you go? Who will organise it for you? Read this and discover the numerous ways to fill your days on Koh Chang.

The Guide For Independent Travelers to Koh Chang

Read the Koh Chang Island Guide. Each beach on Koh Chang attracts a different type of visitor. Find out what you need to know about the different areas of the island. There is something for everyone whether it be beer and hookers or peace and quiet.

Property

Property on Koh Chang. Everyone will be your best friend once they know you want to buy real estate here. Listings of businesses, homes and land for sale on Koh Chang and Koh Mak. Plus new information on what not to buy and why not to buy it.

Photo Galleries

Pictures of Koh Chang and other islands. Unimaginative, but un-Photoshopped, photos taken around the island which should give you an idea of what to expect when finally reach Koh Chang, if you can't be bothered to read the 'Island Guide' section.

Updates »

4 April

April 3, 2014 – 7:57 PM | 3 Comments

I managed to visit a few places this month, unfortunately they weren’t the places I had planned to visit, so no pics of nearby islands this update.

 Songkran is coming and Klong Prao temple is the main location for festivities on the west of the island.  Head there to see a bit of the old fashioned Songkran, paying respect to elders etc in the morning.  Plus some games and events in the afternoons and a temple fair in the evening.  Outside on the main road expect the usual water throwing.  This doesn’t usually start until late morning and will finish at sunset.  So if you want to avoid getting wet then stay away from the main road during these hours.  Things to remember:

If you are in a pick up truck taxi coming from the ferry pier – put everything in waterproof bags.  You are a sitting target and your taxi will be ambushed at some point.  Same applies if you are walking around, wear old clothes, keep your camera / phone etc in a waterproof bag.

It may seem like a free for all and everyone is a target but you’ll notice that Thais never go out of their way to hurl water over people carrying babies; staff on their way to work; people off to the temple; those carrying expensive cameras etc.  Whereas tourists often do.

If you are riding a scooter don’t be surprised if , without any warning, you get a bucket of ice cold water thrown over you from a passing pick up truck.  Also, don’t try to speed up to go past people standing in the street – they are going to throw water over you and far better they do this when you are going very slowly or are stationary than if you are trying to speed past them.  Then you’ll come off the bike and will just be a wet, bloody mess in the middle of the road.  Don’t expect sympathy from the motorists you are holding up.

Finally, if you are thinking that you’d love to come to Koh Chang for Songkran, but cant get here until the end of the month – fear not.  The last weekend of the month is when ‘Songkran 2′ takes place.  This is much better than the official Songkran. A parade of decorated floats plus a big waterfight.  It’s when the locals and hotel workers who are all busy taking care of guests over the real Songkran holiday get to let their hair down.

Songkran 2014

Way back at the start of the High Season, the new National Park boss had the idea to charge snorkellers and divers an entrance fee to visit the small islands around Koh Rang ( which lie within the Koh Chang Marina National Park boundaries. However, this wasn’t very well thought through.  For example, no-one knew how fees would be collected, which resulted in some bizarre scenes as park officials in RIBs demanded payment from snorkellers who were bobbing around in the water wondering WTF these guys in military uniform demanding money wanted and why.  At the time the boss quickly backed down in the face of protests by tour boat operators, but said that the fees would still be implemented in the future.  And that time has come. A new sign has quietly been posted by the main ferry pier advertising the fact that from 1 June onwards anyone going on a boat trip will have to pay the entrance fee.  200 Baht for Foreign Adults, 100 Baht for children ( Thai adults and kids are 40 & 20 Baht respectively)

Having the 1 June start date means that there is plenty of time for someone to come up with a good reason to scrap it before the start of the 2014 – 2015 High Season.  Should be interesting to see how this money is collected.

National Park Fees

We ventured out at night but Kai Bae seemed to have gone to bed early.  Hardly anyone around. So we ended up in Mojito Lounge having a few drinks.  They have an extended happy hour until 10pm with some pretty decent cocktails for just 85 Baht.  Can’t really go wrong at that price.

Pattaya Music Festival was held over the weekend of 22 – 24 March.  Always a very good annual event with several stages and numerous bands ranging from school kids up to some of the most famous names in Thai rock music – all for free.  Surprisingly, may foreign tourists stay away from it, the audiences at the main stage are overwhelmingly Thai. which is fair enough as the music is all Thai.  But you’d think more people would want to go along and check it out as some of the bands are very good.  Technically, alcohol was banned during that weekend ( due to Senate elections in Thailand ) so small bars all had to shut but when the main sponsor of the event is the country’s largest alcohol company, you know in advance that the ban wont affect the onsite beer and whisky stalls.

It’s a bit toasty on the island right now.  Late March – early April is the time of year when temperatures rise as it’s the start of the Thai summer.  When instead of simply being ‘hot’, the temperatures become ‘very hot’. It’s around 34 – 35C every day at the moment, which when coupled with the humidity means that as soon as you do any physical activity you end up soaked in sweat.  You’ll need your sunscreen and keep drinking far more water than you think you should.  Heatstroke is very common, it’ll leave you with a headache and feeling like you have food poisoning.  It could be worse, if you are planning a trip to the central plains or northeastern Thailand it’s 40+C up there.

Feeling Happy on Koh Kood.  This is a great video.  The sort of thing you’d hope tourism officials would do to promote the island, but of course never would.

Finally, a few photos of the fancy new Parama Resort, or to give it its full title ‘Parama Koh Chang by Epi[K]urean Lifestyle’ down in the southeast of the island.  It’s getting a very good reputation as a luxury hideaway for visitors who want to escape the busy west coast beaches and is managed and staffed by people who go out of their way to ensure that guests have a great, personalised holiday.  There’s no beach outside the hotel but they do have a free boat service to a private island with pristine white sand beach just 5 minutes away, which more than makes up for it.  Check rates and availability on  Booking.com

A Very Complete Koh Chang Video Guide

April 19, 2014 – 6:53 AM | One Comment

Firstly, this video is in Russian, so unless you speak the language you won’t have to play it with the volume turned up.  It’s also over 45 minutes long. There’s a lot to see. But on the plus side it does include some great aerial shots of Koh Chang. So …

Influx of Travelers Returning From Songkran Holiday in Ko Chang Results in Major Traffic and a Long Ferry Queue

April 18, 2014 – 2:06 PM |
Influx of Travelers Returning From Songkran Holiday in Ko Chang Results in Major Traffic and a Long Ferry Queue

From National News Bureau of Thailand
TRAT, 16 April 2014 
Travelers have started to travel back home to go to work tomorrow, and on Ko Chang, this has resulted in a major traffic jam and a long queue for the ferry.From Pineapple Bay to Ko Chang National Park Headquarters, vehicles have been …

Songkran 2014 on Koh Chang

April 17, 2014 – 10:27 AM |

Another year, another Songkran festival on the island.  pretty much the same as every year with long queues at the ferry piers when people arrived on the island and even longer queues when they all decided to leave at the same time on the same day.   In between, lots …

Helicopter Trip over Koh Chang

April 9, 2014 – 8:00 AM |

This video was made a few months ago by someone flying in a small Thai Navy helicopter. Most of it is around the north of the island, you’ll see a lot of Klong Son bay and the Siam Royal View housing development but there are good shots of the coastline …

Koh Chang Weather in March 2014

April 1, 2014 – 8:41 AM |
Koh Chang Weather in March 2014

The weather on Koh Chang for March 2013.   Overall, a pretty good month but there was more rain than last year.  Most days had the usual mix of high temperatures and humidity.  Towards the end of the month it got very hot, making the sea too warm to cool …

Pick a Pool. Where could you see yourself lounging?

April 1, 2014 – 6:57 AM |

If you’re just coming to Koh Chang to get a tan and do as little as possible for a week or two then chances are you’ll want a nice pool to cool off in. In fact, you may well spend more time around the pool than in your room. So …

Paul’s Restaurant, White Sand beach * Don’t Miss It *

March 31, 2014 – 2:41 PM |

It took us a while but we eventually got round to trying Paul’s Restaurant on White Sand beach after giving up on ever finding good Thai food, let alone good, non-Italian, European food on White Sands.  But fortune favours the adventurous and if you can manage to walk 10 minutes …

Video Guide to Koh Chang

March 26, 2014 – 9:16 AM | One Comment

This video has been made to accompany Koh Chang’s first, and best, guide app. ( Available in the Itunes store )  Johan, the maker, has obviously spent a long time putting this video together.  It includes stills and video clips shot around the island.
The most interesting aspect is that it …

Parama Koh Chang by Epikurean Lifestyle

March 25, 2014 – 3:00 PM |

Parama is a welcome addition to the ranks of Koh Chang’s luxury hotels.  It also brings a new level of service and attention to details that you won’t find elsewhere.  It’s a boutique resort, with only 19 rooms and suites, which enables the staff and guests to get to know …

The Bangbao Peninsula

March 16, 2014 – 7:40 PM |

There’s more to Bangbao than the very touristy fishing village.  For a start there’s a very nice beach, Klong Kloi, about 1Km away which is now a very popular spot with visitors for a day trip as it has a  good selection of beach restaurants and great views south towards …

The Search for the Source of the Klong Prao River

March 14, 2014 – 4:03 PM |

Some people go looking for the source of the Amazon or Nile, I decided to do something a bit smaller scale and search for the source of the Klong Prao river.  You can’t see it very well from the map below, as it uses ‘Satellite View’but if you are using …

Top Rated Italian Restaurant on White Sand beach For Sale

March 10, 2014 – 7:20 AM |

This well established restaurant has been open for over 7 years and receives excellent reviews on sites such as Tripadvisor.  The restaurant is located on White Sand beach, the busiest beach on the island and is open year round. It is close to resorts and also nightlife areas – making …