Alternatively: Idiot’s Guide to Instagramming Koh Chang
Lots of people rent scooters or cars to enable them to see all the island. Having your own transport enables you to stop when you want to enjoy the views or check out point of interest. However, one problem facing the discerning, selfie loving, instagram addicted photographer of today is where to get the best views of the island.
You don’t want to waste time casually posing by a palm tree or nonchalantly strolling past a rustic fisherman’s house, uploading it and then discovering a far better location of a similar photos 30 minutes later. That would ruin your holiday.
So, in order to help here’s some ideas for some of the best places to visit to get great views and also for some sightseeing. You aren’t going to be able to get round all these spots in a day. Allow a couple of days at least ( more if you want the best views from the tops of mountains ) but if you do, then your following on social media will be in awe and you’ll achieve the status of a travel god.
Please note that if you’re old skool, don’t own a selfie stick but just enjoy nice views and, exploring whilst on holiday, that’s OK. You can still visit these places.
There aren’t any prizes for collecting a full set of photos. But if you do then send a me a link to your Instabook thingy and I’ll be happy to share it with people who may well give you a ‘Like’.
Koh Chang’s Best Views and Sights
it isn’t possible to circumnavigate the island as there is no road along the south coast from Bangbao to Salakphet. So I will start in the southwest of the island, head north and then down the east coast to the south-eastern tip. This map shows all the spots that you’ll be visiting.
1) Naval Shrine. This is as far southwest as you can go on Koh Chang. Park at the bungalows at the end of the road and then follow the footpath to the naval shrine. From there you get lovely views looking into the bay. And you’ll also want to take a pic of the shrine itself which commemorates sailors that died during World War 2.
2) Views across Bangbao bay. The road from Bangbao village to the shrine goes onto the hillside, which allows for great views over the bay towards Klong Kloi beach in the distance. You can also have a wander along the pier in bangbao and the pier is a good spot for panoramic views.
3) View of Bangbao & southern islands. Look down on the village and south towards the islands from Rasta View bar and restaurant, on the main road. Nice spot for a drink and an amazing view.
4) View of Klong Kloi beach. The road comes very close to the western end of the beach, making it easy to get a nice shot looking along the length of the beach. You can park nearby and walk over the footbridge to the beach where you’ll find plenty of small restaurants on the sand.
5) North along Lonely Beach. Go to Siam Hut and you’ll get a great view along the length of Lonely beach towards Siam Beach Resort at the north end.
6) South along Lonely Beach. The quieter end of the beach. Good views from the rocky outcrop outside the pool villas at Siam Beach Resort.
7) Kai Bae viewpoint. One of the postcard views of the island. From the viewpoint you look down on Sea View Resort and the island of Koh Man Nai which is a few hundred metres offshore. The best time for photos is before mid-morning, as the sun will be behind you, or at sunset.
8) Kai Bae Beach views. The northern end of the beach isn’t so interesting. The best stretch of sand is the southern part and you can get a good 180 degree pic from outside Kai Bae Beach Resort.
9) Kai Bae Waterfall. Maybe you want to avoid the crowds. Maybe you want to avoid a 200 Baht entrance fee. But if you want a waterfall that’s rarely visited but within easy reach, then this is a good choice. Only 15 minutes walk on a path and also along the riverbed in places. You’ll feel as though you’re deep in the jungle. There’s also a path around the left hand side of the pool to the top of the waterfall.
10) View north along Klong Prao beach. Pretty much the only reason to go to Chok Dee Resort is to enjoy the great view along the 3Km length of Klong prao beach. You’ll get a nice shot with mountains in the background.
11) Quiet stretch of beach. If you’re here in High Season and want to give the impression you’ve wandered off the beaten track and found a remote beach, head here. This part of Klong Prao beach, just north of Santhiya Tree Resort, is always quiet.
12) View into the Klong Prao estuary. The beach is split in half by a river estuary ( where our guesthouse is located. ) There’s a very picturesque view to be had from the rivermouth.
13) Hilltop panoramic views. Take the road leading inland to Klong Prao school. Stop when you reach a rocky outcrop on your right. Scramble up the rocks and get a panoramic vista with sea views. Nice spot for a sunset.
14) Mini Amazon. Very few people bother to paddle a kayak inland along the river. The river is lined with mangroves and trees and you’ll feel like you’re exploring a remote river, when in reality you’re not far from civilisation.
15) Klong Plu waterfall. The most popular and most scenic waterfall on the island. 200 Baht entrance fee. Go early morning, it opends around 8.30am, and you’ll have the place to yourself for an hour or so. Wait until late morning or the afternoon and it can get packed with tour groups in High Season.
16) Sunset views from the rocks. Follow the path behind the sea front villas to the rocky peninsula. There are a couple of wooden ladders that allow you to climb easily to the top and it’s an ideal location for a sunset view. Or a 360 degree panorama.
17) View along Klong Prao beach. Head to Chai Chet Resort at the far north end of the beach and you’ll be rewarded with a great view south along the length of Klong Prao beach and towards Kai Bae.
18) Jungle views and a 300 year old tree. Rather than waste an entire day on a trek just to get some good jungle pics, take the 15 minute mini jungle walk at Chai Chet Resort. The path starts behind the bungalows by the rocky shoreline. It follow the shore and then heads inland to a small clearing with a 300 year old tree. ( As of late 2019, Chai Chet Resort doesn’t like non-residents enjoying the views. So you’ll have to sneak in ;-) )
19) Navy Shrine. This is a memorial to the founder of the Royal Thai Navy. Access is up a steep flight of steps by the main road. ( Or, far easier, ride your scooter around to the concrete access road and then park at the top of the hill. ) Sea views and a couple of old anti-aircraft guns on display outside the shrine.
20) Khao Jom. This is the toughest day trek that you can do on Koh Chang, as there are some very steep sections. But you’ll be rewarded with some stunning views from the top. Looking down onto White Sand beach, south to Klong Prao and north to Klong Son and the mainland.
21) White Sand beach. Take the beach walkway adjacent to the 7-eleven at the far north end of the beach for good views north and south along the length of the beach.
22) Viewpoint. The most popular viewpoint on the island. Looking down onto White Sand beach and south along the west coast of the island.
23) The beach at White Sand Beach Resort. This section of White Sand beach is hidden from view when you’re in the busier area. But head to White Sand beach Resort and be rewarded with one of the best stretches of beach on the island which is never busy.
24) Klong Son Fishing Village. This is overlooked by most visitors. But if you want to see some authentic local life there’s no need to hear to the southeast of the island, you’ll find it here. There’s a small fishing community on the pier and a harbour where boats moor. Plus a walkway you can explore by the river estuary.
25) Siam Royal View beach. Another long swathe of sand with Khao Jom in the background. Also a great spot for sunset photos with the sun going down in the centre of the horseshoe-shaped bay.
26) ‘Godfather of Koh Chang’ Chinese Shrine. This isn’t a Buddhist temple. It is a Chinese temple is where locals come to make offerings to the spirits that look after the island. The original settlers on Koh Chang were Chinese sailors. In the past they made offerings to ensure a good harvest or catch of fish. Nowadays you’ll see resort owners and restaurateurs making merit to ensure more tourists and better Tripadvisor reviews.
27) Baan Kwan Chang. Not everyone wants to go to an elephant camp. But if you do then the best one is in Klong Son valley. Even if you don’t want to ride the elephants you can still buy some fruit and feed them and take a few pics.
28) Klong Jao Leum waterfall. Another small waterfall that’s overlooked by most visitors. Park in the small restaurant by the river, pay 40 Baht, and then it’s an easy 15 minute jungle walk, along an easy to follow path by the river to the small waterfall where there’s also a pool where you can cool off. Avoid the weekends and you’ll probably have it to yourself.
29) Chinese Shrine. Another smaller Chinese shrine for sailors with an impressive exterior dragon mural. Da Mai village is the capital of Koh Chang. And 100 years ago there was a Customs house here.
30) End of the pier. The pier in Dan Mai affords impressive views along the east coast of the island. Cars aren’t allowed on the pier, but no problem to ride your scooter to the end.
31) Klong Nonsi waterfall. Follow the road around the back of the government offices, it ends at the river. Nice spot for a swim in one of the three levels. Ideal for kids. ( There are more if you want to explore and clamber up ropes to higher levels. ) No entry ticket or parking fees.
32) End of another pier. Another of the old piers that were used for supply ships to the island in the days before vehicle ferries. This is located near Than Mayom waterfall.
33) Mangrove viewing tower. A four floor tower in the middle of the 800 metre long mangrove walkway. 360 degree views across a sea of green. The U shaped walkway starts and finishes roadside opposite the temple.
34) Salakkok fishing village. Hidden away by a canal in the mangroves. Salakkok is the best place on the island to see a community where people still fish for a living . Also a very good seafood restaurant where you can eat what the neighbours catch.
35) Bay views. One of my favourite views from the pier near the mouth of the bay. Looking across the bay to the mangrove forest and jungle clad mountains in the background.
36) Klong Neung Waterfall. The tallest on the island. Park at the end of the road, then you just have to walk up the riverbed and scramble over rocks for around 15 minutes to get there. Only a small pool for swimming.
37) Khiriphet Waterfall. A picturesque small waterfall with a couple of easily accessible levels and pools to cool off and swim. Park at the end of the road, cross the river and follow the path parallel to the river for around 10 minutes.
39) Salakphet pier. This pier was only built a few years ago and, like Bangbao, has an ornamental lighthouse at the end of it. It stretches several hundred meters into the bay, making it ideal for panoramic views of the surrounding hills. You can ride a scooter or drive down to the end.
40) Salakphet Seafood restaurant. The road ends in the car park of this restaurant which is one of the most popular for visiting Thai tourists. It’s not just the seafood they come for but the great views across the bay. You can also walk along the planks between the keep nets and check out some of the fish that are on the menu.
41) Wai Chaek beach. A deserted beach accessible by unfinished road. There’s also a picturesque lagoon tucked away behind the eastern end of the beach.
42) Salakphet Temple. This is a new temple, only completed a few years ago. Wellworth the 20 Baht admission fee to see the interior which is lined with murals that took two local artists over a year to paint. The original temple is the small building nearby that is now a museum, murals here depict King Rama V’s visit to Salakphet well over 100 years ago.
43) Salakphet Mangrove walkway. This walkway leads through the mangroves to the head of the bay. The best views are midway along when you’re surrounded by a sea of green as far as the eye can see.
44) National Park viewpoint. The road from Jek Bae to the far southeast of the island offers some of the best views on Koh Chang. First stop is this viewpoint where you can look down on the islands in the bay and towards the centre of the island or south. On a clear day you can see Koh Mak and Koh Kood.
45) Bay views. Just before the road does a sharp left hand turn, look to the right and there’s a wonderful view into the bay and along the shoreline.
46) Driving off the edge. You only get this view when you are heading north. There’s a very steep hill and from the top you get the effect that you’re going to drive straight over the edge.
47) Treehouse and Long Beach. There’s one very basic place to stay and get food on Long beach. From the restaurant deck at The Treehouse, you’ll get a view across the beach. It’s a very shallow bay, so easy to wade out and get some good pics.
48) South end of Long beach. You can walk along the beach or take the dirt track off the main road, opposite the sight for Tantawan Resort ,at the south end of the beach. The views looking north are better as you get the hills in the background and just along deserted beach foreground. More on Long beach
49) Private Island. Rent a kayak at Tantawan Resort and paddle 400 metres to Koh Ngam island. There’s an abandoned resort here and a couple of lovely little beaches. You’ll probably have it to yourself or maybe with a few National Park rangers who sometimes stay there. But there’s now a 100 Baht entry fee to the island.
50) And finally, just to make a round number. There’s this view of Bangbao. No guides go here and there’s no obvious trail. You’re going to have to scramble up a 45 degree slope through the jungle to a rocky outcrop on the hillside east of Aunchaleena Resort. Good luck :-)
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But wait . . .
. . .
. . . there’s more.
A new addition for 2021. The White Buddha viewpoint in Salakphet. You’ll want to visit it as it has some of the best panoramic views on the island, as my crappy short video below shows.