Koh Chang’s Strangest Tourist Attraction
I wrote this back in 2012, since then numerous travel bloggers have made the pilgrimage to this decrepit, land-locked, cruise liner in order to explore the decks and experience the wonder of Koh Chang’s most bizarre accommodation.
The ‘Ghost Ship‘ moniker I gave it has also stuck and it even made an appearance innumerous newspapers worldwide. For a few years, from mid-2016 until 2022, it’s doors were padlocked shut and a large ‘No Entry’ sign placed outside. It wasn’t easy to gain access. However that has now changed and the doors are usually unlocked or there is someone on hand with a key who will open them for you for a small payment. ( Some people choose to basically break in in order to film their videos , they’re dicks. Don’t do that. )
As of mid-2023. Entry fee is 100 Baht.
Additional history about the ‘ghost ship’.
It is definitely a real ship, and not as some sites suggest a fake concrete vessel shaped like a ship. The owner of the resort is a Thai billionaire called Oran Asawaritthikul, who made his fortune buying and selling huge plots of land around the country. He bought 147 Rai from the Salakphet family – locals from the village on Koh Chang of the same name.
Around the same time he bought the land he also had a plan to open a floating hotel in Phnom Penh. He bought an old Thai Navy landing ship (which prior to that had been a US Navy vessel) and had it converted. But that plan fell through and so he decided to bring it to Koh Chang where it was maneuvered through a channel to its final resting place.
The resort is now so dilapidated that it won’t see any more guests and is for sale.
And if you’re looking for something similar that hasn’t been videoed to death by wannabe travel bloggers / influencers . . . . . How about making the effort to visit an abandoned resort on a private island only 20 minutes canoe paddle from Koh Chang? Take a look at Koh Chang’s Ghost Resort.
+++ Original post from 2012 below +++
One of the dilemmas facing guests staying on the floating ‘ship-otel’ is “Do I run towards the light or away from it?”
I often get asked what I consider to be the most ‘interesting’ of Koh Chang’s resorts and one place always comes to mind. Aunchaleena Beachfront Resort, formerly, Koh Chang Boat Chalet & Koh Chang Grand Lagoona, near Bangbao, is a Thai billionaire’s vision of what a luxury island resort should look like, his ideas are probably very different to yours.
The resort is so ‘special’ that non-guests have to pay to get in, currently this is 50 Baht per person and includes use of a bicycle, if you want it, in order to tour the grounds. There’s also a nice little waterfall in the jungle nearby. So far, so good.
The centrepiece of the resort is the floating hotel, the Galaxy, which is described as either:
From hotel booking sites:
‘A Seven deck floating boat, nicely equipped with full facilities and five star hotel is drifting gracefully on the crystal lagoon next to the sea, giving you the mood of grand cruise with unforgettable impression. The well-decorated and modern building consists of 70 modern rooms of superior design.’
‘The Galaxy, well recognized as the most modern floating hotel in Thailand . . ‘
From TripAdvisor reviews:
‘The Galaxy is the centre piece – a 7 deck boat housing 70 rooms. In the pictures it looks gleaming and white and the description talks of five star luxury. In reality, from the outside it looks like the Titanic – after being raised from the depths.’
‘The “ship” our room was in was totally disgusting, neglected and straight out of a horror film.’
‘Too scared to look inside the big ship they have as cabins.’
As someone who has a resort, well a guesthouse, listed on Tripadvisor, I know how picky reviewers can be and that criticism can sometimes be harsh and unwarranted, but at least in this case all parties agree the Galaxy experience is ‘memorable’, just for differing reasons.
Rather than take sides, here are some photos of the the only ship-o-tel on the island and you can judge for yourself. But I have to say, when I walked down the dark, dank, unlit corridors I half expected Jack Nicholson to come through one of the doors with a chainsaw.
On the plus side, great views from the roof.