Thailand was once the go-to place for hedonistic backpackers and budget travellers but recently the country has seen a meteoric rise appealing to all kinds of travellers especially those keen to explore the the southern Thai islands.
Phuket; much loved by expats, is a place for family holidays and weddings. Koh Phi-Phi island first came to the world’s notice back in 2000, with the starring Leonardo Di Caprio in “The Beach”. Koh Phangan is notorious for The Full Moon Party, and Koh Tao is a small island that is overflowing with scuba diving first timers.
Lesser known Koh Chang island has a certain innocence about the place with 70 per cent of the island covered in untouched jungle. Add in beaches and mountains too, and Koh Chang has bragging rights as one of the most naturally eco-friendly islands in Thailand.
Despite this, Koh Chang isn’t as offbeat as it might sound and there is something for every type of traveller. Here is a guide.
Holiday Koh Chang
White Sand Beach is the most developed beach and area of Koh Chang, and the first stop you’ll come to if arriving in a shared taxi (locally called songthaews). Expect a holiday vibe here, with many families, couples and some backpackers. You can choose on the beach front and along the main road, you’ll find banks, supermarkets. The beach is split up into a north and south section with plenty of room for sun loungers, umbrellas and deckchairs.
Party Koh Chang
Lonely Beach is the place for solo travellers or partygoers in Koh Chang on a budget. The area has been likened to Khao San Road in Bangkok, although a lot less crowded and commercial. You’ll find lots of food vendors, tattoo studios, clothes shops and a couple of nightclubs here.
The beach itself is actually located prior to the lively area of Lonely Beach around only 15 minutes walk (or two minutes on a scooter) away. Even though you might think the island has as many people as any other Thai island, it doesn’t. The parties in comparison are small, and many people end up hanging around the area that precedes Himmel.
Authentic Koh Chang
Bang Bao was once a quiet small fishing village, although now popular with travellers, it still keeps its authentic set up and appearance. The fishing village is built in traditional fashion along with its interconnected piers, almost like a mini lost pirate colony. Worming your way around Bang Bao’s wooden networks you’ll come across guesthouses, markets. but we recommending checking out Barracuda for a real quirky and cosy dining experience.
Personal Koh Chang
Klong Kloi beach feels a little away from the rest of the island and that’s how we like it. Just to make sure, we recommend a budget stay looking over the jungle-clad river at Tree House Cottages. Klong Kloi is evidently still a little raw, with a small beach with sandy paths everywhere. Here you can relax by the beach, sit in a hammock and read and really take a step back from reality. As you arrive here via windy road, you’ll probably pass wild monkey families that may or may not be interested in you. Although keep your belongings safe, it does represent the casual approach this part of the island takes.
Couple Koh Chang
Kai Bae is ideal for couples that want a bit of variety. Although it isn’t as lively as Lonely Beach, it is no means dull either. There are small lively that appeal to most, and the selection of cuisine is generous and European options.
Kai Bae beachfront has a 1km long narrow but friendly stretch that attracts the book readers and sunbathers. Staying on Kai Bae main road strip, you can take a 30-minute walk through the jungle to the Kae Bae Waterfall past the elephant camps for a little added excursion.