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Koh Chang

Relieve the heat and refresh the heart

Welcome to April – the official start of summer in Thailand! Let’s take a trip and a deep breath without a mask, and stay cool at Koh Chang, Thailand’s second-largest island and one of the most popular beach destinations due to its pristine condition.

TURN LEFT AT KOH CHANG

At Koh Chang, tourists usually turn right after driving their car off the ferry, but this time, we came with an explorer’s spirit, so turned left instead. The island is located in Trat, one of the most eastern provinces along the Thai coast, bordering Cambodia and the Gulf of Thailand. By road from Bangkok, the journey takes about 5-6 hours, mostly on a modern six-lane highway, plus a further hour by ferry to reach the island.

Along both sides of the road, communities are intermittently interspersed with fruit orchards, rubber plantations, and forests. A local grocery store owner told us, “This is not a secret, but not many people know about it.”

KOH NGAM

Koh Ngam is a small island off the southeast coast of Koh Chang National Park. We rented a kayak to the island, and the sea was so clear we could see schools of fish. The two concave, white sandy beaches are next to each other, with coconut trees and no concrete buildings or resorts in sight. Walking barefoot along the beach was really satisfying, and with a hammock and a book, we could have happily settled there all day.

PEACEFUL LONG BEACH

Long Beach Resort is the only resort, a quiet, private beach with white sand and clear sea. The length of the beach really lives up to its name, while its not-sowell-known entrance is well-hidden on a hill, making it a really peaceful spot especially popular with foreigners. Long Beach is definitely the place for a complete shutdown of your body and mind, free from the hustle and bustle of daily life.

THE FAMILIAR SIDE OF KOH CHANG

Although the island has been on Thailand’s official map since the early 17th century, for some reason, the bustling and the peaceful sides are clearly divided. There are several modes of transport on the island, ranging from private cars to motorbike rentals. Songthaew taxis (with two bench seats alongside either side of the back of the vehicle) are also available. We stayed at KC Grande Resort Koh Chang in a room facing the beach. After strolling along the sandy beach and lingering to enjoy the view and the sound of the waves, it was time to look for a seafood restaurant. We chose Koh Chang Sea Food which offers a variety of dishes. The highlight of the night was a fire-twirling show that added color to the tasty and satisfying meal.

DIVING AND SNORKELING

The next day was ideal for diving. We booked a diving trip to Koh Rang, the most beautiful snorkeling spot in the Trat Sea. We started at Koh Yak island, where the surrounding sea was full of blue antler corals and countless large schools of fish. Another highlight of Koh Rank is a brick bridge that stretches from the beach to the sea – a popular place to take photos, sunbathe, or just stroll around the island.

We also took a boat to Koh Yak Lek, another equally popular snorkeling spot. Schools of pretty, colorful fish surrounded us wherever we went, making us feel as if we were Ariel in Walt Disney’s The Little Mermaid movie. The clear, blue sky allowed sunlight to penetrate the sea, revealing rows of colorful sea flowers and coral reefs with little urchins dotting the seabed.

EXPLORING KOH CHANG

On our final day, we re-explored the island, beginning with a cup of coffee at Koh Chang Coffee House by the roadside. The coffee house grows, roasts, and grinds its own coffee beans – definitely a perfect way for coffee lovers to start the day.

Later, we visited a mysterious spot called Hidden Paradise. Not many people know of the place as it is surrounded by lush greenery. Once you find it, you will instantly feel relaxed because of the atmosphere. We settled down at a local restaurant owned by an elderly couple and ordered spicy somtam (papaya salad), Thailand’s popular signature dish. Nearby was a clear stream of water slowly flowing from Si Tho Waterfall, inviting us to dip our legs in. A place full of refreshing and relaxing energy, indeed!

We then visited Bang Bao Pier, a fishing community and market that sells processed seafood, handicrafts, and clothing. There is a prominent lighthouse at the end of the pier – another landmark to take pictures of or just enjoy the twilight of dusk.

On the way back to the resort, we stopped at a tropical Hawaiian-style cafe, called Indie Beach, which serves a variety of international dishes, such as somtam, pasta, sushi, and drinks. We also tried the smoothies and weren’t disappointed at all. If you love panoramic views, stop at Kai Bae Viewpoint, where the beauty of Koh Chang in 180° is best savored. Enjoying the breathtaking views made it hard to say goodbye, but that is the reason why we will certainly return.

See you again, Koh Chang!