Ko Chang (Andaman Sea) is small, nice island close to Ranong in the southwest of Thailand. The island is off the Northern Andaman Coast. Compared with the better known islands of Thailand, (Phuket and Ko Samui), this one is very quiet and special due to its beautiful dark sandy beaches, interesting nature (birds), and rocks. The water is not clear and the sand is not white, but the place is so special that it does not matter. There are some quiet resorts on the island, most of them basic. It is a great place for a couple or just for people who appreciate a quiet and amazing place away from more developed places.
You can only get to Ko Chang by using a taxi boat, which leave daily at several times at the Island Pier in Ranong. Boats leave during the high season at 09:00, 12:00, 14:00 and 15:30. Boats back to Ranong leave at 08:00 and 14:00. The cost of the long tail boat from Ranong to Ko Chang is 200 baht (as of February 2018).
From Ranong buses come and go regularly to Bangkok, Chumphon, Phuket (via Khao Lak), and Surat Thani.
There are no motorbikes for rent on Ko Chang and the only way to get around is by walking or by boat. This is actually what makes the island so peaceful and special. Most resorts are on Ao Yai, which is a long stretch of beach. This, during high season, which runs from November-April, is the main walking thoroughfare. There are several newer concrete roads leading inland and also lots of dirt tracks for those who are more adventurous. On some weekdays there is a taxi boat leaving to and returning from Ko Phayam.
At low tide it is easier to walk to the other resorts/bungalow establishments along the beach. Nightlife is minimal, with only 3 bars dotted along the beach. Buy your own bottle of Sangsom, a bucket of ice, Sprite, and limes, and make our own Mojitos.
Each of the resorts does have their own bars and restaurants. Some of them have free Wifi, ask!
The very small village is quite a walk from "Sawasdee", past the Buddhist Temple and tsunami warning tower on the coast, and then inland where there is tsunami shelter. Most basic necessities can be bought in the village shop and Internet cafe.
Ko Chang Resort offers trips to the busier Ko Phayam for 300 baht return.
If you like hiking you can walk around the island in one long day, or better yet, split in two days. At the south end you can go to Ranger beach (where there is a ranger station for the national park) and can cross a stretch of jungle through an easy to follow path to the east side of the island. Half way through you can detour to a viewpoint, but only attempt this if you have proper shoes as the short detour is very steep and slippery. On the north part you will pass through a village of sea gypsies (Moken or Morgan people).
On the nearby beautiful and now up-and-coming island of Ko Phayam, the official drink is Sangsom rum and cool island coconut water.
Lodgings, from north to south
- Horn Bill Bungalow, ☏ . Eight bungalows. 150-250 baht.
- Rasta Baby, ☏ . Seven bungalows run by Thai and farang wife, on small beach. 150-250 baht.
- Koh Chang Contex, ☏ , . Seven bungalows. 150-250 baht.
- Eden Bistro Cafe, ☏ . Seven bungalows. 250-300 baht.
- Sunset Bungalows, ☏ . Ten bungalows. 150-250 baht.
- Cashew Resort, ☏ . 25 bungalows. 300 baht for a bungalow (behind a more expensive, nicer looking one). Here electricity goes off at 23:00, and they have free Wi-Fi. Not many resorts have Internet. 150-300 baht.
- Koh Chang Resort. Hillside bungalows. 250-300 baht.
- Full Moon Bungalows, ☏ . Eleven bungalows. 250-300 baht.
- Sawasdee Bungalows, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Good bungalows with mosquito nets, clean sheets, bed covers, and towels provided. The food here is very good. The sand around the tables, etc., is swept clean of leaves and twigs every day. No fans or air-con, only sea breezes, as the electricity is only on from 18:00 to 22:00. Use candles or bring a lantern. You can charge up phones, etc., at the restaurant.
- Ta Dang Bay, ☏ . Nine bungalows. 150-250 baht.
- Crocodile Rock Bungalows (last lodging on Ao Yai), ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Special quiet place on the rock in a real jungle, not a coconut plantation. Best island view. Fine cuisine: home-made bread, fresh coffee, vegetarian and Thai food. Family-run, wonderful. 300 to 450 baht.
- Lae Tawan Bungalows, ☏ . Eight bungalows. 250-300 baht.
- Mama's Bungalows, ☏ . Five bungalows. 150-250 baht.