Looking for an off-the-beaten-path destination in Thailand that is still filled with beautiful beaches? Look no further than Koh Chang Island!
I visited Koh Chang Island during my 1 year living in Thailand and fell in love! This was, by far, my favorite island I visited in Thailand. Its little tourism, beautiful beaches, and relaxing vibes were everything I hoped for from an island here.
This 3-5 day Koh Chang Itinerary aims to help you make the most out of your time in Koh Chang. First I will answer some FAQs about the island, and then we will get into the 3-5 day Koh Chang itinerary with tips and tricks from my visit!
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How Many Days Do You Need in Koh Chang Thailand
3-5 days is the perfect amount of time to spend on Koh Chang. This gives you enough time to get your bearings on the island, and visit the main sites and attractions while having time to relax by the beach.
Koh Chang is a beautiful Thai oasis, so having more than 5 days is incredible. With extra days you can continue to relax on this beautiful island and take advantage of more fun activities.
But, for your first visit to Koh Chang, 3-5 days is plenty to have a feel for this beautiful island.
Overview of Koh Chang
Koh Chang is the third largest island in Thailand. However, it’s one of the least popular islands to visit among Western tourists. Located in the providence of Trat, in the eastern corner of Thailand, Koh Chang does not see as many tourists.
Koh Chang is a fairly undeveloped island compared to touristy ones like Koh Pangan, Phuket, and Phi Phi Islands. Koh Chang can be translated to “Elephant Island”. It gets its name because of its elephant-shaped island.
Koh Chang is chalked full of world-class beaches, beautiful nature, and things to do. It’s close proximity to Bangkok also makes it great for a short and easy escape from Bangkok city life.
How to Get to Koh Chang Island Thailand
There are a few ways to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang. Shared bus, flying, or driving yourself.
The easiest of these options from Bangkok is the shared bus. For a set price, you can book a 5-hour bus from the city center of Bangkok, or BKK airport, all the way to your accommodation in Koh Chang. However, it does involve transfers onto the ferry and maybe switching a bus once or twice.
But, due to the more remote location of Koh Chang, the shared bus is the best way, and you’ll probably be accompanied by other travelers.
There is no airport on the island of Koh Chang. The closest airport is the Trat International Airport. You can get to the Trat airport by connecting through BKK or DMK airport. However, the Trat Airport is still quite a ways from the ferry port to get to Koh Chang. I would only recommend this route if you are already flying into a Bangkok airport and just looking to connect through it.
How To Get Around Koh Chang
Renting a motorbike is the best way to get around Koh Chang Island. A motorbike gives you access to parts of the island you otherwise wouldn’t be able to reach.
The roads in Koh Chang can get pretty steep and narrow very quickly though. So, if you aren’t comfortable riding a motorbike, you should practice ahead of time.
The Island has one main road that runs in a circle around it, however, it doesn’t fully connect. Therefore, you cannot drive a complete circle around the island. It takes about 2 hours from one end of the island to the other, without stops. This makes for about a 4-hour round-trip motorbike adventure.
If you are not comfortable on a motorbike, I recommend staying in the White Sand Beach area. Here you will easily be able to find taxis and songtaews to get you around the island. Also, this area is very walkable with lots of grocery stores, restaurants, and things to do in the area.
The Perfect 3-5 Day Koh Chang Itinerary
This itinerary is based on my most recent trip to Koh Chang, Thailand. This itinerary will take you to the best beaches, restaurants, and things to do around the island.
Day 1: Arrive to the Island/ Relax/ Head to the Beach
Day 1 of your Koh Chang Itinerary you’ll settle into your accommodation and explore the area.
Morning: Travel from Bangkok to Koh Chang
It’s a long travel day from Bangkok to Koh Chang, but it’s well worth the adventure. Spend your morning traveling from Bangkok to Koh Chang. Whatever way you choose to get here, flying by shared bus transfer, you’ll probably arrive on the island by mid-day.
Afternoon: Settle into your Accommodations
Spend your afternoon settling into your accommodations. After the 5-hour bus, ferry ride, and another bus transfer to your accommodation, you might need some time to refresh.
Whether you are staying in the White Sand Beach Area, Lonely Beach, or elsewhere, odds are you’ll be within walking distance of the beach. Get to know the area, hang out by your beach, and get your plans together for the next few days of your Koh Chang itinerary.
Evening: Dinner Near Your Accommodation
The evening is a magical time on Koh Chang Island. The sunsets here are incredible, and you’ll have a great view anywhere on the west side of the island.
For the evening, I recommend getting dinner near your accommodations. There’s no reason to rent a motorbike today and drive somewhere. So, relax near your accommodation.
If you are staying in the White Sand Beach area, you are in luck because there are loads of restaurants along the beach. The restaurants here range in price, but usually, you can find something in the mid-level range. Also, along the beach, you may get lucky and see a fire show!
If you are staying in the Lonely Beach area, there are not as many restaurants to choose from, but there are still a few. Many of them are a short drive away, but there are also many walkable.
My favorite restaurant near Lonely Beach is ร้านอาหาร ป.ปลา ริมหาดโลนลี่บีช. You’ll probably want to translate that, as there is no English translation. Copy and paste it into your browser URL for its location.
Day 2: Explore the Island by Motorbike
Rise and Shine! Day 2 of your Koh Chang Itinerary will be a big day exploring the island and discovering all it offers!
Morning and Afternoon: Explore the Island
Wake up early and rent a motorbike. I suggest checking the motorbike situation on Day 1, and see what time they will be available. Once you have a motorbike, it’s time to get going.
Depending on where you are staying on the island, the order of things you want to do will differ. So, here is a comprehensive list of things you should do during your road trip around the island today.
Kai Bae Lookout Point
A beautiful lookout point just before Lonley Beach. Stop here to grab a coffee and soak in the views. It’s beautiful at all times a day, but especially magical at night.
When you stop here, you’ll find a huge parking lot and space to spread out to take in the views.
Khlong Phulu Waterfall
Next to Khlong Prao Beach, this waterfall is a quick and easy walk that ends with a beautiful waterfall. Koh Chang is full of lush and dense forests, and this one is an easy one to find.
The waterfalls can be tricky to visit, because if it rains during your visit, the waterfall may be slippery to get to.
However, if you are able to visit this waterfall, you can swim in it! What’s better than swimming in a waterfall?!
Salakphet Mangrove Walkway
On the far eastern end of the island, you will find the Salakphet Mangrove Walkway. This red-planked walkway through the forest is one of the best things to do on the island. Depending on the time of year you visit, it can become very crowded as well!
Once you arrive, you’ll find another huge parking lot and the entrance to the mangroves. It’s a bit off the main road, but relatively easy to find.
The Mangrove Walkway is an easy walk through the forest with beautiful natural views, and at the end, it opens up to a peaceful view of the water.
Bang Bao Fishing Village
The Bang Bao Fishing Village is located at the end of the western side of the island. This is where you will probably get to your snorkel or other boating tours. But, it’s also a really nice place to stop and spend some time!
The fishing village has lots of shops to get souvenirs, restaurants, and good views. Unfortunately during my trip, we just walked through the village quickly on the way to our snorkeling tour, but I really wish I could have explored here more!
Explore Some Beaches
The beaches on Koh Chang are undeniably beautiful. I mean, this Thai oasis is incredible! During your road trip, stop by some of the beaches around the island to relax. The most popular beaches are White Sand Beach, Khlong Prao Beach, Bang Bao Beach, and Lonely Beach. These may be the most popular ones, but there are so many incredible beaches around the island!
Don’t be afraid to get lost and go off the beaten path!
After your big day exploring the island via motorbike, you have probably worked up an appetite! Tonight, you can head back to White Sand Beach or go to Khlong Prao Beach.
Both of these beach areas have lots of restaurants, many of which are inside hotels. Honestly, I recommend just eating as close to your accommodation as possible to limit driving. You’ve driven a lot today.
Day 3: Snorkel Tour
On day three of your Koh Chang Itinerary, it’s time to get out on the water!
Morning and Afternoon: Snorkel Tour
Today is the day for you to go on a snorkel tour around the island! This is best ti be booked one or two days in advance. Your snorkel tour will probably begin early in the morning and last until late in the afternoon.
The snorkeling around Koh Chang is a must-do! This was by far by favorite snorkel excursion throughout my time in Thailand. Not only was it more cost-effective, but the snorkeling was world-class with vibrant coral reefs, not overcrowded at all, and the food on the boat was delicious.
When you book the snorkel tour, be use the tour picks you up and drops you off at your accommodations. This makes it much easier to get to Bang Bao Beach and limits one more thing you will need to do in the morning.
For the snorkel tour, they will have everything you need. Food, water, and a snorkel are all provided.
However, there are a few items you should pack in advance! This includes sunscreen, a towel, a bag to keep your belongings, and a camera.
Keep in mind, that Koh Chang is much more of a Thai island than a western island. Therefore, many people on your boat will be Thai or some nearby countries. In their culture, it’s not common to wear a bikini, as they dress very modestly.
Of course, wear a bikini if that is all you have and what you feel comfortable with. However, if you want to blend in more, you will want a more modest swimsuit.
By the late afternoon, you should be dropped back off at your accommodation.
Evening: Find food near your accommodation and relax in the area
Spend the evening freshening up from your snorkeling tour. Once you’re done, you’ll want to find food near your accommodation and get ready for your next big day on the island.
Day 4: Beach Day and Kayak Day
If you are lucky enough to have more than 3 days on Koh Chang, these last two days are your bonus days! Koh Chang is filled with lots of fun activities, and day 4 of your Koh Chang Itinerary is no exception!
Morning and Afternoon: Rent Kayaks and Relax by the Beach
Spend your fourth day on Koh Chang at Kai Bae Beach. Here you can head to Koh Yuak, the closest island to Koh Chang.
This beautiful island has no infrastructure on it and is a beautiful way to spend your day on a quiet island.
To get to Koh Yuak, you can rent kayaks and paddle yourself out to the island, or there is a boat that will take you there for a set price.
The water on Koh Yuak is pristine, and the clearest water in the area. You will probably find lots of fish swimming in the area too.
If you choose to kayak here, it is a full-day adventure, but one worth taking! You can rent kayaks from either Kai Bae Beach or Klong Prao Beach. You’ll want to pack lots of snacks, lunch, and water too!
Day 5: Hike Mount Salakphet
On the last day of your Koh Chang itinerary, you have two options, hike up a mountain or relax and continue to explore the island.
Your last day in Koh Chang can be spent in many ways, but if you are up for a big adventure, hike Mount Salakphet.
Mount Salakphet is the tallest point on Koh Chang, and takes around 8 hours to complete and gains over 2,500 feet in elevation!
This means, packing water, snacks, and a good attitude. For this trek, I recommend booking a guide. The trek has many different paths to take, and it’s easy to get lost.
If you don’t feel like hiking, that’s alright! Pack up your beach bags for another fun day at the beach or explore more waterfalls on the island! There really is so much to do here. Use your last day to complete any activities you haven’t yet done, or just relax by the beach.
Final Thoughts on This Koh Chang Itinerary
No matter how you choose to spend your time on Thailand’s third-largest island, you will discover the beauty of Koh Chang. From it’s beautiful waterfalls and lush forest, incredible driving views, and picture-perfect beaches, you won’t be disappointed.
I absolutely loved my visit to Koh Chang and I hope you are also able to find the magic of the island during your trip!