Want to visit the best beaches in Thailand without the crowds of tourists? Koh Chang Island Thailand is the place for you!
I had the opportunity to visit Koh Chang Island Thailand for 5 days, and loved every second here. This unspoiled, off-the-beaten-path, island comes with far fewer tourists, unspoiled ocean water, incredible snorkeling, and affordable prices. Not to mention, it’s just a bus ride away from Bangkok!
In this blog post, I will outline the 18 best things to do in Koh Chang and answer FAQs about the island! This comprehensive guide will help you plan your perfect trip to this hidden Thailand oasis.
Table of Contents
18 BEST Things To Do in Koh Chang, Thailand + FAQs Answered (2023)
Kai Bae Viewpoint
Kai Bae Viewpoint is a stunning lookout between Lonely Beach and White Sand Beach.
Here, you can enjoy the sunset overlooking the beautiful blue waters. It also was my favorite place during my trip! I would park my motorbike here almost every night and watch the sunset.
It’s also a really nice spot to grab a coffee as well! At Kai Bae Viewpoint there is an adorable coffee shop selling coffee and tea. There are benches, tables, and shade to enjoy it too.
Kai Bae Viewpoint is also a great photo spot! You will find a “Trat” sign that makes for great pictures, as well as a beautiful staircase that makes for awesome pictures!
I recommend stopping here on your first day in Koh Chang because you’ll probably want to visit it more than once!
Spend a day in Koh Chang on a snorkeling tour! Koh Chang’s crystal clear water combined with little tourism makes for some incredible snorkeling.
After snorkeling the water in the Phi Phi Islands, Krabi, Koh Phangan, and more, I can CONFIDENTLY say that Koh Chang had my favorite snorkeling! During my snorkel tour, we saw vibrant coral reefs, hundreds of small and colorful fish, and even a stingray! The coral reefs were the most colorful and vibrant reefs that I have ever seen.
To book the tour, it’s best you do it in person on the island. You will find many shops along the side of the road selling tours that you can bargain a price for.
The full-day snorkel tour departs from Bang Bao Pier on a big pirate-looking ship. Odds are, it will be mostly Thais on your tour, as there just aren’t as many native English speakers who visit the island.
The tour has delicious Thai food, and water, and comes with the snorkel equipment you need. It really is one of the best things you can do in Thailand!
If you are scuba certified, scuba diving in Koh Chang is off the beaten path, and makes for some great diving! There are a few options of dive places around the island for you to book your excursion.
Also, if you are wanting to learn how to scuba dive, this is a great place to start! There are many places around the island that will PADI certify you.
Khlong Phulu Waterfall
Nestled in the Khlong Prao Beach Area, Khlong Phulu Waterfall is a beautiful waterfall that is fairly easy to get to.
Just a quick 2-minute drive outside of the Khlong Prao Beach town you can park your motorbike in the designated parking area. Because this is in a National Park, you will need to pay a 200 Baht entrance fee.
The hike to the waterfall is a quick 10-15 minute hike. But, note that in the rainy season, it can be very slippery and in the dry season it can be a small waterfall because of the lack of rain. During the busy season, November – February, it can get really crowded on the trail, so arrive early.
Either way, the nature trail immerses you in the lush jungle of Koh Chang and is worth a visit.
Kayak to Koh Yuak
Rent Kayaks for the day and head to Koh Yuak Island! In Thai “Koh” actually means “Island”.
You can rent Kayaks from Khlong Prao Beach and take them across the water to Koh Yuak. You will hardly find anyone on this island, so chances are you’ll have it all to yourself!
The ocean is crystal clear around the island and you will find lots of fish in the area. I recommend packing a snack and water for your kayak adventure.
See the Mangroves at Salakphet Mangrove Walkway
Nestled in the far corner of Koh Chang you will find the Salakphet Mangrove Walkway. This picturesque red walkway through the forest is an awesome way to spend an hour or two. Not to mention, the motorbike ride is a lot of fun to get here!
When you arrive, you will find a large parking lot and a well-marked sign indicating the Mangrove walkway. You will follow the path through the beautiful forest until you meet the mangroves.
It takes about 30-45 minutes to walk the trail. However, it is a very relaxing trail and you may want to spend longer on it.
Explore the Salakphet Fishing Village
If you are looking for an authentic fishing village, this is the spot for you. Located near the Salakphet Mangrove Walkway, this fishing village is small but gives you a taste of what real life is like on the island.
Park your motorbike just outside the village and have a walk around. There’s not much to do in the area, but it’s a really neat spot with some cool picture opportunities.
Ride your motorbike around the island
Koh Chang island is the 3rd largest island in Thailand, and it has a lot to see! There is one main road that takes you around the island, from Bang Bao Pier to the Salakphet. However, the road goes almost the entire length of the island but doesn’t connect on the south end.
So, there is no way to drive a complete loop around the island. To see all of Koh Chang, it takes about 2 hours on a motorbike to get from one end to the other, so 4 4-hour round trip.
If you are comfortable on a motorbike, the drive is a lot of fun. The touristy area has beautiful roads with steep hills and sharp turns. The eastern side of the island has significantly less traffic, easier driving, and beautiful lush green views.
Take the day to have fun riding your motorbike around the island! This is also a great opportunity to stop at some of the lesser-known spots like the fishing village.
Watch a Fire Show along the beach
Near White Sand Beach, you will find a strip of restaurants and hotels. Many of the restaurants will be on the beach. At night, the beach comes to life with fire shows! The restaurant dims the lights and the show lasts anywhere from 5-10 minutes.
If a fire show is high on your bucket list, I recommend asking the restaurant staff if there will be a fire show. The fire show performers are outsider performers, and usually not hired directly from the restaurants to perform. They work off of your tips!
Hike Mount Salakphet
The tallest peak on Koh Chang is Mount Salakphet. This hike is considered challenging and gains about 2,500 feet! It’s a steep hike and takes all day.
However, if you are up for the challenge, at the top you are treated with 360-degree views of jungle and ocean views.
The hike takes about 5 hours to go up, and 3 hours to go down. Be sure you pack lots of snacks, lunch, and water for your intense hike.
Relax on White Sand Beach
Koh Chang is full of picture-perfect beaches, but the most popular beach is White Sand Beach. This beach is centrally located and considered the main beach area on Koh Chang Island.
White Sand Beach during the day is a relaxing play to set up camp, relax, and swim. It’s a long stretch of beach with plenty of restaurants and bars nearby too. However, at night, the beach comes alive with fire shows.
Party on Lonely Beach
Just over the hill from White Sand Beach, about 30 minutes driving, you’ll find Lonely Beach. Lonely Beach is where the budget accommodations and hostels are found. This is a popular spot for backpackers.
It’s also where I stayed during my trip to Koh Chang. Lonely Beach is also the party spot on the island. At night, this stretch of land is filled with neon-lit bars.
During the day, lonely beach is a good area to stop by, but it really comes to life at night.
Visit the Monkeys
Okay, here me out, on the side of the road you will find so many monkeys! On the road between Lonley Beach and Bailan, you will frequently find monkeys hanging out. Another place I was lucky with monkeys is on top of the hill just outside of White Sand Beach. On top of the hill, beside the road, you will find lots of monkeys hanging out in the trees.
After talking to locals about the monkeys, I learned they tend to some out on sunny days during the rainy season most often. But, even if you don’t find the monkeys, pulling to the side of the read to enjoy the views is always worth it too.
Koh Chang Night Market
A classic staple in any Thai town is its night market! The Koh Chang night market takes place every evening on White Sand Beach.
Here you can find a variety of Thai food for good prices. It’s definitely a small night market, compared to ones in bigger cities like Bangkok and Chiang Mai. However, there is a selection of meats and other food at the market.
Khlong Nonsi Waterfall
A waterfall worth visiting while in Koh Chang is Khlong Nonsi Waterfall. At this waterfall, you can swim at the base of it! In my opinion, there’s not much better than swimming at the base of a waterfall!
This waterfall is on the way to the mangroves and fishing village. It’s a really nice stop to break up the drive, and not too far out of the way.
Volunteer at the Koh Chang Animal Project
One of the most unique adventures on the island is volunteering at the Koh Chang Animal Project. This non-profit organization takes care of animals and educates locals on how to best care for their furry friends. Its main goal is to spay and neuter dogs and keep cats under control.
If you visit Thailand, you may notice the amount of wild dogs on the road, the overpopulation of dogs is leaving many wild ones with rabies running about.
The shelter is always looking for volunteers to help out! Of, you can schedule a visit just to talk to the owner and learn more about the organization.
Bang Bao Pier
The main pier for boats, the Bang Bao Pier is where you will catch your snorkeling tour if you choose to do one. This pier is also really popular for dinner and shopping.
It’s full of shops to barter for souvenirs and amazing over-the-water restaurants on the pier.
My biggest regret in Koh Chang was not spending enough time here! There is a lot to see and do in this cute town.
Khlong Prao Beach
Just past Kai Bae Viewpoint, you’ll find the beautiful Khlong Prao Beach. Although its last on the list, it’s certainly not the least! This beach is BEAUTIFUL and was my favorite beach on the island!
This small slice of paradise is much less crowded than White Sand Beach but just as beautiful. Although, it doesn’t have the same amount of restaurants and infrastructure as White Sand Beach.
Set up your towel and umbrella here for a peaceful and relaxing day at the beach.
Koh Chang FAQ’s
Before visiting Koh Chang, there are many questions you might be wondering. This island is less explored than Phuket or Phi Phi Island, so it’s not quite as easy to visit. In this section, I will answer the most popular FAQs before a trip to Koh Chang!
How to get to Koh Chang Thailand
There are three ways to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang, shared bus, drive yourself, and flying.
Getting from Bangkok to Koh Chang can be complicated due to the many busses, transfers, and boats involved. This is why I wrote a blog specifically on How To Get From Bangkok to Koh Chang. (LINK!!!)
But, here is the quick notes on the three different transportation types
Flying from Bangkok to Koh Chang Island Thailand
When flying from Bangkok to Koh Chang, you’ll want to fly into the Trat Airport. Trat is a relatively small seaside town located on the mainland of Thailand. Thus, when you land you’ll still need to make your way to the pier and connect onto the ferry boat.
This mode of transportation is only preferred if you really don’t feel like riding a bus, or if you are already flying into Bangkok and it’s a connecting flight.
Shared Bus from Bangkok to Koh Chang Island Thailand
In my opinion, the shared bus is the best way to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang. The bus picks you up directly from the BKK airport or in downtown Bangkok near Khao San Road. The shared bus is a 5-6 hour bus ride that takes you trat, where it’s then a quick transfer to a different bus to take you to the ferry boat pier.
Drive Yourself from Bangkok to Koh Chang Island Thailand
If you have an international driver’s license, this can be a fun way to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang. The ferry boat can accommodate cars on it. This way, you can also bring a car to Koh Chang. I don’t recommend this method because these roads are unfamiliar, but also you will not want a car on Koh Chang Island Thailand. Koh Chang has small and narrow roads, and let’s face it, it’s just more fun on a motorbike!
Where is Koh Chang Thailand?
Koh Chang Island Thailand is located on the eastern corner of Thailand, in the providence of Trat. Trat is the closest providence to Cambodia as well. It’s almost parallel to Bangkok, making it easy to get too as well. It’s just a quick bus ride from Bangkok to the pier for Koh Chang.
Where To Stay in Koh Chang Thailand
Although Koh Chang is the third largest island in Thailand, it’s not as compacted and densely populated as the other big tourist islands.
White Sands Beach Area is a great spot to stay in. This area is centrally located near the ferry pier, restaurants, and things to do. On White Sands Beach you’ll find fewer backpackers and hostels, and more upscale and nicer hotels. This is definitely the best spot to stay on the island to be in the action and near restaurants.
Lonely Beach is the backpacker’s hub of Koh Chang. It’s the party and club side of town, but also has cute beaches and restaurants. Although I didn’t stay in a hostel, I stayed in a small hut near the beach in this area. I found it to be really nice, and actually quiet due to the time of year I was visiting. I loved staying in Lonely Beach because its affordable, out of the way, and quiet. Not to mention, it’s a gorgeous drive there.
How To Get Around Koh Chang Island Thailand
Oh Koh Chang, by far the best way to get around the island is to rent a motorbike for the day. The motorbike rentals are fairy inexpensive and can easily take you to all parts of the islands. There are also multiple places to rent from on the side of the road.
If you want to drive a car in Koh Chang, it’s certainly possible. However, many of the roads are steep and narrow, which can be hard to drive on.
If you are staying in the White Sand Beach area, and just planning on lying by the beach, you may not even need a car. There are a few taxis and songtaews to take you where you want to go for short distances.
When is the Best Time to Visit Koh Chang Island Thailand?
The best time to visit Koh Chang is in the shoulder seasons of October and March. These two months are between rainy and dry season, meaning you will probably have nice sunny days without the crowds of dry season and rain showers the rest of the year.
Because Koh Chang is parallel to Bangkok, the weather here is very similar to Bangkok.
November-Febuary will be the best time to visit because of the weather. This is dry season, and you are almost guaranteed beautiful sunny days. However, the waterfall’s probably won’t be too lush.
The rainy season, May-October is almost guaranteed to rain at least once a day. It can be dangerous to drive in and isn’t the most fun weather for beach days.
I visited Koh Chang in October and had beautiful weather and low crowds! It really made my trip spectacular and is one of the many reasons I absolutely fell in love with Koh Chang Island Thailand.
Final Thoughts on Koh Chang Island Thailand
Koh Chang Island Thailand is absolutely a hidden gem in Thailand. The more touristy islands of the south attract thousands of tourists every year, while Koh Chang is just a fraction of that.
This unspoiled island has so much to do, affordable prices, and a relaxing atmosphere. You will truly get to see an unspoiled Thai island here. The things to do in Koh Chang Thailand are endless.
If you have the time during your Thailand trip, absolutely make the trek to Koh Chang Island Thailand. You won’t regret it!