The popularity and rapid development of Koh Chang are due in large part to its proximity to Bangkok. It is heavily visited by both Thais and foreigners alike. Although the beaches here are not as stunning as some in other parts of Thailand, they are very nice, and the island is quite beautiful and geologically interesting. The lush inland jungle and the sharp tropical mountain peaks definitely give it an exotic feel. Koh Chang offers visitors the opportunity to experience well developed beaches on the west side, but also to experience traditional Thai villages on its east side. The aforementioned well-developed infrastructure and the availability of nice accommodations make Koh Chang a worthwhile beach holiday.
Part of the draw of Koh Chang is the fact that visitors from Bangkok can travel there from the city in 4-5 hours by car. The pier to reach the island is just outside of the city of Trat near the Cambodian border. Regular ferries and car ferries are available to complete the 45-minute boat ride to the island. There are also daily flights into Trat from Bangkok, Phuket, and Koh Samui.
Koh Chang is prone to summer monsoons, which come to the area June through September. October through May is the best time to visit.
In recent years, Koh Chang has seen a dramatic increase in tourism and hotels. There is a good selection of accommodation, although far less than places like Phuket and Koh Samui.
Elephant Trekking and hiking to several waterfalls is available. The island does have a few small reefs, but the snorkeling / diving remains average at best. A visit to the east side of the island offers a sharp contrast to the heavily touristed west side. There are several villages that offer a glimpse into the lifestyle of the average Thai living in a coastal environment. Restaurants and nightlife are strongly present all along the coastal regions of the island.
Lonely Beach - Located in a scenic spot on the island, Lonely Beach is a popular beach where visitors will encounter plenty of shops, restaurants and other visitors. It has a fairly large amount of nightlife in the evenings.
Khlong Phrao – A long stretch of beach which is home to many of the island’s best resorts. Some parts of the beach are extremely nice while others are below average. There are plenty of shops, restaurants, and bars in this area, which make it a very well-rounded beach locale.
Kai Be – A nice stretch of beach with just the right amount of infrastructure. It is also home to many top-notch, but affordable, resorts. During low tide, the water recedes enough that visitors can walk to a deserted island just off the shore.