Trat Islands: Koh Chang and Koh Mak, Thailand

Been visiting Trat Province’s Koh Chang for 25 years now and sure it’s changed a lot. Most places would do in a quarter of a century and now it has myriad resorts, car ferries, 24 hour electricity, sealed roads and Tesco Lotus – none of which it had in 1990 – but having just returned from a family holiday down there in early October we’re very happy to say it’s still an excellent spot for an island holiday.

View from Koh Mak looking north towards Koh Chang
View from Koh Mak looking north towards Koh Chang

Ok we’d probably think twice about high season when rates go up and resorts and restaurants fill up but certainly for low season it was tranquil – beaches empty and the not yet jaded staff pleased to see visitors. And, in early October, the weather was wonderful!

Low season on Koh Chang
Low season on Koh Chang

Our ‘Ruined Cities, Tropical Islands’ tour which takes in Cambodia overland from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap and Angkor before heading down from Battambang to Thailand’s Gulf Coast comes in two seasonal versions: rainy/low or dry/high. Low season we stick to Koh Chang whilst dry season we change to neighbouring Koh Mak, (or Maak).

Koh Mak's more limited infrastructure makes it wonderful for high season but perhaps a bit too quiet for low season?
Koh Mak’s more limited infrastructure makes it wonderful for high season but perhaps a bit too quiet for low season?

The latter is a much smaller and less developed island with some stunning beaches and great opportunities for boat trips to explore the nearby archipelago but can get a bit too quiet in the low season. i.e. if the weather is intemperate there’s frankly not that much to do on the island. As we said Koh Chang can get a bit too busy for our liking during high season, (not to mention expensive), but having a much more developed tourist infrastructure it does offer more to do if the weather’s not good enough for swimming or snorkelling trips. There’s hiking, elephant camps, fishing villages, waterfalls as well as plenty of cafes and restaurants to while away some time in.

Koh Chang - bathing with elephants or sea kayaking?
Koh Chang – bathing with elephants or sea kayaking?

So an ideal pairing: November through to April, Koh Mak and May to October Koh Chang. You can find full details and itinerary for our Cambodia and Thailand, ‘Ruined Cities, Tropical Islands’ tour at this page.

Cheers!

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