Koh Chang, located in Eastern Thailand’s Trat Province, is the countries 3rd largest island after Phuket and Samui but, though development has proceeded rapidly over the last decade, it remains still much more low key than either of its larger competitors. Resorts now succeed each other one after the other all the way down the West coast sandy beaches and bars, cafes and internet shops are proliferating on the coastal road strip but there’s no major towns on the island and certainly nothing to compare with Samui’s Chaweng or Phuket Town. (And before we go any further, yes we are aware of the island of the same name in Peninsular Thailand’s Ranong Province.)
It can get very busy however during high season which stretches from November through to March/April time which is why during this period we prefer to use the neighbouring, and much quieter, island of Koh Mak. (See photo below but more of this spectacular and unspoilt island in another post!) Note Koh Chang and Koh Mak form the ‘tropical islands’ part of our popular Ruined Cities and Tropical Islands, Cambodia and Thailand tour and are both part of the Koh Chang National Marine Park area.
During the low season when Koh Chang is much quieter we move our beach stay back to the larger island since unreliable weather during the low, monsoon period makes Koh Mak less suitable. (Basically the smaller island has less facilities and activities and so little alternatives to beach and swimming should the weather not be reliable!)
The 2 seasonal variations of Ruined Cities & Tropical islands then include Koh Chang from April through to October and Koh Mak from November until March. On Koh Mak we stay at the excellent Koh Mak Resort, (nice website here though you may want to turn the sound off!?), whilst on Koh Chang our favourite beach is the quiet Kai Bae Beach – see photo below.
Activities on both islands consist of swimming; lazing around on the beach, trying out the cocktails whilst watching the sunset, riding elephants and, weather permitting, snorkelling trips to the nearby coral reefs – all good stuff whatever time of year you’re there.