Pic: The Pool at AMARI Emerald Cove, Koh Chang, Thailand (May 2012)
Pic: Palm Tree Swing at Lagoona Beach Resort, Koh Chang (May 2012)
On previous trips to Thailand I visited Bangkok, Phuket, Chiang Mai (Songkran), Koh Tao, Hua Hin and Pattaya. My latest trip to Thailand (May 2012) had Koh Chang (Elephant island) as main destination. Getting to the island is convenient and cheap. The Lonely Beach Express minibus service runs three times per day between Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) and Koh Chang. The journey takes between 5 and 6 hours and includes a ferry ride from Laem Ngop pier to Ko Chang. A return ticket for the minibus only cost THB800 (€20) and includes the fee for the ferry. No reservations are required for the Bangkok -> Ko Chang journey, just show up at door 8 Ground Floor (G) of the Suvarnabhumi Airport terminal. Contrary to what the minibus service website states, you do get dropped of at the entrance of your hotel on the island. For the trip back to Bangkok, you’ll need to call the phone number on your ticket to confirm the shuttle pick-up time.
Pic: Jacuzzi at Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway (May 2012)
Pic: Narak at The Spa Koh Chang Resort (May 2012)
When I visited Koh Chang in May, it was very quiet on the island. I learned low season runs from May till early October as it rains a lot during those months. If you don’t mind cloudy skies and like a deserted island, this is the time to visit, otherwise stick to the dry months! As the island only has one international chain hotel (Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway) which doesn’t have a particular good loyalty program (Le Club Accorhotels) I went for an independent hotel. I didn’t have much time to research on hotels and made my choice based on Tripadvisor reviews and room rate. I chose Garden Resort near Kai Bea beach rated number 4 out of 68 hotels at Ko Chang. The bungalows were quite spacious and clean, breakfast was inclusive and the owner Mause, a friendly (but quite frank) Dutchmen, was always willing to provide local advice. At €38 per night it wasn’t expensive, but while exploring the island I learned I could have gotten better value at other places. For budget travelers (with less than €20 to spend per night) there are many options available, including TK208, a small bed and breakfast at Kai Bae with rooms from THB700 (€17). For cheap (less than €5/day) and reliable motorbike rentals near Kai Bae, check with Bobby Food Shop.
Pic: Nature Rocks at Lonely Beach Koh Chang (May 2012)
During my three day stay at the island, I visited a number of hotels and resorts. The most spectacular ones were Amari Emerald Cove and The Dewa. Together with a German guy which I met at Bangkok airport, we drove our scooters around the island from one beach to another. Siam Bay Resort’s great view on uninhabited island, tasty banana shakes and chill atmosphere at Nature Rocks Lonely Beach, Palm Tree Swing at Lagoona Beach Bar, funky looking huts at Independent Bo White Sands Beach, Rotee Pancakes at Bobby Food Shop. Just to name a few of the highlights on the island.
Pic: Sunset at Lonely Beach Koh Chang (May 2012)
Pic: Filou Cocktail Bar at Kai Bae Koh Chang (May 2012)
Should you look for the beauty of Koh Chang with less tourists and more unspoilt nature, you might want to consider Koh Kood (http://www.kohkood.com) – I’ll be happy to provide you info about hotel choices there.
@Michel Thanks for the feedback. I haven’t been to Koh Samet yet, but I’ve been told it’s beautiful too… it’s on my Thailand bucket list!
After reading this article, I made the decision to go to Koh Chang instead of Koh Samet (December 2012).
I will probably book The Dewa hotel 🙂