Koh Chang, known in English as Elephant Island, is the third-largest island in Thailand. Situated off the country’s east coast with Cambodia not so far away, this is a picture-perfect setting for tropical island vacations like only Thailand can offer. Combining gorgeous sandy beaches with blue waters, blue skies, and green vegetation, Koh Chang Thailand offers a truly memorable getaway. The only problem with coming here is figuring out just how you’ll find the motivation to leave.
While Koh Chang is obviously well endowed with vacation-friendly characteristics, this is an island that only really became established on the tourist map at the turn of the 21st century. Sure, people started coming here decades ago, but the island only recently seems to have fully developed into a major tourist destination. Worldwide travelers are a notoriously fickle bunch, and it seems Koh Chang Thailand was simply overlooked for years on end while other Thai beach destinations such as Phuket and Koh Samui lapped up all the attention. Today, Koh Chang is just about perfectly situated in terms of tourism: There are plenty of tourist provisions such as hotels in Koh Chang, but this is not yet an overcrowded destination. Far from it: Koh Chang continues to maintain its immense natural beauty, offering a relaxed and authentic beach stay for incoming vacationers.
Unsurprisingly, the main attraction here is the beach, and so choosing which Koh Chang Beach you want to stay near will probably determine the nature of your vacation. It’s said that the island is effectively split down the middle. Stay on a beach on the east coast, and you’ll be where the majority of the bars and hotels in Koh Chang are located; make your way to the west coast, meanwhile, and uninterrupted miles of sandy beaches await. White Sand Beach, Lonely Beach, Kiong Prao Beach, and Kai Bae Beach all come recommended.
Off the coast of these golden shores, the seas around Koh Chang Thailand are dotted with spectacular marine life, from corals to big sea fishes. Consequently, diving is a popular activity here, and you’ll find plenty of opportunities to don a scuba suit and delve the depths below should you have the required certification. Many hotels in Koh Chang effectively double up as dive tour operators here, so booking a trip is never particularly taxing. Canoeing and snorkeling are also popular sea-bound activities.
Inland, meanwhile, more water-based fun is to be had around the many waterfalls to be found in Koh Chang Thailand. Surrounded by verdant rain forests, these waterfalls show nature at its spectacular best, and travelers find they can spend happy days just hopping from one waterfall to the next, occasionally taking a dip in the water, where safe and possible. Klong Plu and Tham Mayon are both popular waterfalls to seek out. Klong Nueng is another impressive waterfall here—it’s Koh Chang’s tallest, so be prepared for a bit of a hike if you want to experience its grandeur.
Animal-lovers, meanwhile, can enjoy elephant treks in Koh Chang. The animals are widely well-treated here (which isn’t always the case in Thailand), and they prove a great mobile vantage point from which to see the Thai rainforest at large.