Top 10 Koh Chang
Best local website - Iamkohchang
Best local guide - Thomas Koch Travel & Adventure
1.Mu Koh Chang National Park
With such an abundance of preserved jungle, Mu Koh Chang National Park offers some beautiful waterfalls, hiking trails and diving sites. A 200baht one day pass will give you access to Namtok Khlong Phlu and Namtok Khlong Nonsi (Namtok = Waterfall). There used to be trail through the jungle joining each waterfall but at the time of writing this, it was closed. You will have to travel from one side of the island to the other to make use of the one day pass as it cannot be used the next day. Not to worry, there are a few other waterfalls and many things to do on the other side of the island. I would head to Khlong Phlu first early in the morning and then head over to the over side of the island. Two really stunning, family friendly waterfalls with national park rangers on guard. Swimming is available at both sites during the rainy season and both have a nice walk to the main levels.
Picture of Khlong Phlu Waterfall
2. Hiking in Salak Phet
With Koh Chang's vast mountain range there is some rewarding hiking to be done. Most of the Koh Chang activity shops offer hiking tours with experienced local guides. Mountain Hikes to Khao Laem, Khao Chang Yai and Khao Salak Phet are of varying difficulties but are definitely accessible to most with a bit of courage and a qualified guide. We did Khao Laem on our own with some help from a local blogger with regards to the best trail to take. It wasn't too tough but we are experienced hikers of mountain and jungle in Thailand. I would advise you go with a guide so you can enjoy the moment and not have to navigate or worry about being lost. The views on a clear day are the best on Koh Chang and there are areas to camp so you can enjoy sunrise and sunset. A local guide I have heard and read good things about, is Thomas of Thomas Koch Travel and Adventure. Please mention me if you book with him. We were lucky enough to see the local eagle in flight above us, it was utterly majestic and I really advice you go hiking in Koh Chang.
Panoramic view from the top of Mt Khao Laem
3. The Beaches
Well you are definitely spoilt for choice here! Koh Chang has some beautiful beaches, some close to civilization and some not so much. My top beach on the west side of the island would have to be White Sand Beach for it's obvious white sands and proximity to some really nice bars and restaurants. 15 Palms does good sized portions and the food is of great quality. On the east side of the island Long Beach is the obvious choice but if you go a little further down the road, there is a beach by the naval memorial which is totally secluded and I suspect, even in high season, not very busy. It is quite the hike down to this bottom corner of the island but definitely worth it. Other great beaches are Lonely Beach, Wai Chaek Beach, Klong Kloi Beach, Kai Bae Beach.
Picture of Navy Memorial Beach
4. The Viewpoints
If you cannot make it up to the top of the peaks then worry not, Koh Chang offers a few great viewpoints on all sides of the island. Three of my favorites are Kai Bae Viewpoint, Ao Ka Rang Viewpoint and White Sand Beach Viewpoint. Each area has parking for both cars and bikes but White Sand Beach Viewpoint has limited space and is just off a steep winding main road.
Picture of Kai Bae Viewpoint on the way to Lonely Beach
5. ROADTRIPPING WOOP WOOP!
Whether you have a car or a bike, make sure you make the roadtrip from the west side to the east side and all the way down to the naval memorial. Fill the tank, check those tyres and wind down those windows! I am a big one for a roadtrip and this little trip from say White Sand Beach to the naval memorial will take you coastside and mountainside with some awesome views and a few free waterfalls along the way. Make sure to stop by The Coffee Home or Coconut Organic Garden for a coffee or a meal. The road up to long beach and the memorial is special with a great viewpoint along the way. On the way back you can then take in the authentic Salak Phet Bay area and cool off in Khiri Phet Waterfall which is free! Khlong Neung Waterfall is also free and 5mins from Khiri Phet Waterfall; a harder challenge to get to the last level in rainy season but definitely rewarding.
Picture of Long Beach
6. Head to another Island
If you want to try and get a way from the crowd and to some seclusion, why not head to one of the many islands south of Koh Chang. For both seclusion and services, Koh Kood and Koh Mak are probably your best bet for a a few days but if you want closer day trips Koh Wai and Koh Khlum are good options. You can get boats from Bang Bao Pier and Nor Nou Kai Bae Pier. All four mentioned islands have places to stay so why not make it a couple of days of some real seclusion and peace.
Picture of Koh Kood
7. FREE WATERFALLS
I love free and who the hell doesn't! Koh Chang has a couple of pay for waterfalls within the national park grounds but there are also three great waterfalls that are absolutely freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.
Unfortunately they are all on the east side of the island but why not tie them in with the roadtrip I mentioned above! Khiri Phet Waterfall and Khlong Neung Waterfall are located within 5minutes of each other and are without a doubt my favorite two waterfalls on the island. Khlong Neung Waterfall is definitely a challenge and quite dangerous in the rainy season; we found ourselves having to go up through the waterfall over the rocks but were greeted with a spectacular reward. Khiri Phet Waterfall is definitely more chilled and family friendly with a couple of levels to do some serious cooling down in. For Khiri Phet Waterfall make sure you take the left trail out of the car park, it is a nice trail through the edges of the jungle and mountain with no elevation or serious obstacles; definitely family friendly.
Klong Nonsi is not too far from the main mainland pier and also offers a fairly easy climb of three levels and of course, totally free!
Pictures of Khiri Phet Waterfall to the left and Khlong Neung Waterfall to the right
Koh Chang is renowned for some amazing diving and Hin Luk Bath for me is the best place to dive in Koh Chang. It is about 30mins boat trip from Bang Bao Pier and is known for it's large boulders and abundance of fish species. Most of the best diving and experienced diving companies are based on Bang Bao Pier which in itself is a great place to have a wonder, a coffee or a meal. There is a parking charge near the pier, 20baht for short time bike and 60baht for short time car. What makes diving the south coast of Koh Chang so unique, is the number of ship wrecks from the Franco-Thai war of 1940-41.
Picture of HTMS Chang shipwreck
9. Party at Lonely Beach
If you need a break from your hotel, the sea, the waterfalls; if you want to dance all night until the sun comes up, then Lonely Beach is the place for you. A area of a few soi's jammed with small all-night bars pumping out all types of music and light shows. My favorite has to be Ting Tong bar. Just don't forget that if you aren't staying in the area, you will have to tackle a few hills on your way home!
Picture of Ting Tong bar
10. Bang Bao Pier
A place you will undoubtedly go to if you are heading to another island or going diving but it is still a definite for me. It has a beautiful long pier with a look out tower at the end, authentic Thai fishing and tour boats line the end of the pier with nestled floating shops, restaurants and diving companies at the start. Even if you aren't going diving or to another island, just come and take in the atmosphere and have a coffee or something to eat. The surrounding area has a few good beaches and a great place called Rasta View.
Picture of Bang Bao Pier from the lookout tower.
So that is it, my top 10 for Koh Chang, If you think I have missed something or just want to add some information for everyone else, please feel free to comment below. Please like and share if you thought this was a helpful top 10 and I hope you have an amazing time on Koh Chang.