Ko Chang (Southern Thailand)
Ko Chang (Ranong) is small and nice island close to Ranong in the southwest of Thailand. The island is located off the Northern Andaman Coast. Compared with the better known islands of Thailand, (Phuket and Ko Samui), this one is very quiet and special due to its beautiful dark sandy beaches, interesting nature (birds), and rocks. The water is not clear and the sand is not white, but the place is so special that it does not matter. There are some nice and quiet resorts on the island, most of them basic. It is a great place for a couple or just for people who appreciate a quiet and amazing place away from more developed places.
Ko Chang is accessed by boat from Ranong's Island Pier.
Most people arrive on Ko Chang by Long-tail taxi-boat, which leaves from Ranong's Island Pier at 9:00, 11:00 and 14:00 daily throughout the high season. The boatmen will ask you which establishment you'd like to be dropped off at, and will pull the longtail up to the beach outside your chosen destination. A ticket costs 200 Baht.
The same boats return to Ranong at roughly 8:00 and 13:00, however exact times will depend where on the island you are being collected. To catch the boat you need to pile your luggage on the beach and when you see it coming wave at it until you're sure it's seen you.
There is also a speedboat service that drops off at a small pier on the wrong side of the island, near the village. This claims to run year-round but costs an alarming 450 Baht. From the pier it's a 1 hour walk across the island to the main beach.
Busses run regularly to Bangkok, Hat Yai, Chumphon, Phuket (via Khao Lak), and Surat Thani from Ranong's bus station. Songthaews run regularly between the Bus Station and the Pier for 50 Baht. A seat in a shared taxi is usually offered for 70 Bhat. Nok Air flies from Bangkok´s Don Muang Airport twice daily.
There are no motorbikes for rent on Ko Chang and the only way to get around is by walking or by boat. This is actually what makes the island so peaceful and special. Most resorts are situated on Ao Yai, which is a long stretch of beach. This, during high season, which runs from November until April, is the main walking thoroughfare. There are several newer concrete roads leading inland and also lots of dirt tracks for those who are more adventurous. On some weekdays there is a taxi boat leaving to and returning from Ko Phayam.
At low tide it is easier to walk to the other resorts/ bungalow establishments along the beach. Nightlife is minimal, with only 3 bars dotted along the beach. Buy your own bottle of Sangsom, a bucket of ice, Sprite, and limes, and make our own Mojitos.
Each of the resorts does have their own bars and restaurants to try.
The very small village is quite a walk from "Sawasdee", past the Buddist Temple and tsunami warning tower on the coast, and then inland where there is tsunami shelter area. Most basic necessities can be bought in the village shop and Internet cafe.
"Ko Chang Resort" offers trips to the busier Ko Phayam for 300 baht return.
On the nearby beautiful and now up-and-coming island of Ko Phayam, the official drink is Sangsom and cool island coconut water.
Andaman Sea bungalows, from north to south
Nok Air also flies BKK to Ranong, leaving from Don Muang airport.