Difference between revisions of "Ko Chang"
Revision as of 17:09, 26 December 2006
Ko Chang is in Trat Province, in Eastern Thailand, about 330 kilometers from Bangkok. It is Thailand's third largest island, and the biggest in Ko Chang National Park. With about 5000 permanent residents the island is not heavily populated, but tourism (and development) has increased dramatically over the last few years.
Direct door-to-door minibus transfers from Trat airport to Ko Chang resorts cost 280 baht/person including the ferry crossing.
From Bangkok's Suvarnabhumi Airport, take the free express shuttle bus from outside the arrivals concourse to the airport's own bus terminal, and from there the next available bus to either Trat or Chanthaburi, then proceed as described below.
From Bangkok the easiest, most direct, and most economical way to get to Laem Ngop (where the Ko Chang ferry piers are) is to take a 1st class bus from the Eastern (Ekamai) Bus Terminal direct to the Centrepoint pier. The fare is 232 baht (or 438 baht for a round trip) and takes just over five hours. Departures from Ekamai are at 07:45 & 13:00, and return at 14:00 and 16:00. Subject to seat availability, this bus can also be boarded at Chanthaburi.
Alternatively, there are 1st class (approx. 5 hours) and 2nd class services from both the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) and Northern Bus Terminal (Moh Chit) direct to Trat, and frequent songthaew services from Trat to Laem Ngop (approx. 30 minutes). Departures from Ekamai are more frequent than from Moh Chit.
If coming by bus from the south, the #511 air-con bus can be used to connect directly between Bangkok's Southern (Sai Tai Mai) and Eastern (Ekamai) bus terminals.
There are direct minibus services to Laem Ngop from Pattaya, Ban Phe, and Bangkok's Khao San Road. It may also be possible to proceed directly to Laem Ngop by minibus or songthaew from the Hat Lek / Koh Kong border crossing with southern Cambodia, depending on the time of year, time of day, phase of the moon, etc - enquire locally.
Most ferries operate from Laem Ngop, which has three piers, of which two are currently operational. The Laem Ngop (Tha Khrom Luang or Tha Laern Ngop) pier is approximatly 700 metres west of Laem Ngop. The Centrepoint (Tha Centre Point) pier is located about 3.5 km north-west of Laem Ngop. These piers serve both vehicle and passenger ferries.
Another vehicle ferry pier is located in Thammachat Bay (Ao Thammachat), around 15 km west of Laem Ngop.
Almost all piers on Ko Chang are situated on the eastern side of the island. The major piers are the two Dan Kao piers, Tha Dan Kao and Tha Ferry Dan Kao, who handles most of the traffic. To take a boat from Laem Ngop to the Dan Kao piers take around 45 minutes. The car ferry from Laem Ngop take around 1 hour and arrives at the Tha Ferry Dan Kao pier, situated 400 minutes southeast of the Tha Dan Kao pier. The car ferry from Thaachat Bay stops at the Ko Chang Ferry Pier (Tha Ferry Ko Chang) in the Sapparot Bay (Ao Sapparot), 3 kilometres northwest fom the Dan Kao piers.
Light meals, fruit, fruits and beverages are available at all the piers and on the car ferries.
In the daytime, you can catch a songthaew on its route around the main road. These taxis are also waiting at the Dan Kao Pier. At the Dan Kao Ferry-Pier there may be no taxis available. If you arrive without a vehicle you may have to walk the 400 metres to Dan Kao Pier.
Small motorcycles can be hired. The main road almost circles the island and there are plans to complete the circuit in the near future. Cars are also available for rental, most hotels can help with it.
Market stands along the main road. Pretty much the same pirate-products in every stand. Lots of salesmen on the beaches, especially White Sands Beach.
ATMs and 7-Eleven convenience stores can be found alongside the main western coastline road.
Similiar to the rest of Thailand, including the prices. There are many restaurants at the beach open both daytime and evening.
Beer Chang, if you wish to sample the famous "Changover" the following day.
Most of the hotels are located on the west side of the island.
The cheapest places to stay are located at Lonely Beach, on the southern end of the west coast.
TreeHouse (Lonely Beach & Long Beach)
The Tree House at Hat Tha Nam Beach (Lonely Beach) is popular among backpackers, touting an beautiful, extensive boardwalk restaurant/bar (the Treehouse Parties are famous!!!) built out over the water. They have beautiful but basic Bamboo Huts all in a different style (some of them with a second floor, up to 4 persons), no fan, no air, and no electricity during the day (prices between 90-250 baht, depends on season, size and location). They have nice and authentic bucket open air showers. It's like bathing in a jungle. The food is part of the experience as well and reasonable priced. Kids and Families are welcome and they have some children-specials (kids-menu, playground, kids-corner, car park). Since 2005 the new Treehouse at Long Beach is open. Located on a 1 km white sand beach, it's surrounded by rain forest and is the only resort over there, so there you can find your "private" beach. One of the last "lonely" paradise places on Ko Chang. They have a new website TH Site where you find a lot of info and 100s of pictures.
The next resort to the north is Siam Hut, which offers a quiet atmosphere, friendly staff, delicious food and spartan waterfront bungalows for around 300 baht/night.
One more stop to the north is Nature's Resort, a more upscale place with a pool and hermetically sealed cabins.
Sai Khao Beach (White Sands Beach)
The white sand beaches are in the north west in a section called Hat Sai Khao. This area is being developed quite rapidly, so prices are going up. However, you can still get bungalows for 400 baht/night.
Klong Son Bay
Klong Prao Beach
Kai Bae Beach
Hat Tha Nam (Lonely Beach)
Bang Bao Bay
Bang Bao is on the south side of the island. It's little more than a long stretch of wooden deck that takes probably 5 minutes to walk from end to end, with dive shops, seafood restaurants, local housing, and a few places that provide accommodation for visitors.