Situated in the far east of the Gulf of Thailand near the Cambodian border, Koh Chang is Thailand's second largest island after Phuket yet, until recently remained relatively undiscovered despite the allure of rugged mountains, virgin rainforest, picturesque waterfalls and its many west coast beaches.
Klong Prao is the biggest beach on the island and is ideal for those who appreciate tranquil surroundings. Its long sandy beach is uniquely bisected by the river estuary leading up to the famous Klong Plu Waterfall and a channel in the south. Lined with coconut palms the beachfront commands a magnificent view of the many off-shore islands while the northern end has a gorgeous rocky landscape. Bai Lan Bay is a peaceful haven with a beautiful crescent of shallow water and is known for the amazing sunsets.
In addition to the beaches Koh Chang boasts untouched forests, steep mountains and impressive waterfalls, including Nam Tok Mayom, Klong Neung and Klong Plu. Trekking into the mountains is a great way to experience the island's natural beauty; explore with an experienced guide who will point out the abundant wildlife, which includes mongoose, macaques, reptiles and numerous birds including the great hornbill. Exhilarating fun for all the family can be enjoyed at the Treetop Adventure Park near Bai Lan Bay, where specially constructed walkways afford amazing views of the island from high up in the jungle canopy.
Boat trips to the surrounding islands are also recommended and usually include several stops for snorkelling around the tiny islands where the underwater scenery is incredible. Many of the boat tours depart from Bang Bao, a traditional fishing village on the southern coast, which as you might expect has some excellent seafood restaurants.
Shopping on the island can be limited and along with small shops selling basic essentials, the stalls lining the beaches are geared towards tourists with the usual mix of souvenirs and beachwear. Nightlife around Klong Prao and Bai Lan Bay tends to revolve around the cafes, restaurants and bars where you can relax with a drink or linger over a meal of local cuisine, seafood or western. If you do fancy something more lively, then head for White Sand Beach where you'll find a plethora of bars and live music.
Santhiya Tree Koh Chang Resort is nestled on the fine sandy beach at Klong Prao, a tranquil part of the island which is idyllic for swimming.
7 nights from £1165 pp
GMT +7 hours
There are no direct flights from the UK to Koh Chang. From Bangkok, fly onwards to Trat (approximately 45 minutes). Transfer by road to the pier (20 minutes) and then it’s a 30 minute sea crossing by ferry followed by a further 30 minute road transfer to your hotel.
Koh Chang enjoys hot weather all year round, however the best months are considered to be November through to March when you can expect plenty of sunshine and hardly any rain. April to October is the rainy season, however this is often short heavy downpours and you are still likely to see the sun.