There are two islands called Koh Chang in Thailand. This guide refers to the larger island located in northeast Thailand close to Cambodia. Koh Chang means Elephant Island and while there are elephants on the island they are not native. The name, in fact, refers to the shape of the headland. The island is part of a 51 strong archipelago. It’s 18 miles (30km) long and 9 miles (14km) wide. Coconut plantations were the mainstay and while tourism now is a big industry visitors to Thailand often overlook this island. It doesn’t enjoy the fame of other Thai islands, but that is not to say that this island is sleepy or undeveloped. Most recently the islands development seems to be focussed on catching up with Koh Samui and Phuket.
There are 14 areas, mostly located on the western side, from which you can choose to base yourself. Picking which location to stay at is key to a happy holiday. Like most Thai islands, it enjoys rich tropical vegetation and a central elevation peaking at around 2500ft (750m).
Koh Chang offers some good hiking and wildlife spotting options. Sailing and kayaking are also popular here and are fun ways to play on top of the ocean.
The nearest airport to Koh Chang is Trat Airport situated on the mainland, around a 30 minute drive from where the ferries depart. There are regular domestic flights from Bangkok, Phuket, Koh Samui and Chiang Mai.
Public buses from Bangkok run to Koh Chang and although cheap, can take up to 7 hours.
Ferries to Koh Chang leave from Ao Thammachat Pier and from Centerpoint Pier. Crossing time is 30 – 45 minutes and there are numerous crossings each day. Island hopping ferries provide services between Koh Chang, Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Wai.