Chang Island lies off the eastern coast and is part of an archipelago consisting of more than 100 islands of different sizes, most of them uninhabited. Chang, the main island, is the second largest island of Thailand, covering 429 sqkm, therefore being nearly twize the size of well-known Samui Island on the other side of the Gulf of Siam. High mountains, covered by virgin rainforest, appear to rise directly from shoreline cliffs – a dark silhouette on the horizon. From the mainland the distant mass resembles a giant elephant rising almost to the base of the frequent clouds. This gives the island an abundance of waterfalls and streams and a rugged and almost impassable interior that has so far escaped mass tourism development.
Tourism started during the Seventies with small A-frame bungalows on Khlong Phrao Beach that were controlled by local families. 20 years later the first resorts opened up but even today, facilities are basic when compared with Samui or Phuket.
Trat Airport by Bangkok Airways, located opposite of Ko Chang Island on the mainland
Located only 330 kilometres east of the capital, it is a favourite weekend destination for the people from Bangkok, who need about 4 hours by car on the partly 4-lane highway. For foreign visitors access to Chang Island has become easy with the new mainland airport in Trat that opened in April 2003. The airport is owned by Bangkok Airways and they currently operate 2 flights on a daily basis. Minibus transfer services to Ao Thammachat, the nearest ferry pier (approx 15 kms) are provided by Bangkok Airways.
Car ferry to Koh Chang Island arriving to Ao Sapparot, Thailand
Crossing time for the ferries to Ao Sapparot on Chang Island is 30 minutes. From there, a steep and bending road leads to the beaches on the western coast with the first one, Haad Sai Khao or White Sand Beach being reached after a 15 minutes drive through an impresssive rain forest area. On the way you are passing Klong Son Bay that opens to the Northwest of the island and boasts the beautiful Aiyapura Resort set in the natural environment.
The highly revered shrine of Chao Po and Chao Mae Koh Chang close to the ferry pier of Ko Chang Island, Thailand
Further on is the highly revered shrine of Chao Po and Chao Mae Koh Chang on the right. Locals and visitors seek faith and guidance from Chao Po Koh Chang when being hit by the monsoon on the open sea or when encountering sickness or other miseries.
Koh Chang National Park offers an array of activities including rain-forest hiking, elephant trekking, snorkelling, fishing, diving, boating, mountain biking, motorbiking, or visiting the local villages and waterfalls.