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Exploring Koh Chang on a Day Trip Around the Island

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Koh Chang, the green elephant island in the far northeastern part of the Gulf of Thailand, is the third largest island in Thailand. As I did not want to rent a scooter and drive around the island myself I decided to book a day trip to see what the island has to offer.fotor_148215377276762Next morning at around 9 o’clock a songthaew taxi came to pick me up from the hotel and we headed towards the northern part of the island. At White Sand Beach we picked up a young Swedish couple and then we were ready to set off on our excursion around Koh Chang. How convenient that we were just a small group of 3 people, I had expected the car to be full.

Leaving White Sand Beach the road makes a sharp curve and climbs steep up the mountain. It was a tough job sitting sideways on the bench in the back of the pickup truck and trying to hold onto the rail firmly. I was so afraid of the car breaking down and rolling backwards off the narrow road. However, there was no need to worry, the car was just about good enough to make it up.fotor_148215351365982fotor_148215358144343After less than a kilometre into our drive, somewhat halfway up the mountain road we made our first stop at a view point right above White Sand Beach to take in the views over the village, coastline and mountains in the south.fotor_148215409368382Heading towards the east coast of Koh Chang we next stopped to take peak at the Chinese Buddhist temple of Chao Po Koh Chang. The Temple was a beautiful splash of bright colours with elephants standing at the entrance.fotor_148215412178936Continuing our drive, we passed a couple of ferry terminals that function as the main points of entry to Koh Chang from the mainland. Koh Chang is a relatively large island, 30 km long from north to south, and covered by mountains and rainforest inland with no roads. The east coast of Koh Chang is fairly flat so it was nice just to chill out in the back of the car taking in sceneries as we drove along the coastal road passing secluded beaches as well as coconut and banana plantations.fotor_148215374491394Our next stop was at Salak Kok Bay in the southeastern corner of the island. Here the coastal fishing villages still maintain their traditional lifestyle, culture and traditions. The area is covered by the largest mangrove forest on Koh Chang and we took the opportunity to go on an easy walk through the dense forest along a rundown concrete pathway at the same time enjoying some true peace and quiet amongst all the green around us.fotor_148215397457080fotor_148215400538183fotor_148215406631540A short ride from Salak Kok Bay we stopped at the Temple of Wat Salak Phet which is a popular place among Buddhist people. This decorative temple is surrounded by a giant snake, and a holy Buddha statue stands in the main hall.fotor_148215392641557fotor_148215382502991We continued southbound to Salak Phet Bay where we took a short break to stretch our legs taking in some stunning views over the bay surrounded by mountains. The small villages here, Baan Rong Than, Baan Salak Phet and Baan Chek Bae, are mostly built on stilts and are inhabited by fishermen, rubber and coconut farmers.fotor_148215379660785fotor_148215377276762fotor_148239941484323The coastal road does not stretch all around the island as there is a short section on the very southern part of the island where the landowner did not allow any roads to be built. So this basically means that you cannot drive literally around the island. And since the inland of the island is covered by mountains and jungle with no roads it meant that we had to return to the west coast along the same route, so it was a lot of driving again.fotor_148215355989533After a 1-hour drive we made it back to the west coast of Koh Chang and stopped for lunch at a small restaurant in Klong Prao village. Then we continued to Klong Plu waterfall 3 km inland from Klong Prao village. We paid a national park entrance fee of 200 baht and hiked 2 km through the jungle up to the waterfall. The walk in the scorching heat was very sweaty and seemed to last forever. As it was the end of the dry season there was just a tiny bit of water coming down the waterfall, but enough water to form a small natural pool where there were people taking a dip to cool down. We were supposed to visit other waterfalls on our day trip too, but as it was dry season this was the only one with water.KlongPrao_KohChang_KlongPlu_waterfallOn our way down to the main road we stopped at an elephant station where we would have had a chance to feed elephants for a fee. None of us got excited about the idea since we all knew how badly elephants are tortured and mistreated at elephant camps and stations. So we just asked our driver to take us to our next destination.fotor_148215369047699Driving southbound along the west coast we then stopped at Kai Bae viewpoint with amazing views over the sea and 4 small islands right off the coast, Koh Man Nai, Koh Man Nork, Koh Pli and Koh Yuak.fotor_148215366016090The final destination of our day trip was the former fishing village of Bang Bao which has been built over water around a long and narrow pier. Back in the good old days the main source of income for local people here was fishing but recently tourism has completely taken over. Earlier during the week I had already spent a day exploring Bang Bao so now I just took an easy walk around and enjoyed a refreshing fruit smoothie at a cafe.fotor_147918564799066From Bang Bao it was 20-minute drive to my hotel. We had a great day and got to explore lots of places. Feeling a bit weary back at the hotel I took a quick power nap and then went out for a little evening stroll and dinner.chaichet_kohchang

Did you like this blog post? Read more about Koh Chang:

Beaches and Villages of Koh Chang

Quiet Beach Life by Blue Lagoons and Green Mountains in Klong Prao

Beach Escapes under Falling Coconuts in Bailan Bay

Bang Bao – A former Fishing Village Built on Water

Island Hopping in Thailand: Koh Chang – Koh Wai – Koh Mak – Koh Rayang Nai – Koh Kham

Tallenna

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Author: Ticket to Adventures

Captivating travel stories from around the world, near and far, by an experienced traveller and adventurer.

27 thoughts on “Exploring Koh Chang on a Day Trip Around the Island

  1. Good to see you explored the southeast of the island. Most tourists don’t go there, they just stick to the west coast beaches.

    But Salakphet & Salakkok are definitely worth visiting for anyone who wants to experience the real, un-touristy Koh Chang.

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    • I loved exploring the eastern and southern parts of the island, so beautiful and quiet away from everything. On my next visit to Koh Chang I will most definitely stay on this side of the island.

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  2. Thailand is a country that I keep going back to! And even though I have been over 5 times, I would still love to go back and spend time on some of the islands. Koh Chang looks incredible and very green! Thanks for sharing 🙂

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    • I totally agree, I cannot get enough of the small Thai islands either. There are still so many paradise islands to discover. Hope you get to visit Koh Chang soon, I am sure you will love it. Thank you for reading and commenting.

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  3. Thai beaches truly are paradise. The colors in these pics are stunning. I was just in Thailand and now want to go back!!!

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  18. What amazing photos. My heart bleeds for that elephant. Well done on giving it a miss!

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  19. Koh Chang looks stunning and how fortunate just to have two other people with you on your day tour. I certainly wouldn’t wish to drive round on a scooter, especially on those roads! Thank you for describing more of this island.

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    • Koh Chang is definitely one of my favourite islands in Thailand, so versatile with mountains, rainforests etc. Traffic in Thailand is so crazy that I would never drive around on a scooter on these serpentine roads in the mountains, so it was a smart move to go on a guided tour instead. Thank you for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 1 person

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  21. What a beautiful place.

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