Tucked away in the Trat Province of Thailand, the island of Koh Chang is one of the most scenic and laidback islands in the country. To help you plan your Koh Chang itinerary while island hopping in Thailand, I’ve detailed the 16 best things to do in Koh Chang. From water sports and waterfalls to massages and sunsets, there is something for everyone on this paradise island.
This guide is more than a list of the best beaches in Koh Chang, things to do and see. We’ll start with what to do on Koh Chang and once you are already dreaming of your trip there will move to the practical stuff. At the end of this blog post, you will find travel tips like how to get to Koh Chang, where to stay and the best time to travel to the island.
Did you know? Koh Chang translates to Elephant Island. From the sky, you’ll quickly see why; Koh Chang island is shaped just like an elephant’s head.
Best things to do in Koh Chang, Thailand
Unlike Koh Phangan, an island with a “nightlife reputation”, and Koh Tao, an island known for its world-class diving, Koh Chang flies under the radar and is typically missed by most tourists that visit Thailand.
But, with a beautiful national park, aquamarine bays, friendly locals, and nearby islands, it would be a pity to skip Koh Chang.
If you’re planning to visit this side of Thailand, add these 16 best Koh Chang activities to add to your to-do list:
1. Watch Koh Chang sunsets
You simply cannot go to Koh Chang without watching a sunset on the beach. Put on your favorite playlist, bring a drink, and find the perfect spot.
Here are a few of our favorite places to watch the sunset on the island of Koh Chang:
- Klong Prao Beach, Koh Chang
Not only is Klong Prao Beach one of the best places to watch the sunset in Koh Chang, but it’s one of the best locations to see the sunset in the entire country. Situated on the west coast of the island, this beach is calm and tranquil, making for a relaxing sunset experience.
The beach is littered with tall palm trees and in addition to a front row seat for the sunset, you’ll also get to see the silhouettes of the rolling hills in the distance. No need to say it’s one of the best beaches in Koh Chang.
- Lonely Beach, Koh Chang
One of the reasons why we love Koh Chang so much is because unlike other islands in Thailand, Koh Chang’s beaches stay relatively garbage-free; Lonely Beach is one of them.
Sure, Koh Chang Lonely Beach is known for its beach bars and parties, but it is also one of the best places in Koh Chang to watch the sunset. Grab a drink with friends or sit on the white sand beach in solitude while the sun dips below the horizon.
2. Check out Khlong Phlu Waterfall
Along with epic sunsets, Koh Chang is known for its waterfalls.
Khlong Phlu Waterfall is one of the most popular falls on the island, and it’s easy to see why. Not only is it breathtakingly beautiful, but you can swim right beneath it in the natural pool. Don’t forget your swimming suit; the water is cool and clean.
- How To Get To Khlong Phlu Waterfall
To reach Khlong Phlu Waterfall, you’ll need to enter Mo Koh Chang National Park. For foreigners, expect to pay 200 baht per person (about $6 USD).
From the parking area, a half-mile hike will take you to the waterfall. This is an easy trail that can be completed by visitors of all fitness levels.
3. Go snorkeling in Koh Chang
The island is home to pristine coral reefs and with gentle tides and nutrient-rich waters, it creates a natural habitat for all types of fish. Whether you join a guided tour or you do a self-guided tour, you will love what you can discover in the ocean surrounding the island.
To find the best snorkeling spots on the island, go to Bang Bao Pier and sign up for a Koh Chang snorkeling trip or catch a boat to one of the small neighboring islands: Koh Rang or Koh Wai snorkeling spots are amazing. These islands boast some of the most beautiful reefs in the Gulf of Thailand.
A few sea creatures to look for while snorkeling the island reefs are the yellow boxfish and the moray eel.
Here is a Snorkeling Tour in Koh Chang (click to see it) with good reviews that you can book online via GetYourGuide.
4. Go for a day trip to Koh Yuak
Another one of the best things to do on the island of Koh Chang is to visit Koh Yuak.
This small island is accessible only by boat and has beautiful white sand beaches for soaking up the sun. There are also plenty of opportunities for water sports such as kayaking or paddleboarding.
To get to Koh Yuak from Koh Chang, go to the west side of the island near Kai Bae Viewpoint. Many locals park their boats here and offer rides to tourists.
If you’re struggling to find a boat to take you to Koh Yuak, ask one of the many resorts near Kai Bae Viewpoint and they will easily be able to point you in the right direction.
5. Volunteer with the Koh Chang Animal Project
Any animal lovers out there looking for what to do in Koh Chang?
Koh Chang Animal Project is a worthwhile cause that helps animals in need on the island.
The facility was created by a woman named Lisa McAlonie whose goal was to develop a place that helped locals understand, learn, and care for their pets. They also provide care for stray street dogs and cats that have been abandoned.
Volunteering at the Animal Project is one of the best things to do on the island because not only will you learn a lot about caring for animals, but you’ll also be giving back to the island. You can set up a time to volunteer by going to their website, Koh Chang Animal Project.
6. Happy Hour on Koh Chang beaches
One of the most affordable things you can do on the island of Koh Chang is enjoy happy hour at a beach bar with friends.
Unlike many other destinations in the world, Thailand is wildly affordable and that remains true for this paradise as well. A happy hour drink or two will only cost a few bucks and it’s a great way to relax and enjoy the casual vibe of the island. For more info about Thailand travel costs click here.
But, an important thing to know about enjoying happy hour in Koh Chang is knowing which beach bars to go to. Here are our favorite beach bars in Koh Chang:
- Mimo Beach Bar
This beach bar remains a hidden gem on the island. Grab a few cheap beers (Singha is our favorite) and exchange stories with the bartender as you wait for the sun to set.
To find Mimo Beach Bar, head to the south end of Lonely Beach.
- Beautiful Bar
I think the name speaks for itself here… Beautiful Bar is situated right on the ocean, just south of Lonely Beach. Cocktails at this beach bar are delicious and affordable and if you stay long enough, you’ll get to watch an epic fireshow in Koh Chang.
7. Koh Chang dive experience
Sure, Koh Chang isn’t as well-known for its diving as Koh Tao, but it’s still a great place to get your scuba diving fix. There are some amazing dive sites in Koh Chang for both beginner and experienced divers, so spend a day exploring the underwater world.
The best Koh Chang diving spots are:
- Koh Rang
Whether you come for snorkeling or scuba diving, you’ll be thoroughly impressed by the reef here. Thanks to the national park that protects this area, the sealife is thriving.
Another awesome dive site is the HTMS Chang Wreck, a planned shipwreck for divers. If your current certification permits it, this dive would be an incredible activity to add to your Koh Chang to do list.
Here are three options for Koh Chang scuba diving experiences:
8. Visit a fishing village
One of the most unique things to do in Koh Chang is to visit a fishing village. Salakkok is a fishing village located on the south end of the island and it’s a great place to immerse yourself into the Thai culture. Among all Koh Chang tourist attractions, this is the lesser known, but it’s worth doing it. Watch the locals living and working in this secluded village, as well as take part in some of their day-to-day activities.
A few of the best things to do in Salakkok village include:
- Firefly Watching
If you decide to visit Salakkok Fishing Village at all, you must stay until the sun goes down. Take a traditional Thai boat into the dark mangroves and watch as fireflies come into view. Soon you’ll be dazzled by thousands of them flying around you. This is truly one of the top things to do in Koh Chang.
- Explore Mangroves
Take a canoe tour here to experience the quiet mangroves of southern part of the island. This traditional Thai boat ride will expose you to some of the most secluded areas of the island.
9. See the island from above
There’s no better way to see Koh Chang than from above. With its lush jungle, rolling hills, and gorgeous beaches surrounded by bright blue water, catching a glimpse of it all from a viewpoint is one of the best things to do in Koh Chang.
- Kai Bae Viewpoint
The first viewpoint I suggest visiting is Kai Bae Viewpoint. From here, you’ll be able to see the Koh Man Nai and the expansive views of the Gulf of Thailand from two separate observation decks.
We really enjoyed this Koh Chang viewpoint because it’s a great place to spend time; they’ve built a small cafe near the viewpoint that is perfect for refreshments and quick snacks.
- White Sand Beach Viewpoint
Another popular viewpoint in Koh Chang is White Sand Beach Viewpoint. In my opinion, this one doesn’t quite compare to the Kai Bae Viewpoint, but it still offers sweeping views of the sea and the white sand beach below.
My biggest reservation about this viewpoint is that there are plenty of macaques (monkeys) waiting to prey on tourists. Monkeys aren’t my cup of tea, but if you like them, you might enjoy this viewpoint more than I did.
- Ao Ka Rang Viewpoint
A hidden gem that goes by the name of Ao Ka Rang. Located on the southeastern leg of the island, it is a lot quieter than other areas that tend to attract tourists.
So whether you want a view of the dense jungle interior or a view of the bay filled with tiny islands, Ao Ka Rang is the place to go.
10. Kayak to Koh Man Nai
For adventurous activities in Koh Chang, consider renting a kayak and paddling out to the small island Koh Man Nai.
Koh Man Na island is located just off the west coast of Koh Chang near Lonely Beach. Kayaks are cheap to rent and the island isn’t difficult to reach thanks to its close proximity to the mainland.
Once you reach Koh Man Nai, spend some time on the less-crowded beaches and take a dip in the ocean to cool off before your return paddling trip.
11. Experience Koh Chang’s Nightlife
Sure, Koh Chang isn’t Koh Phangan or Koh Phi Phi (two islands popularly known for their beach parties), but the nightlife in Koh Chang shouldn’t be overlooked.
If you’re a backpacker or simply looking to have a few cocktails while listening to music, there are many bustling bars and nightclubs around the island. I suggest spending time in Lonely Beach, an area known for Koh Chang nightlife, fun hostels and good parties.
After watching the sunset on the beach, head into the town near Lonely Beach and discover glow-in-the-dark parties, cheap buckets of booze, and friendly travelers looking to meet new friends.
12. Take a Boat to Koh Wai
For even more beach beauty, take a day trip out to the island of Koh Wai, located just south of Koh Chang.
Once you get to the island, spend your time wandering around and exploring this little paradise, snorkeling and discovering the incredible reefs, or just relaxing on the beach.
There are two ways to get to Koh Wai: by speedboat or by slow boat. There are several trips to Koh Wai each day from the pier at Bang Bao. Expect to pay more for the speed boat than the slow boat. To be safe, I would budget approximately $15 each way for the boat ride.
13. Hike to the top of Koh Chang
Get off the beaten path by summiting the island’s tallest mountain, Mount Salakphet. From the top of this peak, you’ll see the coast of Cambodia to the north, a sprawling valley to the west, and an expansive view down south.
But before you jump on the trail, it’s important to note that this hike is not for the faint of heart. During your trek, you’ll conquer nearly 2,500 feet of elevation gain in just a few miles. With the heat and humidity, be sure you’re prepared with plenty of water and replenishing electrolytes.
14. Relax on Koh Chang best beaches
You can’t go to a Thai island without spending time at a beach. Luckily, this island has plenty of them and they are some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. So here are two of our favorites Koh Chang Beaches:
- Klong Prao Beach, Koh Chang
For one of the island’s prettiest beachside vistas, head to the west side of the island to Klong Prao Beach. Whether you’re traveling as a couple or with your family, this beach is the perfect place to enjoy a drink, take in some sun and surf, or just relax for an afternoon.
- White Sand Beach, Koh Chang
Venture north to another one of Koh Chang’s best beaches, White Sand Beach. This beach stretches over two kilometers and thanks to its pure white sand, it’s popular with couples, families, and backpackers alike.
With plenty of restaurants lining White Sand Beach Koh Chang, you won’t have to go far to find food or drinks, which makes it the perfect place to spend an entire day.
15. See Wat Salak Petch
If you didn’t spend enough time in Bangkok to see the beautiful temples, you’re in luck! There is an incredible temple on the island called Wat Salak Petch.
Ornately decorated, Wat Salak Petch is one of the best things to see in Koh Chang if you want to get away from the crowds and immerse yourself in Thai culture. Bring a little extra money with you during this outing to donate to the temple and to purchase small knick-knacks and bracelets from the locals.
16. Go to Koh Chang Night Market
We can’t talk about the best things to do in Koh Chang without talking about food.
When the sun goes down, head to the White Sand Beach Night Market and indulge in some of the island’s best cuisine. The night market in Koh Chang is open until 11 pm every night and offers a variety of dishes that are sure to please everyone.
This is the perfect place to eat in Koh Chang for dinner before returning to your hotel or hostel for the night. You’ll find fresh seafood, BBQ skewers, and a variety of Thai desserts (try a roti, you won’t regret it). Prices at the night market are much cheaper than anything you’ll find in one of the resort restaurants.
Now that you know what to do in Koh Chang, beaches, adventures and viewpoints, let’s talk about travel tips. Below you will find all the info you need to plan your Koh Chang holiday.
How many days do you need in Koh Chang?
How many days should you stay in Koh Chang? Well, that depends!
It’s one of the largest islands in Thailand, so it would take weeks to explore all that it has to offer. That said, Koh Chang is still worth visiting even if you only have a few days.
Ideally, you’ll have at least four days on the island so that you can visit the national park, Koh Chang beaches, and take day trips to the gorgeous islands nearby. Spending four days on the island will also justify the extensive travel needed to get there.
Located near the eastern Thai border, the island might be a good stop on your way to island-hop along the coast of Cambodia.
Getting to Koh Chang, Thailand
There are several different ways to get to Koh Chang but it will completely depend on where you’re coming from. Here are the most common ways to reach the island:
How to get to Koh Chang by Flight
The fastest way to get to Koh Chang is by plane. Although there isn’t an airport on the island of Koh Chang, there is a small airport on the mainland in Trat province.
Direct flights depart daily from Bangkok. Bangkok Airways serves this route, but flight times change depending on the day of the week and the time of year. You can search for the best flights to Koh Chang using Skyscanner or Kiwi.com.
Once you reach the Trat airport, you’ll take a taxi over to Ao Thammachat Pier. At the pier, purchase a ticket to Ao Sapparot Pier in Koh Chang. You’ll pay approximately $2-3 for a one-way ferry ride.
How to get to Koh Chang by bus
If you need an affordable way to travel to Koh Chang, consider taking the bus from Bangkok. There are many buses that travel from Bangkok to Koh Chang each day from the Ekkamai Bus Terminal or the Mo Chit Bus Terminal.
The buses are usually comfortable and cost between 300 and 450 baht depending on the time of year. It will take approximately 6 hours to get from Bangkok to Ao Thammachat Pier in Trat.
From the pier, take one of the ferries across to Koh Chang. Remember, that ferry ride will cost approximately $2-3 USD one way.
How to get to Koh Chang by minibus
My favorite way to travel in Thailand is by “minibus”. And if you’re new to traveling in Thailand, a minibus is what they call those large cargo vans that can fit 12-15 people.
These minibuses are cheap, comfortable, and a lot faster than riding the bus. Hop on a minibus at the Ekkamai Bus Terminal (conveniently a stop on the BTS) and expect to pay around 450 to 600 baht one way.
Another option is to book a transfer from your hotel in Bangkok (or in any destination nearby) to the island. These services are reliable and you can book in advance, so you don’t need to worry during your trip. Have a look at this option of transfer from Bangkok/ Hua Hin / Pattaya to Koh Chang.
These two websites offer all modes of transportation in Thailand and Southeast Asia, you can search for routes, timetables and book online. They will be a bit more expensive than going to the bus station to buy your tickets in advance (which is necessary during high season), but it’s fast, easy and reliable.
Where to stay in Koh Chang: hotels and hostels
As for accommodation on Koh Chang, you have a few options.
Just like anywhere else in Thailand, you’ll find plenty of hostels, but expect to pay more for a dorm room bunk bed here than in other places in the country. For the best hostels in Koh Chang, check out Pajamas Koh Chang or Cafe Del Sunshine.
On the other hand, there are mid-range hotels and upscale resorts in Koh Chang as well. Our favorite place to stay in Koh Chang was at The Chill Resort & Spa, which provided luxury at a reasonable price.
The Chill Resort at Kai Bae Beach, one of the best hotels in Koh Chang!
But if you’re looking to splurge, there’s no better place to stay in Koh Chang than Marina Sands Resort Koh Chang. Expect top-tier service, privacy, and luxury at this beachfront property.
You just found your luxury resort in Koh Chang!
If you are not sure about where to stay in Koh Chang, no worries. Keep searching for your Koh Chang accommodation on Booking.com and Agoda, they usually have the best properties and prices in Thailand. For more tips about how to book the perfect room for any trip read this Accommodation Guide here.
How to get Around Koh Chang, Thailand
Once you reach the island, you can choose from several different transportation options.
By far the easiest way to get around Koh Chang is by motorbike. Renting a motorbike will cost approximately $8 USD per day and there are rental shops on every corner. Be sure to bring your passport because you’ll need to present it to the motorbike rental shop.
Note: If you’re unsure how to rent a motorbike or you need assistance, I recommend asking your accommodation host. They are sure to be very helpful. And don’t forget to buy Travel Insurance before traveling and driving your motorbike in Thailand. Word Nomads, SafetyWing and HeyMondo are good options. Also, read Love and Road’s Travel Insurance Guide here.
If you’ve never driven a motorbike before, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting in Thailand. Instead, you might consider taking songthaews to get around the island.
Songthaews are truck taxis that can carry many people at once. These truck taxis are readily available, so flag one down, pay the small fee, and reach your destination without having to drive yourself.
Traveling around Thailand? Read our Thailand Guides here!
When To Visit Koh Chang?
When planning your Koh Chang visit, try to schedule your trip during the dry season. Dry season in Thailand lasts from November until April. It’s the best time to visit Koh Chang and many other destinations in the country.
During these months, you’ll experience more sunshine and cooler weather. Unfortunately, this is also considered “high season” in Thailand, so you can expect more tourists during these months.
Luckily, Koh Chang is far less popular of a destination than other Thai islands like Koh Samui or Koh Tao, so you’ll still get to experience this island paradise without fighting massive crowds during these months.
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Author: Laura Abalos
I’m Laura and I am the storyteller behind Mike & Laura Travel. In 2015, I quit my desk job to travel the world. Through many ups and downs, failures and triumphs, we’ve been able to leverage our travel blog to support our full-time nomadic lifestyle. Our goal is to help others work smarter so they can travel more because this world is too beautiful not to explore. To follow our adventures, subscribe to our Youtube channel.