For some "the Maldives of Thailand", for others "The Oriental Paradise", either way, with its 166 miČ, Koh Chang is the second largest island in Thailand. Located in the eastern part of the country, it can easily be reached by ferry, aeroplane or car.
With less than 5,000 permanent residents, the island is not very populated. It gets its name from its elephant-shaped headland.
Known for being one of the country's most beautiful islands, Koh Chang represents an important nature reserve. The fauna and flora are abundant here. The island is home to more than 42 bird species, 29 different mammals, 42 different reptiles and amphibians, and a rather rich marine life. Trees, conifers and ferns are mainly found inland, at the heart of the tropical forest.
The island is mountainous and has some steep hills. Rising 744m, Khao Salak Phet is the highest peak on the island.
To the west, the long white sandy beaches extend from north to south from Klong Son Bay to Kai Bae Beach, via White Sand Beach and Klong Prao Beach. Cascades and beautiful reefs are also part of the island's landscape. It is a splendid place to go snorkelling and diving.
Most of the lodgings, from simple bungalows to 5-star hotels, are located on the west coast, not very far from the beaches.
There is a variety of activities to participate in on the island: diving, snorkelling, kayaking, or going on a hiking tour to discover the fauna and flora. Of course you can also relax on the white sand beaches and swim in the emerald-coloured water.
Your list of things to discover should include the fishing villages, the fruit plantations, the KO Chang National Park and the Klong Nueng waterfall, which is renowned for being breathtaking.
Leave some room in your suitcase if you are a sucker for souvenirs.
Monsoon season lasts from June to October. Most of the accommodation here is closed during this period.
Treat yourself to the delicious seafood, especially in the fishing villages, and enjoy the wine from the island, made from various types of fruit: grape, apple or purple mangousteen.
Don't forget to take a trip to the local market where you will find handmade jewellery, paintings, antiques, and sculptures made out of stone or wood.