Exploring Elephant Island: A Complete Guide To Koh Chang In Thailand

A group of locals in traditional Thai clothing, surrounded by lush greenery, smiling and posing for a photo.

Looking for a unique and off-beat destination in Thailand? Did you know that Koh Chang, also known as Elephant Island, is the third largest island in Thailand and offers a wealth of remarkable experiences! This complete guide will unravel all that this elephant-shaped paradise has to offer – from pristine beaches to lush junglesvibrant culture and majestic elephants.

Ready to explore? Let’s dive right into the beauty of Koh Chang!

Key Takeaways

  • Koh Chang, also known as Elephant Island, is the third largest island in Thailand and offers a wealth of remarkable experiences.
  • The best time to visit Koh Chang is during the dry season from November to April when the weather is pleasant and there are fewer crowds.
  • To get to Koh Chang, you can take a ferry from the mainland and once on the island, taxis, motorbike rentals, and songthaews (shared trucks) are available for transportation.
  • There are various accommodation options on Koh Chang ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts. One recommended hotel is the Emerald Cove Hotel in Klong Prao Beach area.
  • Must – do activities on Koh Chang include scuba diving and snorkeling in its vibrant marine environment, exploring picturesque waterfalls like Klong Plu Waterfall, relaxing on beautiful beaches, and embarking on unforgettable island tours.

Koh Chang: The Elephant Island of Thailand

A group of elephants walking in the lush green landscape of Koh Chang, captured in crystal clear detail.

Koh Chang, also known as the Elephant Island of Thailand, gets its name from its unique shape resembling that of an elephant.

Koh Chang (Elephant Island) Thailand Travel Vlog- Beach Sunset, Fisherman's Village, Mangrove Forest

Why is it called Elephant Island?

A family of elephants roam freely on Elephant Island, captured in a stunning wildlife photograph.Elephant Island is another name for Koh Chang. This name comes from Thai words that mean Elephant Island. The island got this name because it has a big size like an elephant. Look at the map and you will see it! The shape of the island looks like an elephant.

Koh Chang is not just named after elephants, but also houses them. Diverse wildlife makes their home here, especially the large, gentle giants themselves: elephants. There’s even a special place for these animals – the Koh Chang Elephant Sanctuary! But don’t forget about other animals on this island too.

They also add to its charm and make your visit more exciting.

First impressions of the island

A diverse group of hikers explores the lush trails of Koh Chang in a bustling and vibrant atmosphere.

Koh Chang floats in the Gulf of Thailand with grace. It’s big, like an elephant, which is why people call it “Elephant Island”. Its size makes it the third largest island of Thailand, next to Phuket and Samui.

Untouched beauty covers Koh Chang from tip to tip.

The moment you set foot on this island, your mind will fill with peace. From soft sandy beaches to tall green trees, Koh Chang has it all. You can hear birds chirping and leaves rustling in the wind.

This kind of quiet takes you far away from busy streets and loud sounds.

Thick forests hide many animals on Koh Chang. If you are lucky enough, elephants might cross your path! The chance to see wildlife up close makes Koh Chang a paradise for nature lovers.

When is the Best Time to Visit Koh Chang?

A diverse group of tourists enjoying a sunny day at the beach in Koh Chang.

The best time to visit Koh Chang is during the dry season from November to April.

Koh Chang Thailand - most incredible island on the planet?

Weather and peak season

A diverse group of tourists enjoy a sunny beach surrounded by palm trees, capturing the scene with professional photography equipment.

Koh Chang turns magical from November to February. The island loves this time as the weather is very pleasant. It becomes a paradise with cooler temperatures and lower humidity levels.

This period also marks the dry season on Koh Chang. Rain falls only 1 to 4 times a month in these winter months. Tourists pour into the island, making it its peak season. The beaches get busy but they are worth a visit!

Off-season advantages

An empty white sandy beach during the off-season with diverse people enjoying themselves.

During the off-season on Koh Chang, you can enjoy several advantages. Firstly, this is a quieter period with decreased tourist influx, so you won’t have to deal with crowds everywhere you go.

Additionally, accommodation rates are often more affordable during this time, making it easier for budget travelers to find suitable options. You’ll also have more availability when it comes to booking hotels and resorts since they are less likely to be fully booked.

Another advantage of visiting during the off-season is that the beaches are less crowded, allowing you to relax and soak up the sun in peace. The overall atmosphere on the island is more tranquil and serene, providing a perfect setting for a peaceful vacation experience.

How to Get to Koh Chang and Get Around?

A couple enjoys a scenic motorbike ride on a bustling road in Koh Chang.

To get to Koh Chang, you can take a ferry from the mainland, with several options available depending on your departure point. Once on the island, there are various transportation options to explore and get around, including taxis, motorbike rentals, and songthaews (shared trucks).

How to Get to and Around Koh Chang *Best Island!*

Transportation options

A diverse group of tourists boarding a songthaew on Koh Chang, captured in a vibrant and bustling cityscape photograph.

To get to Koh Chang, the closest airport is in Trat. You can take direct flights from Bangkok to Trat a few times a day. From Bangkok, you have another option of taking air-conditioned buses from Ekamai bus station to the pier.

Once at the pier, you can catch a ferry to Koh Chang. The bus ride takes approximately 6 hours. If you prefer not to fly or take the bus, there is also the option of reaching Koh Chang by ferry from the mainland.

The quickest way is by flying from Bangkok to Trat, but if you’re looking for more flexibility and adventure on your journey, taking the bus and ferry might be a good choice.

On Koh Chang itself, getting around is mainly done using songthaews – these are like taxis that are commonly used in Thailand. They are open-air trucks with benches in the back where passengers sit.

Ferry schedules and prices

A colorful ferry docked at Ao Thammachat Pier surrounded by bustling piers and clear waters.

To get to Koh Chang, ferries depart from two main piers: Ao Thammachat Pier and Centerpoint Pier. The ferry ride from the mainland to Koh Chang takes around 6 hours and costs approximately 275 baht.

It’s important to note that there are other transportation options available as well. Passengers can choose to purchase a ferry ticket for 80 baht and then take a flat-rate songthaew (shared taxi) to their destination on Koh Chang.

Make sure to check the ultimate guide on how to get to Koh Chang for more detailed information on schedules, prices, and additional transportation options. Knowing the ferry schedules and prices is crucial when planning your visit to this beautiful island in Thailand.

Getting around the island

A diverse group of travelers ride motorbikes along a stunning coastal road, capturing the beauty of the landscape.

To get around Koh Chang, you have a few transportation options. The island doesn’t have a developed public transportation system like buses or trains, but you can easily rent a motorbike or bicycle to explore the island at your own pace.

Motorbikes are the most popular choice and can be rented from various rental shops located near major tourist areas. If you’re not comfortable riding a motorbike, bicycles are another great option for getting around.

The roads on Koh Chang are quite hilly and windy, so it’s important to drive cautiously and wear helmets for safety. You’ll find that the island has several well-marked roads that connect its main beaches and attractions, making it easy to navigate.

Keep in mind that some of the more remote parts of the island may have rougher roads, so make sure to choose a suitable mode of transportation based on your comfort level.

If you prefer not to drive yourself, there are also taxi services available on Koh Chang. These taxis operate as shared songthaews (pickup trucks with covered seating) or private cars with fixed rates depending on your destination.

Where to Stay on Koh Chang?

An elegant beachfront resort with palm trees and a clear blue sky, captured in stunning detail and vibrant colors.

There are a variety of accommodation options available on Koh Chang, ranging from budget guesthouses to luxury resorts.

Accommodation options

A modern hotel room with a comfortable bed and minimalist decor, featuring cityscape photography and a bustling atmosphere.

Are you wondering where to stay on Koh Chang? Well, you’ll be pleased to know that the island offers a wide range of accommodation options to suit various budgets and preferences. From affordable bungalows to upscale resorts, there is something for everyone.

Whether you prefer the rustic charm of bamboo huts with thatched roofs or the comfort of newly renovated sea view bungalows, you’re sure to find a place that suits your needs. One thing all accommodations have in common is air-conditioning, ensuring that visitors are kept cool and comfortable during their stay on the island.

No matter what type of traveler you are, Koh Chang has lodging choices for every taste and budget. If you’re traveling on a shoestring budget, there are plenty of budget bungalows available that offer basic amenities at reasonable prices.

On the other hand, if luxury is what you seek, there are four-star resorts offering top-notch service and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Recommended hotel

A great place to stay on Koh Chang is the Emerald Cove Hotel. It’s located in the popular Klong Prao Beach area, which is a convenient spot for exploring Elephant Island. The hotel offers a variety of facilities and services for guests to enjoy.

Plus, if you’re traveling with your family, it’s a family-friendly option that caters to children. The best part about staying at this hotel is that the surrounding beach area is more peaceful and less crowded compared to other parts of the island.

So you can relax and enjoy a quieter beach experience during your stay.

What to Do on Koh Chang?

A beautiful waterfall in a tropical setting surrounded by diverse people dressed in different styles.

Experience the thrill of scuba diving and snorkeling in Koh Chang’s vibrant marine environment, explore picturesque waterfalls, relax on beautiful beaches, and embark on unforgettable island tours.

Must-try activities

Admiring the marine environment and exploring the underwater world is a must when visiting Koh Chang. With its coral reefs and crystal-clear waters, scuba diving and snorkeling are popular activities here.

Don’t worry if you don’t have your own gear; you can easily rent snorkeling equipment on the island. Dive into the turquoise sea, swim alongside colorful fish, and discover the beauty of Koh Chang’s vibrant marine life.

Another activity that you shouldn’t miss is spending time on the island’s sandy beaches. Relax under the warm sun, build sandcastles with your friends or family, or challenge others to a game of beach volleyball.

And when evening comes, make sure to find a spot where you can witness breathtaking sunset views over the horizon.

For those who love water sports, kayaking and standup paddleboarding are fantastic options to explore Koh Chang’s coastline. Glide across calm waters, admire stunning views from a different perspective, and feel connected with nature as you navigate through hidden coves and bays.

Top attractions

Koh Chang, also known as Elephant Island, offers a range of top attractions that are sure to delight visitors. One must-visit spot is Khlong Phlu Waterfall, where you can marvel at the stunning cascades and take a refreshing dip in the crystal-clear waters.

Another must-see is Koh Chang National Park, home to diverse wildlife such as macaques, gibbons, and colorful butterflies. If you’re a fan of marine life, don’t miss out on scuba diving or snorkeling to explore the vibrant underwater world surrounding the island.

Furthermore, Koh Chang boasts beautiful beaches that are perfect for relaxation and sunbathing. And for breathtaking panoramic views of the island, make sure to visit Rasta Viewpoint.

In conclusion, Koh Chang has an array of top attractions that cater to different interests. Whether you’re eager to chase waterfalls at Khlong Phlu Waterfall or explore the rich biodiversity at Koh Chang National Park, there’s something for everyone on this captivating island.

Elephant encounters

On Koh Chang, Thailand, there are several elephant camps where you can have encounters with these majestic animals. However, it is important to note that most of these camps do not follow ethical practices when it comes to elephant tourism.

Out of the six camps on the island, only one does not offer rides. This means that elephants in these camps may be subjected to cruelty and exploitation for the sake of tourist entertainment.

As responsible travelers, it’s crucial to prioritize animal welfare and choose activities that support sustainable tourism and wildlife conservation.

Tips for First-Time Visitors to Koh Chang

The photo depicts a couple snorkeling in clear waters, enjoying the bustling atmosphere of an underwater paradise.

Respect the beach etiquette and make the most of your cultural experience while exploring Elephant Island. Want to know more? Keep reading!

Beach etiquette

Visitors to Koh Chang should remember to follow beach etiquette. It’s important to be courteous and respectful towards others on the island. This means being mindful of your behavior and showing consideration for other beachgoers.

One key aspect of beach etiquette is keeping the beaches clean. Make sure to dispose of trash properly and avoid littering. Wildlife conservation is also crucial, so it’s important not to disturb or harm any animals you may encounter on the beach.

Additionally, controlling noise levels is essential for maintaining a peaceful atmosphere, so try not to play loud music or engage in disruptive actions that may disturb others enjoying their time at the beach.

Cultural and practical tips

To make the most of your visit to Koh Chang, it’s important to be aware of and respect the local culture. While the island does have some tourist influence, it still offers an authentic Thai experience.

Take the time to learn about traditional Thai customs and show appreciation for local traditions. Remember to dress modestly when visiting temples or other religious sites. Additionally, don’t forget to pack sunscreen and mosquito repellent as you’ll likely be spending a lot of time outdoors.

It’s also advisable to wear suitable clothing that covers your shoulders and knees in order to show respect for the local culture.

When exploring Koh Chang, keep in mind that you are a visitor in someone else’s community. Practice good beach etiquette by cleaning up after yourself and avoiding excessive noise that may disturb others’ peace.

It’s also important to be mindful of environmental conservation efforts on the island, such as not taking shells or coral from beaches or participating in any activities that could harm marine life.

Other Nearby Islands and Destinations

A breathtaking aerial view of Koh Chang Noi and surrounding islands captured in stunning detail.

Explore the hidden gems of Koh Chang Noi and soak up the sun on the Khao Lak coast. Immerse yourself in the beauty of these nearby islands and continue your adventure in Thailand!

Koh Chang Noi

Koh Chang Noi is a beautiful island located in the Andaman Sea, near Koh Chang island in Thailand. It is often referred to as the “unknown Elephant Island” because of its natural beauty and tranquility.

With its pristine beaches, crystal-clear waters, and lush green forests, Koh Chang Noi offers a peaceful escape for visitors seeking a remote and untouched paradise.

As the third largest island in Thailand after Phuket and Samui, Koh Chang Noi boasts stunning landscapes that are part of the Mu Ko Chang National Park. This protected area allows tourists to explore the island’s rich biodiversity through activities like hiking, snorkeling, or simply enjoying the breathtaking views from its viewpoints.

Tourists who visit Koh Chang Noi also have the opportunity to experience the wonders of the nearby Koh Chang Marine National Park. This marine park is known for its vibrant coral reefs teeming with colorful fish species.

Snorkeling or diving here provides an unforgettable underwater adventure.

Khao Lak coast

The Khao Lak coast in Phang Nga, Thailand is a popular destination for exploring nearby islands and destinations. It offers a perfect blend of adventure and relaxation, with opportunities for beach activities and snorkeling tours.

The scenic coastline of the Khao Lak coast provides stunning views and pristine beaches to enjoy. From here, you can easily embark on boat tours to explore the Andaman Sea and its surrounding islands.

Whether you’re looking to visit Elephant Island, Koh Chang, or Koh Yao Noi, Khao Lak serves as an excellent base for your island hopping adventures. With its untouched beauty and ecotourism opportunities, the Khao Lak coast is an ideal destination for travelers seeking a more authentic experience away from mass tourism in Phuket.

Popular Tours and Tickets

A diverse group of tourists exploring a vibrant floating market.

Explore the charming fishing village of Bang Bao Pier and embark on exciting excursions to neighboring islands. Discover the hidden gems of Koh Chang and make unforgettable memories.

Read more to find out how you can experience the best of Elephant Island!

Bang Bao Pier and Fishing Village

Bang Bao Pier is a popular spot on Koh Chang that you shouldn’t miss. It’s a long pier, about 350 meters, where you’ll find lots of interesting things to do. The pier looks like an indoor market with shops selling various items and restaurants offering delicious food.

If you’re into diving, you can also find diving gear here. And if you’re feeling hungry, there are plenty of snacks available too.

The Bang Bao Fishing Village is another great place to explore on Elephant Island. It’s located near the pier and offers accommodations and restaurants for visitors who want to stay in the area.

You can choose from different types of accommodations based on your preference and budget. And when it comes to dining, there are many options available as well.

Excursions to neighboring islands

Discover the beauty of Koh Chang’s neighboring islands with exciting day trips and island hopping tours. Surrounding this stunning destination in the Gulf of Thailand are a variety of nearby islands, offering you the chance to explore even more tropical paradise.

Take advantage of popular tours and tickets that provide detailed information about these excursions, allowing you to make the most of your time on Elephant Island. From relaxing on pristine beaches to snorkeling in crystal-clear waters, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Soak up the sun, take in breathtaking views, and create unforgettable memories as you venture out to these less developed but equally enchanting islands near Koh Chang.

Explore beyond Koh Chang and embark on an adventure to discover other stunning destinations in this region. One option is visiting Koh Chang Noi, a small island known for its tranquil atmosphere and untouched natural beauty.

Another great choice is exploring Khao Lak coast, which offers lush jungles, picturesque beaches, and vibrant marine life. Whether you decide to go island hopping or visit nearby coastal areas, these excursions will allow you to experience more of Thailand’s captivating landscapes.

Conclusion: Explore the Beauty of Koh Chang!

A woman snorkeling in the vibrant underwater world of Koh Chang, surrounded by colorful coral reefs and marine life.

Discover the beauty of Koh Chang, also known as Elephant Island, in Thailand. With its stunning beachesdiverse marine life for snorkeling and scuba diving, and a chance to interact with elephants at the sanctuary, this island offers a unique experience for nature lovers.

Whether you’re exploring the waterfalls, indulging in beach activities or immersing yourself in the vibrant culture, Koh Chang is an underrated gem waiting to be explored. So pack your bags and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure on Elephant Island!


1. How do I get to Koh Chang?

You can reach Koh Chang by taking a combination of flight, bus, and ferry. Fly to Trat Airport, then take a taxi or minivan to the ferry terminal, and finally board a ferry to the island.

2. What are some popular attractions on Koh Chang?

Some popular attractions on Koh Chang include White Sand Beach, Klong Plu Waterfall, Elephant Trekking, and Bang Bao Fishing Village.

3. Where should I stay on Koh Chang?

There are various accommodation options on Koh Chang ranging from luxury resorts to budget guesthouses. White Sand Beach and Lonely Beach are two popular areas with a range of accommodations.

4. Are there any activities for adventure enthusiasts on Koh Chang?

Yes, there are plenty of activities for adventure enthusiasts on Koh Chang such as snorkeling or diving around nearby islands, kayaking through mangroves, jungle trekking, and zip-lining.

5. What is the best time to visit Koh Chang?

The best time to visit Koh Chang is during the dry season from November to April when you can enjoy sunny weather and calm seas ideal for beach activities.

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