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40 In Beaches + Ocean Activities/ Thailand/ Travel

An Island Holiday in Koh Chang

Koh Chang was the birthday stop that Matt’s dreams were made of. He’s all about beach-living. Although it isn’t really my thing, I enjoyed some beach time and the amazing views. Plus, it was an opportunity for me to get caught up on work after having my cast removed. I’m not a big fan of laying on the beach, but I was really excited to give Matt his Koh Chang holiday. Plus, it worked out perfectly considering Cambodia was our next stop.

GETTING TO KOH CHANG FROM BANGKOK

If you’re wanting to get to Koh Chang from Bangkok it’s pretty simple once you get going. If you’re in Bangkok just make your way to Ekkamai Bus Station and you can buy your ticket same-day. Buses to Trat start at around 5 am and take off every half hour or so well into the evening. (Tickets are 230 baht.) They’ll ask you at the window if you’re going on to Koh Chang and it’s easiest to just say yes, but they will drop you off in a different spot and you’re forced to take a tuktuk to the pier. However, from what I’ve heard you have to take a taxi from in town anyway, so it’s easier. You don’t have to buy the ferry ticket at the train station because you can purchase it at a “travel agency” that sells them for the same price.

Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang

I had no idea that Koh Chang was so mountainous when we booked our stay here. It’s absolutely beautiful. 

Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang   Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang

GETTING AROUND KOH CHANG

Koh Chang is a surprisingly large island. Because it’s quite mountainous, there’s really just one road that goes around the edge of the island, and the bottom of the island isn’t connected at all. If you’re experienced at motorbike riding, I can only imagine that it would be an amazing drive! Other than that you’re at the mercy of the tuktuks and taxis. Surprisingly we found that it was better to book a taxi (asking for an upfront price) through your accommodation. We asked a driver on the street and he said 800 baht and didn’t want to negotiate at all. We asked our reception what it would cost, they called a driver and he said 100 baht. When the driver arrived it was the SAME GUY! Craziness! We tried walking some, but the roads are so hilly with no shoulders, it was just so unsafe to walk any distance.

THE BEACH AT MERCURE HIDEAWAY IN BAILAN, KOH CHANG

Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang   Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang

This little walkway thing is a little confusing as to what it is now. You have to walk along a super narrow walkway to get to the end but it’s still a great view!

This area of the island isn’t actually the best if you’re looking for beaches that stretch for miles. However, it’s perfect if you’re just looking for a chill little getaway. We spent most of our time staying on Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway mostly because they had direct access to the beach and a couple of pools. However, it wasn’t the most ideal place I’ve ever stayed. Although, the beach part was quite pretty!

Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang   Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang   Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang   Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang

This is a really amazing spot to take in a sunset as well. We loved to take advantage of the Beach Bar’s buy one get one free happy hour. (They’re still super expensive, but it’s fun to treat yourself while having a romantic getaway.)

Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang

Kai Bae Viewpoint – Southern Koh Chang

One of the quick trips we took just outside of our resort was checking out Kai Bae Viewpoint. It’s right off of the road and offers a view of the ocean and a couple teeny islands off of Koh Chang. There are benches to sit and take in the view as well as this awesome Trat sign that you can climb in! I would absolutely recommend making a stop here.

Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang What a view to take in!  Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Island Living on Gorgeous Koh Chang Matt taking in the gorgeous view.

WHERE TO STAY:

We stayed two places in Koh Chang, both in Balian. Because we booked a really nice resort for 5 nights, Matt wanted to be sure we got the most of it by staying somewhere else the night before. We booked Lazy Republic because was so cheap and within walking distance to the resort (Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway) that we had booked for several days.

However, Lazy Republic was actually my preference as far as just the feel of the place. The place was super modern and we had our own individual little building to ourselves. It was very secluded and the breakfast here was absolutely incredible – truly one of the best hotel breakfasts I’ve ever had. It was just really cozy. The two major cons of this place were that only the common area had wifi. This is fine for someone wanting to truly unplug, but difficult for a travel blogger. Second, no beach access. However, there wasn’t a bracelet, any signs or even a pass for the beach at Mercure, so I think you could just use their beach access.

Lazy Republique - Koh Chang Lazy Republique - Koh Chang

THERE’S EVEN MORE TO KOH CHANG

I’m only able to show you a tiny bit of the beauty of Koh Chang. It’s a beautiful island covered with mountains, national parks and waterfalls. We only made it to a couple of small sites along the way (one more post is coming your way soon) because we were here on a holiday. However, between Koh Chang and Koh Tao, Koh Chang is my preference.

Have You Visited Any Islands in Koh Chang? Which was your favorite?

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40 Comments

  • Reply
    Dale
    January 5, 2018 at 9:33 am

    Beautiful place and glad Matt got his “beach fix”.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 6, 2018 at 12:39 am

      It really is so beautiful. Matt was definitely blissful on that beach!

  • Reply
    Ian
    January 5, 2018 at 7:25 pm

    Good to hear you enjoyed your time on the island. It sounds like the driver gave you a price for a private taxi, rather than one shared with others. But there again I think some drivers will try to overcharge people staying in the more expensive resorts.

    This might be handy for anyone else reading this and wondering about the taxi fares on the island: https://iamkohchang.com/getting-here/koh-chang-taxi-fares-songtaew.html

    Good choice of Lazy Republique – it’s one of the best budget resorts on the island for sure

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 7, 2018 at 4:35 pm

      Hi Ian! Thanks for the kind words and I’m glad that you approve of Lazy Republique. I agree that the driver saw us as “high-rollers”, but luckily, we knew that it was an outrageous price for a 20 minute ride and our resort actually got us the 700% discount.

  • Reply
    Natasha
    January 6, 2018 at 4:44 am

    I have not travelled to that part of Thailand, but like Matt I sometimes like the “downtime and chill on the beach” kind of holiday. Especially as I am based in Yangon at the moment which is chaotic and busy.

    Oh yes, what I would do to just chill on a beach right now!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 7, 2018 at 4:36 pm

      Luckily this isn’t too far from Yangoon. Maybe you’ll get to take a beach break soon.

  • Reply
    Anuradha Goyal
    January 6, 2018 at 5:43 am

    Paige, those stones in your hand look very different. Are they like porous Pumic Stone? Beaches to me mean a lot of calm – the endless view of water is always calming. Perfect when you need to relax and break away from busy work life.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 7, 2018 at 4:38 pm

      I think they’re little coral bits that washed up on shore. I think it’s really interesting to hear different perspective on different things. The ocean, when it’s far and open like this, sometimes makes me feel like I’m about to fall off the face of the earth! haha.

  • Reply
    Danila Caputo
    January 6, 2018 at 3:04 pm

    The beach at Mercure Hideaway in Bailan looks gorgeous and so quiet! I can well see why you spent most of your time there!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 7, 2018 at 4:39 pm

      It’s definitely quiet! The beach there is lovely!

  • Reply
    Anda
    January 7, 2018 at 3:05 am

    The more I read about Thailand the more convinced I am that I’ll have to go visit it too. It seems everybody has been there but me. Koh Chang lsland looks like a beach lover’s paradise. So relaxing, so pristine! I am not so thrilled about that bungalow whee you stayed but I imagine accommodations are not very luxurious on that island.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 7, 2018 at 4:43 pm

      The bungalow was actually pretty cool, I thought. The inside was really modern and comfortable, but there are plenty of resorts (which has some amazing rooms if you’ve got the budget for it). We stayed in one of their basic rooms and were less-than impressed, but we loved their beach and pools.

  • Reply
    Leah
    January 7, 2018 at 8:18 am

    Of all the places I’ve been in Asia, somehow Thailand has escaped me. I’ve been wanting to go, but didn’t want to hit the typical spots. I’ve not heard of Koh Chang, so maybe that’s worth investigating for me.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 7, 2018 at 4:44 pm

      Oh you’ll definitely have to go! I have been several place in Asia myself, but I have those spots that have managed to escape me as well. It always leaves something for us to explore next time, right?

  • Reply
    Siddhartha Joshi
    January 7, 2018 at 9:36 am

    Thanks for all the detailed tips, especially on stay. I like Lazy Republic a lot too – especially because they have such good breakfast 🙂 The cottages look interesting too…modern yet rooted.

    I also can’t just lie on the beach for more than a few days, so often my camera becomes my best companion and keeps me busy. Clearly Koh Chang has so much beauty that I will be a happy man there 🙂

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 7, 2018 at 4:47 pm

      I loved Lazy République. Seriously, if we could’ve paid for a daily breakfast while staying at Mercure, I totally would have! They do have a really nice modern feel to them, but they fit in well with the nature surrounding them, don’t they?
      I do love to have a nice day of photographing places. That’s very true. I should’ve taken more photos while I was there.. It was a long 5 or 6 days for me 😉

  • Reply
    Indrani
    January 7, 2018 at 11:21 pm

    But for these Tuktuk experiences Thailand is a great place to holiday. Same driver turning up for a lower price surprised me. ) Koh Chang seems to be an off beat destination island, reading about it for first time and throughly interested in getting there some day.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 10, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      Yeah, and luckily we knew it was way too much so we didn’t pay it! Koh Chang is the second largest island (I think) in Thailand, but I hadn’t heard of it before this trip either. We found it looking for a beach to visit on the way from Bangkok to Cambodia. It was great!

  • Reply
    Lauren
    January 8, 2018 at 12:32 am

    It looks so perfectly quiet and deserted. What a beautiful place! I love seeing the mountains, and the islands lined with palm trees. It looks like the perfect place to relax and enjoy life. Thanks for the tips regarding the taxis, too!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 12, 2018 at 3:28 pm

      It wasn’t overcrowded which was amazing! It was a great destination for R+R, for sure! Thanks for reading!

  • Reply
    hertraveltherapy
    January 8, 2018 at 1:32 am

    Koh Chang looks really beautiful. I’m like you and I’m not really into beaches, but this island looks really appealing because of the mountains and jungle terrain. I think I would like hiking around and enjoying the peace more than spending time on the beach.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 12, 2018 at 3:29 pm

      Yes this island is apparently full of hiking opportunities. There’s a huge national park on the island, but we were here for relaxation so we didn’t do any of that, but I definitely will next time!

  • Reply
    Medha Verma
    January 8, 2018 at 1:56 am

    It is certainly my ideal birthday weekend getaway! There are so many islands in Thailand, and easily reachable from Bangkok, that I envy people who live there. They have so much beauty around them to explore. Koh Chang looks amazing, your pictures are gorgeous!

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 14, 2018 at 7:09 pm

      I envy the people who live there too! There are so many different amazing places that can get to quickly!

  • Reply
    Lydia Smith
    January 8, 2018 at 5:13 am

    I’ve not been to Koh Chang but your pictures of her looks magical. Those beaches seems like the perfect getaway, and it’s even better when there’s no one photobombing. I love places like this. I’m sure Matt had a reason for choosing Koh Chang, the peace the area boasts of should actually be a filling for you. The island is sure romantic and picturesque. I look forward to a visit.

    • Reply
      Paige Wunder
      January 14, 2018 at 7:11 pm

      It was absolutely picturesque and beautiful! We actually chose it because we were on our way to Cambodia and it was on the way! So glad we went for it!

  • Reply
    Hannah
    January 8, 2018 at 2:08 pm

    I’m not usually a beachy kinda person, but I can definitely see the benefits of just chilling out for a few days somewhere quiet and secluded! Although wifi would be a must, so Lazy Republic may not be for me. The view from up at Kai Bae is so beautiful – seeing the island from up high shows perspective and you can see so much further – it looks idyllic!

  • Reply
    Sandy N Vyjay
    January 9, 2018 at 12:07 am

    Koh Chang looks really exotic. This is one another place that we missed going to when we were in Thailand. I feel Koh Chang probably is one of the islands which sees fewer tourists heading there and hence the place seems to retain its pristine quality. Kai Bae Viewpoint looks really great and the views are so breathtaking.

  • Reply
    Sam Sparrow
    January 9, 2018 at 2:14 am

    Koh Chang really does look like paradise, and its been a while since I’ve travelled to such a destination – in fact I’ve never been to Thailand, but increasingly I’d love to visit. Not least because that beach at Mercure Hideaway looks so incredible. Kai Bae Viewpoint would probably be my first stop!

  • Reply
    Chantell Collins
    January 9, 2018 at 6:41 am

    This is perfect timing as I am currently in SE Asia and looking to go to Thailand in the next few months. Your comments about haggling with the driver made me laugh. We have the same issue here in Indonesia. Whenever we try to negotiate with a taxi or tuk tuk they try to charge us 3x the price and don’t want to haggle. In the end we just use the app Grab and it’s so easy because it is a fixed price. I hope they have something like that for when we go to Thailand :).

  • Reply
    Stephen Joslin
    January 9, 2018 at 7:53 am

    The water is such a stunning blue. Good to know about the taxi prices, it never feels good to get ripped off. My wife and I will definitely have to get down the Thai islands soon!

  • Reply
    Suruchi Mittal
    January 9, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Koh Chang just looks so great. The idea of visiting Koh Chang never struck to us before reading your post. The mountains and beach together will be just perfect for a holiday. Your sunset pictures are beautiful. Thanks for this post.

  • Reply
    candy
    January 9, 2018 at 4:14 pm

    This looks like such a relaxing place to stay. Islands with a mix of mountains are great cuz they add so much more to the scenery. The story about the taxi driver cracks me up that you ended up with the same driver. Hahahhah, did he look surprised to see you again? 🙂

  • Reply
    Jennifer (@matdifference)
    January 9, 2018 at 10:36 pm

    I could hike on that island for days. I like the sound of Lazy Republic. I like places that aren’t a resort but give you a lot of privacy and that island looks like a prefect romantic getaway.

  • Reply
    Ashwini Neetan
    January 9, 2018 at 10:46 pm

    Just beautiful! Your post is so rich in information, bookmarking it right away for my next trip to Thialand. And your pics are just wow!!

  • Reply
    Cat
    January 10, 2018 at 2:54 pm

    I am a beach bum so I totally understand Matt’s need for a beach getaway! Having direct beach access from your hotel is a big bonus. It is crazy how the driver charged you 800 baht vs 100 baht if you request through your hotel.

  • Reply
    Ami Bhat
    January 10, 2018 at 10:30 pm

    This is totally my kind of island. Peaceful yet plenty to do. Kayaking, snorkeling and scuba would be the highest on my list here. The stay option too, seems to be a huge plus. Cheers

  • Reply
    Francesca Murray
    January 11, 2018 at 12:47 am

    Wow, I can’t believe you saved 700 baht just by booking the taxi through your hotel! That’s a great tip. Koh Chang looks gorgeous, I can’t believe I had never heard of it before! Definitely adding it to my list now ^_^

  • Reply
    Anita Hendrieka
    January 11, 2018 at 5:37 am

    Sounds like the perfect place to relax for sure. I had actually never heard of this place before your post. I haven’t explored any of Thailand’s Islands but in the future when I do I am definitely picking this one!

  • Reply
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