Although visitors are mostly drawn to Koh Chang by its beaches, delicious cuisine, fabulous vistas and laidback atmosphere, it has lots of other premium tourism sites both on the coast and inland. The verdant rainforest interior of the island boasts wonderful wildlife, waterfalls, a mangrove forest walkway and delightful villages.
Koh Chang’s most picturesque and popular beaches are on its western shoreline. The first one down from the main ferry port opposite Laem Ngop is White Sands Beach (Hat Sai Khao) and, continuing south, this is followed by Klong Prao, Kai Bae and Lonely Beach (Hat Ta Nam).
Several unusual stilted villages are built over the waters along the coast. Klong Son and Bang Bao are two of the villages and are both photogenic as well as the location of restaurants where tasty fresh seafood specialities are served.
Koh Chang Temples
While the temples on Koh Chang do not match the beauty of Chiang Mai’s Doi Suthep or Wat Pho in Bangkok, they are interesting places for those interested in Buddhist culture. Wat Klong Prao offers a majestic prayer hall while a shrine dedicated to Chao Po Koh Chang is a gaily coloured Chinese-style pagoda containing a statue of the island’s patron god.
People visiting temples here should wear clothing that covers their upper arms and legs, but fisherman’s pants can be rented onsite. Situated at Klong Prao Beach on the west side of the island.
Ban Salak Phet
This is one of the more isolated villages on the southern coast of the island and is a traditional location where homestay accommodation allows tourists to experience authentic Thai life. The village has a good reputation for the quality of its seafood dishes. Ban Salak Phet can be reached on a daytrip, a good option for those who enjoy their creature comforts.
The mountainous areas in the centre of the island are mostly covered with verdant rainforest. Holidaymakers can explore the interior by themselves, by joining an organised trekking tour with a guide or, in select locations, from a lofty position sitting on an elephant’s howdah. Klong Prao Village is the departure point for one of the elephant trekking groups.
Koh Chang has been a designated protected area since the early 1980s and this has enabled wildlife here to flourish. Hikers may catch glimpses of Javan mongooses, wild boars, barking deer, nightjars, Pacific swallows, monitor lizards, pythons, king cobras and mud turtles.
Nam Tok Klong Plu is a waterfall situated in a national park inland from the west coast. There is a road as far as the park office and from there it is a 20-minute walk through forest to the 30m high waterfall. A pool at the bottom of the fall offers the chance of a refreshing swim after the walk. Foreign adult tourists have to pay 200 Baht to enter the park. Children and Thai nationals are offered discounted ticket prices.
Nam Tok Tan Mayom is on the east coast and is a two-tier cascade under the umbrella of Mu Koh Chang National Park. Visitors also have to pay 200 Baht to enter the park here. The waterfall is a short walk from the admission kiosk and has a bathing pool.
Other Koh Chang waterfalls include Klong Nonsi, Khiri Phet and Klong Neung. These falls are not as high or strong and often dry up during the first few months of the year. These falls are not under the control of the National Parks Department and therefore are free to visit.
In the coastal areas at points where mountain streams flow into the sea there are some well-preserved mangrove forests. On the eastern side of Koh Chang, at Salak Kok, the Mangrove Walkway allows visitors to walk through a mangrove forest.
Koh Chang Naval Memorial
The small battle memorial close to Salak Phet commemorates a 1941 naval battle between French and Thai vessels. A larger memorial and museum are on the mainland close to the ferry pier at Laem Ngop.