The Ko Chang Marine Park archipelago is home to the island of Ko Chang, which is the second largest in all of Thailand. Ko Chang lies in the warm waters of the Gulf of Thailand and is about 200 miles away from Bangkok and is quite close to the Thailand/Cambodia border.
The island, which is home to about 5,000 people, is quite mountainous and features a wonderful national park along with several charming villages. Like most other islands and coastal areas of the country, Ko Chang is very scenic and is filled with soft sandy beaches, colorful reefs, lush rainforests, stone cliffs, beautiful waterfalls, coconut plantations, and orchards.
Many years ago Ko Chang was nothing more than a deserted island, but it’s now becoming more popular as a tourist location. It’s also used as a safe docking place for ships that are caught in out at sea in stormy weather. There are several top-class spas and resorts to choose from at very affordable prices.
The best way to reach Ko Chang is to cross the water by ferry from the town of Laem Ngop. When arriving at the island many travelers head westward to visit the quaint villages of Hat Ta Nam, Hat Kai Mook, and Hat Sai Kho. Some people prefer to make their way southward to check out Laem Bang Bao.
When you reach the ferry docks at Ao Sapparot, which is in the northern section of the island, there are basically just two main roads which travel the island. One of them is on the east coast and the other is on the west coast. However, there are numerous secondary roads which are ideal for exploring the island.
One of the best ways to view Ko Chang is to rent a songthaew or motorbike. If you’d like to check out some of the small surrounding islands, and there are about 50 of them, it’s a good idea to hire a long tail boat. The weather is usually quite cooperative as it’s quite warm, especially from April to May. Things cool down a little bit between November and February while the rainy season hits the area from June to October.
Ko Chang is definitely becoming more popular all of the time, but it’s quite a bit less built up and quieter than some of the other resort areas in Thailand such as Samui and Phuket. It’s a gorgeous spot for those who love to be outdoors and enjoy Mother Nature. You’ll find some interesting wildlife on the island including several types of birds, snakes, reptiles, deer, and elephants. Of course, there are plenty of outdoor activities to engage yourself in such as swimming, diving, snorkeling, hiking, mountain biking, kayaking, fishing, and canoeing.
The national marine park actually makes up a great portion of the island and this is where you’ll find some breathtaking waterfalls such as Namtok Khlong Phlu, Klong Nueng, Klong Nonsi, Kongoi, and Khiri Petch. If you’d like to learn more about the local history, traditions, culture, and way of life, one of the best places to visit is Ban Salak Phet. This is the island’s biggest and oldest settlement.
The community is home to the Wat Salak Phet historic temple and you’ll find quite a few other ancient temples across Ko Chang. One of the most amazing sites on the island is the Bang Bao Fishery Village. A trip here will allow you to see several houses that are constructed on stilts and hover above the sea. To make the sight even more impressive, the homes are connected by a network of small bridges. The local cuisine is very tasty and features excellent fresh seafood and tropical fruits. The nightlife is slowly expanding and finding accommodations shouldn’t be a problem.