When people talk about beaches and Thailand, they probably don’t mean Ko Chang. Because of this, Ko Chang is still relatively a hidden-gem for tourists who love nature. Located about six hours from Bangkok by ground transport, Ko Chang is a sensible choice for a short getaway trip from cars’ farts in Bangkok.
Ko Chang is an island at the eastern border of Thailand. In Thai, Ko Chang literally means “Elephant Island” due to its resemblance to an elephant’s head on a map. Despite its name, Ko Chang is the second largest island in Thailand next to Phuket. Unlike Phuket however, Ko Chang is still not heavily developed. For this reason, the town is very small and easy to navigate. In fact, there is only one main road that goes around the island.
A ferry is the only way to the island. Tourists can also get there by plane if they jump out of it. Conveniently, tourists can take a car from Suvarnabhumi Airport directly to Ko Chang if they don’t feel like jumping.
Here is what the ferry looks like. Yes, I can still see.
An Isolated Nature
Natural landscapes such as mountains, waterfalls and the beaches are the main attractions for Ko Chang. Along the road, you can see monkeys asking for foods. They are very smart because they often bring their young ones to make you feel bad for not giving them foods. Of course, there are bars and nightclubs for foreigners, but they will only disappoint themselves here. Because of my limited time, I visited just a waterfall and a “fishing” village.
Than Mayom Waterfall
Thai people will tell you Thailand has only two seasons: summer and not-summer. During summer, it’s very hot to explore the outdoors. Fortunately, Ko Chang is full of trees to shade travelers. For Than Mayom Waterfall, I dipped my feet into the crystal-clear water for extra cooling. Even though the sun was very hot, the trail to the fall is very cool to walk along.
Just before I arrive to the fall itself, I crossed the river. There is a rope that the Thai tourism department provide so that tourists can accidentally kill themselves with while crossing. Yes, it helps keep balance against the river’s current. But seriously, accidents can happen here as the rocks in the river can be slippery.
Than Mayom Waterfall itself is small and appears very clean. There is a lifeguard on duty to prevent tourists from getting too close to the waterfall’s base. Or maybe there’s some treasure there?
Bang Bao “Fishing” Village
If “fishing” means to make tourists spend more money than they should, this is indeed the “fishing” village. People don’t really fish here. While visiting, I saw a person bring in a cart of fishes from elsewhere to serve in his restaurant. With its gift shops, bars, restaurants and tour offices, this place is for no-one but tourists. How do I know things are overpriced here? Just an empty parking spot costs 60 baht.
As touristy as it is, this is the place where the tour boats leave for scuba dive and snorkeling tour around the island. The place is beautiful although it is noisy due to the Chinese tourists and the merchants who were trying to sell stuff to them.
The wealth gap of this village is astonishingly high. At first, I saw a few severely malnourished cats begging for foods and I thought life must be tough here. But then I saw a fat cat sleeping happily getting fatter. I guess the fat just keep getting fatter like they say.
Ko Chang Resortel
For the overnight stay, I stayed with my relatives in their resort, Ko Chang Resortel. Like most other resorts, this resort is next to the ocean. Even though its beach is full of pebbles instead of sand, this is a prime spot to enjoy a quiet sunset.
The resort needs a renovation and a change in management. The exterior of the resort appears very dated. For this reason, the price is very low compared to other places nearby. There weren’t many guests here when I arrive. The place appears too quiet. However, I think this is a fine place for people like me who enjoy a quiet place to fully rest from a long day of adventure.
The rooms themselves are very clean and spacious. The room attendant sometimes folds towels in many interesting ways. And yes, those are fresh flowers they harvested from the resort’s garden.
Who knows? Now that I have a free place in Ko Chang, I can visit more often.
If you’re interested in staying at the resort, here is the map for your convenience.