The mystical blend of nature and thriving life in Thailand is felt most potently on the island of Koh Chang. This ‘Elephant Island’ is among the largest in the Gulf of Thailand, its inland a dense national park while the coast is dotted with package-tour resorts. As it has only surfaced as a tourist hotspot in the past two decades, lush foliage and decadent coral reefs reign over the party scene.
Mu Ko Chang National Park preserves jungle trails and a diverse biosphere that extends into the sea. Embark on hikes that will take you to the mangrove forests of Ban Salak Phet and Ban Salak Kok; others unveil tiered waterfalls such as Klong Plu and Thanmayom. The former is an extended feature of White Sand Beach and Kai Bae Beach, both venues for nighttime revelries. The ivory respite that is Lonely Beach also transforms after nightfall into a chaotic hub, often hosting full and half-moon parties.
Koh Chang’s eye-catching charms can also be attributed to its fishing villages. Floating piers and colorful wooden structures dominate the waterfront; the ships in port are also a rainbow palette. Concentrated around the southern edge, these communities serve up fresh seafood and friendly banter. Bang Bao Bay best captures the local community’s humble but full-hearted lifestyle. For those who seek more luxurious experiences, know that Koh Chang offers a roster of modern resorts and independent guest houses.
Koh Chang’s climate falls neatly into the ‘tropical’ classification; it is hot all year round. Average highs rarely drop below 30℃ and winter months retain mild weather as well, with minimum average temperatures of 20℃. Note that rainy season runs from May to October, where April sees an increase in showers and typhoons can still hit in November. The best time to visit would be between December and March when temperatures are cooler and weather runs dry.