Mu Koh Chang National Park, Trat Province, Thailand
Mu Koh Chang is an Island and it is a good place for an easy and relaxing getaway from the Hustle and Bustle of Pattaya or even Bangkok. It is not too far to get to and is about a four plus hour drive and maybe five plus from Bangkok, depending on traffic and stops, to get to the ferry.
Easy to get to, taking the 36 from Pattaya, to cut off the Sattahip area, and heading South using our old friend the Sukhumvit Road, passing Rayong and heading down towards Trat and Cambodia, and turning right on the 3156 road for the Ferry.
From Bangkok heading down the 7 toll road then the 344 bypassing the Pattaya/Rayong corner to the Sukhumvit.
The Ferry runs about every 45 minutes and the crossing is about 40 minutes on a Roll on-Roll Off Ferry. There are two different Ferry Companys from different places and they both run from around 6 in the morning until 7 in the evening.
For the independent traveller there are buses to the ferry, although not actually direct, but can be a cheap way to travel with various prices and options from the usual Bus, Mini Van or Taxi. There are also Speedboat options for the crossing.
Once off the ferry there is a Baht Bus system using Songtaews which also double as Taxis. They charge about 50 Baht up to round 200 baht per person as shared taxis depending where you are going and maybe double the price for a private fare depending on numbers. The roads are not the best and there are a few areas where the road goes up and down mountainous terrain with some Hairy Hair Pin Bends! So hold on tight if you are standing at the back!
Hiring a motorbike here is a good option to get about, but beware, the roads are varied from “that looks ok” to “that looks too scary” and there are more than enough potholes to contend with as well as lots of riders who have never even sat on one before, but who are let loose at their (and your) peril.
Monkeys are a regular sighting here if you look carefully. They can be seen as a group and meandering along, or over the road, using the handily available telephone/internet wires dropping down to try to find some food. Or sometimes just sitting about in the jungle by the roadside. One resort we stayed at recommended keeping the Patio doors locked when out, because of the Monkeys!
Koh Chang of course is “Elephant Island” but only because of its actual shape. There are Elephants here for tourists though, in fact I stopped on the road to let three Elephants with their Mahouts cross ahead of us.
There is a plethora of accommodation here covering every niche from humble backpacker Hostel to Luxury Hotels. With every variation in between with Beach Front Bungalows or in a Quiet Jungle setting, something to suit everyones expectations and budget.
Most can be searched for on line and booked, but we tend to just go and have a look before booking, and maybe stop at a couple of different places in different areas. Each of the beach areas tend to have a slight difference.
There are not too many choices when you come off the ferry it is simply turn left or right! With a road going round on each side of the Island but as far as I know they do not meet up in the south of the island. The most popular is the West side which is a lot more built up therefore having more options for staying, entertainment, shopping and eating!
White Sands Beach is probably the biggest and most popular beach. A long beach of, oddly enough, white sand, as are all the beaches I have seen here. Staying on this beach gives a lot of choices of places to eat, because you can walk along most of it, even when the tide is in, and they set up tables for evening dinner and there are a few fire shows at certain venues. Because the road runs parallel here, and very near to the beach, you can do the same along the road for a little retail therapy.
Kai Bae is also a good beach but quieter than some. In fact there are just too many beaches to mention them all!
Bang Boa is worth a trip to have a wander down their pier with lots of touristy shopping and eating places and you can even find somewhere to stay on there.
Koh Chang is a National Park and it really is a Tropical Paradise, somewhere to get away from it all and chill out.
Apart from sitting round the pool or lazing on the beach there is Mountain Trekking, a Mangrove Walkway (but hold on to those kids there are no handrails) or Boat Trips, Kayaking, Snorkeling, Scuba Diving, Coral Reefs, Swimming in the Khlong Phlu Waterfall after Trekking through the Jungle, Swimming in the clear warm Sea, Treetop Adventures on Ziplines, Watching out for Wild Monkeys, Checking out the Elephants or maybe an ATV Adventure. The possibilities are endless.