It was during one our many trips to Chiang Mai to see my wife's family that we decided to head down to Koh Chang for a few days. We booked the hotel and resort through the interent and as there were seven of us travelling hired a minibus as it would be cheaper than flying. On the return journey we also planned a couple of nights in Kanchanaburi before returning to Chiang Mai.
By leaving at 6pm in the evening and travelling through the night we hoped to avoid most of the traffic. We stopped occasionally for the toilet, refreshments and to give the driver a quick break and to stretch his legs.
After travelling all night we reached Trat where we would catch the ferry to Koh Chang. After a 30 minute ride on the ferry we had finally reached the Island of Koh Chang.
Following a short drive over some winding and hilly roads we had reached our final destination. We chose the KC Grande Hotel and Resort which is on Haad Sai Khao (White Sand Beach). We opted for the basic beach bungalows, which turned out to be ideal for us. The bungalows were built on the edge of palm tree lined beach only a few yards from the sea.
Koh Chang which translates into Elephant Island (Koh = Island, Chang = Elephant) is Thailand's second largest island after Phuket. However there is so much difference between the two, Phuket is more developed and geared towards the tourists more than Koh Chang. Koh Chang on the other hand is more tranquil as it still retains a lot of its natural beauty and remains unspoilt. Another plus point for Koh Chang is that the beaches were less crowded than those of Phuket.
However that said there still are wide range of activities and excursions available on Koh Chang. These include scuba diving, speed boating, elephant trekking and others for those who like a little more adventure. As with all hotels information on the tours and excursions are available from the reception.
However we planned to stay on the beach and relax with the occasional swim thrown in, as my wife wanted to spend time catching up with her family. Snacks and meals were available from the nearby restaurant that overlooked the beach. If you're feeling a little stressed you can also have a traditional Thai massage on the beach.
During the evenings we took a short stroll along the beach to one the many restaurants on the beach. It was not hard to find them, just follow the bright colourful lights, which look stunning from a distance. All types of food and cuisine was on the menu, naturally the seafood was a very popular choice.
Sadly after a few days the trip was over it was back on the ferry to the Thai mainland and on to Kanchanaburi for a couple of nights before finally returning to Chiang Mai. Overall it was a great trip that everyone enjoyed.
I would recommend Koh Chang for anyone who likes things a little quieter than some of the other Thai beaches. However its anyone's guess how long it will stay like this as development here, will surely increase.