Koh Chang Islands

Koh Chang, or Elephant Island, is part of the Mu Koh Chang National Park. This national park is comprised of an archipelago of 52 islands, of which Ko Chang is the largest. Some 429 square kilometres in size, Koh Chang is, after Phuket, the second biggest island in the Kingdom.

South of Koh Chang, 24 islands were grouped together as the sub district of Koh Kood in 1990. This includes, the main island of Koh Kood, 9 islands of Koh Maak and 12 islands of Koh Rang. This small sub- district has a population of less than 2,000 people. About 70% of the population are on Koh Kood while the rest live on Koh Maak. Most of the rest of the islands are uninhabited.

For a bit more of an adventure, there are also numerous beaches to visit, tucked away on the small surrounding islands and accessible only by speed boat. Here you can feel like a castaway, for a few hours at least.

Koh Mak
Between Koh Chang and Koh Kood, about 40 kilometres from the main land is Koh Maak. This is a largely flat island covered in both rubber and coconut plantations with lovely long beaches.

The island may only be 16 square kilometres, but its natural attractions loom large in the eyes of visitors. Indeed, this sand-fringed island makes for a great, romantic hideaway. The majority of the resorts are located on the island's northwest and southwest bays, where the most breathtaking beaches are located. Since it does not have the mountainous topography of Koh Chang, the island also boasts many coconut and rubber plantations.

For accommodation, visitors must book a package tour, usually three days and two nights. Besides the more ritzy options, like Koh Mak Coco-Cape with bungalows in the 3,000-baht-a-night range, there are some places with basic, inexpensive huts and mid-range bungalows, such as TK, which has lodgings for 100 to 350 baht. These operations are more amenable to non-package tourists. .

Koh Kood
This is the eastern most island of Thailand, 80 kilometers south east of Trat town close to the border with Cambodia. It is the second largest island in the Koh Chang national park and the fourth largest island in Thailand. About 70% of the island is covered in tropical forest and there is a breathtaking waterfall in the interior. The island has little development and stunningly beautiful beaches.

This is similar to the former island in that it's mostly for upscale tourists who have already pre-booked a package deal, though several mid-range bungalow operations opened in 2004. Its geography, however, is much more like Koh Chang: humpbacked with hills covered in lush rainforest. The island also has its fair share of pleasant beaches, and the visually appealing Namtok Khlong Chao, the beautiful waterfall which has a pool at the bottom where you can swim in the midst of verdant jungle to the melodies of birdsong and insect chatter.

The accommodation on this island is largely devoted to package tourists, pre-booking several nights at a time, which also saves you about 30 to 40 percent on the noma1 walk-in rates. Most of the resorts offer similar facilities for similar rates, around 2,500 per night, if you book in advance. Try Peter Pan Resort and Captain Hook Resort, Koh Kut Cabana, Kut Island Resort, or Khlong Jaew Resort.

Koh Wai
The island beckons for a more castaway kind of beach experience, offering two sun-splashed beaches and basic hut-like accommodation. Most beaches are full of stones. But there is some great snorkelling to be found on the shallow reefs off the beaches. The island is also the best source for fishing, And for sheer, easy-going, hassle-free contentment, this enchanting island is hard to beat.

Koh Kham
It takes two and a half hours to get to this small island beside Koh Mak. Its allure is based on the tropical trinity of greenery, white sand, and clear water. It also has a wonderful coral reef for fish-spotting. In addition, visitors can rent boats to go to Koh Mak.

Koh Ngam
The island is situated to the south of Koh Chang and consists of two floating land masses connected by a huge sand knoll. The little bay formed by the two arms of a mountain stretching into the sea is especially picturesque and protects the area from storms. By boat, it takes two hours to get here from Laem Ngop.

Koh Phrao
Off the southern flank of Koh Chang sits this pretty island, located some two hours from Laem Ngop. Koh Phrao is noteworthy for its calm atmosphere and serene seaside, not to mention it's lush with coconut groves. There is one resort, Long Beach Island Resort, and it only offers full-board packages.

Koh Kra and Kh Rang
Situated to the west of Koh Mak, these islands boast some deep coral reefs, and striking underwater rock formations. Many islanders also make money from concessions for swallows' nests, sea turtle eggs, and bat guano. A number of officers from the Mu Koh Chang National Park are stationed here.

Koh Kra Dat
Another green gem in the island's tiara, Kra Dat has a long beach encircling the island, and water that has a wealth of sunken, sightseeing pleasures in the form of coral reefs. Its name taken from a plant in the Aracaea family, the island is only such one to have had a land title deed since the period of King Rama V, when the French were colonising Southeast Asia, and attempted to seize Kra Dat as well, but failed.

Koh Man Nok / Koh Man Nai
These small islands have no accommodation available, but are worth a stopover on a watery day trip. During low tide, beaches appear around the islands, the water is quite shallow, and there's plenty of golden seaweed. The two islands are located opposite Hat Kai Bae on Koh Chang's western coast.

Koh Chang Noi
To the north of Koh Chang is its tiny twin, which makes a splendid spot for snorkelling. There is no accommodation on the island as construction is forbidden, but you can still charter a boat to visit here.

Koh Klum
This island has historical significance as it was the battleground for the Thai and French during the French colonization of Indochina. This island is a good dive site and there are corals 10 to 20 meters deep. It is also an excellent fishing spot with larger fish in abundance.

Koh Phrao Nai and Nok
These islands were originally named because of the long lines of coconut trees on the island. Both islands have beautiful white sand.

Koh La Ya
This is a group of 3 small islands which are well known for their long white beaches, turquoise waters, green forests in the interior and lovely coral at shallow depths. A wooden bridge links two of the islands and the water beneath this is incredibly crystal clear.