Koh Chang is a beautiful island on the east side of Thailand, just bordering Cambodia, so it can be an ideal visiting place between the two countries. It was fairly simple and quite cheap for us to get over to Koh Chang as well, which made it even more appealing. On top of this, if you’re looking to stop of somewhere in Thailand when your budgets are low then this could be the place for you. A large beer will cost you around 50 Baht (£1.10) and you can get a full meal for about 80 Baht (£2).
How We Got There
Our starting point was Bangkok where we were staying at the Lub D Hostel in Siam Square. From the hostel we got a 30 minute taxi journey to the Ekamai Bus Terminal, costing us 200 Baht (£5). Once at the bus terminal we booked our tickets down to Koh Chang, which cost us 265 Baht (£6) and was a one-way ticket. We didn’t book this in advance and I wouldnt worry about trying to do that because the buses run every hour. What I would recommend though is to book the bus and ferry to Koh Chang there and then, which will cost you 300 Baht (£6.50) and will include the cost of the tuk tuk journey from the bus station to the ferry.
The bus takes around 6 hours but is fully air conditioned and has a toilet on it so there is loads of chances to get some good sleep. It eventually stopped in Trat bus station (the last stop) and we had to get a tuk tuk from the bus station to the ferry (that goes over to Koh Chang island). This was a crazy jourey and there were multiple times where i thought I might die. He was a lunatic but it helped to wake us up. This ordeal lasted around half an hour and cost us 150 Baht (£3) each for the pleasure. The last stage of the journey was the ferry. As we didn’t pay for the ferry at the Ekamai bus terminal in Bangkok, we had to buy one when we got on for 80 Baht (£2) and it took roughly 45 minutes to splash down at Koh Chang.
We had pre-booked our hostel before we got there (700 Baht per room, per night), which I would recommend doing as it can be a major hassle trying to find accommodation on Koh Chiang. We stayed at the Cliff Cottage Resort which was amazing value for money and the staff there were fantastic. We jumped in a taxi from the ferry port over to Cliff Cottage for 200 Baht (£4) and it lasted about an hour. The scenery was mind-blowing and looked like the intro to Jurassic Park (including the music that we provided through some very tired singing!). Nine hours later and we had arrived at our destination, tired, hungry, but also very excited.
What We Did There
Our fist night in Koh Chang was pretty much a write off due to the long journey that we had, including our perilous tuk tuk experience. We chilled by the bar and had a few beers, lounged in the hammocks and watched the sun go down in front of us; lovely. We also managed to book in for a day of snorkelling around the island through the guys at Cliff Cottage resort. It cost us 720 Baht each (£15.50) for a whole day (8 hours) out on the boat and included lunch, which was a huge buffet of cooked food, all the snorkelling equipment and any travel to and from the boat. Bargain.
The snorkelling trip itself was mind-blowing. It’s by far the best snorkelling experience that I have ever had and the feeling was mutual across our whole group. We managed to see a group of dolphins that we literally within touching distance, we swam with an eclectic mix of tropical fish and someone has the ingenious idea of throwing a cracker into where we were snorkelling to gather a huge school of fish around us. Me, Doug, Quinn and Olly made the rash decision to try and swim to an island in the distance. We estimated about a 150m swim. Turns out it was around 1km. We were fucking exhausted!
Overall, the decision to go for some snorkelling was a stroke of genus and if I had to recommend anything to do on Koh Chang then it would be this. The sea was ridiculous warm, even when we around 10m deep it was like lying in a hot bath, also the scenery around the island was fantastic.
Sweatiest Men on the Island
The day after our snorkelling trip we were speaking to Sean, the guy who runs Cliff Cottage, and he said we could take the kayaks out for the day for free. What a result! The only issue was that none of us had actually kayaked before, aside from Olly who said he did it once in school (there were no signs that he had listened in class). Like when we had swam out to a quite distant island the day before, we set ourselves an overly ambitious goal of reaching a far-away beach. It turns out that kayaking is really hard. To say we were the sweatiest men on the island was an understatement!
After a few hours of cooling down on the beach we (finally) reached, we set off back to the resort to get changed and ready for some nighttime squid fishing that Sean, Dave, Jasper and the other guys from the resort were arranging. We were all really looking forward to this and the guys were going to take us out for free so we definitely couldn’t resist.
Just as I had stepped into the shower to get ready I noticed that all of the lights and fans had gone off in the room. I didn’t really think much of it until I heard a crack of thunder that almost made me piss myself right there. Turned out that there had been a flash storm just as we got in from kayaking (lucky escape!) and the whole island lost power for about 3 hours. Needless to say, fishing was off the cards! The storm itself was pretty amazing and I have never seen rainfall like it. The craziest thing about it was that all the way through it the temperature barely dropped from a steady 30 degrees!
All in all, Koh Chang was amazing. The staff at Cliff Cottage resort were a joy to be with and we had a great laugh with them each night. It was a pretty cheap few days there and travelling down wasn’t really bad at all. If you’re travelling across Thailand or coming East from Cambodia then make sure that this little beauty is on your to-do list.