Thousands (OK, probably millions) of people flock to Thailand’s islands and beaches every year to enjoy the sun, sand and culture of Koh Phi Phi, Koh Samui and Phuket. The limestone cliffs rising out of the turquoise gulf waters are stunning; so beautiful in fact that it is the setting for many movies. The price of beauty is a hefty one for this region of Thailand though because with the fame and photo-shopped beauty comes the crowds, high prices and chain restaurants.
But, just across the Gulf of Thailand is Koh Chang. The island with white sand beaches, lush forests, quiet beach-side restaurants and million dollar sunset views! The island that offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok – and the other Thai islands!
Koh Chang’s airport consists of an open air security checkpoint and covered seating area. Well, I should not forget to mention the vending machine and clean bathrooms. Other than a runway and cute landscaping, there is not much else. It is quaint, just like the rest of the area.
The only way to the island is via boat or ferry. (*When traveling to Koh Chang, check the ferry times, as they do not run continuously and there are not any hotels near the airport.)
We gambled and stayed on the island for two nights in mid July. It was a gamble since July is their low season because of frequent storms and hot, humid conditions. However, our gambled paid off big time with a hotel bill of only $50 USD for the two nights. Plus, most of the storms passed quickly or came in the cover of night and provided quite the lightning show over the roaring ocean. If you’ve ever experienced summer afternoon storms in Florida, you’ve experienced Koh Chang’s “low season.” That being said, typhoons are a real threat to the area and a big factor when planning your trip – again, much like Florida’s hurricane season.
Not only did we stay in a bungalow mere feet from the ocean for $25 US dollars a night, we also enjoyed quiet walks on the beach with very few travelers and private waterside dining each night at a local restaurant.
Koh Chang will grow in popularity. This fact scares me. The idyllic beauty of this mountainous island paradise will be difficult for travelers to ignore. I just hope that with growth comes smart travel and conscientious tourism.