I recently took a trip to Koh Chang Island in the far east of the gulf of Thailand. I had a great time on my short stay and I would definitely go back for another visit. The island is beautiful, peaceful and far less developed then the other islands in Thailand I have visited. Here is my official location review of Koh Chang Island, Thailand.
Koh Chang Women Rating: 2/5
The women situation on Koh Chang is pretty bad… The only thing saving it are these two very important points… There are beer bars and massage parlors where you can find some action. Also, there are a lot of young tourist chicks on the beaches. The tourists were white hippy backpacker types which I am not attracted to at all but I know many travelers who hooked up with chicks on Lonely Beach.
In Koh Chang everything is on the west side of the island. The first small town is Had Sai Khao, better known as White Sand Beach. This is the most developed area where you will find most of your hotels, shops and restaurants. This area is very popular with families and people who are staying at more upscale resorts.
Here you will also find most of your massage shops which are the same as everywhere in Thailand. Cheap massage and you can negotiate some extras. I saw plenty of cute young Thai girls sitting outside these shops so there are plenty of options if you need a quick rub and tug.
If you head south from White Sand Beach on the main road you will pass a complex of beer bars on your left hand side. It’s just a few minutes on a motorbike and you can’t miss it… The girls will be screaming at every man who passes by. It’s about a dozen small bars with Thai ladies waiting to party with you. These bars are nothing impressive and most of the ladies are past their prime. However, this bar complex is an important part of the island because you don’t need to bring a date with you if you don’t want one. I’m sure you can find some good company there if you look.
I took a van service to Koh Chang from Pattaya and I saw several gentlemen who brought their own dates from Pattaya. This isn’t a bad idea… The selection of ladies is obviously better in Pattaya but I’m not a huge fan of being stuck with one broad for my whole trip. Just know you have that option of shopping for company in Pattaya first.
If you ride your motorbike all the way south on the main road you will eventually arrive at Lonely Beach. You can’t miss it because the road gets very small and the place has a village like feel. You will see dread locked hippy back packers roaming the streets with bottles of Chang and Bob Marley will be blasting at every bar.
Lonely Beach is the younger party area of the island and there are plenty of young tourist girls you can hook up with. If you are a younger man who likes to party definitely go check out Lonely Beach for a few nights. I’m sure you can buy some European chicks a few cheap beers and bring them back to your bungalow for some fun. The beach down there is shit and I’m not into white chicks so I escaped back to White Sand Beach after a few days.
The reason why Koh Chang sucks for women is the lack of regular good Thai girls. I dip into the whores every once in a while but my specialty is dating the sweet young local Thai girls. There are certainly options but they are far and few between. Koh Chang is far less developed then islands like Phuket or Koh Samui. There simply aren’t as many girls to choose from. Also, I never saw many Thai girls hanging out at night. Your only option would be to find a cute girl working at a shop or hotel and then pursue a relationship with her… That’s not what I’m looking for at the moment. I prefer to live in higher populated areas where I can date many women at one time. Koh Chang is a ghost town compared to other islands in Thailand.
I did contact several girls on my favorite dating sites Thai Cupid, Thai Friendly and Asian Dating. However many of them work on the island for seasonal jobs and leave during low season… Also, many responded to me weeks after I had already left… Overall I had no luck meeting normal Thai girls on Koh Chang which was disappointing but I’m sure you could if you stayed long enough. I just prefer a place with more action.
Koh Chang Cost of Living: 5/5
Koh Chang is cheap! Out of all the islands I visited in Thailand Koh Chang was the cheapest. I stayed in hotels for 450-550 Baht per night. Some of them were pretty rustic little huts but they were only fifty yards from the beach. One place I highly recommend is Elephant and Castle Bungalows. It’s not on the beach but it’s a short ride away from all the major attractions. This place is just south of White Sand Beach on the left side of the main road. I rented a small bungalow up in the hills for 550 Baht per night. It’s clean and quiet except for the monkeys and other wildlife that wake you up at sun rise. The owner there John is a stand up guy who will tell you everything you need to know about Koh Chang. I would stay there again for sure!
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I never looked into long term housing but I’m sure you could work out discounts with guest houses if you chose to stay longer. I only spent a week there and I was just fine with my 550 a night bungalow in the jungle.
There are taxis that cruise the main strip in Koh Chang but they rarely come by… Be sure to rent your own bike while staying on the island. Besides cheap accommodation you can find all your standard Thai food anywhere on the island at dirt cheap prices.
Another thing I will mention is getting to Koh Chang. You have the option of flying to Trat then taking a ferry to Koh Chang but Bangkok Airways has a monopoly on this airport just as they do in Koh Samui so the flights are expensive. I despise long bus rides but it’s your best option in this case. I took a fast van from Pattaya to Koh Chang and then a bus ride from Koh Chang to Bangkok when I left. It wasn’t that bad… You waste an entire day sitting on a bus but it is air conditioned and comfortable.
Koh Chang Quality of Life Rating: 3/5
If you only have a short holiday in Thailand I would skip Koh Chang. The reason being that seven hour bus ride is simply not worth it if you have limited time. If you are willing to pay Bangkok Airways for a flight then just fly to Ko Samui and be there in an hour. However, if you live in Thailand or have plenty of time for a holiday then Koh Chang is worth a visit. It is a beautiful and charming place.
Koh Chang is far less developed then Phuket and Koh Samui. There are pros and cons to this and you either love it or hate it. The pros being it’s cheaper, cleaner, quieter and much more laid lack then any other place I’ve been in Thailand. I’m sure this will change in the very near future so go see the island now before the big crowds arrive!
The negative aspect is Koh Chang is boring. I went there alone and it’s just too quiet for me. It was excellent for a short holiday to rest and relax but I prefer more action if I am going to live somewhere long term. If you have a family or a girl friend and you want to go somewhere for a quiet get away then Koh Chang could be the perfect place for you. If you want to party all night and meet a bunch of cute young chicks you will be disappointed there.
When I stayed on the island it was nice and cool at night. Coming from the stifling hot streets of Bangkok this was a much needed holiday. It’s also nice to cruise around on a motorbike with no traffic and park wherever you want. You can’t do that in many tourist areas in Thailand. The secret is out and Thailand is packed with people.
Koh Chang is the second largest island in Thailand with Phuket being the biggest. You can ride your motorbike all around the main road and you will see some incredible scenery. Deserted beaches, tiny fishing villages, thick jungles and wild monkeys wandering around the streets. Just exploring all day on my bike was one of the highlights of the trip.
There are also many beautiful islands surrounding Koh Chang. Koh Mak and Koh Kood being the two most popular. You can take a speed boat to these islands and enjoy a beautiful unspoiled Thai island experience. These small islands have beautiful beaches and coral reefs waiting to be explored. There are many activities to keep you busy if you are the outdoors adventure type but there is nothing going on at night so bring a date or expect to be alone. Unfortunately I did not make it to these surrounding islands but if you have time I think it’s worth a visit.
Another negative about Koh Chang is it’s one the wettest places in Thailand. They get more rain then anywhere else in the country. It rains like hell every day of the wet season and tourism drops to almost nothing. Many businesses close and I would not want to be there that time of year.
Cost of Living: 5/5
Quality of Life: 3/5
Koh Chang, Thailand – Single Man’s Paradise Rating: 10/15
Koh Chang, Thailand is an excellent place for a quiet holiday with friends and family. It’s a beautiful undeveloped island with plenty of activities to keep you busy during the day. Night time you can enjoy a relaxing dinner and drinks on the beach. For me it’s too quiet and boring to live there long term. It’s also far from anything else of interest. Expect a long bus ride or expensive flight to get back to Bangkok. I prefer more action in a place to live long term but I enjoyed my time on the island.
If you enjoy peace, quiet, nature and a laid back lifestyle then Koh Chang might be for you. Just be sure to bring your own girlfriend because there is slim pickings on the island.