As mentioned in our last post, Koh Chang is an island with two faces. The western part is more touristic while the eastern part has almost no touristic restaurants, hotels or anything like that. The east is more ‘local’ and quite.
Koh Chang is a big island with a lot of mountainous areas. The best way to move around is by renting a motor bike. There is 1 main road for the whole island, but it does not fully go round. The only way to get from the south-west to the south-east is by a trekking route. Else you will need to ride all around the island. If you do the trip without stopping, it will take you about 2 / 2,5 hours to get from the south-west to the south-east.
The western part of Koh Chang
As the western part is practically designed for tourists, you can find many bars, restaurants and beaches. The most crowded part is probably the area around lonely beach. This is where you can find the most shops, restaurants and other tourist activities.
There are a couple of waterfalls you can access through the western part. Before trying, ask locals about the difficulty first or check out if other people have done it. Most will likely book a trip with tour guides or by an elephant ride. But if you are more adventurous, you could just drive there and seek for a path to follow. We wanted to access Klong Plu waterfall. We first drove to the elephant riding station, where the road ends, and asked if it was possible to walk to the waterfall. They told us we could just follow the path the elephants normally take or follow the river. Unfortunately the river was dry and the path was not to clear either so we returned pretty fast. It was worth a try through. These people were really friendly, although we did not want to buy a tour with them. But always be sure to watch out if you want to explore on your own, and do not forget the famous mosquitoes of Koh Chang when walking through the rainforest.
Along the main road of Koh Chang are little paths that go down (if on a hill) and can reveal secret places. For example, next to a restaurant on a cliff – yes, we forgot the name; should have written it down – you can take the stairs down to their bungalows, but they also have an area that is perfect for just relaxing. A grass field with palm trees, mangrove trees that arise between the rocks settled in the sea. No one was around at that time.
There are many other ‘hidden’, or at least quiet, places along the road of Koh Chang. You just need to open your eyes and explore for yourself. That is where most of the fun lies in. Do not be afraid of stepping in to land that is only accessible for customers or residents. We have noticed that the people of Koh Chang are really chill. If you are not allowed, you will probably just be told. But never be afraid of exploring. Land, in the end, is only owned by the earth – not mankind.
There are some viewpoints along the road of Koh Chang. These are popular among tourists and most only come to take a picture and leave immediately. The viewpoints are not so interesting, but it is nice to just sit down and enjoy the view.
Renting a scooter in Koh Chang
Renting a scooter in Koh Chang generally costs 150 Baht (3,90 Euro*) per day and gasoline costs 40 baht (1,04 Euro) per bottle. There are places in the east where gasoline costs 30 baht, but these are rare. If you are really planning on exploring the island and taking off-road tracks, make sure you pick the right store to rent your scooter. If the scooters are very polished and new, it is most likely that the owners will be very protective and tell you 100 times that you have to pay for a scratch ( as there have been tourists who have not paid for the damage they have made).
There are shops where scooters are older and the owners do not really care too much if you slip or fall one time on the road. I can recommend a shop in Bang Bao village, where they also sell local food: ‘seafood restaurant’. The chef ( a really nice Thai lady) is such an open and friendly lady. They serve good Thai food and scooters that are less ‘fancy’ for 150 baht.
* currency at the time of traveling