A Guide to Koh Chang, Trat
Koh Chang [เกาะช้าง] the largest among the 52 islands of Trat,
is also Thailand’s second largest island, after Phuket. Most of the scenic sandy beaches
and bays are located on the western side, extending from the north to the south including Klong Son Bay,
White Sand Beach, Klong Prao Beach and Kai Bae Beach. The profusion of natural attractions
and facilities that have been continually improved allow myriads of things to do.
Aside beautiful long sandy beaches, Koh Chang also has dense forests, waterfalls, mangroves,
spectacular dive sites and surrounding islands such as Koh Mak, Koh Kood and
other small islands waiting to be explored. Thanks to the development of the infrastructure, Koh Chang and the surrounding islands
can be easily accessed. It can be reached by plane via Trat mainland, by car and boat.
The travelling within the island is also convenient. Accommodation available on the island
and surrounding islands ranges from simple bungalows to luxurious 5 star hotels.
Klong Son Bay (อ่าวคลองสน)
Northwest of Koh Chang is located Klong Son Bay. It is the first beach as you disembark
the ferry boat and head down west of the island.
Had Klong Son is a wide beach with plenty of coconut trees.
The bay has a pier suitable for fishing boats and it is popular amongst fishermen
as very protected from strong winds.
The village (Baan Klong Son) is originally situated along the beach – as mainly populated
by fishermen, is now expanding inland, along the main road.
Beside the Temple and a School, there is also a clinic available.
Some shopping is available, but quite limited choice.
White Sand Beach (หาดทรายขาว)
is the most popular beach located at the northern end of Koh Chang's west coast.
It's over 2 kms long and lined by rocks, over-hanging palms and broad-leaved trees.
The southern part is the busiest of the island with numerous shops, resorts and restaurants.
While the northern part, probably the most well-known and longest visited beach on Koh Chang, is today still rather quiet, despite the surge in tourism.
At both ends of the beach are rather steep mountains covered with dense rain forest, which almost reach the beach.
The beach is rather flat, similarly to almost everywhere on the west coast and therefore very suitable for swimming at either high or low tide.
Klong Prao Beach (หาดคลองพร้าว)
is slightly over 3 kilometer long sandy beach, situated south of White Sand Beach.
The beach is divided into 3 sections by 2 river estuaries: the Khlong Plu in the north and the Klong Prao in the south.
There are many shops, bars, restaurants, motorbike rentals and internet shops,
all mainly located at the road along Klong Prao Beach.
As well, Between Baan Chai Chet and Baan Klong Prao, when driving towards Kai Bae Beach,
one can find the junction to the road that leads to the most popular and famous waterfall on the island, the Khlong Plu Waterfall.
Kai Bae Beach (หาดไก่แบ้)
is located in the South of Klong Prao Beach. The scenic beauty of this beach and the small island are very popular at sunset.
At low tide Koh Man Nai reveals it picturesque sandy beach and one can walk to the island at chest-deep water level,
although it is recommended to use either boats, canoes or sea-kayaks.
A range of dive shops are available on site to assist with either scuba or snorkeling trips. Despite the number
of accommodations available on this part of the island, rooms can sometimes be hard to get as very high in demand.
Lonely Beach (หาดท่าน้ำ)
is an about 1 kilometer long, wonderful postcard beach south of Kai Bae Beach. In principle it is the northern part of Bai Lan Bay (Aow Bai Lan),
but is mainly known as Lonely Beach. It consists of fine white sand while the southern section is rather stony.
There are some reefs in the southern part which may affect swimming by low tide. In the village
of Lonely Beach you can find a number of restaurants, bars, souvenir shops, supermarkets, Internet Cafés and diving-schools.
Bai Lan Bay (อ่าวใบลาน)
is about 2.5 kilometers long and is situated at the southern end of the west coast, after Kai Bae Beach.
The northern part of the bay is called Haad Thanam or Lonely Beach, which is famous for its sandy beach.
To the south Bai Lan Bay is separated by a headland from the remaining part of the west coast.
In general, aside of Lonely Beach, the bay is rocky although at the southern part there
are a few small sandy beaches.
The village located on the main road consists of a few
shop-houses, which serve either as restaurants, shops or gas stations.
Bang Bao Bay (อ่าวบางเบ้า)
is a very well protected bay at the southwest end of Koh Chang. The small fishing village of
Baan Bang Bao is built on stilts far out into the bay and has become quite a venue for Seafood dining
and sunset bars.
The village also has a small clinic. Roughly a kilometer southeast is a viewpoint, which offers a beautiful view
into the bay and the village. Directly behind the viewpoint is a very beautiful sandy beach (Haad Sai Noi)
which is usually very quiet, with only a few small restaurants and local bars available.
Koh Mak (เกาะหมาก)
the betel nut island, is the third largest island of the province of Trad after Koh Chang and Koh Kood.
The island, located southeast of Koh Chang, is not part of the Mu Koh Chang National Park, thus allowing all year access.
In contrast with Koh Chang, Koh Mak is a rather flat island, only at the southwest there are a few hills.
The beaches though are rather flat and withdraw at low tide. Aside of a few exceptions, the beaches are of
stunning beauty and sandy, especially the 2 main beaches "Suan Yai Beach" in the west and "Khao Beach" in the south
which is excellent for swimming.
Koh Kood (เกาะกูด)
is the fourth largest island of Thailand and the second largest in the area behind Koh Chang.
It is the closest island to the Cambodian border in the Trad
province. Koh Kood extends over approximately 23 kilometers in length,
almost 9 kilometers in width and has a size of about 129 square kilometers.
The northernmost point is about 24 kilometers southeast of the southernmost point on Koh Chang (the end of Salak Phet Bay).
Currently not too developed, Koh Kood is seeing some private investment (including a private airfield) taking place.
Trad province is covering an area of about 2,862 square
kilometers and its population is a bit over 220,000 people.
The province is mainly dedicated to agriculture such as Durian, Rambutan and Mangosteen
orchards. In recent years the province’s main airport (TDX) has been activated by Bangkok Airways
and can comfortably be reached by plane from Bangkok. There are many attractive places such as Koh Chang,
Mai-Shee Island or on the mainland, Mai-Rood Beach, Tharn-Ma-Yom Waterfall
and Ploy market which was formerly a main resource for gems trading.