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STOP THE PRESS. Off-the-beaten track travel still exists in Thailand. Koh Chang is one of Thailand’s least developed islands: a beautiful slice of land covered in rainforest, mountain peaks and untouched beaches. In fact, so rugged is the terrain, not even McDonald’s dares to brandish its golden arches.
This refreshing lack of commercialism allows visitors to step back in time, to a Thailand that existed 15-years earlier. The white sand beaches straddling Koh Chang’s west coast aren’t tourist-tastic, and instead, more in tune with their local roots, and although the not-so-lonely ‘Lonely Beach’ is a populous hangout, work your way south and you’ll find coastal villages with little more than a few houses, seafood restaurants and golden sand. Pure relaxation is order of the day here.
Whether you’re after shaded naps and fresh coconuts, or waterfall hikes and diving off the coastline, accessible wilderness is what Koh Chang is all about. For the full island experience, the best time to visit is between November and March. Avoid monsoon season because unlike the mainland, showery spells are more akin to torrential rainstorms. Visitors fly from Bangkok to Trat, then ferry to Koh Chang, which takes between 20-45 minutes. You’ll then need to taxi, shuttle or transfer to your resort. For those living the high-life, certain 5-star resorts transport guests from Trat via speedboat (weather dependent). For others, a basic beach hut, with shared amenities and no-frills facilities might be more your cup of tea.
However you decide to experience Koh Chang, one thing is definite, you’ll be impressed by how pristine it remains.
OUR FAVOURITE THINGS TO SEE AND DO AROUND KOH CHANG.
1 | WHITE SANDS BEACH NIGHT MARKET. The streets are fringed with pop-up stalls, and the delicious Thai street food is a no-brainer.
2 | KAI BAE WATERFALL. A relatively easy 10-minute hike leads to a secluded and peaceful waterfall.
3 | LONELY BEACH. Fun and cheerful, the beach is great and everyone’s out for a good time. For relaxation, try a sea-fronting yoga class.
4 | BANG BAO. Soak up the small local vibe of a traditional fisherman’s village. Walk the pier, unwind on the beach, eat fresh seafood and book a snorkelling trip.
5 | HAT SAI NOI BEACH. Head to a massage hut for a Thai massage. If you’re a little pink from the sun, ask for an aloe vera massage.
Tempting, right? Some of our best holidays are just a click away. Better yet, come chat to one of our friendly travel experts. We love matching Kiwis with their perfect holidays.
There are a range of airlines flying out of Auckland to Thailand — either via Bangkok to the islands or via other Asia gateways, depending on the airline. Flight times range from 12 to14 hours including your transit time.
Resorts range from budget to blow out. There are wellness retreats in Koh Samui and a handful of rustic beach huts. VISIT. Kiwis can’t get enough of beach locales such as Phuket, Koh Samui and Krabi, as well as the culture-rich area of Chang Mai.
Thailand boasts year-round warm water but Monsoon season officially runs from May until October.
No visa is required for a tourist stay up to 90 days, but it’s good to check with your consultant. It’s always a good idea to have a printed itinerary with proof of accommodation and return flights in case it’s requested.
The average cost of a basic meal is NZ$4-7, but like anywhere, can vary. Chang beer is approx. NZ$4.
We recommend regional flights for travelling between Bangkok and the islands. Smaller islands are easily accessed by boat transfer.
It's safest to drink bottled water here.
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