Also known as “Maldives of Thailand” and “The Oriental Eden of the East,” Ko Chang is probably the main reason people head to Trat. Moreover, this “Elephant Island” is big like its name. It is the second largest island in Thailand after Phuket and is self-governed as a District of Trat province.
Before Ko Chang was developed into a tourists’ dream destination, it was a quiet unoccupied island visited only by sea travelers and pirates as a shelter from storms. As the towns grew larger, the National Parks Board announced a part Ko Chang and over 40 other islands nearby including 454 square kilometers of water-body as a National Park to protect the natural resources. That is why Ko Chang can still preserve its beautiful beaches, abundant forests, and pristine coral reefs despite the growth of tourism.
Of course you would expect to swim in the clear water, chill on the white sandy beach, or dive down to explore the colorful gardens of sea flowers, but Ko Chang has so much more to offer. Because of its mountainous condition, there are many gorgeous waterfalls that can give you a break from salt water. The Khlong Nonsi, Than Mayom, and Khlong Plu waterfalls are all close to the park office. You can also hike up to the Khao Salak Phet peak, 744 meters above sea level, to overlook the whole island and watch the sunset. If you are looking for something less adventurous, take a seat at the Monkey Training School and enjoy their talent shows or learn about local people’s lives by visiting villages located around the island.
The best time to visit Ko Chang is from November through May; the rest of the year is affected by the monsoon season. Otherwise with the beautiful nature and wide range of fun activities it provides, Ko Chang is assuredly the real heaven on earth and is loved by anyone who has ever visited.
Follow the Motorway out of Bangkok then stay on Highway No. 344. Once you reach Klaeng District in Rayong province, get on Highway No. 3 and turn left at the T-junction onto Highway No. 3156 to Laem Ngob District. Continue straight for another 20 minutes and you will reach the Ao Thammachat (Ko Chang Ferry) pier. Another option would be the Center Point Ferry pier which is only 5 kilometers down the road.
There are buses to Trat leaving from both Eakamai and Mo Chit stations. Once you arrive at Trat station, take a local bus to the Laem Ngob, Center Point, or Ao Thammachat (Ko Chang Ferry) pier and take a ferry from there. Buses that go directly to the piers are only available from the Eakamai station twice a day. Time schedules for each ferry company are available online.