Thailand is famed for it's beautiful beaches and stunning islands. Of the estimated 14,000,000 foreign visitors each year, almost all find their way to at least one seaside resort. For our latest poll and forum, we decided to find out which is Thailand's favourite island. Let us know whether you prefer the luxuries of Phuket or the more basic delights of Koh Tao. Maybe you are hooked on the stunning beauty of Koh Phi Phi or the charm of Koh Chang. We have narrowed our poll down to the following 9 islands, but feel free to sing the praises of others:
Fifteen years ago, my favourite island was most definately Koh Tao, but times they have a changed.
Personally, I love Koh Chang. It's close enough to Bangkok to not be a major hassle to get there, but it's still far enough (4 hours drive and 45 minute ferry) to keep the Bangkok weekenders to a minimum. Also, Pattaya, Koh Samet and Hua Hin are all easier to reach from BKK so that keeps the crowds down.
Many people (both Thais and farangs)tell me that Koh Chang USED TO BE NICE but it's become too developed. I only started going there a few years ago so I can't compare with the past, but to me it has a great balance of convenience and unspoilt beauty. I like that I can walk along the beach to a town where there is a 7/11 and ATMs. I like the choice of restaurants and bars. Equally, I like that I can stay in wooden bungalows that have just enough modern luxuries to make my stay comfortable, yet few enough to remind me to get out and enjoy the island. I like that I can sit on a long stretch of beautiful and unspoilt beach and not have a deck-chair or parasol in sight and the nearest person can be 50 metres away.
Sure there are highly developed bays and resorts, but there are also enough quiet little beaches for those who prefer solitude. Koh Chang is big enough to take the fast development it has received. As long as there is some control over future development, it will remain my favourite island in Thailand for some time to come.
20 May 2008, 21:29
Koh Kood gets my vote - especially the area around Neverland on the southern tip of the island. The water is the clearest I have ever seen.
Steve the Animal
22 May 2008, 23:27
i am going for koh phangan. it's got nice quiet beaches, a wide range of resorts, plenty of places to eat & drink, and best of all, the full moon party
26 May 2008, 01:25
There are so many great islands in Thailand and each one has its own merits. Different people with different criteria will always have their own favourites. I have been lucky enough to visit most of the islands on the list and for me the best has to be Koh Chang, but it's a tough call
01 Jun 2008, 17:55
What, no Koh SiChang?!?!?! Although not listed, my vote is for SiChang. It's right off the coast of Siracha (closer than Pataya), quiet and a cheap getaway from BKK. SiChang is not pristine, but it has a beach, and it is an island. It's also got about a days worth of sites to see, all within two hours of Bangkok.
06 Jun 2008, 04:34
I still like Koh Tao after all these years. Yes, it has become more developed and easier to get to, but then the same could be said of anywhere. It's the people as much as the place that make it memorable and even though the resort owners on Tao have learnt to be more mercenary, it still has enough charm to get my vote.
08 Jun 2008, 21:52
I vote for any island apart from Koh Samui. The airport and the taxis are rip offs. There are gangs of locals abusing and exploiting tourists and the police are a joke. I've never had such bad experiences on any island in Thailand in 15 years as I have on Samui. This is a great pity because it has so much potential with beautiful beaches and many friendly locals. Unfortunately, it's the bad experiences that override all this.
Nalin Nelson Gomes
04 Jul 2008, 21:23
I voted for Koh Chang not because i have been there but because being in the Tourism Industry, alot of my visitors request that destination.
Well here are certain facts i wa able to gather about this place. Koh Chang can also be called - Mu Ko Chang. The English translation of the name is Elephant Island Archipelago. It consists of 52 islands and isles making up a total of 650 sq.
The 3 largest islands in Thailand are Koh Chang which is about 154.8 sq. km. Second comes Koh Kood, which is about 129sq. km. and the third one is Koh Maak covering an area of 16 sq. km.
The total land dimension of Koh Chang is 30 km with a width of 14km.
Koh chang is inhabited with a population of about 5,356 (stats as of 2005)
Some useful details:
Zip code 23170
Area code 039
Distance from Bangkok 310-330 km.
Distance from Trat 8 km.
Koh chang also has one of the highest peaks of mountainous terrain The Khao Jon Peast Salak Phet, which is about 744m high.
The weather in Koh Chang is pleasant 22'c in the month of January but at times the temperature can rise to 34'C during the month of April. However, it is a region which experiences the heat and humidity quite often.
Koh Chang also is the home for the Marine National Park which has a history of its own. Before World War II, Koh Chang was little known and piracy was still prolific around the archipelago. It was the scene of a sea battle between the Thai and the French naval ships in 1941. Backpackers discovered the charms of the archipelago in the mid 70’s and the district was given national park status on the 31st of December 1982. It was only in 2000 that electricity and landline phones were available. It is the 45th of the 102 national parks in Thailand. Rapid developments began in 2002.
Koh Chang is located in the southeastern region of Thailand, near the border to Cambodia in the Gulf of Thailand. Its topography is mostly mountainous with rounded slopes; waterfalls are products of this mix of mountains and streams
Flora Dipterocarps, gum trees, conifer, evergreen, fishtail palms, rattan palms, fern, and mangroves
Fauna 29 species of mammals, 74 species of birds, 42 species of reptiles and amphibians, and a rich marine life.
Koh Chang main land interior is mountainous and covered with vast tropical rain fores.
If you are looking to visit Koh Chang, then it would be wise to find a suitable accommodation on the western side as the easter side is all agricultural remains. The island looks like a sleeping elephant, hence, its name.
Koh Chang experiences 3 seasons begining May to October is the Rainy season moving into the Dry season from November to February and finally the Hot and Humid summer season from March to April.
As a visitor the activities that would be of keen interest to you would be Snorkeling, diving, elephant trekking, hiking, waterfall trek, spa, tattoo, bird watching, island, hopping, kayaking, sailing, parasailing, fishing, squid fishing, overnight deep sea fishing, shopping, bar hopping, Cambodia tour, camping, firefly tour.
The Major Attractions of Koh Chang are its fine white sandy beaches, clear blue marine waters and the heavenly waterfalls. As mentioned before, its an island with rich marine life and wildlife rainforests.
Just to give you an idea of how much you might have to shell out is during the low season average room price can be from 130-600 Baht, the mid season prices range from 600-3,000 Baht and peak season prices can reach upto a high of 3,000-10,000 Baht.
If your mouth glands savour gourmet then average meal prices can be from 40-180 Baht during the low season. The mid season range from 180-300 Baht and finally the peak season your bill can go upto 300-500 Baht.
As a Travel Consultant my suggestion would be to wear clothing that are made of light fibers and thin cotton during the summer seasons.
Winter time tends to get a bit chilly and thats the best time to get a relief from the Hot Bangkok sun, but don't forget to carry your pullover as the months of December to February; the island received cold winds dropping the temperature below 20 C.
Koh Chang is a Tourist haven and i hope you do plan to vist it.
One word of advice, enjoy the region and relax yourself out but be safe and don't wonder of too far of into the rain forest. I guess he would know what you did last summer???
09 Jul 2008, 20:56
Similan has the cleanest beaches and waters in Thailand