Marine National Parks
Chang Island Group National Park
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Topography and climate
Koh Chang national park is a collection of over 40 islands in the gulf of Thailand sea near Cambodia border. The main island Koh Chang (about 8 km from the coast of Trat province) is the second largest island in Thailand after Phuket, and measures nearly 30 km long and almost 14 km wide. Other popular islands are Koh Chang Noi, Ko Khlum, Ko Wai, Ko Lao Ya, Ko Mai Si and Ko Rang. These island group became a national park on 31 December 1982. The park covers an area of 650 square kilometers of which about 75% is marine.
Koh Chang runs parallel to the coast and appears very mountainous from the shore. The highest peak is Khao Salak Phet at 743 meters, in the middle of the island. The rocks are mainly granite, and the slopes are rounded rather than sheer cliffs.
The cool and dry months from December to March is the best time to visit the islands; however the islands are open all year round. The wet season is between June to November. The wettest months are August and September with monthly rain fall of about 700 mm.
During the rainy season going to the other islands will be quite difficult and dangerious due to the rough weather.
Koh Chang offers various activities: trekking and climbing, waterfalls, fine beaches, sea sports like diving and snorkeling. There are a few places left on the island where we can still observe the traditional ways of local people's life such as fishing, farming, coconut and rubber plantation, and daily community affairs.
Excursion to other islands by boat during dry season is becoming very popular. The islands in the south: Koh Kradad, Koh Maak, Koh Kood (the second largest in the group) are outside the national park boundary.
How to get there
Take a bus from Bangkok's eastern bus station to Trat town. In Trat there are local buses and taxies that will take you to a boat pier in Laem Ngob district.
Boat ferry piers on the main land (roughly every 2 hours between 0700 to 1800Hrs)
- Ao Thammachat ferry. Phone: 039-521 661, 597 143
- Center Point ferry. Phone: 039-538 054 ~ 9
- Laem Ngob pier. Phone: 039-538 122
On Koh Chang island, there are also several piers in the north, north-east and south. It is possible to take your car by ferry boat to the island. Local pick up trucks run on the road circling the island. Going to the central part of the island where there are mountains is by trucks, bikes or motorcycles. To go deep into the mountains you have to hike and climb.
Accommodations and facilities
Koh Chang national park has several bungalows. There are many privately run accommodations and tour operators on Koh Chang especially on the beaches along the western side: Ao Khlong Son (Khlong Son bay), Had Sai Khao (White sand beach), Had Khlong Phrao (Khlong Phrao beach), Had Kai Bae (Kai Bae beach), Had Thanam (Loney beach), Ao Bai Lan (Bai Lan bay).
In the south of the ialnds there are several bungalows and resort style hotels along the beaches of Bangbao bay and Salak Phet bay.
Accommodations are available on Koh Lao Ya island, Koh Ngam and Koh Wai. The two large islands (Koh Maak and Koh Kood) which are outside the national park, have hotels that offer package including the boat transfer. Koh Kradad island (also outside the park) has the only accommodation which provide package tours of 3 days including boat transfer and meals.
Currently (2002-2003) there are lots of tourism infrastructure improvement including construction of an airport in Trat to turn Koh Chang into one of most popular destinations. The question is not if but when the last remaining "Thai" would be wiped out from this island.
Mu Koh Chang National Park
Ban Hia Tabouy
Laem Ngop District