Unexpected paradise on Koh Chang 

Koh Chang isn’t one of the more famous islands, but to me it’s pretty perfect. It’s a great place to escape the madness of Bangkok for a few days and was especially lovely for us as we spent Christmas here, with a BBQ on the beach.

Backpacking Thailand Koh Chang

For backpackers, *the* place to stay on Koh Chang is Lonely Beach. It has loads of cheap bungalows, some shops, a few good restaurants and a handful of bars which are the liveliest on the island, so just about everything we needed! The beach here is amazing too; definitely the clearest, cleanest turquoise ocean I have ever seen. I thought I’d be too scared to swim in the sea in Thailand but there was no getting me out of this water every day!

Best beaches in Thailand Koh Chang Lonely Beach

Backpacking Thailand Koh Chang

There are a few quieter beaches which we never made it to, but I never found Lonely Beach to be overcrowded. We attempted to ride a moped further afield to White Sands Beach one day, but scarpered pretty quickly when we got surrounded by monkeys down a quiet road! I’m pretty sure all the monkeys on Koh Chang are harmless and so used to humans, but this was our first encounter with them so we sh*t ourselves… after a few days on the island though we saw them everywhere and they’re actually pretty cute.

Backpacking Thailand Koh ChangBackpacking Thailand Koh Chang 2

Where to stay on Koh Chang

Due to it being Christmas and the busiest time on the island, we ended up having to move accommodation a few times. We still had no trouble turning up and trying to find a place to stay though, which is a good way to scope the place out first.

Our first night on the island we stayed in Sunshine Bungalows, which was without a doubt the worst place we’ve stayed on the whole trip. We were hasty booking a night there because it was dirt cheap, okay at first glance, and we were searching around in the blistering midday heat with our backpacks on. Come nighttime though our room was overrun by mutant-sized cockroaches and mosquitoes – the bathroom roof was disconnected, and there were big gaps underneath both doors so everything got in. I was way too tense to sleep and stayed up on snake watch until 7am.

However, we then found heaven in a place called Day and Night – concrete bungalows with decent bathroom facilities, a fan and a TV for 500 Baht a night (about £11). So beautiful!

Where to stay on Koh Chang

Koh Chang nightlife

There aren’t loads of nightlife options on Lonely Beach but this means that the few bars are always busy – I love places like this. Himmel is the most popular, it’s a big bar/club that plays pop music. The best bars are Shanti and Banana Leaf, both reggae bars (they’re all over the place in Asia) and Banana Leaf has live music every night. Every night of our stay one of the bars offered a free BBQ (!!!) which I’m sure is a regular occurrence. The best one is at Shanti – they let you have as much as you want and they know how to cook a chicken leg!

Koh Chang nightlifeKoh Chang nightlife Lonely Beach

Okay, I know the bars look dead here but it was early… gotta get in for those 2 for 1s! 

There aren’t loads of things to do or sights to see on Koh Chang but so what? That’s what the cities are for – there was plenty here to keep us happy and the island itself is so beautiful that it’s definitely worth a visit!

Backpacking Thailand itineraryBackpacking Thailand itineraries


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