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Ko Chang/Thailand

Introducing Ko Chang

This little-visited rustic isle is a long way – in every respect – from its much more popular Trat Province namesake. Pass the time exploring the island’s tiny village capital (where the boats dock during the dry season) or wend your way around the island on one of the dirt trails. Sea eagles, Andaman kites and hornbills all nest here and, if you’re lucky, you’ll catch sight of them floating above the mangroves and the jungled east coast. The wide, west-coast beach of Ao Yai has gorgeous marbled white and black sand in the south, which obscures the otherwise clear water. A short trail leads over the bluff to Ao Tadeng, another marbled beach strewn with boulders and the island’s best sunset spot. White-sand snobs will be happiest on Ao Yai’s north end.

There are no banks or cars on Ko Chang, but internet has arrived at Cashew Resort.

Bungalow operations on the island can arrange boat trips to Ko Phayam and other nearby islands for around 200B per person (including lunch) in a group of six or more. Dive trips are also possible. Aladdin Dive Safari runs PADI courses and offers a range of live-aboard dive safaris. A five-day live-aboard trip to Myanmar costs 28,500B; a four-day trip visiting both the Surin and Similan Islands costs 20,400B.

Trails lead south from the village in the island’s interior to the national park station on the east coast. That’s where you’ll find the island’s best stretch of intact jungle. Elsewhere it’s all been tamed into cashew orchards and rubber plantations.

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