The east coast is still peaceful and undeveloped, filled with undulating hills of coconut and palm trees and low-key fishing villages in the far south. You will need private transport to explore this charming coast of scenic bays and mangrove forests.
Ko Chang’s mountainous interior is predominately protected as a national park. The forest is lush and alive with wildlife and threaded by silver-hued waterfalls.
Don’t Feed the Animals
On many of the around-the-island boat tours, operators amaze their guests with a stop at a rocky cliff to feed the wild monkeys. It seems innocent enough, and even entertaining, but there’s an unfortunate consequence. The animals become dependent on this food source and when the boats don’t come as often during the low season the young and vulnerable ones are ill-equipped to forage in the forest.
The same goes for the dive or boat trips that feed the fish leftover lunches, or bread bought on the pier specifically for this purpose. It might be a fantastic way to see a school of brilliantly coloured fish, but they then forsake the coral reefs for an easier meal, and without the daily grooming efforts of the fish the coral is soon overgrown with algae and will eventually suffocate.
The west coast is by far the most developed part of Ko Chang, thanks to its beaches and bays. Public sŏrng·tăa·ou (passenger pick-up trucks) make beach-hopping easy and affordable. Some beaches are rocky, so it's worth bringing swim booties for children. Most of the time the seas are shallow and gentle but be wary of rips during storms and the rainy season (May to October).