The Second Biggest Island in Thailand
High blue mountains rise from the sea, a dark silhouette on the horizon. From a distance the land mass takes on the shape of a giant elephant rising almost to the base of the clouds that drift landward with the monsoon’s prevailing wind. No wonder early visitors – fishermen and pirates – identified this as Chang or elephant island. It was here they sought shelter from storms, where they found plentiful water and fruits to replenish their boats. Those natural assets continue to attract travellers today.
As the winds change in November, Chang Island emerges from the mist and storm clouds – a picturesque destination, and emerald island on the eastern seaboard. Until recently Chang was ignored by tourist but that is changing with improved hightways, fast bus services and convenient ferry links from Trat province. All the beaches and tourist attractions are located on the west coast that is accessible by road or boat. Originally the island was a temporary refuge for fishing boats and pirates during the monsoon. They settled at Salak Petch bay, noted for its freshwater source and shelter.
The incentive to visit is made attractive by Bangkok Airways which flies to the privately owned airport on the mainland from both Bangkok and Samui. The airport is located close to the ferry port where boats take you to the island. Chang island, the second biggest island in Thailand, stands off the Trat province coastline, representing an area of 492 sq.km. Covered in virgin rainforest. It’s topography is dominated by high mountains rising from shoreline cliffs. This gives the island and abundance of waterfalls and streams, rugged almost impassable interior and rain forests.
Tourism started during the 1970 but was controlled by local families who built small A-frame bungalows on Klong Phrao beach. It was not until the 1990 that resorts took shape and even today facilities are basic when compared with Samui and Phuket. The peak season begins in late October and last until the end of April, with heavy monsoon rains and storms during the rest of the year.