KOH CHANG IN RAINY SEASON

Koh Chang in Rainy Season

In Thailand, the month of June can be tricky for travellers heading to the islands as it’s the start of rainy season.

But if you’re a traveller who prefers to travel out of season because you like to avoid the crowds and pay less for your accommodation – and you don’t mind it raining rather a lot – one such a place I can recommend to you is Koh Chang.

Koh Chang – meaning Elephant Island – is Thailand’s third largest island.

It’s to be found in the Mu Ko Chang National Park on the eastern side of the Gulf of Thailand.

On Koh Chang in rainy season, you can usually get out of season bargains on accommodation and as a bonus, have much of this island paradise to all to yourself.

In high season, this island is popular with Thai’s on holiday, but it is still very much off radar for most tourists coming to Thailand.

So it still feels unspoilt and authentic.

I can imagine the Koh Chang today is something like the islands on the other side of the Gulf of Thailand – Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao – used to be a couple of decades ago.

Before they became so accessible to mass tourism and popular with tourists.

Koh Chang still feels like a secret destination.

At least, in rainy season, it does!

The island is easily accessible by a 30 minute ferry trip from Mainland pier (Ao Thammachart) to Koh Chang Pier (Ao Sapparot) and unlike many island ferries who cease in rainy season – like those servicing the islands of the Andaman Sea of Thailand – the Koh Chang Ferries operate from early morning until the evening and for 365 days a year – even on Thai holidays.

On the ferry over to Koh Chang. The Backpacking Housewife
On the ferry over to Koh Chang

I’ve included details on various ways to get to Koh Chang – and how I got to Koh Chang with a route map – at the end of this post.

As well as being unspoiled, in my opinion, this beautiful island – even more so in rainy season – is a delight because it is mostly devoid of tourists and offers weary travellers that wonderful combination of peace and tranquillity and fabulous but affordable accommodations.

The interior of the island of Koh Chang is covered in dense jungle and tropical rain forest
The interior of the island is covered in dense jungle and tropical rain forest

WHERE TO STAY ON KOH CHANG

There is a variety of fabulous accommodations and for all budgets on Koh Chang.

Much of the accommodation is concentrated around White Sand Beach but there are also options in other areas of the island.

I stayed on Koh Chang for the entire month of June and, for the first two weeks, we stayed in a deluxe room at the gorgeous Ramayana Koh Resort and Spa  – now known as Annika – which is not too far from Klong Prao Beach.

This hotel offered rooms in beautiful tropical gardens, with a swimming pool, a restaurant, and bar.

We booked this stay with (affiliate link) Booking Dotcom.

For our second two weeks on Koh Chang, we decided to move a short distance away to another hotel, but this was only because the prices at Annika had risen sharply (Thai holiday?) for the last two weeks of June compared to the first two weeks.

We then stayed at Bhu Tarn Koh Chang Resort & Spa and again found the best rates were at (affiliate link) Booking Dotcom.


WHAT TO DO ON KOH CHANG IN RAINY SEASON

When it is raining – it’s worth knowing that during June on Koh Chang it is likely to rain every day but not all day.

And as it’s a tropical island it’s very warm rain anyway!

On Koh Chang it is likely to rain every day... but not all day, The Backpacking Housewife
On Koh Chang it is likely to rain every day… but not all day

We were on Koh Chang to rest and recharge and cut our costs after lots of travel around Southeast Asia.

I had some writing deadlines to meet – so we didn’t mind spending time relaxing in our room or sitting watching the rain from our balcony while drinking a ‘Chang’ beer.

It was also still enjoyable to swim in the hotel pool during the afternoon downpours.

When it didn’t rain – and the sun came out – there was the opportunity to sunbathe by the pool.

Sunny days on Koh Chang were spent sunbathing at the hotel pool
Sunny days on Koh Chang at the hotel pool

We could walk into town for lunch or find an interesting place to stop and have a drink.

When it’s not raining on Koh Chang it’s also lovely to walk along the beach.

THE BEAUTIFUL BEACHES OF KOH CHANG

Koh Chang’s beaches are stunningly beautiful and each offers its own unique charm and atmosphere.

But, of course, during Koh Chang in rainy season you should be aware that many beachside facilities could be closed due to lack of tourists in low season.

White Sand Beach (Hat Sai Khao) is one of the most developed beaches on the island, featuring powdery white sand and crystal-clear waters.

Lonely Beach (Hat Tha Nam) as the name suggests used to be a secluded spot. It has become increasingly popular with backpackers and budget travellers so, in high season, Lonely Beach is the place to find beach bars and nightlife.

Klong Prao Beach is less crowded compared to White Sand Beach but still offers a good range of resorts, restaurants, and water activities. With its stretch of golden sand is ideal for those seeking tranquillity and relaxation.

Kai Bae Beach nestles between Klong Prao and Lonely Beach, Kai Bae Beach is known for its picturesque setting and shallow waters, making it suitable for families with children. It also offers a variety of accommodations, from budget bungalows to upscale resorts.

Bang Bao Beach is located near the traditional fishing village of Bang Bao where you can take boat trips to nearby islands. This beach offers a more rustic and authentic experience with its wooden stilt houses and local seafood restaurants.

Koh Chang’s beaches are stunningly beautiful
A Lonely Beach on Koh Chang all to myself. The Backpacking Housewife

Wonderful Klong Plu Waterfall

One afternoon, we took a trip inland to walk through the jungle and to visit a wonderful waterfall.

Unlike many of the more remote and inaccessible waterfalls on Koh Chang, Klong Plu Waterfall is on the southern tip of the island and is easy to reach along a well-marked jungle trail.

The trek itself is a wonderful experience as it leads through lush tropical rainforest.

I recommend footwear with some grip as in rainy season the path can be muddy and slippery.

One afternoon we took a trip inland to walk through the jungle on Koh Chang
We took a trip inland to walk through the jungle

The approximately thirty-metre-high waterfall cascades down a series of rocky tiers, creating several deep and natural pools in which to sit or to swim, which is wonderfully refreshing after the sweaty and humid jungle hike!

There is a small entrance fee to access the waterfall but there are toilet and changing facilities on site.

Klong Plu Waterfall
Klong Plu Waterfall
At Klong Plu Waterfall on Koh Chang
At Klong Plu Waterfall on Koh Chang
Janice Horton bathing at Klong Plu Waterfall on Koh Chang
Bathing at Klong Plu Waterfall
Relaxing in a pool at Klong Plu Waterfall on Koh Chang
Relaxing at Klong Plu Waterfall on Koh Chang

FABULOUS FIREFLY EXPERIENCE

One evening, we took a trip out to the Salak Khok Mangroves for a meal in a beautiful waterside restaurant and to take a boat out to see fireflies in the night sky.

The very best time to see the fireflies is in rainy season!

We had the most incredible experience floating in a small boat and switching off our torches to watch those tiny fireflies lighting up the darkness all around us. Magical!

I didn’t take any photos but came across this artwork that perfectly encapsulated the experience.

Fireflies at Ochanomizu by Kobayashi Kiyochika (Japan Circa 1880) Public Domain
Fireflies at Ochanomizu by Kobayashi Kiyochika (Japan Circa 1880) Public Domain

AMAZING THAI FOOD ON KOH CHANG

Because Koh Chang is primarily popular with Thai people for their holidays, the food on Koh Chang is fantastic and authentic Thai food – which we love and was such a highlight!

It’s also incredibly affordable.

We ate lots of delicious food at street carts and small eateries in town and we took a taxi or a songthew out to some of the bigger restaurants by the beach or further inland by the mangroves.

Koh Chang is fantastic and authentic for Thai food and especially seafood
At IYARA Seafood Restaurant on Koh Chang

THE ELEPHANTS OF ELEPHANT ISLAND

Koh Chang is known in Thai as Elephant Island (because its shape resembles an elephant’s head) but I was very excited to see there actually are elephants on the island.

I was amazed, on my first day on the island, to see an elephant walking down the street with its mahout (handler) sitting on its neck.

I watched it stroll right past me into a field next to our hotel, where it joined several other elephants who were all grazing there, in their in the same way you’d usually see cows in a pasture.

But, during my time on Koh Chang, I also saw elephants wearing chains in roadside camps that were offering Elephant Trekking and Elephant Riding experiences to tourists – and this horrified me.

I personally don’t think elephant riding is ethical under any circumstances.

I quickly realised (disclaimer – as far as I know) there are no ‘Elephant Sanctuaries’ on Koh Chang and so I would urge you to be discerning about any Elephant experiences offered to you on Koh Chang.

Koh Chang is known in Thai as Elephant Island
Koh Chang is known in Thai as Elephant Island

HOW TO GET TO KOH CHANG

Our journey to Koh Chang is an experience in itself, as we decided it was best for us in respect of convenience and cost to fly into Pattaya, stay overnight, then take a bus/ferry/bus combo to our accommodation on Koh Chang.

If you haven’t travelled around Thailand before then you might not realise that it’s easy and cheap to travel around on the mainland and to the islands – there are considerations to be made for rainy season of course – especially on the Andaman Sea side of Thailand when ferries and boats shut down.

But, generally, tourist travel in Thailand is so well organised that it kind of spoils you for other countries in Asia where getting around is not so easy at all.

I’m looking at you Philippines!

Koh Chang is in Thailand’s Trat Province on the eastern side of The Gulf of Thailand, 300 km (186 miles) east of Bangkok, approx. 250 km (150 miles) from Pattaya and approx 550 km from the Cambodia border.

But getting to Koh Chang, until fairly recently, has been time consuming.

But there is now a faster (one hour direct flight) and convenient route to Koh Chang via Trat Airport with Bangkok Airways.

You can then buy a ‘door to door’ minibus or a private transfer from the airport to travel by road/ferry/road directly to your accommodation of Koh Chang.

As I mentioned, our route to Koh Chang was via Pattaya City, and after our five and a half hour road trip we enjoyed a thirty minute ferry crossing over to Koh Chang.

On the ferry, we got to stand on deck and chat to a Buddhist monk who we were delighted to meet.

On the ferry, we got to stand on deck and chat to a Buddhist monk who we were delighted to meet.
We got to stand on deck and chat to a Buddhist monk
Our five and a half hour road trip from Pattaya to Koh Chang. Google Maps.
Our five and a half hour road trip from Pattaya to Koh Chang

AN OVERNIGHT IN PATTAYA

As mentioned, we had stayed the night in Pattaya City, before taking a five hour minibus ride down the coastline.

Pattaya has never actually been on my radar as a traveller because the city has an adult party reputation and an infamously explicit red-light district.

But, as we were there, I was curious about the goings on around Walking Street.

So, in the spirit of at least experiencing Pattaya, the backpacking husband and I went out in the early evening to walk around and find a bar for a drink and some people watching.

I’m told Walking Street comes alive after midnight, but even well before then the street was busy and we had our eyes opened, I can tell you!

Viewer discretion is advised!

The Backpacking Housewife - In the spirit of at least experiencing Pattaya we found a bar...
In the spirit of experiencing Pattaya we found a cocktail bar
Walking Street in Pattaya - Viewer discretion is advised!
Walking Street in Pattaya – Viewer discretion is advised!

However – I do have very happy and quite sophisticated memories of our stay in Pattaya – because we stayed at the Holiday Inn on Beach Road and it was over-the-top amazing.

We had collect IHG Loyalty Points and qualified for a one-night free hotel stay plus we were delighted to be offered an upgrade to Executive Club which meant complementary cocktails and canapes at the rooftop bar!

We were also upgraded – as per our IHG Platinum Status – to a suite overlooking the beach with a private wrap around balcony.

I was so excited with our luxurious and spacious room that I only wished we could have stayed longer!

Our suite at Pattaya Holiday Inn overlooking the beach and had a private wrap around balcony.
Our suite overlooking Pattaya Beach

BEST TIME TO GO TO KOH CHANG

The best time to visit Koh Chang, largely depends on your preferences for weather and activities.

There are only two seasons here – dry season and wet season – and we stayed on Koh Chang in wet (rainy) season.

Dry Season (November to April): This is considered the peak tourist season as the weather is generally sunny and dry.

November to February sees cooler temperatures, making it comfortable for outdoor activities like trekking and exploring.

March and April can get hotter, but it’s still a great time for beach activities and water sports.

Rainy Season (May to October): May to October is the rainy season, characterized by higher humidity and frequent rainfall, particularly from June to September but while it may rain heavily at times, the showers are usually short-lived and followed by sunshine. So, it’s likely to rain every day, but not all day!

The lush vegetation during this time can be beautiful and the waterfalls are at their most impressive during the rainy season.

Activities like jungle trekking (please – not by elephant) can be enjoyable in the cooler, wetter weather.

The fireflies are at their most spectacular in rainy season!

And, accommodation prices may be considerably lower, due to fewer tourists.

Have you been to Thailand in rainy season?

Have you been to Koh Chang?

Let me know!

I’d love to hear from you so leave a comment.

KOH CHANG IN RAINY SEASON #kohchang #thailandtravel
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