Strange Hotels Thailand
Koh Chang; big tourist island in Thailand's southeast
Koh Chang (Elephant Island in Thai) is Thailand's 2nd largest island, with about a dozen beaches big enough to hold a few, or many, beachfront accommodations. This Club has mapped over 80 true beachfront accommodations here, ranging from simple backpacker bungalows to luxurious, beautifully-designed 4-star resorts. That accounts for about 90% of all accommodations on the island, for only a few hotels are built away from the beach. That, however, is beginning to change at the top end of the island, with more hotels and guesthouses forced to build along the main road, away from the beach, due to the lack of beachfront land. Development is beginning to catch up with Koh Chang.
The island is very close to Thailand's frontier with Cambodia, and it takes a five hour road trip from Bangkok to get to the ferry stations that provide crossings to the island.
Until quite recently Koh Chang was a resort island for Thais from Bangkok, particularly university students getting away for weekends and holidays in small groups. In the 1990s global backpackers began to abandon the fast-developing Koh Samui and gravitate here, attracted by and its cheap bungalows on undeveloped, natural beaches.
Only since about year 2000 have more comfortable, 3-star and 4-star hotels and resorts opened on Koh Chang, attracting both middle-class families from Bangkok and regular tourists from around the world. Thai companies also like to use the island for incentive tours, bringing their staff here by the busload for fun on the beach, social and team-building activities. The Thai students and foreign backpackers are still there, though their budget bungalows are being pushed ever southwards as the top end of the island develops more rapidly. Koh Chang is big and diverse enough to house all-comers – but only for the time being. Beach land is already scarce, and of course, exceptionally expensive – something that limits future development along the beaches to more up-market resorts.