Introducing Koh Chang Edit
Thailand's Hidden Secret Koh Chang has always been a favourite get-away for Thai people. Lush and mountainous, this quiet island, full of natural treasures, is a jewel just waiting to be discovered.
Only 360 kilometres from Bangkok, Koh Chang is an island paradise with pristine forests and rich marine life. The largest of 47 islands off the coast of Trat province, its seeming inaccessibility means that the island has been largely overlooked by visitors, making it a true island get- away. However, an excellent road from Bangkok and a short flight from Bangkok to Trat airport, have meant that the destination is now starting to get the attention that it deserves.
Mountainous Koh Chang has an undisturbed interior of dense tropical rain forest, home to many species including macaque monkeys, barking deer and wild pig. Trekkers can also expect to see more than 70 species of birds. Koh Chang and the islands in this chain were awarded Marine National Park status in 1982 to ensure that this pristine environment is preserved.
Whilst exploring the jungle is a possibility, the less energetic who simply want to relax on the beach won't be disappointed! The whole of the western side of the island has white sand beaches, which stretch as far as the eye can see.
Largely untouched, Koh Chang is an unsophisticated island which remains unaffected by the modern world. The original inhabitants of Koh Chang (Khon Kard) still live traditionally, surviving mainly from an income of fishing, supplemented by growing fruit and rubber. There are still fishing communities on the island where rain or shine the fisherman take the boats out. At night you can see the lights on the horizon from the fishing boats catching squid.
Chao Po Koh Chang (the Godfather of Koh Chang)
This Chinese style shrine in the north of the island, with two huge elephants guarding the entrance, has been a saviour to the Khon Kard for generations. Throughout the history of the island, when the fishermen found themselves facing a strong monsoon or a poor harvest, they would seek guidance from the Chao Po Koh Chang. Island folklore records amazing stories of answered prayers when people have asked for help at the shrine.
Local History and Traditions
An important part of the island's history took place at the Naval Battle Ground (Boriwaen Yutthanavee). It was here that the French and Thai navy clashed during the height of the French colonization of Indochina. This culminated in a battle on 17 January 1941, when the Royal Thai Navy's ship, "Thonburi" was attacked and caught fire but could reach shallow waters.
A museum has been built on Laem Ngnob Beach, on the mainland, with an exhibition of Koh Chang's naval history on display. On top of the building is a statue of Krom Luang Chumpon Khet Udomsak, a key figure in the battle, with his face turned to look at Koh Chang. Every year, the people of Trat province hold memorial services from the 17th to 21 January, floating garlands in the sea, to honour those who perished. The actual battle was near Ao Salak Petch and the wreck is now a popular dive site.
The Perfect Hideaway – Relax, Indulge, Recharge… on Koh Chang Edit
The Amari Emerald Cove Resort & Spa, Koh Chang’s first five-star hotel, is the perfect hideaway for both holidays and weekends away.
Overlooking the white sandy beach and gentle waves lapping the shore, this stylishly designed property has set new standards on the island with its 165 elegant rooms, with solid wood furniture and a modern Asian design. The resort features a fun pool, a 50-metre lap pool, jacuzzi and three restaurants with international, Italian and Thai cuisine.
Amari Emerald Cove is also home to one of the 5 Sivara Spas, at Amari Hotels & Resorts around Thailand. Offering pure pampering and indulgence, Sivara Spa therapists ease away worries and cares, rejuvenating body, mind and soul.
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