We purposely wanted to set aside about a week’s time in our journey for rest and relaxation, and to process the major life change we were in the midst of. After doing some research on Thai islands, we found that there were loads to choose from, each with their unique offerings.
To save on travel time, and also based on some recommendations from friends, we chose the island of Koh Chang.
Located in Thailand’s eastern province of Trat, near the Cambodian border, Koh Chang has a population of about 5000 people. The 217 square kilometres that comprise Koh Chang include dense rainforest, a mountainous interior, and gorgeous sandy beaches.
Although fishing is an essential part of the island’s economy, its primary income-generator is tourism. There are also a few coconut plantations and lychee farms on Koh Chang.
Koh Chang boats a laid-back, hippy vibe, making it a very chill and relaxing place to dwell.
One of main factors that made our stay on Koh Chang so awesome was our accomodation.
Nestled up amidst the treetops, away from the bustle and noise of the beach parties, is Oasis.
Comprised of a handful of bungalows scattered up a hillside, just a 10 minute walk from Lonely Beach, Oasis is a haven waiting to be discovered by the traveller seeking rejuvenation.
The main building is a covered, open-air structure which boasts a tasty menu of Thai delicacies and a spacious, comfortable lounge. Many hours were spent here soaking in the chill ambience, planning the next leg of our adventure, and enjoying tasty Thai treats.
Most our nights in the more basic, jungle bungalow, which consisted of a double bed, fan, mosquito net, shelving unit, and a porch with a hammock out front. We loved the open air bathroom attached at the rear. Sunlight streaming in during morning showers, and the stars above at night- amazing.
For one night, we upgraded to the more luxurious air-con bungalows, which are beautifully done-up on the inside.
The owners, from the Netherlands, were super lovely, as were the rest of the staff.
We got to know Urai, one of the Oasis employees, a bit better over lunch one afternoon. Hearing her story was quite neat. Though Urai’s English was quite good, Google Translate helped us out a few times with more topic-specific vocabulary.
Other highlights of Koh Chang:
Fresh coconuts on the beach.
Waters warmer than we ever thought possible.
Exploring the island by scooter.
Oh, and the elephants.
The name, “Koh Chang,” literally means “elephant island,” a tribute to the shape of its headland. Fittingly, there also happens to be elephants on the island, although they are not native.
One morning, we paid a visit to Ban Kwan Chang Elephant park, a sanctuary for retired elephants. The organization is sponsored by the Asian Elephant Foundation.
It was cool to see that the elephants are well-cared for here, and that most are allowed to roam free about the camp (although the “naughty” ones did have their ankles chained.)
The workers sleep at the camp, amongst the elephants.
We got to ride this beautiful creature named Numwan, through some mangroves.
Early on into our trek, our guide hopped down off the elephant, leaving the elephant to continue the tour un-guided. Mainly, Numwan knew where she was going, though at times she got distracted by tasty-looking plant life along the way.
Brendon was invited to sit on the head of the elephant, an invitation he keenly accepted. Upon return to the camp, we finished off our time at Ban Kwan Chang by feeding the elephants some bananas.
A big shout out to Numwan, our humble elephant, and Oasis, for making our time on Koh Chang so awesome and memorable.