Ko Chang National Park

About Ko Chang

The full name being Mu Ko Chang National Park, the park is located in the Gulf of Thailand offshore from the coast of Trat Province not too far from the Cambodian border. It is a marine national park covering an area of 650 km² over 52 islands in Ko Chang Archipelago. The national park is best known for its waterfalls, trails, viewpoints and coral reefs.

The main island Ko Chang is the only island in Thailand where there is still some proper evergreen forests left on the higher elevations. The coral reefs of the park is an IUCN Category II protected area. The highest peak of the national park is at the summit of Khao Salak Phet in Ko Chang island, around 740 meters asl.

The mainland piers to Ko Chang are 90 km from Chantaburi, 250 km from Pattaya and about 300 km from Bangkok.

The rainy season is May to October with the most rainfall in June to September.

Wildlife

There are around 110 bird species recorded in the national park. Some of the bird found in the park are; heart-spotted woodpeckers, copper-throated sunbirds, moustached barbets, eastern buzzards, green imperial pigeons, Van Hasselt's sunbirds, booted eagles, blue-eared kingfishers, common terns, ochraceous bulbuls, besras, great hornbills, changeable hawk-eagles, white-throated fantails, Indian cuckoos, Pallas's grasshopper warblers, white-bellied sea eagles and stork-billed kingfishers.

Indochinese lutung is a very rare monkey species found in the national park, currently known from only a couple of other spots in the country. Other mammal species found in the islands are wild boars, crab-eating macaques and Common palm civets.

Cuttlefish from island corals

Cardamom pit vipers (Trimeresurus cardamomensis) are the only pit viper species found in the national park. The island has many of the common snake species found southeast of Thailand; king cobras (Ophiophagus hannah), red-tailed tree snakes (Gonyosoma oxycephalum), small-spotted coral snakes (Calliophis maculiceps), Indo-Chinese rat snakes (Ptyas korros), Laotian wolf snakes (Lycodon laoensis) with many others.

Other reptiles found in the park are; black-bridged leaf turtles (Cyclemys atripons), hawksbill sea turtles (Eretmochelys imbricata), Cardamom tree dragons (Acanthosaura cardamomensis) and Chinese water dragons (Physignathus cocincinus).

Getting there & get around

Getting to the park

While the park headquarters is on the northwest of the island, the main visitor center and the campground are on the eastern coast of the island next to Than Mayom Waterfall.

The main island of Ko Chang can be reached from two piers right north of the island at the nearest spots on the mainland. These piers have multiple names as ferry companies prefer to use their company name for the piers. When getting to the pier with a taxi or other private arrangements, it's good to know which pier to drop off at.

The ferry shuttles to the island are with large car ferries, operating from 6 am until 7:30 pm, daily and all year round.

There are regular bus services from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Bus Terminal and from Pattaya to the mainland piers.

Get around in the park

Once on Koh Chang island, there are private taxi or pickup truck (called songthaew) options to various spots on the island from the main pier or from hotels.

Getting around along the west coast of the island can be done with pickup trucks. These don't operate on any regular route to the east coast, but can be arranged privately. There are also taxi services that can be arranged from hotels or agencies in the island.

Private boat trips can be arranged to the islands from hotels or agencies.

Entrance fees & opening times

The entrance fee is 200 Baht for adult foreigners and 100 Baht for children. Thai citizens pay 40 Baht for adults and 20 Baht for children.

Mu Ko Chang National Park is open 24 hours a day but will be closed from 1st June until 31st August every year.

Activities

The main activities in the national park is hiking, either short trails to waterfalls and mangrove forests or longer and more challenging trails deeper inside the forests. There are many waterfalls in the park, most of them easily accessible from the touristy spots, others need a bit of effort to get to.

Diving/snorkelling in coral reefs is another popular activity in the national park.

Stay & eat

There are no park accommodations available for rent in the national park.

There are many restaurants and accommodation options in the island, most of the attractions accessible by road.

Camping

There is a camping ground next to the headquarters along the coast, but no park accommodations. Tents can be rented from the visitor center;

  • 2 pax - 150 Baht/night
  • 3 pax - 225 Baht/night
  • 4 pax - 300 Baht/night
  • 8 pax - 600 Baht/night

Sleeping set costs 60 Baht per person, including a blanket, a sleeping mat and a pillow.

There are toilet and shower facilities at the camping ground.

Phone(s)

You are recommended to ask a Thai speaking person to call on your behalf.

039 510 928

The attractions of Ko Chang

Kai Bae Viewpoint

Located right at the south of Kae Bae Beach, it is a nice viewpoint over the sea and surrounding areas. Four smaller islands can be seen from this viewpoint; Koh Yuak, Koh Man Noi, Koh Pli and Koh Man Nok. The viewpoint can be reached by a short stroll from the main road along the west coast.

Waterfalls

There are 6 accessible waterfalls in the national park which are spread all over the park. Entrance fee applies to only two of them.

Khlong Plu Waterfall

It is the most popular and easily accessible waterfall from the busy west end of the island, about a kilometer from Klong Prao Beach, signposted well. It is about 600 meters into the forest from the car park and the entrance.

The waterfall has around 30 meters of drop, possible to swim in the plunge pool or many other spots along the stream. While the fall has impressive waterflow during the rainy season, it has less flow in the dry season.

The waterfall is moderately crowded during the week-days, gets much busier during the week-ends and holidays when local tourists visit the falls.

The waterfall is open from 8 am to 4:30 pm daily with exception of annual closure months.

Park entrance fees must be paid to visit Khlong Plu Waterfall.

Khlong Chao Lueam Waterfall

Also known as Klong Son Waterfall or with a different spelling as Khlong Chao Lueam Waterfall has several smaller tiers, located on the northern parts of Ko Chang Island. The waterfall entrance is about 4 km south from Klong Son Village. The waterfall has water flow all year round and can be a bit tricky to get to during the rainy season because of the slippery path. Most tiers are not easily accessible, trails are not clear.

It is possible to swim in one of the pools at the lower tiers.

There are no public transportation options to get all the way to Khlong Chao Leuam Waterfall, best to get there with private arrangements or your own car/bike.

No national park entrance fee needed to visit this waterfall, but a scam warning; Cars/bikes can only be parked at a private property, 40 Baht parking fee will be charged. A common practise at many similar attractions where some people take advantage and buy land right at the entrance of the attractions.

Khlong Nonsi Waterfall

A smaller waterfall with a rocky stream bed and rocky path. It is located about a km away from the main road on the east side of the national park, north from the headquarters. The waterfall is not getting many visitors.

No entrance fees apply at this waterfall, there are no shops or restaurants nearby.

Than Mayom Waterfall

Located at the east side of the island near the national park headquarters. It is a series of falls with only one tier easily accessible by a short stroll. With a bit of effort the upper tiers can also be accessed.

National park entrance fees apply at this waterfall.

Than Mayom Falls
Khlong Neung Waterfall

The tallest waterfall in Ko Chang Island, is located in the southeast of the island west of Salakphet. From the car park of the waterfall, there is a small trail to the waterfall. The path can be unclear, and visitors may end up simply walking upstream the water to get there. It takes about 20 minutes to hike to get to the waterfall.

No entrance fees apply at this waterfall, there are no shops or restaurants nearby.

Khiri Phet Waterfall

It is located a bit south from Khlong Nung Waterfall, 2 km west of Salakphet. It is possible to swim on the ponds along the stream of this waterfall.

No entrance fees apply at this waterfall, there are no shops or restaurants nearby.

Salakphet Peak & Trail

Salakphet is the highest peak in Ko Chang Island at 740 meters asl. It can be reached by several trail options either from east or south. One option is from Bangboa to the south, up to the peak for 5 km and from there either continue the very long and extreme route to Nonsi Waterfall or a more comfortable route to Salakphet village to the east. Another shorter and circular option to the peak is from Salakphet end.

The peak has a 360 degree view over the surrounding areas.

Mangrove Forests

There are few mangrove forests in the park, two of these have a boardwalk with possibility to hike into the forest.

The swamp forests in the main island
Salakphet Mangrove Boardwalk

Technically it is not inside the national park. A boardwalk through mangrove forest at the south coast of the island. Around 500-600 meters of the boardwalk is a circular walk, another 300 meters boardwalk branches out half way through the circular walk.

Mangrove boardwalks

The boardwalk is not maintained well and every few years planks get poor in quality, some break. The boardwalk gets repaired every few years when it is no longer possible to walk it. In early 2019 another repair work started.

As it is not inside the national park, no entrance fees apply for this boardwalk.

Salak Khok Mangrove Boardwalk

Another mangrove boardwalk not too far from Salakphet, at the east coast of the island. It too is not inside the park. The mangrove forest in Salak Khok is the largest one in the national park. The boardwalk is 860 meters long, it too is not maintained well and needs a major repair once every few years.

As it is not inside the national park, no entrance fees apply for this boardwalk.