Koh Chang and Koh Phayam Offer Idyllic Beach Vacation
Anybody thinking of southern Thailand’s beach destinations usually mentions well-known resort areas such as Phuket, Khao Lak, Krabi, and the Phi Phi Islands. However, not many people are familiar with two islands about 35 km off the coast at Ranong: Koh Chang and Koh Phayam [Note: this Koh Chang is not to be confused by the much larger beach resort island of the same name near the Cambodian border].
Ranong’s Koh Chang is covered by rain forest and there are no roads, only a few footpaths to get around. There are beautiful beaches and a few basic resorts, mostly located along Aow Yai beach on the west side of the island. Besides tourism the local people make their living by fishing, growing cashews and sator beans, and by cultivating rubber plantations.
Koh Phayam is even smaller with a population of around 500 people. Boasting a pristine natural environment, this island only has roads for motorcycles and bicycles. Solar energy and private generators deliver electricity. Internet and mobile networks have been set up only in some accommodations and restaurants. Despite this, Koh Phayam remains a very peaceful and non-touristy destination.
Koh Chang is less developed than Koh Phayam and offers mainly guesthouse style accommodations. Koh Phayam has guesthouses and a few decent 3+ star resorts as well as a lively reggae bar scene. For travelers who want to get away from it all, Koh Chang is really the ideal quiet, secluded beach location.
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