There are so many islands scattered around the Gulf of Thailand and they all have a special touch to them and are simply beautiful. But two of my most favorite islands are Koh Chang and Koh Samet. Chang means elephant in Thai and the island got its name because it actually looks like a head of an elephant along with its trunk. As for Koh Samet, it derives its name from the cajeput tree found scattered around the island. ...oh and Koh means island in Thai.
They are both equally beautiful but each has a different atmosphere to it. We have been to both islands three times already. On Koh Chang, we have been to three different hotels on three different beaches.. It is amazing how one was made of pebbles, another of fine white sand and another fine beige sand. As for Koh Samet... well we went to the same run down lodge every single time... it has a name that really makes you wonder what the connection was... it is called Apache... isn't that a name of a Native American tribe?
We are so taken by the beaches on both islands... love them... however it all depends on which season and what the weather was like at the time of your visit. I remember having to clean the beach up, along with my husband and 5 year old son, at Koh Samet after a major storm that washed all kinds of debris, trash and wooden planks with nails on them. We just could not sit there and watch a beautiful beach being taken over and covered by ugly dirty objects.
There are so many activities that you can do on these islands... elephant trekking, hiking, kayaking, snorkeling, diving, to name a few and just chilling by the beach having a massage. Even though my husband and I are not into riding elephants because we would like to see them walk around free as we saw them in Africa, but we did once because it was our son's birthday and so a special request. It was painful watching the handlers knock the elephants' strong head with an axe- like object.
One advice though... when hiking to any waterfall, beware of snakes taking some time off and enjoying a swim in the water next to you. We spotted such a snake... a long one may I add... while my boy, his friend and my husband were swimming... it passed them by trying to find a way out and enjoying the cooling waters of the waterfall. The Guard there panicked a bit and asked everyone to leave the water. He threw rocks close to it to guide it out. The poor thing swam down the river and away from the tourists who had jumped out the water as soon as they spotted it.
I think the beach, any beach is just so great for the kids and for the parents who just want to relax and not struggle to find activities to entertain their kids. Every kid has loads of fun on the beach; swimming, building castles, watching the hermit crabs popping their claws and little bodies from their tiny holes, kayaking and snorkeling. I have to say that the beach is one of the few places where I do not have to worry whether or not the kids are having fun.We are blessed to be living in Thailand and have such wonderful beaches a few hours away from our home.
Koh Chang Pictures:
Picture of the Lodge and beach on Koh Samet: