Did you know that you can get from Bangkok’s international airport to a tropical island in less than two hours? That you can exchange that tight airplane seat for a lounge chair on the beach in no time? We’ve taken it upon ourselves to find out. And… it’s true! Read on and find out if Koh Si Chang really is the best alternative for those that don’t want to spend all their time in Bangkok’s “dirty” streets. Here we GO GO GO!
Sandy beaches of Koh Si Chang
After having been away for about four months we were back on the road again in our beloved Thailand. To celebrate, we enthusiastically jumped on the first ferry available and merrily set forth to Koh Si Chang.
Also, we were in a rush. We wanted to show the world that it is possible to travel from Bangkok airport to the sandy shores of Koh Si Chang in under two hours.
Told you so!
Besides the sandy beach above (Haad Saai Kaew), this island had so much more to offer!
We’ve been all over, did and saw some really cool things and now we would like to share it with you.
That’s how we ended up – after a grueling climb of 505 steps – at the temple of Buddha’s Footprint on our first night, with a fantastic view of Koh Si Chang. The sun slowly went down and at 6:00 PM we could hear the sound of the Thai national anthem rise up from the little village underneath. Apart from that sound, it was completely quiet and we were completely alone!
Summer Palace & Gardens
One of Thailand’s former kings was also aware of the small tropical island, situated so closely to Bangkok. That’s why he had his own summer palace built– huge garden included –near the beach, with several beautiful small temples, buildings and viewpoints.
Although the summer palace was demolished in 1900, it’s still worth a visit.
Enjoying the sunset
Koh Si Chang is also known as the preferred fishing spot for “Bangkokians”. Fishing is also the reason why Vashivarut Bridge was built over the rough cliffs of the northwest side especially for the king: it would allow him to go fishing and enjoy the sunset at the same time.
So take your good shoes and walk towards the sunset!
Eating and Sleeping on Koh Si Chang
On Koh Si Chang there’s a surprsing number options for food and sleeping accommodations. We stayed at Charlie’s Bungalows (1000 Thai Baht) for two nights and highly recommend it. The bungalows are clean and light, it has reliable wifi, warm showers and the staff is helpful. You can rent a motorbike without being asked for your passport and pay later. Nice!
A fresh meal is never far away, as on both sides of Charlie’s Bungalow you can visit restaurants that serve excellent Thai food. We recommend Pan & David Restaurant!
Unfortunately, there is a one.
Koh Si Chang is cool, fun, great, cozy and authentic. The people are friendly and laugh and wave at you. Even though they barely speak English, they still understand you.
Unfortunately, however, this isn’t your typical unspoiled tropical getaway, with sweeping palm trees and beaches with golden sand to boot.
You see, there’s only one “real” beach where you can sunbathe and swim. It’s pretty too but… it’s also a little dirty. Apart from that, large spaces on the beach are taken up by beach chairs that are really close to each other.
Koh Si Chang is a messy place; there’s a lot of plastic in and around the island that doesn’t get removed (enough).
So the question what kind of traveler we would recommend this island to is kind of a hard one. Perhaps this island is best for those die hard Thailand enthusiasts that love to travel off the beaten track. Or maybe for those with a couple of days to spare at the end of their trip.
Maybe the best advice we can give you is a phrase you’ll hear a lot in Thailand: up to you!
In case the mess and the lack of beaches didn’t put you off, allow us to tell you how to get there.
You can take a taxi that will take you straight to Koh Loi Pier from Bangkok international airport in about 1 hour and 20 minutes (± 750 – 1000 baht). Ferries leave from Koh Loi Pier to Koh Si Chang every 45 minutes between the hours of 7:00 AM – 8:00 PM. A ticket’s only 50 baht per person and it will take about half an hour to get there.
Another option is to take the bus from Bangkok to Pattaya and get off at the Si Racha bus station. Buses leave every half an hour from both Ekamai and Mo Chit bus stations in Bangkok (± 100 baht per person).