Useful Information for Visitors
All travels revolve around some practical parts that have to be considered, things like weather, electricity supply, internet connection, SIM, hospitals or police. Here’s a list of useful information that play an important role when planning a visit to Koh Chang:
Currently, 52 nationalities are entitled to enter Thailand without a visa for a maximum stay of 30 days, given that you can provide proof of a return or onward ticket. If you’re arriving into Thailand via land, you’ll be issued a visa exemption stamp of 15-30 days, depending on the nationality.
For extensions, you have to visit the nearest immigration office which is located on the mainland in Laem Ngop. For current information about visa exemptions for your nationality, check the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ official website at http://www.mfa.go.th/main/en/services
There are three seasons here:
Cool Season – The cool season runs from November to March and is also Koh Chang’s high season(27-30°C). Since the weather promises almost daily sunshine plus exceptional visibility under water, it’s no wonder that most people plan their travels around this time.
Hot Season –Bags of sunshine and occasional thunderstorms bubble up with temperatures that are likely to hit 36-38°C from March to mid-May. Gentle sea breezes reduce the heat, making the temperatures more comfortable than on the mainland. April and May are also the main holiday months for Thais: The Thai New Year, Songkran, is annually celebrated from 13th-15th April followed by Labour Day and Coronation Day in May. It’s also the time when students celebrate the summer holidays.
Rainy Season – The weather changes quickly by the end of May with daily torrential downpours and temperatures in the mid-20s. Windows of clear skies happen mostly at night and during early morning hours. It’s the time when ferry services between Koh Chang and neighbouring islands stop running. As the sea is rougher and the visibility reduces, dive and snorkel trips are rarely happening.
Banks & Foreign Exchange
Withdrawing cash is no problem as ATMs are widely available on Koh Chang. All major Thai banks have branches around the main beaches and open weekdays between 08:30-15:30 while only a few open as well on weekends. Changing money at hotels and resorts is possible but expect lower rates. Most hotels and resorts accept credit cards but it’s generally advisable to bring enough cash.
Postcards are almost everywhere available and cost between 12 THB for regular ones to 15 THB for larger ones. Letters start from 14 THB depending on the size and destination. Stamps can be bought in many shops or at 7-Eleven. If there is no post box around, your hotel’s reception might take care of it. Koh Chang’s main post office is located in at the southern end of Pearl Beach and opens daily between 09:00-17:00. For further rates visit www.thailandpost.co.th
Wi-Fi is offered free in most hotels, restaurants and cafés. The connections aren’t super speedy but still acceptable if compared with the mainland. Numerous internet cafés can be found around the west coast and offer reasonable connections. Rates start at 1 THB per minute or 40-50 THB per hour.
Many hotels and resorts have business centres and booths for local and international calls. Internet cafés have mostly Skype set up while phone terminals can be found on many beaches.
The 4G phone coverage throughout the island is superb and using your own phone is not a problem but not recommended as you may end up paying high bills if you should switch on international roaming.
The cheapest way of staying connected is replacing your current sim with a pre-paid sim from providers like AIS, True Move or Dtac. Prices start at 50 THB and topping up your balance can be done at any 7-Eleven or many shops. Make sure your phone is unlocked. Buy a Tourist SIM card and get a package of week of unlimited internet plus 100 Baht or so of local calls for around 299 Baht.
As all over Thailand, the electricity on Koh Chang is 220 volts (+/- 10 volts) while both, flat and round prongs, can be accommodated. The quality and stability of power are widely very good. Outlets outside international hotels are rarely grounded, use extra caution.
It’s always a good idea to consult your doctor before travelling as they know whether and which vaccines are needed. No vaccinations are currently required to enter Thailand or particular for Koh Chang but Hepatitis A+B are strongly recommended.
Medical facilities in Thailand, especially private ones, are among the best in Southeast Asia. As astronomically bills for foreigners are common, make sure you have travel insurance before you go.
Malaria an important point that is often forgotten or avoided when it comes to travelling to Thailand or Southeast Asia in general – travellers are more concerned about getting bitten by a snake than thinking about the consequence a seemingly harmless mosquito bite can cause. The wet and warm climate creates the perfect conditions for mosquitoes. As a rule of thumb, mosquitoes are mostly active at night and in the green season. Whilst the number of cases on Koh Chang is extremely low, here are a few tips:
– Use repellents, especially after sunset and when hiking/trekking through the jungle. You can get them at any 7-Eleven and in other mini-marts or kiosks.
– Choose a room with AC. In case it doesn’t have one, apply repellent, keep the windows closed and sleep under a mosquito net.
– Avoid bright clothing and choose darker tones at night. Wear closed shoes.
Common symptoms are high fever, vomiting, shaking chills, strong headache, profuse sweating and diarrhea and occur within 48 hours. Seek immediate medical consultation if you have any of these symptoms.
It’s important to reiterate that Malaria on Koh Chang is very rare. More details on the prevalence of Malaria in Thailand
Medical & Emergency
Generally, Thais are very helpful and you usually get assistance if you need it. In cases of robbery and rip-offs, you can contact the Tourist Police at 1155.
As Koh Chang is mainly visited by foreigners most Thais speak very well English, speaking clinic and hospital personnel can communicate without any language barriers. Many hotels can refer you to doctors and clinics around the island. If you are still wary about treating serious health problems here you can fly to Bangkok for medical treatments. The Bangkok Dusit Hospital Group has an international clinic on Koh Chang, which is expensive, so be sue to check your travel insurance. But it does offer an excellent service
Most nations maintain diplomatic relations with Thailand and have embassies in Bangkok. Save your embassy’s phone number and address before you go.
Useful phone numbers
Remember to add ‘+66’ and knock off the ‘0’ if dialing from an overseas phone
Travel / Information
Immigration Office (in LaemNgop) 039 597 261
Bangkok Airways (Trat Airport) 039 525 767/8
Trat Airport Minibus 039 525 775
Centrepoint Ferry 039 538 196
AoThammachat (Koh Chang Ferry) 039 555 188
Trat Bus Station 039 511 986
Tourism Authority Thailand (TAT) in LaemNgop 039 597 259/60
Post Office 039 551 240
Tourist Police 1155
Koh Chang Police Station (HQ) 039 586 191
White Sand Beach Police Station 039 551 544
Police Station Trat 039 511 035
Koh Chang Fire Service 039 586 199
Koh Chang International Clinic (White Sand Beach) 039 551 151
Koh Chang Hospital (Dan Mai) 039 586 131
Ban Bangbao Health Promotion Hospital 039 558 086
KlongPrao Clinic 039 557 070
Klong Son Clinic 039 555 069
Salak Phet Clinic 039 553 057
Bangkok Trat Hospital (private) 039 532 735
Trat Hospital (public) 039 511 040
Lost credit cards
Visa 02 252 2212
Mastercard 02 252 2212
American Express 02 273 0040
Diners Club 02 238 3660
Bangkok Bank 039 551 154
Bank of Ayudhya 039 551 431
Krung Thai Bank 039 520 542
Siam Commercial Bank 039 551366/7
The Government Savings Bank 039 532 040
Thai Military Bank 039 511 040