Koh Chang Island (Thailand)
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Koh Chang Island (aka Ko Chang, translated "Elephant Island") is part of Thailand's Trat Province (Ko Chang District) in the Gulf of Thailand, located approx 300 km (190 mi) from country's capital city Bangkok. By land area (210 km2 / 81 mi2) Ko Chang is ranked Trat Province's largest and Thailand's 3rd-largest - after Ko Phuket and Ko Samui. Koh Chang archipelago consists of 52 islands and is part of Mu Ko Chang NP - marine park with total area 650 km2 (250 mi2), of which 30% land area and 70% marine area. Approx 85% of the island are included in the Mu Ko Chang NP.
Chang Island has population around 6,000, length 30 km (19 mi) and width 14 km (9 mi). The scenery is marked by low mountains (highest elevation point Khao Salak Phet is 743 m / 2440 ft), beautiful bays, jungles (rainforests with several waterfalls, 70% forested), white-sand beaches, surrounding coral reefs. The island has 4 main settlements - Ban Dan Mai (main town), Ban Khlong Nonsi, Ban Khlong Son, Ban Khlong Phrao, plus 5 smaller villages - Bao, Salak Phet, Chek Bae, Salak Khok, Salak Phet Nuea.
The island is served by Trat Airport (2011-opened, operated by Bangkok Airways) with domestic flights linking with Bangkok (Suvarnabhumi Airport). Regularly scheduled car and passenger ferries link with mainland Thailand (Ao Thammachat Terminal / Ferry Koh Chang) that dock at Pineapple Bay Pier (northern Ko Chang, near Ao Sapparot), with crossing distance 17 km (11 mi). During high season (November through May) are provided only boat services linking to Koh Wai, Koh Mak and Koh Kut-Kood.
Chang Island's economy is largely based on tourism, commercial fishing, rubber and coconut export (plantations). Ban Salak Phet is the largest fishing village. Accommodation options vary from camping sites (with beach huts and bungalows) to guesthouses, budget hotels and luxury resorts.
Koh Chang Cruise Ship
The Galaxy is a 7-deck high riverboat serving as a floating hotel (5-star rated) with capacity 70 rooms. The cruise ship was deliberately beached (ran aground) at the island's west coast (near Bang Bao Beach). The vessel is fixed/cemented (near an artificial lagoon) on a deserted beach and part of a larger resort complex (Koh Chang Boat Chalets).
The cruise ship hotel Galaxy is currently abandoned (closed).