Ko Si Chang Description
Koh Si Chang is a small island situated in the gulf of Thailand. Situated approximately 100km from Bangkok. Despite it's proximity to Bangkok and Pattaya, it is relatively unspoiled and far less widely visited than some of the better known Thai islands. There are around 20 or so small Hotels and Guest houses on Koh Sichang, making it an ideal stopover destination if you want to relax for a couple of days.
Despite its small size, Koh Si Chang has a rich history: Due to its proximity to the Chao Phraya river, in the past it was a popular stop off for larger ships in order to unload their cargo onto smaller barges capable of transporting goods into the heart of Bangkok. It is noted that in the 17th century the island was referred to as "Amsterdam" by a visiting ships surgeon and botanist, Dr Francis Buchanan-Hamilton, due to the frequent stops made by Dutch ships.
In 1893 the Island was occupied by the French in a dispute over control of Laos. As a result the Kings Summer Palace on the island was abandoned after only a few years of use. Today it acts a University research centre and is popular with tourists who wish to gain an insight into the life of Thailand's Royal family.
Getting to Koh Si Chang
Buses depart from Bangkok's Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) or Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) bound for Si Racha every hour, and tickets are 92/88 baht one way from Mo Chit/Ekamai. The bus journey usually takes around 2 hours.
Minibuses from Ekamai to Sriracha run hourly. The fare is 130?.
Once in Si Racha, a ferry service (50 baht one way) leaves hourly (every two hours in low season) from Ko Loy Pier, the ferry takes about 40 mins and is an enjoyable ride. The best way to get from the bus terminal in Si Racha is by Tuk-Tuk or Motorbike Taxi, and should cost around 50 baht.
Getting around Koh Si Chang
There are basically three options for getting around Koh Si Chang:
Tuk-Tuk - can be hired for a single trip i.e. to your hotel or the beach, or alternatively you can pay the driver to take you around the different sights, landmarks and viewpoints on the island and negotiate a flat fee for the day.
Motorcycle hire - there are many places on the island where you can hire a scooter for around 300 baht per day.
On foot - The island is relatively small and most, if not all of the sights can been seen in a single days hike around the island. Be sure to take plenty of water with you!
Things to do on Koh Si Chang
Rama V Palace
The palace was built as a summer residence for King Rama V, but was abandoned after the French occupied the island in 1893 in a dispute over control of Laos. Today it is a University research centre, visitors are welcome to explore grounds of the palace and the many remaining buildings and structures that survive today.
Saan Chao Pho Khao Yai - Chinese Temple
Roughly translated as "Shrine of the Father Spirit of the Great Hill", the temple is many centuries older than the palace and was founded around a cave by Chinese explorers who claim to have seen a magic light emanating from the depths of the cave.
Located in a small gazebo a mere 505 steps above the Chinese temple, is the Buddha's footprint shrine. If you can handle the climb the shrine offers spectacular panoramic views of the area.
Koh Sichang is famous for its sunsets, the west of the island offers spectacular views looking out into the gulf of Thailand, providing the perfect backdrop for the setting sun. A popular place to watch the sun go down is the cliff top walkway at Chong Khao Khad on the west of the island.
Check out this awesome drone footage of Ko Sichang
Tham Phang Beach
Meaning "collapsed cave beach" Had Tham Phang is the best beach on the island. Popular activities include:
- Hiding from the sun under a parasol
- Enjoying a drink or meal at one of the many restaurants that line the beach
There are no jet ski's, which is a positive in my view (unless you like being threatened by guys with AK-47's) as it means no Jet Ski scams.