Airports There are flights between Bangkok and Trat, a town close to the ferries to Ko Chang.
Transport Regular bus services reach the area from Bangkok’s Eastern Bus Terminal and directly from Suvarnabhumi International Airport. A passenger ferry runs to Ko Samet from the village of Ban Pae. Both car and passenger ferries go from Laem Ngop port near Trat to Ko Chang.
Day 1: Pattaya
Pattaya is about 2 hours by bus or car from Bangkok. Walk along Pattaya’s Beach Road admiring the colorful fishing boats in this wide bay. In the evening, have a look at South Pattaya’s Walking Street, a brightly lit throng of go-go bars, discos, and open air beer bars. North Pattaya is slightly more restrained, although the most famous transvestite cabaret shows are here. Even mellower is the adjacent bay of Naklua, where excellent seafood goes for a fraction of the price nearby.
Day 2: Ko Samet
A few hours from Pattaya, by road, ferry, and a short minibus ride, are the powdery white sands of Ko Samet. Spend the day basking on one of the island’s fantastic beaches. Opt for Hat Sai Kaeo if you fancy a lively beach with lots of restaurants and bars. Ao Phai bay is smaller, quieter, and more picturesque.
Day 3: Ko Samet
Put on some solid footwear and strike out towards the southern tip of the island at the deserted Ao Toei, stopping to rest in the leafy shade of each headland. Each bay has its own distinct character. Fresh coconuts provide excellent refreshment en route, or stop into a luxury resort for high tea.
Day 4: Chanthaburi
Back on the mainland, travel to the charming town of Chanthaburi. Take a stroll along the river, visit the gem market (p325), and try the fresh (uncooked) spring rolls in the town’s Vietnamese Quarter.
Day 5: Ko Chan
Much bigger than Ko Samet, Ko Chang offers a wide variety of experiences such as fishing, diving and snorkeling. Take the short ferry ride from Laem Ngop on the mainland and catch a minibus to Hat Sai Khao beach for beach barbecues, live music, and fire-juggling shows. Alternatively, travel to Hat Khlong Phra for the best seafood on the island. The short walk to the Khlong Phlu Waterfall offers a good look at the dense jungle of the island.
Day 6: Day trip to Ko Wai
From Bang Bao village on the southern tip of the island, catch a boat to Ko Wai, a pristine islet. Snorkel or swim in the crystal-clear waters and take in the stunning views of the surrounding islands in the Ko Chang archipelago. Stay in Ko Wai or return to Ko Chang in the evening.
Day 7: Ko Chang
Back in Ko Chang, spend the morning on one of the isolated beaches on the southern coast. Ao Sa Lak Phet (p326) is near a traditional fishing village, and from here you can go snorkeling over eerie sunken ships from World War II. From the mainland, it’s an hour’s flight or about a 5-hour drive to Bangkok.
To extend your trip…
Visit Ko Mak and Ko Kut, two islets off the southern tip of Ko Chang.