My small island retreat 8

koh chang noi island in the andaman sea

The beautiful and secluded Ao Kai Tao bay on Koh Chang Noi island (Andaman sea – Thailand)

I’m writing this post from Koh Chang Noi, a small island in the Andaman sea. There isn’t much here in terms of development: a small fishing village, about a dozen or so bungalow resorts (the word resort being used loosely), and a handful of eccentrics scattered across the island living a hermit-like lifestyle. There are but a few roads, and so far I’ve been able to count three cars, about twenty motorbikes, a bicycle, and a quad. There is also no hot water, and most of the time no electricity either. I was surprised that I could get a (weak) mobile internet signal on a few places on the island, and that there are three or four shops that offer wifi internet just in case. Hence this blog update.

Living an easy life

All of this has kept Koh Chang Noi mostly off the tourist trail… so far. (I’ve been told that the island made its appearance in the Lonely Planet for the first time last year, which tends to be a reliable indicator for places to go down the drain.) Most people who make their way here are nature lovers, hippies, or just people looking to get away from it all for a while. For a long while in some cases, as I’ve noticed, as some of the guys staying at my ‘resort’ have been there for months. While I would probably get bored after a week or so, I can definitely see the appeal of the place.

Everything here transpires at a very slow pace. When I order food at a restaurant, I’m little surprised if it takes over an hour to get my food ready. Normally that would annoy me, as I have other business waiting for me afterwards, but here there’s simply nothing else to do. If I have to wait around, I read a book, work on an article, or just kick back and watch the ocean… pretty much the same thing I’d be doing otherwise.

The weather is ideally suited for the lifestyle that Koh Chang Noi encourages. The early morning can be a bit chilly, tempting me to stay in my warm bed for a bit longer. During the daytime it’s hot (over 30 `C), making it uncomfortable to do anything other than sit in the shade or dive into the sea for a swim. At the end of the afternoon is the perfect time to take a cold shower, which is refreshing rather than bone chilling. After sunset it cools down to a comfortable temperature to socialize outside in one of the resorts. At night the temperature drops to below 20 `C, cool enough to sleep without airconditioning or fan.

Initially I planned to stick around here for only a night or two, but I’ve already decided to make that at least three. It is pleasant to work on my laptop, overlooking the ocean, with few distractions. The added effort to get an internet connection is a bit of a nuisance, but at least it means I don’t waste my hours by checking my Facebook. Next update: sooner or later, when I decide to make my way to an internet spot again. 🙂


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8 thoughts on “My small island retreat

  • Audrey

    It sounds wonderful! I’m headed to Thailand for a month in February and am researching islands at the moment – Ko Chang Noi is sounding promising for the ‘escape the world’ segment of the trip and I think stumbling onto your blog might have sealed the deal for me. Thank you for sharing 🙂

    • Martijn Post author

      @Audrey: Thanks for your comment! Thailand is a wonderful country, and if you’re looking for an island that is ‘away from everything’, Ko Chang Noi is the perfect choice. Make sure that you have the right ‘Ko Chang Noi’, because when you search it on Google Maps, you’re pointed to a different Island, a tiny Islet just North of the famous tourist destination Ko Chang off the coast of Trat. The Ko Chang Noi mentioned in this post is located in the Andaman Sea, north of Ko Phayam.

      And if you do go, check out the amazing Italian restaurant hidden away in the forest on the island. It’s about halfway down the main beach, and a small path through the trees leads there.

  • Joseph

    hi, liked your comment.
    Could you tell were you stayed and if there is good snorkelling? The picture looked like there would be fish…
    All we want is getting away from civilisation – with an ebook though- jump in the water and enjoy the fish in the water…
    We are landing in Bangkok. Is it difficult to get there?

    • Martijn Post author

      @Joseph: To get to Ko Chang Noi you’d have to take a ferry from Ranong, which runs twice a day if I remember correctly. There are direct flights from Bangkok to Ranong (after which you’ll fall prey to the local taxi maffia). There’s probably also a bus, although I don’t know how convenient that would be.

      As for snorkeling: I didn’t try that here. The shore was fairly shallow, and there were tiny fish or flies that stung a bit when swimming. I remember reading about some water flow coming down from Myanmar that troubled the waters around Koh Chang Noi, but you’d have to research that for yourself (and if you find the answer, please post it in the comments here). I do know that the Surin islands a bit farter South and away from the coast are considered a world class diving site.

      If you’re looking for a good snorkeling site and some peace and quiet, avoid Ko Tao at all costs. It’s considered a great place to learn to dive, but it’s extremely touristy, and that has ruined most of the underwater landscape.

    • Martijn Post author

      Oh, and I stayed at a place called ‘Full Moon Bungalows’ (phone: +66 848503809). It’s a laid back place run by a Finnish guy and his Thai wife (who is an excellent cook). Many of the visitors had been coming there for years. Each of the bungalow resorts on the island has its own ‘vibe’, so you need to find something that clicks with you.

  • Heroe7

    Thanks a lot for informations. As you said is nothing in book guide about this island. And it’s good cause hope no much tourists over there. I’m in the bus on way to Ranong and a speed boat wait for me to get there. Hope is not so much changed since 2014.
    I like your blog. Thanks again

    • Martijn Post author

      @Heroe7: Your opinion was shared by one of the resort owners I met on the island. He would rather keep the island a ‘hidden gem’ than to make more money off of it becoming a big commercial success. Enjoy your travels!