Ko Chang is so big, we’ve split it up into areas, select one of the below for detailed accommodation and food listings in that area. Sights and general overviews for Ko Chang as a whole can be found via the icons above. Don’t know where to start? Read an overview of Ko Chang’s different areas.
Situated at the bottom of Ko Chang's western side, the picturesque bay of Bang Bao is the island's diving centre and a jumping-off point for Ko Kut, Ko Maak, Ko Wai and other islands in this vast archipelago. Tourism has all but replaced fishing as the village's main industry, but Bang Bao retains a laid-back, breezy feel that makes for a welcome break from much of the highly developed west coast.
Time and an over-abundance of travellers and day-trippers have resulted in Bang Bao shifting from an "authentic" little fishing village into a bit of a tourist trap. Despite this rising commercialism, Bang Bao remains interesting. Some excellent (though pricey) seafood restaurants boast commanding views from decks over the water; vendors fill the air with the irresistible scent of grilled squid; and some good accommodation options offer the chance to sleep with the sea gushing beneath the floor.
Most of the action is on the same-named 700-metre-long concrete pier that stretches into the bay. Until about halfway out, it's lined with private houses, shops selling touristy trinkets and beach towels, seafood restaurants and guesthouses -- all on stilts. Beyond that, the pier is used for boat parking, and it gets noisy when double-decker scuba and snorkel boats disembark in the mornings and return in the late afternoons.
Once the morning boat traffic has subsided, Bang Bao can make for a pleasant place to unwind. The end of the pier sports a cute lighthouse to go with great views over the palm-covered hills that form the bay's east and west sides. Tropical fish can be seen in the clear teal water, and the abundance of sea eagles hunting for them are a photographer's dream. Locals often join in with their fishing rods.
As Ko Chang's diving centre, Bang Bao is also home to head offices of several scuba operations. Among those with good reputations are BB Divers and The Scuba Dawgs, both of which offer a range of courses from day dives to PADI certification. If you just need to pick up some diving gear, you'll find everything you need here.