Don't anticipate azure waters and blinding-white sand â€“ its frumpiness is part of its charm and even on long weekends, the beach is not unbearably crowded. Reminiscent of Hua Hin and Cha-am, the sand is largely taken over by beach chairs and umbrellas, as Thai vacationers prefer to be at the beach yet not in the sun; you'll have the sand and water to yourself during the sunny hours. ... Read more about Haad Tham Phang .
Climb 300 steps and you will be rewarded with jaw-dropping views, an abandoned funicular train, benches shaped like dragons, and more than six Buddha shrines, including Saan Chao Pho Kao Yai. The shrines, which live within the nooks and crannies of a hillside cave, are saturated in gold leaf and bedecked with mardi-gras beads, chandeliers and other festive accessories. The odd encounter ... Read more about Chinese Temple, Buddha's Footprint and Yellow Buddha .
Past the Marine Science Research Station and Aquarium (a let down by Bangkok standards, but good for the kids) to the southeast side of the island sits the Chudhadhuj Rajthan Palace Museum and grounds. When France sent troops to blockade the Gulf of Thailand and occupy Ko Si Chang in 1893, construction of the palace ceased. Since 1978, Chulalongkorn University, with the financial backing of ... Read more about Rama IV Summer Palace and grounds .
For a self-guided tour around the island, you can rent bicycles (60 baht per day) or motorbikes (300 baht per day) from Charlie's Bungalows, though a few other guesthouses tout similar rental services. From the Tourist Information Centre at the pier, you can rent motorbikes (80 baht per hour, 250 baht per day, 300 baht per night), or they will direct you back to Charlie's Bungalows for ... Read more about Tours and snorkelling .
From the Buddha's Footprint, situated high above the ground, you can see the lustrous Yellow Buddha, a glimpse of the only lake on the island, and a get a 360-degree view of the entirety of Ko Si Chang. To catch pink, orange, and yellow sunsets that light up the evening sky, dine on the west side of the island. Asdang Pier, which is inside the palace grounds, is a white dock that juts out ... Read more about Sunsets and viewpoints .