The Best Things To Do In Koh Chang

The Best Things To Do In Koh Chang

Where is Koh Chang?

Koh Chang is located in the Gulf of Thailand, near the Cambodian border. It is approximately 300km east of Bangkok, the the Trat Province. The translation of Koh Chang is Elephant Island and is name this because of the its elephant shaped headland. Koh Chang is part of Mu Ko Chang National Park.

How to get from Bangkok to Koh Chang

The trip from Bangkok to Koh Chang differs depending on your mode of transport you choose. You can travel by plane, bus, mini-bus, express-bus or taxi. The duration by road depends greatly on the traffic and can range anywhere from 5 and a half hours.

Due to the time it can take to get there, many people opt to stop somewhere along the way for a night, to ensure they have plenty of time. Although Pattaya is not half way or on the direct route, it is a popular stop for tourists who are looking to explore different parts of Thailand.

For those in a hurry to get there or who are not interested in taking the journey by road, the plane is the best option.

Trat ferry to Koh Chang and Koh Chang ferry timetable tips

If you decide to travel by road, the final stage will be the Trat ferry to Koh Chang, this can add an additional half an hour to the trip from Bangkok. The Trat ferry to Koh Chang is a pedestrian and vehicle ferry.

Be sure to check the Koh Chang ferry timetable for departure times and plan your trip around this. While the Trat ferry is well used and been running for years, you are best to also make contact on the day, to make sure that they and you are on schedule. Also, allow plenty of time so that you are there well before the departure time – there is nothing worse than standing seaside watching your ferry glide away from you!

Things to do in Koh Chang

A holiday in Thailand’s Koh Chang will take visitors to an original and traditional holiday location of Thai’s. It is different to the busy tourist islands in the south and well worth your consideration for your next Thailand island holiday.

Koh Chang has a great number of restaurants serving a variety of local cuisine at a very reasonable price. The main road through the island, shows off some the Koh Chang’s shopping strip. Be sure to wander down the smaller streets to find some interesting stalls and genuine local arts and crafts.

The beaches in Koh Chang

Bang Bao Beach

The beaches in Koh Chang are absolutely a highlight. Take the time to cruise around the island on a motorbike, explore by local bus or on foot and discover your own piece of a beautiful Koh Chang beach.

It is hard to choose where to go first – here is a list of some of the best beaches in Koh Chang:

  • Khlong Prao Beach
  • Kai Bae Beach
  • White Sand Beach
  • Bang Bao Beach
  • Lonely Beach
  • Kong Koi Beach
  • Ko Wai Beach
  • Long Beach
  • Ko Klum Beach
  • Ko Laoya Beach
  • Klong Kloi Beach
  • Chai Chet Beach
  • Wai Chaek Beach
  • Bailan Beach
  • Klong Son Beach

Kayaking, sun lounging, snorkelling, scuba diving, swimming, paddling and beach volleyball are among the outdoor activities you will find on the beaches of Koh Chang.

Koh Chang Waterfalls

Klong Plu Waterfall is a must for any visitors to the island. It is managed by the National Park, so you need to pay an entry, however, this easily accessible waterfall is worth a look.

It is located near the west beaches on the island and is great place to cool off on a hot day and have a swim in the large plunge pool or the smaller pools down stream. Although it is a great spot, in high season it can get very busy, so the earlier in the day you can visit the better, to avoid the crowds.

Khlong Nonsi Waterfall known as a hidden gem and a Koh Chang waterfall to enjoy at most times throughout the day. Khlong Nonsi waterfall is not as easily accessible as Klong Plu waterfall and therefore not as busy! If you can, hire a motorbike and head across the island to enjoy the spacious pools for a swim.

Than Mayom Waterfall is another popular Koh Chang waterfall that if you should visit if you can! Hire a motorbike and take the trip to Than Mayom waterfall. You will enjoy the quieter plunge pools, soaking up the sun and jumping into the pools.

Koh Chang accommodation

One thing Koh Chang accommodation boasts, is the wide range of choices for all budgets. There is a popular backpacking scene, right through to luxury resorts.

Beach side huts are very popular and are dotted across the edges of the islands at a very reasonable price. Most of them provide an ensuite and air conditioning as well as the bonus of waking up to the sounds of water lapping up on the bank of the beach.

Many Koh Chang accommodation providers will also have an onsite restaurant available. The range in prices and authenticity will vary, however, there are plenty of great choices to make your trip perfect for your preferences!

Here is a list of Koh Chang accommodation well worth a look:

Bungalow accommodation:

Hotel accommodation:

Villa and Homestay accommodation:

Where to next?

Go beyond Koh Chang and Thailand, explore more of the great region of South East Asia – Vietnam, Laos, Malaysia, Cambodia, Myanmar,  Brunei, East Timor, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore.

The Best Time To Visit The Great Wall of China

The Best Time To Visit The Great Wall Of China

Where is The Great Wall of China located?

The Great Wall of China is located in the northern Chinese city of Beijing. The Wall stretches approximately 21,000km in length and there are several access points along the way for visitors to come and explore and enjoy this UNESCO Heritage listed and New 7 Wonder of the world.

The best time to visit The Great Wall of China

The best time of day to visit The Great Wall of China is dependent on the experience you are looking for and also which section of the Wall you are visiting.

The Summer months bring the heat, higher prices and crowds; whereas the Winter months can prove to be bitterly cold and precarious for hikers, however, incredibly picturesque, often snow capped. March to May and August to October are the less populated months of the year, typically.

If you are looking to beat the crowds and experience the Wall with ease and take it all in, the earlier in the day the better. If you are lucky to arrive before the hawkers do, you will have access to much of the Wall to yourself. This can be a truly remarkable and unbelievable pinch-yourself experience.

The best place to visit The Great Wall of China

Sections of The Great Wall of China to visit

Mutianyu is the most popular section to visit for international tourists and it is the most kid friendly section of The Great Wall of China. Mutianyu is about one and a half hours from Beijing by car.

Jinshanling to Simatai is the most popular section to hike. Some of this section is restored and is arguably the most beautiful. Jinshanling is a 2-3 hour drive from Beijing, you will need to play your time to do this section and include an overnight stay.

Jiankou which is completely original, untouched and in some parts very dangerous. This section is for fit, serious hikers and for photographers, typically. Jiankou is about a three hour drive from Beijing.

Simatai is the only part open at night and should be considered by tour only. This is about a 2-3 hour drive from Beijing.

Huanghuacheng is known for the lake and water views and the ancient wall. It is roughly an hour and a half from Beijing. During the warmer months, May to September, hiking and camping is encouraged.

Gubeikou is wild and untouched, which protected an important pass to Beijing from Northern Mongol regions. It is roughly 2 hours from Beijing.

Badaling is the most popular for Chinese tourists and is typically very crowded. There are some sections of this that are wheelchair friendly.

Juyongguan is the closest part to Beijing and is known to be the greatest Great Wall forts to have defended ancient Beijing. This section is wheelchair friendly.

Huangyaguan is three hours from Beijing and is where The Great Wall marathon starts each May.

Shanhai Pass is about three hours from Beijing and is where the Great Wall meets the sea at the east end of main Ming Dynasty Great Wall.

Interesting facts about The Great Wall of China

Why was the Great Wall of China built?

The Great Wall of China is a collection of walls which were constructed to protect and consolidate Chinese States and territories.

Who built The Great Wall of China?

The Great Wall was built in different areas by different people to serve the needs of those in each section.

  1. The (Pre-) Warring States Period (770-221BC) – A Qi State duke first built walls to prevent invasion.
  2. The Qin Dynasty (221-207BC) – Emporer Qin unified state walls to secure the northern China border.
  3. The Han Dynasty (206BC-220AD) – The Han Great Wall was extended to protect the silk road trade.
  4. The Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) – Most of The Great Wall was built or restored during the Ming Dynasty.
  5. The Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) – The emperors of the Qing Dynasty didn’t build The Great Wall, in fact they forbade it.
  6. Modern Times – The Great Wall reconstruction and protection began in Badaling in 1957.

Height and length of The Great Wall of China

The Great Wall of China measures 21,196.18 km (or 13,170.7 mi), as per all known sections. The walls were built with the intention of being roughly three times the height of any human.

Other interesting things to do in Beijing

There are so many fabulous things to do in Beijing; here are some popular ideas for tourists:

Accommodation in Beijing, China

Accommodation choices are endless in Beijing. You are best to plan your trip and stay in Beijing and then book accommodation based on where you are best situated to access attractions you wish to visit. Be sure to read reviews and carefully select accommodation to suit your needs.

The Best Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur With Toddlers

The Best Things To Do In Kuala Lumpur With Toddlers

A trip to Malaysia was one of our early overseas holiday with kids; a big part of the reason was because there are so many great things to do in Kuala Lumpur with toddlers. It is an affordable city, public transport was easy, there are lots of eateries which offer a range of cuisines and there are some fantastic attractions for families in Kuala Lumpur.

Kuala Lumpur is a very easy city to be in and explore with children of a range of ages. There are some great Asian destinations to explore with babies.

The Best Playground In Kuala Lumpur – KLCC PARK

This is by far the best attraction for kids in Kuala Lumpur. Kuala Lumpur City Centre has the most extraordinaire playground at the foot of the Petrona Towers. This KL attraction is not to be missed if you have kids!

Kuala Lumpur City Centre Park

KLCC Park has a very well maintained huge(!!) playground for a range of age groups. Kids can spend hours climbing, sliding and running from one apparatus to another. It is bright, colourful and beautifully set, leaving parents satisfied with the hours of time they spend at a playground on their holiday!

Additionally, KLCC Park is home to a water display and a water park! That’s right, a water park. On a hot day, grab your towel and head down to cool off. It is such a great idea, given the weather in KL can be extreme at certain times of the year.

You can literally spend hours at the KLCC Park. Take a picnic, walk the paths, enjoy the shady trees, use the amenities and pop into Suria KLCC. Suria KLCC is the shopping complex at the foot of the Petrona Twin Towers has a whole lot to offer, from high end shopping to every day essentials and food.

A day at KLCC Park will guarantee tuckering out your children!

Kuala Lumpur Bird Park

The Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is a great place for the whole family to visit and is open daily.

Nestled in amongst a tropical paradise in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, the KL Bird Park is renowned for its eco-tourism. It is located just a 10 minute drive from the city centre, however, you can also access it by foot too – just be prepared for a bumpy and not-so-sealed ‘track’. You can also buy a one-way transfer and entry ticket to the Bird Park, then make your way back to the city centre via the Lake Gardens.

The Kuala Lumpur Bird Park is situated in KL Lake Gardens and offers a unique experience to many other bird parks – free flight! This enables visitors to have a real rain forest experience as well as ensures the survival and species continuity of the birds.

Netting stretches across the ‘ceiling’ of the Park and birds are free to fly. There are 3,000 local and foreign birds of approximately 200 different species in the Kuala Lumpur Bird Park.

On a hot day, the Bird Park is a fantastic place to go. It is cool in the shade of the trees, you can wander the paths throughout, or sit down at the cafe and let the kids enjoy and ice cream or cold drink.

Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens

Not only are Kuala Lumpur Lake Gardens exceptionally maintained, beautiful and tranquil, they are also a fabulous place to escape on some of the very hot Kuala Lumpur weather!

You can access the Lake Gardens but car or taxi, or by foot. Wander the paths, take a picnic, enjoy the shade of the manicured gardens. It is a great place in Kuala Lumpur for toddlers as they can run free and wild!

Kuala Lumpur Tower

What child does not love to go to the top of a tower? A visit to Kuala Lumpur Tower will not disappoint! As with any viewing platform, on a clear day the views are brilliant and you will certainly enjoy the view of the impressive Petrona Twin Towers from the top. You can also get access to the KL Tower by purchasing a Kuala Lumpur City Pass.

Some would ask why you’d choose the KL Tower over the remarkable Petrona Twin Towers, quite simply, seeing the towers soar amongst the Kuala Lumpur buildings is truly impressive. You can of course do both and or combine the Petrona Twin Towers with the KLCC Aquaria.

Central Market

Central Market, Kuala Lumpur is accessible by public transport which is fantastic if you are travelling on a budget. Central Market is a one-stop-shop for a range of local handicraft, souvenirs and genuine one-off collectables.

The building was first built in 1888 as a wet market and is now one of the most popular market spots for locals and tourists. The Market is a delight to wander through, it is clean, well maintained and the shops throughout are of great quality. It is wheelchair and stroller friendly and a Kuala Lumpur attraction, not to be missed.

You will also find a great range of eateries and local food and snacks to try. You will find most food tours in Kuala Lumpur stop into the Central Market.

A visit to Central Market will not disappoint.

Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour

Riding a Hop On Hop Off Bus in any city is a great way to see lots of different things, for a very affordable price. You can get unlimited access to the Hop On Hop Off Buses by purchasing a Kuala Lumpur City Pass.

For those travelling in Kuala Lumpur with toddlers, it is a fantastic option! Kids love travelling in a bus typically and for the parents, it is a bit of a break!

The KL Hop On Hop Off trip will allow you to reach attractions and parts of KL that you may not be able to access easily. Sit back and enjoy the ride. Kuala Lumpur has some extraordinaire buildings, a great history and loads to see and marvel at.

Plan your trip so you know where you want to get off the bus and know how long you want to spend at each Kuala Lumpur attraction. It’s a good idea to have the bus times written down for each stop so that you know when you need to get back on. It doesn’t matter if you don’t, the bus will come, it might just save you waiting around on the side of a road for longer than necessary!

Other great tours to do when in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Selangor Fireflies & Wildlife Tour

Genting Highlands and Batu Caves Day Trip

Cameron Highlands Private Day Tour

Full-Day Trip to Historical Malacca

Batu Caves Half-Day Tour

Batu Caves & Cultural Exploration Tour

What To Do In Vientiane

WHAT TO DO IN VIENTIANE

A visit to Laos, without exploring is Vientiane, is an incomplete trip to Laos. Although we had traveled to other South East Asian countries prior to going to Laos, this capital city instantly told a different story and we were excited about exploring all the interesting things to do in Vientiane.

We had a rough idea of what to do in Vientiane during our stay, but we always like to ask for local advice on what they think we should do as well. It is always interesting to see what other hidden gems we might come across with local knowledge.

VIENTIANE, LAOS CAPITAL

Vientiane is the largest city in Laos and sits on the bank of the Mekong River, overlooking Thailand. There are aspects that are impressive and glamorous – the palaces and the temples; however, there is a rich feel of history and devastation which must be acknowledged and honoured. Vientiane is an easy city to get around and has a lot to offer!

BANGKOK TO VIENTIANE

Bangkok is a common connection point for travelers going into the Laos capital, Vientiane. You can travel from Bangkok to Vientiane by plane or bus/train or private vehicle. There are numerous Bangkok to Vientiane flights and airlines which travel each day if you are looking for a direct entry. Alternatively if you have some time, you might like to consider travelling through Northern Thailand and making your way into Laos by road.

Our Time In Vientiane Laos With Kids

What to do in Vientiane

We stayed in a Vientiane hotel which was in the heart of the city – Champa Garden Hotel. It was in walking distance to many local restaurants, the Mekong River and the night market in Vientiane. It was great to be able to explore by foot as much as possible, despite the pair of little legs (aged 4 and 5) we had on board!

Vientiane tourist attractions

We enjoyed eating at local Vientiane restaurants and loved the friendly faces who welcomed us into their restaurants. On our first night in Laos we took a tuk-tuk to one of the best Vientiane restaurants, Kong View Restaurant and Bar where we watched the sunset over the Mekong River and Thailand, this was such an incredible way to start our Laos family adventure.

We walked, went in several tuk-tuks, navigated our way through the Vientiane bus station and also organised a private driver for the day so that we could get around to as much as we could during our stay in Vientiane.

We spent three nights in Vientiane and loved being able to take our time to wander the streets, find a playground for the kids, travel by local bus outside the city centre, navigate our way around some of the tourist spots and one of the highlights for our boys was seeing Monks, of which they had heard so much about in the lead up to our trip.

THINGS TO DO IN VIENTIANE, LAOS

The Buddha Park Vientiane (Xieng Khuan)

On the bus!

For us, going to the Buddha Park Vientiane, was a full day outing and one of our favourite Vientiane attractions! Getting to the Vientiane Buddha Park was an adventure in itself and one we’re very proud to be able to say we surprisingly managed, without having to go to ‘Plan B – get a taxi’. We navigated our way to the public bus station Vientiane, Talat Sao Bus Station and somehow managed to get on the correct bus out to the Buddha Park.

It was an unsealed, bumpy road and what we imagined would be an easy one-way 25km trip, ended up an hour and a half each way on a not-so-comfortable ride; that said, the experience and adventure was worth it in the end!

The Buddha Park is an open-air sculpture park which was founded in 1958 by a monk and local sculpture artist, who studied Buddhism and Hinduism. The park features an incredible array of statues of Buddhas, Hindu gods, dieties, demons and animals from both beliefs.

One of the highlights of the park was the large pumpkin structure near the entrance where the opening was made to look like a demons mouth, with a ladder inside taking you to the top where you had panoramic views of the entire park. The 40 metre reclining Buddha was also very impressive.

We took a picnic lunch as there was plenty of space to pull out a rug, however, there is also a cafe at the back of the park serving light refreshments.

If you’re looking for a more straightforward way of see the Buddha Park, you can buy tickets, that include transport too and from – although the bus ride was quite an adventure.

C.O.P.E. Vientiane – Visitor Centre

Cooperative Orthotic and Prosthetic Enterprise. Since the foundation of C.O.P.E. in 1996, the organisation has helped thousands of people with mobility related disabilities; allowing and enabling mobility and dignity. It is estimated that 50,000 people have been injured or killed, to this day, as a result of the UXO incidents since 1964; C.O.P.E. have worked hard to support survivors; as well as to provide prosthetic and orthotic devices, clubfoot treatment, physio and occupational therapies and related surgical procedures.

The Visitor Centre was eye opening for all of us, an education for our children but a reality to all of us, the trauma and devastation that individuals in Laos have and continue to experience is very apparent.

A brilliantly set up museum and free to wander through, it is definitely worth a visit. The exhibits cover the history of UXO, how C.O.P.E. works to assist the people of Laos and improves the quality of life of individuals to go on and live a valuable life.

An interesting fact – the need for prosthetic has increased since helmets for motorbikes has been introduced – more people are surviving accidents, however, not without injury.

Victory Monument – Patuxai Vientiane

Another popular tourist attraction in Vientiane is Patuxai, a war monument, was built between 1957 and 1968. The Patuxai has been dedicated to those who fought in the fight for independence from France. It is also commonly known as the Arc de Triomphe of Vientiane as it resembles the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

The walk up the stairs is interesting, with market stalls throughout on different levels. From the top, the views are fantastic! It was well worth the look, as the 360 degree views, gave some perspective of Vientiane.

Pha That Luang Vientiane

Pha That Luang is a large Buddhist Stupa in the city centre of Vientiane. It is a strikingly impressive Stupa, covered in 500 kilos of gold leaf. The main Stupa is 45 metres in height and is surrounded by 30 smaller Stupa’s. The complex is large and well worth a visit.

Take some time to wander around and take it all in. The details are exquisite and being well preserved. The Stupa is said to be founded in the 3rd Century. It has undergone several renovations in its time. The reclining Buddha is also exceptional and worth a look.

There are market stalls and street food options for your visit. Or if you’re on a budget, grab a baguette from the local market and munch on that as you make your way around.

ACCOMMODATION VIENTIANE

Champa Hotel was a great little place to stay with the kids. Although it was too cold to swim, there was that option. The rooms were simple, but clean and we had all we needed.

Champa Hotel was in an excellent location, easily accessible to everything we needed, walking distance to lots of restaurants, the Mekong River and the night market. We also had breakfast available, which is always a nice bonus when travelling!

There are hundreds of accommodation options in Vientiane and varying prices for different budgets.

From Vientiane

WITHIN LAOS: Get yourself on a bus to Vang Vieng for some great fun, adventure and natural beauty. Or fly to Luang Prabang for great culture, French inspired Laos food, city exploration, relaxation and just generally a fantastic time!

OUTSIDE LAOS: Fly or get a train into Thailand to experience more South East Asian greatness!