Koh Si Chang

For centuries Koh Si Chang was considered a gateway to Thailand, the spot where huge sailing ships docked and smaller barges loaded goods bound for Bangkok and Ayutthaya. This is still a hardworking port, which means rubbish from the shipping and fishing industries creates a bit of an eyesore. But it's a clean island otherwise. Koh Si Chang isn't known for its beaches—most of the coast is rocky—but it's off the main tourist routes, so it has an easygoing pace that makes it a real escape. It's relatively close to Bangkok, so Thais flood the island on weekends, in particular for the spectacular seafood available in Koh Si Chang's simple eateries. During the week, however, it's peaceful. All the sights are within easy walking distance, and there aren't many cars around. Weekend lodging should be booked in advance.

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