While we had experienced our fair share of the Thai islands in August, there were still plenty more to see and we opted for Koh Chang. Located near the border to Cambodia, this island is not as popular as the southern islands but it's slowly making its way on to many travellers' itineraries.
Koh Chang, which translates as "Elephant Island", is also pretty simple to get to from Bangkok. We booked our transport at the airport and it took six hours via a minibus and ferry – much quicker than the usual 14 hour buses we've had to endure!
The island is actually one of Thailand's biggest and there are a number of hotels and resorts on offer. For luxurious getaways, the likes of Klong Prao Beach and White Sand are worth checking out, but we went for the budget option of Lonely Beach (which rather annoyingly is the furthest away from the ferry port!).
Accommodation wise, Lonely Beach has plenty of options for backpackers. We decided to stay at Sunset Huts which has an array of cute bungalows that overlook the sea. Paying £4 each a night, they were a bargain choice and the perfect location.
Our bungalows were based within the village of Lonely Beach and to get to the actual beach it's a short ten-minute walk up the main road, where you're likely to see many wild monkeys along the way.
Of course, the beach itself is super pretty, boasting soft white sand, turquoise water and tropical palm trees. We spent our days working on that all important tan, as well as chilling out with a refreshing coconut at the beach bar, Nature Rocks.
The main appeal of Koh Chang is that it's actually a lot cheaper than pretty much every island in Thailand and it's not been majorly developed like Koh Samui. It has a hippy, laidback vibe and the locals are incredibly friendly. Unsurprisingly, it's penny-saving prices and welcoming atmosphere makes it a big hit with backpackers and you're bound to meet fellow travelling pals here.
Despite its chilled atmosphere, there are still a pick of bars that you can head to once the sun sets. We'd often head to reggae bar Shanti Shanti to watch amazing live music and enjoy a glass of wine with the lovely owner, Tom.
Another favourite was Himmel Bar, which is a great choice for dancing the night away. They often do good deals on buckets of cocktails and their lively staff put on regular fire shows to get the party started. For more live music and late-night partying, Ting Tong is also a popular spot to head to.
Although most of our time at Lonely Beach consisted of relaxing on the beach and enjoying the night life, we did go on a boat trip to explore the surrounding islands. Proving once again just how beautiful Thailand is, we took in the gorgeous scenery and had a go at fishing from the boat. The trip also involved venturing into the water with snorkels where we spotted colourful fish and coral.
Food wise, you can get both Western and authentic Thai meals at reasonable prices. If you're craving Italian, Sleepy Owl serves up wood-fired oven pizza and fresh pasta. For authentic Thai food, The Kitchen is a good shout, while Joy Cottage offers both BBQ and Thai food.
After an amazing ten days, we left Koh Chang and headed back to Bangkok, spending one night at the Born Free Hostel, which is located just ten minutes away from the craziness of Khao San Road. We spent the next day stocking up on souvenirs and enjoying one last Thai meal and bottle of Chang. That evening, we reluctantly boarded one final plane for our journey back to reality in London.
More from Kathryn's Travel Blog:
1. Quitting our jobs to go travelling in South East Asia!
2. Giant water fights and feeding elephants - what we did in Thailand
3. Island hopping and temple tours - our first fortnight in Cambodia
4. Kayaking along the Mekong River and cooking crab in Cambodia
5. Visiting the Cu Chi tunnels and sand dunes - taking on Vietnam
6. Exploring the Phong Nha Caves and cruising along Halong Bay
7. Surfing in Bali and swimming with turtles: two weeks in Indonesia
8. Trekking, tubing and temple visiting - a fortnight in Laos
9. Travelling in Thailand - The Full Moon Party and snorkelling in Koh Tao
10. Supertrees and street art - two weeks in Malaysia and Singapore
11. The Bagan temples and cycling in Hsipaw - backpacking in Myanmar (Burma)