Shopping is well served on the island if a little uniform and predictable.
Throughout the major beach areas, particularly White Sand Beach, Kai Bae and Bang Bao, you won’t have to look too hard to find the standard souvenirs of lacquered table accessories, jewellery, cheap clothing, cds and such like.
The prices are higher than in Bangkok, but the stall holders are open to bartering, so you should be able to pick up some decent bargains.
Koh Chang Shopping – Recommended
A few places, nonetheless, do stand out from the crowd.
Peace Moon, a Thai and Japanese couple turning out wonderful handmade jewellery and leathercraft, has two branches, one in Bang Bao and one in White Sand Beach.
You can also get well sourced hammocks in Bailan Beach at Hammock Hut, part of the Jumbo Hammock Project, with all items handmade from the dying to the weaving by northern Mlabri people.
Koh Chang Shopping – Practicals
You’ll find various camera and computer shop combinations across the island. Try the Kodak Shop in White Sand Beach opposite Koh Chang Lagoon Resort or the decent one opposite Mai Pen Rai Guesthouse at the start of Kai Bae Beach. Big C in Pearl Beach also has a useful electronics franchise just inside by the door. Head to these shops for repairs too and if your mobile dies, then try the little shop opposite Klong Prao temple.
Whitesands Books, actually in Pearl Beach, has a good range of secondhand books in many different languages and there is a stationers and new bestseller books store in VJ Plaza in Chai Chet.
At the southern end of Klong Prao Beach near to Koh Chang Grand Cabana Resort, Koh Chang Dental Clinic is open for cosmetic work as well as emergency and is considerably cheaper than back home.
Opticians are found in most of the beach areas, though check on times for delivery before you go ahead and order.
Finally, if you feel the need for a new suit or dress, the Nepalese tailors are not difficult to spot.
Koh Chang Shopping – Foodstuffs
You can get western foodstuffs all over, but Foodland underneath Top Resort in White Sand Beach and Anna Store, same beach, but a bit further up the hill at the southern end, are both very well stocked. Anna also has a branch at the start of Kai Bae Beach near the camera shop listed above. VJ’s in VJ Plaza Chai Chet and Sing Thong towards the southern end of Klong Prao are two other popular large stores to look out for.
As for superstores, Tesco and Big C are both based in Pearl Beach, with Makro Food in White Sand Beach, the southern end. Homepro also has a small outlet by the entrance to Koh Chang Cliff Resort at the southern end of White Sand Beach.
If you know your Thai cooking, Bang Bao sells locally made pots of kapi, the smelly, dark purple, fermented shrimp paste, which is a vital ingredient in properly made curry pastes. It keeps in the fridge for months.
There are weekend and night markets held throughout Klong Prao Beach, in particular in the undeveloped area before you reach the temple. The goods on offer tend to be more practical than souvenir orientated, but it’s fun to browse and you can eat here too at the little stalls along the front.
Koh Chang Shopping – East Coast
Meanwhile, the east coast has a different kind of shopping and it is worth ducking into a few of the places if you go there for a day trip. First up, keep an eye out for the handmade snacks, such as sweet dried bananas and sticky durian paste. These cheap goodies are not only delicious, but the profits also go back into the communities.
Two stores in particular to visit are the OTOP (One Tambon, One Product) found on the bend and crossroads for Salak Khok, while on the main road by the bridge just before Salak Phet, another little shop sells a wealth of souvenirs made solely from coconut.
Koh Chang Tattoo Artists
There are dozens of tattoo shops on the island, both machine and bamboo, with perhaps Lonely Beach the hub, particularly towards the end of Soi Tian Chai 1. Prices are considerably cheaper than in the west and there are some very good artists lurking in the shadows.
Names that consistently crop up, with excellent reputations for design, professionalism and hygiene are Oh at Colour Tattoo near Koh Chang Grand Lagoon, Jack at Tantawan Resort, King of KingTattoo opposite Plaloma Resort and Juh at Sun Gallery by Cookies Hotel, all in White Sand Beach.
KingTattoo also have a branch in VJ Plaza, Chaichet, whilst in Lonely Beach, Danny is in the shop houses at the top of the village and Long has his Easy Bamboo studio towards the end of Soi 1 in what is known locally as Tattoo Alley.