Koh Chang is a surprisingly large island. We'd been in this general area at the beginning of the trip (it's close to Koh Maak) but hadn't made it over to Koh Chang. We chose to stay on the quietest beach first which really only had one option for lodging. Luckily, the Treehouse Guesthouse was fairly charming, had an okay beach, fantastic restaurant and decent prices. It's a bit like camping since all of the showers are taken with buckets but the warm weather heats things up so it's not too daunting. The stilted bungalows with hammocks on the porch are definitely the best part! This was a fantastic place to unwind and get a lot of reading done (after all, there's only electricity in the evening for about 6 hours so what else are you going to do?). The staff here are friendly and it seems like a lot of hippie types are attracted to this area of the island. I heard a lot of people saying that the other side of the island is so terrible and overcrowded.
For the second half of the week we decided to go to the horrible, terrible, overcrowded backpacker section of the island. We were going a bit buggy being so isolated and needed to check our email to make sure we were still supposed to pick Leah up in Bangkok on the weekend. Anyway, I'm sure what those travel snobs were talking about. The other side of the island (we went to Lonely Beach) was just fine! We both enjoyed having restaurant and guesthouse options and being about to go to convenience stores and shops. It was also nice having constant electricity again. We did visit in the low season so it's possible that things are like they described when it's high season. I wouldn't write it off though!
We stayed at a decent guesthouse that was supposed to have wireless (however a storm had just broken their something or other) and even had a mini pool (they were affiliated with a scuba school). This was the point in the trip when we noticed that the hinge on our laptop was smashed so we wouldn't have been able to use wireless anyway (this caused the connection to our screen to be messed up). You did have to walk to the nice beach but it took less than 5 minutes and most of the restaurants played films in the evenings. We had a really nice time on Koh Chang! Matt went on an epic trek up one of the mountains in the provincial park but I'll let him guest blog about that little experience. If you want to see pictures from Koh Chang go here!