Hotel giant GHM Group and Aquarius International Development (AQI) dropped a big one on us today, announcing plans to develop an enormous, 200-room luxury resort on Koh Chang.

Scheduled to open in 2023, and linked to a sprawling project set to include pool villas and condos, The Chedi Aquarius Koh Chang will feature an all-day-dining restaurant, cliff-edge restaurant, rooftop bar, spa, infinity pool with a pool bar, and conference facilities overlooking the Gulf of Thailand. According to the popular I Am Koh Chang website, the property developers have also purchased tiny Koh Man Nai off Kai Bae beach, with plans to develop what little part of the island can be developed into an exclusive beach club and residences. 

Although still not exactly easy to reach from our sprawling metropolis, which is 300km away by car or (shudder) van, Koh Chang is accessible by flight and ferry from Trat. The ferry from the Laem Ngop pier takes less than an hour.  

Koh Chang, Thailand’s third largest island, may not get the same international recognition as the big boys of Phuket and Samui, but its off-the-beaten-tracks vibes, postcard-perfect beaches, and jungle-clad hills still draw nearly two million visitors each year, pandemics aside. However, the arrival of another massive luxury resort may signal changes looming on the horizon.