The unhurried pace and absence of consumer pressures make small, dry, rocky KO SI CHANG an engaging place to get away from it all for a day or two. Unlike most other east-coast destinations, it offers no real beach life – it’s a populous, working island with a deep-sea port, rather than a tropical idyll – and there’s little to do here but explore the craggy coastline by kayak or ramble up and down its steep, scrubby contours on foot or by motorbike. The island is famous as the location of one of Rama V’s summer palaces, a few parts of which have been restored, and of a popular Chinese pilgrimage temple, as well as for its rare white squirrels, which live in the wooded patches inland.

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