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Koh Chang History

Prior to World War II, Ko Chang was little known by anyone. During this period, the few families there made a living growing coconuts and fruit on the mainland.

In January 1941, during the Japanese occupation, the Thai Navy fought the French in a battle in the waters to the south-east of Ko Chang.

Nothing else happened to Ko Chang until the first backpacker foreigners started arriving on the back local fishing boats in the mid-1970s. In 1982, Ko Chang along with surrounding area became part of the protected Mu Chang Marine. Only very recently, in less than ten years, Ko Chang has turned itself into a major tourist destination, both for foreigners and local Thais.

This sudden tourism boom however, has been fraught with controversy concerning land encroachment etc. The government is trying to "develop" it from a backpackers' paradise to a top-level destination, and construction work is going on throughout the island, with basic huts torn down to make way for fancy resorts.

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