Things To Do on Koh Chang
Take a break from the beach and try this wide range of activities which await you both on shore and inland.
Coco Massage (08 6827 4552) is easy to find on Chai Chet because of the clear, colorful sign at the front of the shop. It specializes in Reflexology and Traditional Thai massage. The interior is clean and orderly, while the staff is accommodating and friendly.
Dolphin Divers (087-028-1627, 039-557-030) is conveniently located at the Emerald Cove Koh Chang. It operates speedboats from the resort’s beach to the nearest dive sites in only 15 minutes. The diving group is usually kept at a minimal number so that attention to detail is ensured. The center is managed by a Swiss team who work under the mantra of quality in service and professionalism. The instructors are stationed around the resort’s swimming pool and offer a free trial session at the pool during Thursdays and Saturdays.
Tree Top Adventure Park (08 4310 7600) is located nearby the Mercure Hideaway Koh Chang. It is a perfect adventure game for families and groups of all ages where you’ll be walking on rope bridges, doing Tarzan swings, flying skateboards or negotiating giant zip lines. It is an environment-friendly park trans- formed from a hill-top jungle and rubber plantation. There is a mandatory briefing where guests are trained with the basic skills before they can get on the Beginner’s Course and the more demanding higher Advance Course. Children measuring below 140 cm or are below 12 years old can play in the Kids’ Course.
Golf Driving Range
Golf enthusiasts will be happy to know that there are now golf driving ranges on Koh Chang. Koh Chang Cookies Driving Range is located on Ban Klong Son. It is open from 9:00 a.m.-8:00 p.m. One tray costs THB 40 per person and contains 40 balls. It also provides free roundtrip transfer from any resort on the island. Another one is at the Baan Look Chang Resort on Ban Had Sai Daeng on the Eastern side of the island. It is a seaside golf driving range and opens from 9:00 a.m.-9:00 p.m. One tray costs THB 200 per person.
BB Gun Shooting Range
Koh Chang BB Gun is located on Klong Prao Beach and is open from 9:00 a.m. until nighttime. It started in 2007 and the game area measures 120 meters long and 8 meters wide. They charge THB 450 per person and can either go in the morning at 9:00 a.m.-12:00 nn or in the afternoon at 1:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. They also provide free roundtrip transfer from most resorts on the island.
The Shrine of Chao Po Koh Chang
Leading up a steep road on the west coast from Klong Son to Ao Sapparos, not too far from the pier, you will see the shrine of Chao Po (literally the Deity of Koh Chang) and Chao Mae Koh Chang on the left. This is a highly revered shrine especially for local people. Fishermen struck by monsoon or lost their directions in the sea put their faith on Chao Po Koh Chang. Legend has it that many prayers have been answered, and the locals have been praying to Chao Po Koh Chang concerning various hardships, from low yield harvests to sickness or other miseries.
Thai Cooking Schools
Classes usually take a few hours and students share the fun and their food. The Koh Chang Thai Cooking School is the first to offer original Thai cooking class on the island, and have courses every day at 1,000 Baht per person. It obtained its inspiration from the owner’s grandmother and therefore, is very much family-oriented. Many resorts offer cooking lessons such as Aiyapura Resort, Koh Chang which offers a five-dish course inclusive of a Thai dessert at 1,500 Baht per student and Chang Buri Resort & Spa which has a smaller package of three-main dish course at 800 Baht and 500 Baht for a 4-student group. All Thai cooking classes issue certificates after you graduate.
The Chang Chutiman Tour (Tel : 089-939-6676, 087-135-7424) near Klong Prao Beach operates two-hour treks for 900 Baht (children under five years old free of charge) that take you into the tropical rainforest, pomelo orchards and the secluded Wang Nam Kiew Waterfall. There you can relax, picnic, swim in the pond and enjoy the environment. Elephant-handling lessons by experienced mahouts are available.
The Ban Chang Thai is supported by the Asian Elephant Foundation. With their charming elephant family, they can also arrange a Buddhist style wedding at the elephant camp. A 1-hour trek is at Baht 500 per person, while a 2-hour trek including river and mountain trekking and elephant bathing is at Baht 900 per person. These rates include transportation to/from your hotel, and complimentary fresh fruits and drinking water. The camp also provides tree planting activities during the trek, and a trip to the natural Thai herb plantations. Participants in the tree-planting are awarded with certificates from the local officials of Koh Chang.
The Klong Son Elephant Camp or Ban Kwan Chang, also supported by the Asian Elephant Foundation, operates half-day tours from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. which include elephant bathing, feeding, performances, and a 11/2-hour trek into the forest. The cost is 900 Baht inclusive of transportation to and from the resort, drinking water and bananas and coconuts to feed the elephants. A 40-minute ride costs 500 Baht. A shorter programme at 1:00 p.m. includes a 35-minute trek and a 15-minute performance. Fare is 450 Baht inclusive of transportation.
Snorkeling & Diving
The best diving season is between October/November and April. The best sites are on the west and the southern tip of the island, between Koh Chang and Koh Kood with soft corals, anemones, myriad reef fish, and sometimes, eel. Hin Luk Bat and Hin Lap both have coral seamounts. Further south, white-tip reef sharks can be found near Hin Phrai Nam.
In addition, there are two wreck dive sites. The Koh Chang Wreck is a Thai warship sunk by the French navy in 1941. The wreck is only 15 metres deep in the Salakphet Bay on the southern tip of the island. The other wreck is the Pak One Wreck which sank after hitting a coral reef in August 1996 on its way to Vietnam. It resurfaced almost 8 years later. The 900-ton sunken tanker posed a danger to ships on international waters. The Royal Thai Navy drained off its 600 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas and re-sank it between Koh Chang and Koh Samet. It now lies horizontally in 35-metre deep waters.
There are a few diving centres on Koh Chang such as the Ploy Scuba Diving in Bang Bao. Following the standards of the sister centre in Koh Samet, this is the premier diving operator in Eastern Thailand. BB Divers at Bang Bao is a 5-star PADI IDC dive centre. This Instructor Development Centre has run very successful PADI IDC programs and has produced qualified diving instructors now working around the world. Others include the Koh Chang Dive Centre on Kai Bae Beach, Paradise Scuba Divers at the Klong Prao Resort and Koh Chang Divers on Had Sai Khao (White Sand Beach).
Nang Nual Beach Resort on Kai Bae Beach can arrange for a parasailing activity right at the resort. They charge THB 800 per time per person and allowing you to be up in the air for a period of 15 minutes. This activity is open to adults and children 12 years old and above only.
The yacht berthing facility at Ao Salak Phet at the Koh Chang Marina & Resort provides mooring service on the island. The marina provides launching, wet and dry berth retrieving, supplies and other maintenance services. Its yacht charter service is planned for opening soon. The marina also offers speedboat transportation service to other islands for island hopping and snorkeling trips.
Places such the FuramaXclusive Resort and Spa Aiyapura, Koh Chang treats you with naturally extracted herbs in spacious pavilions and outdoor private Salas. Amari Emerald Cove Resort’s spa is right on the beach with glass windows where you can enjoy the scenic beauty while relaxing amidst the scent of herbal oils. Mercure Hideaway Koh Chang offers private treatments in its brand new spa. Other noteworthy spas include the V.J. Hotel & Health Spa at Klong Prao, The Chill Koh Chang at Kai Bae, and Chang Buri Resort & Spa. Whether facial, foot, or body massages and treatments, it is all here. The first health resort on the island though, is The Spa Koh Chang Resort. It is located at Salak Khok Bay in the eastern side, and features serene natural environment, fasting, detox and wellness programs.
Massages, beauty and body treatments
As in any part of Thailand, masseuses soothe the muscles with traditional Thai massage or foot reflexology right on the beaches. A 1-hour massage on the beach costs around 200 Baht. Away from the beach are several massage places along the main road.
Tattoos, whether hen- na or permanent, begin at 400 Baht and are available on the beaches. There are also quite a number of tattoo parlors on the side of the road where you can come for a freestyle design or choose from the artist’s portfolio.
Canoes and Kayaking
Canoes can be found along the beaches, or check with your resort, as some resorts offer free kayaking for their guests. KayakChang.com is located in the Emerald Cove Resort and provides guided sea kayak expeditions. They provide single or multi-day expeditions, accompanied by professional guides, allowing guests to explore the national park in a unique way. Group tours are only up to a maximum of 6 persons in order to ensure a more personalized experience.
A speedboat usually takes 15 people. Fishing gear can be rented at 200 Baht a day, not including hooks and weights. You can charter a boat at 7,000 Baht. Similar 3-island trips to Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Kham cost 1,500 Baht per person or you can charter a boat for 15,000 Baht. Advance booking is necessary. A shorter excursion to Koh Yuak is available at only 300 Baht per person. Many resorts also offer chartered speedboat trips.
Leisure trips can easily be arranged at most resorts, beaches, fishing villages or from Laem Ngob on the mainland. Boats can take you to various sites for snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. There are many establishments along Hat Sai Khao (White Sand Beach), Klong Prao, Kai Bae and Bang Bao which organize boat trips for groups. It costs about 500 Baht per person, usually with a minimum of 10 persons for a trip.
There are sailboats available for charter. The Sea Adventures in Bang Bao provides 13-metre catamarans for private trip or dinner cruise to watch the spectacular sunset. Most boats are equipped with snorkeling equipments, freshwater shower and toilet.
Squid Fishing & Deep Sea Fishing
Both squid fishing and deep sea fishing are popular holiday activities in Koh Chang. The best time to fish for squid is in the evening between 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. Fishing enthusiasts can charter local fishing boats equipped with lighting and fishing tackles and jigs for about 5,000 Baht. Koh Kood, Koh Rang, Koh Wai and the area around Hin Look Bart of Koh Chang are the most popular fishing spots.
Jungle trekking and Hiking
The main road west of Koh Chang from Klong Son to Kai Bae is a popular route. On the northern part of the island, you can walk from Ban Klong Son to Had Sai Khao (White Sand Beach). The best hiking routes are in the southern half of the island since there are fewer roads. For those seeking more adventurous hikes, go inland to the steep and forested hills. Shorter hikes to waterfalls from their main entrances are becoming popular. There is a footpath that connects Ban Klong Phrao on the west coast with Klong Mayom on the east. However, this difficult 6 to 8-hour hike should be done with a knowledgeable local guide.
Khun Rath usually takes the hikers to Klong Goi Jungle, the largest jungle zone in Koh Chang, 1.3 km. away from Bang Bao. The hike starts at around 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. and costs 800 Baht per person for foreigners and 600 Baht per person for Thais, inclusive of transfer service, food, beverage, and hiking equipments (i.e. shoes, bags, mosquito repellant, etc.).
Spending a half day at one of the waterfalls and plunging into the fresh water pools after a short jungle trek is becoming a favourite activity. The most popular waterfall is the Klong Plu Waterfall which is only 2 kilometres from the main road at Klong Prao. The more adventurous tend to reach out to other waterfalls which are more challenging but rewarding.
Bird watching has become a popular activity on Koh Chang. Favourite sites include Khao Laem and Khao Yai. In these areas, native species such as Koh Chang hornbills are commonly spotted.
Chanthaburi is the province next to Trat and one of its local products is precious gemstone. There are a number of jewelry stores on the island that also sells other accessories to match. There are also tailoring shop that provides a wide range of choice from different fabrics, colours and styles. If you want to venture outside the hotel for a drink, there is now a wine gallery that provides wine and spirits from all regions of the world. There are also shops that sell hand-made crafts and knick knacks. In addition to that, the island also has a lot of bazaar that sells just about everything from clothing, food, souvenirs, and even household items.
It surprised many when all of a sudden there are over a dozen optical shops on Koh Chang. Reasons are low price, good value, international brands and quality as in the west and with a certificate of guarantee. A good example is the KT Optic which offers the services of their qualified opticians at all their 3 branches in Koh Chang.
Classic Customs Tailor offers a money back guarantee if you are not happy with their work. They keep their customers’ measurements for up to five years. Thus, allowing you to place mail orders from your home at a reasonable price.