Although the primary reason for travelling to Koh Chang are its wonderful beaches, scenery and rainforest, visitors coming to the island for the first time will find that there is a plentiful choice of Koh Chang activities that offers something for all tastes and budgets.
Most holidaymakers stay at beaches such as Hat Sai Khao and take advantage of the proximity to the soft sand to work on their suntans or swim in the temperate seas. Other sea-based Koh Chang activities include taking coastal or inter-island cruises, kayaking, fishing, snorkelling, scuba diving and sailing.
Those requiring a change from sand and sea are able to head off into Koh Chang’s mountainous inland areas for a hike by themselves, on an organised trekking tour or even sitting in an elephant’s howdah. The inland regions boast pristine rainforest, diverse wildlife species, several waterfalls with adjacent bathing pools and a few interesting temples.
Swimming is a Koh Chang activity which most visitors have a go at least once during their holidays. The beaches slope gradually down into the sea and are safe for swimming during the high season months, but in the rainy season if the water looks rough then it is probably better not to swim as dangerous riptides prevail. Riptides over the years have overcome quite a few swimmers who have drowned, so be extremely careful.
Koh Chang Sailing Cruises
Several companies offer boat trips around the island as well as to its neighbours. The Amari Emerald Cove Resort offers day cruises to Koh Kood aboard its 16m Supercat catamaran. The vessel is capable of carrying 20 passengers in comfort. The cruises run three times a week during the November-May high season, leaving at 08:15 and arriving back at the resort around 17:00. Cruises cost around 2,000 Baht.
Sea Adventures is another catamaran, albeit slightly smaller, which offers one-day cruises around Koh Chang National Marine Park. The boat stops at a number of locations to allow passengers to go swimming or snorkelling. This vessel also offers evening dinner cruises. Cruises can be booked at island travel shops.
There are two elephant camps in the Klong Son District on Koh Chang where tourists are able to take a trip through lush rainforest sitting atop one of these magnificent beasts. The two camps are Baan Kwan Chang, affiliated to the Asian Elephant Foundation, and Chang Chutiman.
Baan Kwan Chang provides tourists with 90-minute treks through jungle, passing exotic flowers, and along streams. The camp is open from 08:30-11:00 daily. Costs are 900 baht a person and include transportation to and from hotels. Visitors making their own way to the camps can sometimes negotiate substantial discounts.
Chang Chutiman offers one-hour rides for 500 baht and is a quality outfit which comes highly recommended year after year.
Kayaking in Koh Chang
Several coastal hotels and resorts rent out kayaks. Salak Kok Kayak Station on the south side of the island offers kayak hire where visitors can paddle through the bay here and explore the canals that feed it.
Scuba Diving on Koh Chang
There are dive companies at all the major resorts on the west and south coasts of the island. The coral reefs and dive sites such as Hin Sam Sao in the waters around Koh Chang feature marine life that includes moray eels, trigger fish, whale sharks and turtles. Dive tours usually include transportation, equipment hire, a buffet lunch and beverages.
Trekking in Koh Chang
Tour companies in the major resorts can arrange treks into the unspoilt Koh Chang rainforest where waterfalls such as Nam Tok Klong Plu and Nam Tok Tan Mayom and varied avian and wildlife species can be espied. Trekkers have reported seeing macaques, Javan mongooses, deer and jungle pigs.
Shopping in Koh Chang
While Koh Chang may not offer the diversity of shopping in Paris or even Bangkok, it boasts lots of retail outlets where unique souvenirs and handicrafts as well as beachwear and locally made jewellery, clothing and bags can be purchased. The majority of decent Koh Chang shopping options are in White Sands Beach.
Spas in Koh Chang
Koh Chang offers holidaymakers abundant facilities where they are able to enjoy rejuvenating spa treatments, facial massages and traditional body massages. One recommended establishment is V.J. Searenity Koh Chang where aromatherapy, reflexology, massages, herbal steam saunas and Jacuzzis are all employed to give guests bespoke treatments.