Plenty of options
Published/Last edited or updated: 20th April, 2018
Ko Chang has an overwhelming number of tour companies leading snorkeling, kayaking, sailing and fishing trips into the clear aquamarine water of Ko Rang, Ko Wai and many other pristine islands in the archipelago.
Starting in the kayak and SUP category, Khlong Kloi’s well-equipped watersports outfit, SUP Adventure Asia, will launch you on to the often-calm water of scenic Bang Bao Bay for 200 to 500 baht per day. With its jungle-draped estuaries and wide-open sea, Khlong Prao is also a great spot to SUP—rent your board at the station beside Iyara Seafood. For serious kayakers willing to throw down some cash, Kayak Chang offers “expeditions” of up to 12 days in which you can paddle to distant corners of the archipelago on high-quality kayaks.
The best place to paddle right off Ko Chang’s shores might just be Salak Khok, Salak Phet and the southeast coast, where you can rent a kayak at places like Salak Phet Seafood, Mangrove Hideaway and The Spa Koh Chang Resort. From any of these spots you can launch excursions into tranquil fishing villages and mangrove-draped rivers supporting thriving birdlife.
For the most part, the water directly off Ko Chang’s shores is not worth a snorkel. Iamkohchang.com says the three best places to snorkel right off Ko Chang are probably the small bay next to Cliff Cottage in West Bang Bao, Haad Khaimook near Paradise Palms, and in front of Chai Chet Resort at the northern tip of Khlong Prao Bay. You can rent snorkels at any of these resorts.
In Ko Chang’s far southeast, the folks at Baan Yemaya also told us about decent snorkeling potential off remote Haad Wai Shak, but bring your own snorkel (not to mention drinking water) if heading there.
Often with visibility of 10 metres or more offering glimpses of vibrant marine life around many reefs, pinnacles and islets, the snorkeling is much better at some of the Chang archipelago’s other 51 islands, like Ko Wai and Ko Rang, found further south and accessible as day trips from Ko Chang. A raft of companies run tours to different parts of the archipelago—choose wisely.
If considering a speedboat tour, beware that speedboats are involved in relatively frequent accidents all over Thailand, and the Ko Chang area is no exception. Speedboat tours also cost more and are less comfortable than larger boats. If you’re okay with the risk, the speediness results in a bit more time spent at the snorkeling sites and beaches.
Usually including lunch, snorkeling gear, pick up and drop off at your accommodation, but not the 200-baht national park fee, tours range from 600 baht for slow boats while speedboats start at 900 baht. The Coco Dee Bo travel agency’s website does a nice job of laying out many different options. Otherwise you any book through any of the bazillion travel desks found all over Ko Chang.
We prefer the medium-size boats with safer track records and plenty of room to move around on board. Opting for one of these does not mean you’ll have to miss some of the finest snorkeling in the archipelago, though you will most likely have to share your trip with 30 or more people -- we've seen some large boats just stuffed with passengers. Starting at 600 baht, tours offered by companies like Sattra and Perm Soonsub will take you to Ko Rang, an unspoilt national park island with fluffy white sand, clear aquamarine water and a strong claim to the title of most beautiful spot in the Chang archipelago. However Rang is closer to Ko Mak and the day trips launched from there tend to be more laid back.
Good options for snorkelers willing to pay a bit more for access to the expertise of local dive experts can tag along with one of the dive boats—we noticed Scuba Dawgs advertising a 900-baht day trip for snorkelers. Just keep in mind that dive boats usually don't pull up close enough to the beaches for travellers to wade to shore.
Those with more cash to flash could hop on a 13-metre catamaran for sailing and snorkeling around a rotating menu of islands with Sea Adventures. The small-group tours cost 1,950 baht per person for adults, with private trips starting at 21,000 baht. On board you’ll get an extensive barbecue buffet along with a shower and a more attentive crew than most tour boats.
Other “three-island” tours stick closer to Ko Chang and hit pretty Ko Wai, uninhabited Ko Khlum and some of the islets dotted in between, often with a fishing option thrown in. Among these companies, Mr Khai Tour has a reputation for value and a fun, laid-back vibe. Mr Khai also runs night squid-fishing tours that allow you to see first-hand how those boats marked by faint green lights on the horizon hunt for squid until the wee hours.
If you want to focus solely on fishing, companies based out of Bang Bao, such as Sea Hunter, offer a range of options starting at 1,300 baht for day trips.
Sailing enthusiasts might check out Sailing Koh Chang based at Island View Resort and run by a German man with decades of experience navigating the Gulf of Thailand and beyond. He offers sailboat charters, lessons, moorings and rooms on Salak Phet Bay.
Those looking to keep things private will find various types of boats available through travel agents and resorts, with the most common small speedboats starting at around 6,000 baht per day. Quite a few resorts offer small private boats and tours for their guests as well.
Coco Dee Bo Tours: Chai Chet on main road ; T: 086 328 4684 ; http://cocodeebokohchang.com/
Kayak Chang: Office at Emerald Cove Resort, Khlong Prao ; T: (097) 182 8319 ; http://kayakchang.com/
Sailing Koh Chang: Island View Resort, West Ao Salak Phet ; T: (082) 207 4588 ; http://www.sailingkohchang.com/
Sattra Tour: T: (081) 295 3145 ; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Satta-Tour-Bang-Bao-Koh-Chang/795783590485999
Sea Adventures: T: (092) 801 4369 ; https://www.facebook.com/Sea-Adventures-201842163178493/
Sea Hunter: T: (084) 778 223 ; (080) 643 053 ; http://www.seahunterkohchang.com/en/
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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