Climb the peaks
Old-growth rainforest blankets mountains topping 700 metres on Ko Chang, making it a great place to do some jungle trekking as a break from the beach.
The short hikes to any of Ko Chang’s waterfalls offer casual hikers a glimpse of the jungle, with the trails to Khlong Jao Leuam and Kai Bae waterfalls being our favourites. In theory, you could locate trails leading further into the jungle from several waterfalls and just start walking, but these trails are not marked and quite a few trekkers have spent nights in the jungle after losing their way.
To do a solid day trek safely you’ll need to employ a local guide and Ko Chang is home to a few focusing on different parts of the island. All three speak English and have good reputations for pointing out wildlife including the rare loris, civet cat and many species of birds and reptiles.
Ko Chang’s jungle is no joke: prepare for leeches, especially when hiking after a rain, and bring along extra water and mozzie spray. Treks range from 500 to 1,500 baht if going with a group and usually include lunch, limited drinking water and pick up at your hotel. We’ve heard that some treks draw groups of 20 people or more in high season—do consider all options before booking.
It’s possible to book treks by calling the following guides directly, but don’t be surprised if your call goes unanswered because the guide is in the middle of the jungle. Most travellers book through a resort, travel office or online agents like Koh Chang Guide and Coco Dee Bo.
With more than three decades of trekking experience on Ko Chang, Mr Ton leads a long and gruelling 12-hour trek that takes you through the wilderness via a path with some steep pulls and drops, starting near Khlong Phlu Waterfall and ending at the national park station at Than Mayom Waterfall. This birding specialist can also take you east of Khlong Prao for half-day treks.
Focusing on the central to southern reaches of Ko Chang’s interior accessible by trails that cut west from Kai Bae, Mr Raht runs treks up to the highest point on Ko Chang: the 744-metre summit of Khao Salak Phet. If you’re not up for that, he also uses his 13 years of Ko Chang trekking experience to lead groups on shorter hikes west of Kai Bae Waterfall. Treks of various lengths and difficulty can be tailored to individual abilities.
Koh Chang Trekking with Tan
Mr Tan has developed his expertise over years spent trekking in Ko Chang, Phuket, Chiang Mai and Australia. He leads a weekly trek up Khao Chom Prasat, a mountain rising to 626 metres with a summit affording sweeping views of the northeast coast. Known for his ability to spot rare birds and other critters, Tan also runs easier hikes suitable for families, including one that includes an elephant encounter at Baan Kwan Chang in Khlong Son.
Thomas Koch Travel & Adventure
Mr Thomas (or Teerasak to use his Thai name) runs a small tour company offering private treks to the summit of Khao Laem near the southeast corner of Ko Chang. Your reward for climbing above 600 metres is a vista over Salak Phet Bay that’s just heavenly on clear days. It’s also possible to combine trekking with kayaking and snorkeling if going with Thomas, making him a good choice for east-coast adventures led by a private guide.
Jungle Fever: T: (081) 558 3324 ; http://www.junglefever.in.th/
Jungleman Raht: T: (089) 763 0832 ; (080) 773 7009 ; http://rahtkohchangtrekking.blogspot.com/
Koh Chang Trekking with Tan: T: (089) 645 2019
Thomas Koch Travel & Adventure: T: (089) 816 1401 ; https://www.facebook.com/ThomasKohChang/
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.
Our top 10 other sights and activities in and around Ko Chang