The mountainous island, which also happens to be second largest in Thailand, is not just about pristine untouched beaches and gorgeous blue waters. Only hours away from Bangkok, this dream vacation spot is home to lofty peaks, gorgeous waterfalls, lush forests, flourishing wildlife and religious shrines. A land of interesting attractions and stunning views, Ko Chang will excite a nature lover as much as an adrenaline junkie and is undoubtedly the perfect Southeast Asian beach destination for all kinds of travelers, especially families. Here’s a list of things you absolutely must do on the island of Ko Chang.
1. Jungle treks
The island is dotted with some incredible forest trails, and the one that stands out is the cross-island path that connects Klong Plu and Than Mayom waterfalls. Here you get to truly appreciate Ko Chang’s rugged terrain, spot colorful birds and wildlife, and finally, cool down in a natural waterfall. You can embark on this day-long trek independently or with a group, or even opt for the more arduous ones to the top of Mount Salak Phet at 744 meters (2440 feet) and Mount Jom at 630 meters (2067 feet). The latter are the island’s best offerings and totally worth the sweat. For beginners and families, there are easy hikes, bird-watching trails as well as overnight treks with camping.
Address: 16/17 Moo 4, Chai Chet, 23170 Koh Chang, Thailand
Price: from 17 USD
Opening Hours: 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. (daily)
Duration: 3 to 10 hours (depending on trek)
Access: Directly opposite the new 7Eleven store in Chai Chet
Website: Coco Dee Bo Tours
2. Klong Plu Waterfall
Given its rugged mountainous terrain, Ko Chang is home to eight notable pristine waterfalls, fed by the mountain waters. The highlight is the island’s most popular one, Klong Plu, which is beautiful and accessible at the same time. A 20-minute hike down a 600-meter (1,968-foot) trail will lead you to the gushing waters between sheer cliffs to form a peaceful stream at the bottom that ultimately leads to clear pools, ideal for a swim and a soak. It’s perfectly safe to dive off the cliffs too, but make sure you check the water depth first. The park now has a canopy trail disappearing into the woods, an ideal detour on your way back, that lets you get close to wildlife.
Klong Plu waterfall
Address: Ko Chang, Trat, Thailand
Price: from 6 USD
Opening Hours: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (daily)
Duration: around 30 minutes to 1 hour
Near by Food: Thai Dutch Restaurant, Blue Lagoon, Ka-Ti Culinary Restaurant
Website: Klong Plu waterfall
3. Klong Prao Beach
This long stretch of white-sand beach, split by inland rivers or ‘klongs,’ is easily the biggest and most popular one on the island. Klong Prao houses a high concentration of flashy, high-end resorts with cheaper bungalows and backpackers accommodation thrown in between. Though nightlife is pretty low-key, it’s grabbed a lot of eyeballs with touristy things like elephant camps, cooking classes and plenty of food options. A part of the beach remains totally free of resorts – just some coconut groves with a few scattered beach shacks – ideal for a peaceful sunbath or an idle swim.
Address: Klong Prao Beach, Trat, Thailand
Duration: 30 minutes to 2 hours
Access: 6.7 kilometers (4.2 miles) south of White Sand Beach
Near by Food: Tonsai, Ka-Ti Culinary, and Iyara Seafood
Website: Klong Prao
4. Blue Lagoon Thai Cooking School
For the passionate home cooks and professional chefs, there’s good news! The island provides an opportunity to delve into a culinary journey of traditional Thai dishes and age-old spices. Popular with both locals and tourists, Blue Lagoon employs experienced teachers who showcase their talent with the aid of fresh organic ingredients and herbs handpicked from their own garden. While the staple Thai curries and sticky rice items are usually on the list, you also get to learn about the lesser-known, exotic dishes, all the while enjoying a lovely view of the lagoon.
Blue Lagoon Thai Cooking School
Address: 30/5 Khlong Prao Beach, Koh Chang, Trat, 23170 Ko Chang
Price: from 44 USD
Opening Hours: 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Duration: around 4 to 5 hours required
Access: South end of Klong Prao beach, adjacent to Centara Tropicana Resort.
Website: Blue Lagoon Thai Cooking School
5. Diving and kayaking
With reliable companies, beautiful dive sites, including the recently sunk HTMS Chang, and clear waters nurturing a rich marine life, the Ko Chang dive scene is pretty busy and vibrant. The popular ones include the rocky sites of Hin Rap, Hin Luk Bat, Hin Nam Tai (Blueberry Hill), Saam Sao Hin and Hin Rua Tek (Banana Rock), all of which lie 3 to 5 kilometers (1.8 to 3 miles) south/southwest of Ko Chang or falls within the Ko Rang marine park that houses popular sites like The Pinnacles (Hin Daeng Ga), Koh Laun, and Kuak Hin Ma (3 Finger Reef). While diving is a more popular activity, there are some pretty good options for kayaking as well. From the Klong Prao or Kai Bae areas, you have around six islands nearby, all of which are reachable by canoe. The Bangbao Bay is relatively easy to explore, as is reaching the remote Wai Chek beach, while paddling for a kilometer (0.6 miles) or so will find you on Ko Klum, a decent-sized island at the mouth of the bay.
Diving with BB Divers and kayaking with Kayak Chang
Address: BB Divers - 16/2 Bang Bao, 23170 Koh Chang, Trat, Thailand | Kayak Chang - 88/8 Moo 4 | Amari Emerald Cove Resort, 23170 Ko Chang, Thailand
Price: Diving from 44 USD (night dives) | Kayaking from 94 USD (single-day expeditions)
Duration: Diving - around 1 hour | Kayaking - around 5 to 6 hours
Contact: BB Divers +66-39558040 | Kayak Chang +66-87673 923
Website: [BB Divers] Not available | Kayak Chang
6. Treetop Adventure Park
If you’ve been fascinated by the tales of Tarzan as a kid (or an adult), this might just be your favorite place on the island. This adventure park is tropical forest converted into a thrill-seeker’s playground, without cutting down or even harming any trees. In fact, the dense foliage is the reason why this park is even possible. There are rope bridges, flying skateboards, Tarzan swings and zip lines for you to make your way from one tree to another. While it sounds rather exciting and somewhat scary, these are extremely safe as the entire course has been created and designed by French experts who’ll make you go through a mandatory safety briefing before letting you anywhere close to the ropes.
Treetop Adventure Park
Address: 115 Moo 1, Bailan Beach, T. Koh Chang Tai, A. 23170 Koh Chang, Trat
Price: from 37 USD
Opening Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Duration: around 1.5 hours required
Access: adjacent to the Dusit Princess Resort
Website: Treetop Adventure Park
7. Mu Ko Chang National Park viewpoint
While Ko Chang itself is a part of Mu Ko Chang National Park, along with some 50 odd islands, all of which can be explored over a few days and multiple boat/kayak rides, its viewpoint is something you can enjoy in an hour or so. The vantage point is atop a hill that provides sweeping views of the ocean and the surrounding islands. Once you’ve had your fill of the coastal vistas, head to the nearby palm-fringed beach with soft white sands and delightful swings hanging from the branches. Or wander off one of the many hiking trails leading to pristine waterfalls and exciting wildlife.
Mu Ko Chang National Park viewpoint
Address: Mu Ko Chang National Park, Thailand
Duration: 30 minutes to 1 hour
Near by Food: Barrito Bonito, Took Ka Ta Kai Moon, Moo4 Bistro
8. Boat trips with Sea Adventures
Finally, the entire trip is incomplete without experiencing the beauty of Ko Chang as an island and its handsome neighbors. That’s where Sea Adventures steps in, with their customized rides and group tours, to provide a wholesome ‘island-life’ experience. They sail off the White Sand Beach in their 13-square meter (140-square foot) catamaran and don’t really fit into the concept of regular boat trips.
A large deck between the hulls provides lots of room to sunbathe, relax or simply gaze out into the sea. The well-stocked boat has plenty of drinks and a barbecue buffet lunch, alongside the snorkeling gears. The ship starts from the west coast of Koh Chang to the smaller islands off Kai Bae and Klong Prao beaches, and then noses its way to Klong Son Bay for snorkeling at two small deserted islands.
Address: Trad, Thailand
Price: from 52 USD
Facebook: Sea Adventures Cataraman Tour
Your Ko Chang adventures await
While global tourism gripped the tropical islands of this exotic country, Ko Chang oddly remained untouched for a long time, despite its obvious allure until now. People have suddenly discovered this tropical paradise that boasts a rugged terrain, beautiful waterfalls, dense foliage, stunning beaches and friendly people, all thanks to social media backed by government grants and word of mouth. The still unspoiled island definitely warrants a touchdown before it turns into a busy destination like Phuket. And did we mention that Ko Chang lies very close to the border of Cambodia?
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