What To Do in Koh Chang Thailand
There are only two things you can do on an island and both are the opposite of each other. Some people just want to test hammocks hanging on coconut palms and count the waves as they sip on Pina Coladas, Mojitos or if you are in Thailand then Chang. Then there are others who like to go out and live the famed island life. Now while given a choice I would prefer to test hammocks and count waves, every once in a while your lazy bones desi Traveler also lives the life of a fearless explorer who goes in search of adventure hopping from one island to another. Yes, you read it right this post is about a day spending island hopping from one island to another in Koh Chang Thailand and what a day it was, from dawn to dusk and then even late night. So join me on this jaunt as I go back in time and relive that day in Koh Chang.
OK before you say what happened to our lazy traveler, let me take you back to the tropical paradise of Koh Chang. Now those of you are familiar with even a bit of Thai culture and language you will know that Chang is the Thai word for Elephant, and the Thais have a special bond with Elephants just like we Indians. No wonder in Thailand they worship Ganesha just like we do in India.
Now there is some correlation between the name Koh Chang or Elephant Island, Koh = Island and Chang =Elephant in Thai and as per one of them, the island head looks like an Elephant in the map / aerial view. Though I have my doubts about this theory but I will go by it, after all, who am I to question a folklore? But the reason I doubt this theory of Koh Chang being called Elephant island is because of its shape is that in earlier days there were no aerial surveys and definitely the maps were not as accurate they are today. Anyways Koh Chang it and this post is about a day spent Island Hopping in Koh Chang Thailand.
If you wonder what I meant by island hopping in Koh Chang is then please hold on. Let us back up a little and go back into the geography of Koh Chang Island. I think I mentioned in my blog post about Bangkok Airways that our purpose of flying to Trat was to go to Koh Chang Island. Koh Chang is only a ferry ride from the mainland Thailand in Trat and there is a ferry service between Trat and Koh Chang almost every hour that will take you to Koh Chang in less than 45 minutes and you can enjoy the ferry ride from the upper deck while cars, bikes etc. are carried on the lower deck.
Let us straight away go the glorious morning in Koh Chang as I had a breakfast overlooking the vast ocean in front of me and the beautiful pool of our hotel Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort. Now, how often this happens when you are served Ocean in the main course and a vast pool as sides? Well what can I say; even travel bloggers get lucky some time. This was kind of omen for the beautiful day that was about to unfold for us.
Snorkeling in Koh Chang, Thailand
As we hopped into our car to go to the harbor where our private boat was waiting to take us to our first snorkeling destination I had a good feeling about this day. The harbor for fishing trawlers and tourist boats in Koh Chang has a rather longish peer and you walk through a narrow street, without realizing that you are actually walking on the peer with houses/shops on both sides actually standing on stilts. As we hopped onto our speed boat our captain cum boat owner asked us to wear life jackets as I snuggled into the life jacket just to break some ice I asked him jokingly
“ So are we going to see some fish in the waters as we snorkel”
“ See, Fish ?” he clearly looked offended, but being an ever smiling Thai he said calmly,
“ You see Fish, lots of fish, I take you to best Snorkeling place in Koh Chang, the Best Snorkeling Place in whole of Koh Chang, yes you SEE FISH, lots of Fish, I take you to BEST Snorkeling in Koh Chang “
As we left the pier and I clicked the streaks of waves that our speed boat was leaving behind, I was wondering what this “ Best Snorkeling place in Koh Chang” had in store for us.
We sped past ferries taking tourists to various snorkeling spots in the area, but as our captain cum boat owner has assured us we were going to the “ Best Snorkeling place in Koh Chang” For some time there was nothing to be seen around us as our speedboat jumped on the waves and any fishing boat that moved at a fishing boat pace. Suddenly our captain jumped and said,
“ Look there, We first to come, BEST Snorkeling in Thailand” a bit puzzled and a lot happy that instead of only the best snorkeling place in Koh Chang we were now in the best snorkeling place in Thailand we decided to check for ourselves. As one by one everybody from our group jumped into clear water, I realized 4 things
- I had forgotten my swimwear in hotel
- I don’t own a GoPro camera
- I could see some fish in clear waters sitting on the boat itself.
- I am really good at making excuses to not enter the water
Soon realizing these 4 things I asked myself 3 questions
- “ Dear desi do you really want to do snorkeling without swimwear “
- What is the point of going in water if I cannot click the pictures of the colorful fish inside the water?
- Why should I not click pictures of people snorkeling? As there is no law that says that you have to click pictures of only underwater creatures when you go for snorkeling, you can always click pictures of people snorkeling also.
I patted my back on this 2 phase, 7 point revelation and decided to focus on clicking my fellow travelers and the turquoise Thai Waters of Ko Wai, the best Snorkeling place in Thailand as per our speed boat captain and owner.
As I was observing the fellow travelers and future snorkelers getting into those blue waters I learned a few more things about snorkeling in clear waters of Koh Chang Thailand
It is so easy to tell people to jump in the water with a motivational short speech. I am really good at telling people to jump in water 🙂
“ Jump Jump, nothing will happen” I cheered, as a seasoned fellow travel blogger and not so seasoned snorkeler Manjulika Pramod will vouch for it, for when she was reluctant to jump in the water I was cheering her louder than IPL cheerleaders. – ” Jump Manjulika Jump, nothing will happen, jump ” 🙂 🙂
Those who jumped in the waters with their snorkeling gear were soon jumping with joy at seeing the colorful fish, and other marine creatures around them. While those of us who stayed on the boat were wondering what the fuss was all about, except when once in a while we caught a glimpse of a cousin of Nemo or one of his gang members and we too jumped with joy on finding Nemo in the crystal clear waters of Ko Wai the little Thai island which was our first snorkeling spot, the best snorkeling spot in Thailand as per our captain.
I am sure Nietzsche would have approved“And those who were seen dancing were thought to be insane by those who could not hear the music.”
Soon some of the tourist boats that we have left behind and joined us in the Ko Wai islands for snorkeling, so our captain announced.
“Please come back on the boat, let us go to another island” One of the fellow journalists objected on the pretext that he is really having fun. So our speed boat captain and owner announced
“Nothing to worry, we now go to best snorkeling in whole of ASIA”
Aha, we were graduating, I thought. The owner and captain of our speedboat was taking us in phases to the best snorkeling places as per their “ BESTNESS” quotient. We started in morning from Koh Chang with a promise to go to best snorkeling in Koh Chang, but our kind speedboat captain and owner, brought us to best snorkeling in Thailand, and now the good captain wants to take us to best snorkeling in Asia.
The best snorkeling spot in Asia turned out to be a little island of Ko Rang. Now I personally liked Ko Rang more than Ko Wai, because in Ko Wai there are no shallow waters so you straight jump in deep waters for snorkeling. This may be fine for experienced snorkelers, but for beginners, it is not a good idea especially if they are being motivated by cheerleaders sitting on boat encouraging them to jump.
On the other hand, Ko Rang has a large beach and just a lap or two away you have rocks standing in deep waters so the noobs can overcome their fear of water on the beach and the experienced one can go to the deep waters and everybody is happy. So my suggestion would be if you are new to snorkeling start with clear waters on the beach like in Ko Rang and then graduate to deep waters.
Note to the readers: BTW, I and wife jee also did our first snorkeling on a clear beach somewhere on a remote island near Phuket long time ago jee. May be the fishes are more in deep waters, but fear is less on the beach side jee.
The beauty of Ko Rang is that sitting on the beach you can see the crystal clear waters as fish come and swim next to you, only to vanish if you try to touch them. Less than 50 meters into the waters you have a group of rocks that is the best Snorkeling place in Asia and if you are not in the mood to go into the water, you can just relax on the beach or swing like Tarzan on one of the swings tied to branches hanging above waters. Or you can be like me sit back, relax and click pictures of those who trying to enjoy snorkeling, swimming, Tarjaning ( The act of mimicking Tarzan, who actually mimicked Apes of Africa, jumping from one tree to another hoping to impress an already impressed Jane but pretending otherwise, hence confusing Tarzan who started mimicking Apes of Africa in his confusion !!! Got it? No problem, nor did Tarzan otherwise he would not have aped the apes of Africa in Mowgli inspired designer wear.)
Question to readers: Do you think I can get a copyright on word Tarjaning or I am too late?
Important point Mu Ko Chang National Park
Please note that all the islands for Snorkeling in the Koh Chang area are part of Mu Ko Chang National Park and all normal rules of wildlife national park should be observed. Do not harm any of the fish or other marine creatures. Please do not collect any specimens of plants or animals from water. It is ok to pick and see but then put back the sea shells again in to the water.
All this Tarjaning, Snorkeling, photographing etc. was making me hungry so I asked the captain cum owner of our speedboat,
“ Captain what is the plan for lunch ?”
“Lunch? Ah, Lunch!! Yes Lunch 🙂 ” his expression changed from question to smile in fraction of second and he continued, “ Yes we must have lunch, I take you to best place in Koh Chang for Lunch, we go to Ko Maak, best lunch in Thailand, I am sure you will enjoy it”
So we were looking forward to our best lunch in Koh Chang as the captain maneuvered the speed boat towards our lunch island Ko Mak. This Ko Mak turned out to be one busy island in the area. Ko Mak besides many luxury and eco resorts also has a thriving local population, mini market, and even a local Post Office, a perfect place to post your picture perfect postcards from Thai Tropical Paradise Islands in Koh Chang, I must say.
We had lunch at the beachside Italy restaurant at Ko Mak resort and in this remote island these guys were serving Thai and Italian cuisine. Now I must say Thai food is not only one of the most delicious and flavorful food around, the way Thai food is presented with a garnish of herbs and orchid flowers it also looks very good.
Soon we were enjoying our Pad Thai Kai (Fried Noodle With Chicken ), Moo Thod Kathin ( Fried Pork With Garlic), Mod-Pad- Ka-Pro ( Frid Pork with basil) , Thod Mod Pha ( Fish Cakes) & Satay – Kai ( Chicken Satay), for vegetarians like me they had some thin crust Tomato pizza which also came with a garnish of basil & orchid flowers, I don’t know if others eat Orchids or not, but I have developed a taste for them.
Post lunch we just relaxed on the Ko Mak island and clicked some pictures of the boats passing by and some very inviting hammocks. As always I enquired if they were looking for any hammock testers and passed on my resume that highlights my experience and expertise as a tropical paradise hammock tester.
Our next stop in the Island hopping in Koh Chang was a pristine uninhabited island that few know about and even fewer visit. The only residents of the island are some Deer and a few caretakers of the coconut palms on the island. This secret island mostly unseen is called Ko Kradat and was one of the most pristine tropical islands I have been to and trust me I have been to a few.
As Ko Kradat is uninhabited except for a family of caretakers we had the island to over selves. We started exploring the island in true desi style in a tractor trolley painted in the bold colors of a Jugaad.
The other end of Ko Kradat island has a Coconut tree that stretches into the ocean and is actually featured on many promotional brochures of Trat and Koh Chang. This coconut tree stretching to embrace the blue waters of Gulf of Thailand was our muse for photography at the Ko Kradat island and we all had our fill of clicking it.
Alas, like all good things this day of island hopping in Ko Chang was also about to come to an end we were soon going back to our hotel in Koh Chang. A day before I have checked with the GM of the hotel if he could suggest a good spot for sunset in Koh Chang and he said very proudly
“ Well we have one of the best sunsets in Koh Chang, “ and boy was he right or what? So once we reached the hotel the rest of the evening was spent clicking one of the most glorious sunsets I have ever witnessed. But that dear reader is another story for another blog post. For I am just getting started.
How To Reach Koh Chang Thailand:
Koh Chang is in the Trat region of Thailand. You can reach Trat by a 4.5 -6-hour drive from Bangkok depending on traffic or a short comfortable flight by Bangkok Air to Trat. From Trat, Koh Chang is a short Ferry Ride away. Ferry from Trat to Koh Chang are available almost every 30-45 minutes throughout the day and it takes less than an hour to reach Koh Chang from Trat.
But before we signoff, I am sure you want to know who the mysterious girl in the stylish Fedora type hat in all the images of this post is ? Well this post would not have been possible without the kind support of wonderful Pema Choden Tenzin from Bhutan, she is the Editor and Founder of Yeewong Magazine Bhutan’s only Women & Lifestyle Magazine. I must thank Pema for appearing in all these images and also jumping, hopping, skipping, floating on my request all with a big smile on her face. Do check her work on the official Instagram & Facebook page of Yeewong Magazine
Many thanks to TAT New Delhi for inviting me on this beautiful journey to Koh Chang Thailand
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