9.11.2008

Koh Chang Activities

If you want to take a break from the beach, a wide range of activities await both on shore and inland.

THE SHRINE OF CHAO PO KOH CHANG
Leading up a steep road on the west coast to Ao Sapparos, not too far from the pier, you will see the shrine of Chao Po & Chao Mae Koh Chang (Ko Chang) on the right. This is a highly revered shrine for both locals and visitors. Chao Po Koh Chang (literally Godfather of Koh Chang) has guarded the Khon Kard (the original name of Trat people) for generations. Fishermen who get lost or become endangered by the monsoons seek faith and guidance from Chao Po Koh Chang. Legend has it that many prayers have been answered, and the locals have been praying to Chao Po Koh Chang concerning various hardships, from low yield harvests, to sickness or other miseries.


HIKING
The main road west of Koh Chang from Klong Son to Kai Bae is a popular route. On the northern part of the island, walk from Ban Khlong Son to Had Sai Khao (White Sand Beach). The best hikes though are in the southern half of the island, since fewer roads intrude. For difficult hikes, go inland to the steep and forested hills. Shorter hikes to waterfalls from their main entrances are gaining popularity. There is a footpath that connects Ban Khlong Phrao on the west coast with Khlong Mayom on the east. However, this difficult 6-8 hour hike should be done with a local guide.


THAI COOKING SCHOOLS
If there's one thing, visitors take away with them is the remembrance of Thai cuisine. Nowadays, it's easy enough to re-create a lot of your favourites dishes since most Thai ingredients are easily obtainable or can be substituted. Such knowledge is given at most Thai cooking schools, including that at Aiyapura Resort and Spa. Classes take a few hours and students usually learn the art of fruit and vegetable carving, traditional stir fry dishes, and the opportunity to cook and dine with fellow students after class.


WINE GALLERY
For those of you wanting to venture outside your hotel for a drink, there's now a Wine Gallery that features indoor and outdoor seating for a sip of wine from all regions in the world. They feature weekly wine parties complete with snacks and music, such as Latino Cuban style. They're located at the Kai Bae Beach area.


ELEPHANT TREKKING
There are two elephant trekking operators on Koh Chang (Ko Chang). The Chang Chutiman Tour (Tel. 09-939-6676, 07-135-7424) near Klong Prao Beach operates two-hour treks for 900 Baht (children under five years old free of charge) that take you into the tropical rainforest, pomelo orchards and the secluded Wang Nam Kiew Waterfall. There you can relax, picnic, swim in the pond and enjoy the environment. Elephant-handling lessons by experienced mahouts are available.
During harvest seasons in March/April, and in August/September visitors are allowed to pick ripe pomelos from the trees compliments of Chutiman, the proprietor. On the return your mahout (elephant guide) will lead the elephant on a different path that shows wild vegetation, giant trees and wildlife. Cold drinks and coffee are served as you refresh back at the camp. If you don't have time, you can still experience the thrill of a one-hour trek (500 baht) without the waterfall. Open daily from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, you can start your tour any time of the day.

The Klong Son Elephant Camp or Ban Kwan Chang (Tel. 01-919-3995), supported by the Asian Elephant Foundation, operates half-day tours from 8.30 am to 11.30 am which include elephant bathing, feeding, performances, and a 1 1/2-hour trek into the forest. The cost is 900 baht inclusive of transportation to and from the resort, your drinking water, and bananas and coconuts to feed the elephants. A forty minute ride costs 500 baht. A smaller program at 1.00 pm includes a 35-minute trek and a 15-minute performance. Fare is 450 baht inclusive of transportation.


BOATING
Leisure trips can easily be arranged at most resorts, beaches, fishing villages or from Laem Ngob on the mainland. Boats can deliver you to various sites for snorkeling, scuba diving and fishing. There are many establishments along Hat Sai Khao (White Sand Beach), Klong Prao, Kai Bae and Bang Bao which organize group boat trips. It costs approximately 400-600 baht per person, usually with a minimum of 10 persons on a trip. Vanida Tour organizes a full-day snorkeling trip to Koh Rang, Koh Kra, Koh Wai at 600 baht per person inclusive of lunch boxes and drinks. Private trips can also be arranged at about 5,000 baht for a full-day of snorkeling.


SPEEDBOATS
If you lack time, speedboats can take you to more places or to sites further from the island. The Kai Bae Hut Shop organizes four-island packages to Koh Yak, Koh Kra, Koh Rang, and Koh Wai at 700 baht per person inclusive of lunch boxes, fruits, drinks and snorkeling equipments. The full-day trip usually begins at 09.00 am and ends before 05.00 pm in time for you to freshen up before dinner.

A speedboat usually takes 15 people. Fishing gear can be rented at 200 baht a day, not including hooks and weights. You can charter a boat for 7,000 baht. Similar three-island trips to Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Kham cost 1,500 baht per person or 15,000 baht a charter. Advance booking is necessary. A smaller excursion to Koh Yuak is available at only 200 baht per person. The Klong Prao Resort offers chartered speedboat trips to Koh Yuak at 2,500 baht or a four-island package at 8,000 baht. There are some resorts on other islands such as Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Ngam that include boat trips in their package rates.


CANOES AND KAYAKING
For a relaxing trip along the coastlines, try paddling canoes, which cost only 100 baht an hour or about 500 baht a day. Canoes can be found along the beaches and some resorts. Some resorts offer free kayaking for their guests. Triyaks at Kai Bae Hut Shop cost 150 baht per hour or 100 baht per hour for two.


SNORKELING & DIVING
The best diving season is between October/November and April. The best sites are on the west and southern tip of the island, between Koh Chang (Ko Chang) and Koh Kood (Ko Kut). There you can see soft corals, anemones, myriad reef fish, and sometimes eel. Hin Luk Bat and Hin Lap both have coral seamounts. Further south, white-tip reef sharks can be found near Hin Phrai Nam.
In addition, there are two wreck dive sites. The Koh Chang Wreck is a Thai warship sunk by the French navy in 1941. The wreck is only 15 metres deep in the Salakphet Bay on the southern tip of the island. The other wreck is the Pak One Wreck which sank after hitting the coral reef in August 1996 on its way to Vietnam, and resurfaced almost eight years later. The 900-ton sunken tanker posed a danger to ships in international waters. The Royal Thai Navy drained off its 600 tonnes of liquefied petroleum gas and resank it between Koh Chang and Koh Samet. It now lies horizontally in 35-metre-deep waters.

There are a few diving centres on Koh Chang (Ko Chang) such as the Dive Adventure in Bang Bao which offers liveaboard dives to Cambodia and some prime sites. Others include the Koh Chang Dive Center on Kai Bae Beach, Paradise Scuba Divers at the Klong Prao Resort and Koh Chang Divers on Had Sai Khao (White Sand Beach), which offers PADI certification for beginners.
A couple of dive centers operate out of Koh Mak. Boat trips to various dive sites range from 1,800 to 3,000 baht depending on distances, and typically include two dives, full equipment, transportation, food, drinks and a divemaster.

SPAS
If there's one thing Koh Chang (Ko Chang) has, it's a wealth of spas with a plethora of treatments meant to sooth, calm and relax you. To pamper yourself after a day on the beach, places such as the Koh Chang Grand Orchid Resort and Spa features a traditional Thai-styled building nestled within the vicinity of guest bungalows for easy walking. Aiyapura Resort and Spa offers relaxing massage treatments meant to leave you ready to face the next day's activities while Aana Resort and Spa has its spa set amidst swaying coconut trees and a great view of the Khlong Prao area. At V.J. Hotel and Health Spa, treatments that are meant to contribute to long term health while Koh Chang Resort and Spa offers facial massages and treatments, using effective traditional approaches.


MASSAGES, BEAUTY AND BODY TREATMENTS
As in any part of Thailand, masseuses soothe the muscles with traditional Thai massage or foot reflexology right on the beaches. A one-hour massage on the beach costs around 200 baht. Away from the beach are several massage places along the main road. Massage services in the compound of the Boutique Resort and Health Spa is one of several professional places offering rejuvenating treatments.

Other pampering activities are offered as well, such as hair braiding, manicures and pedicures. Other luxury treatments include foot scrubs and skin scraping treatments to ensure that your feet remain smooth throughout your vacation.


TATTOO
Tattoo artists are scattered throughout the island, from serious permanent tattoo to temporary henna designs created right on the beach by wandering henna tattoo artists. Tattoos, whether henna or permanent begin at 400 Baht. Well-known tattooist, Jack offers custom tattoos at Tantawan Pub and Restaurant on White Sand Beach.




BIRD SANCTUARY
Gaining popularity on Koh Chang (Ko Chang) is the activity of bird watching in places on the island such as Khao Leam and Khao Yai for species that are native to the area, such as Koh Chang hornbills, and understanding their relationship to Koh Chang's ecosystem. Such visits are usually organized year-round by the trekkers of Koh Chang and the Nok and Nature Club with renown bird watcher and nature lover Mongkol Wongkalasin. The one-day tour starts at 1,000 Baht. Interested persons can buy tickets from the "Trekkers of Koh Chang" at 09-147-940, 01-578-7513, 039-525-029.


VIEWING FIREFLIES
During the cooler months in Koh Chang (Ko Chang), visitors have the opportunity to rent a boat that glides gently along the waters at night to see fireflies light up the mangrove trees. Thousands of fireflies send out mating signals as they settle into the mangrove forest, making a whole tree come alive with their simultaneous flashing along the dark river waters. It's like seeing rows of Christmas trees in the quiet night. Hotels like Koh Chang Grand Orchid Resort & Spa and Aana Resort & Spa have information on where to go to see the fireflies, complete with a boat and guide.


VISITING CAMBODIA
A recent trend is to visit the neighboringCambodia from Trat. Everyday, mini-buses await passengers who leave in the early morning hours (6.00 am or 8.00 am). There are two routes available; you can go from Trat to Aranyapathet which takes you to the border and onward to Siem Reap, or cross into Cambodia at Haad Lek (Thailand's border town with Cambodia) into Koh Kong province.

Air-con mini buses run between Trat and Haad Lek from 05.00 am until 05.00 pm till 1700 hours. It costs 100 baht for the almost 1? hour trip. Obtain your visa at the border crossing on arrival. You can then go to Sihanoukville by road or by boat. By road, rent a van or motorcycle at the border. Depending on the road conditions (and weather) it can take from 4 to 7 hours. By boat, get a river-boat taxi to Koh Kong city for 20-40 baht. In Koh Kong city take a speed boat to Sihanoukville. It's another 3 hours to Phnom Penh from Sihanoukville.

To go to Siem Reap directly, take a tour bus (about 400 baht) that goes to Aranyaprathet, then cross into Poipet on the Cambodian side. It's a further 3-6 hour bus or taxi to Siem Reap.


INTERNET CAFES
While Koh Chang (Ko Chang) offers the chance to get away from it all, the island nevertheless provides high speed internet cafes in order to keep in touch. The island is dotted with stand alone internet cafes with high speed access. Hotels also offer many medium to high tech options that go beyond surfing the internet and checking email. One of the popular services is burning vacation photos on to CDs, a good thing to do in order to free up memory space for more vacation snapshots. Book your spot early. Many internet cafes like Flipper at V.J. Plaza fill up early with e-mail users.


Published At : http://www.kohchangholiday.com

2 comments:

Captain Hook Resort said...

I have been there for a year and I want you to go with us at Koh Chang.if you want a lovely beach with just one place on it. I have been looking for a place to go in Thailand. Thank you so much.

Koh Chang said...

Koh Chang is really a great travel and holiday island in Thailand! Enjoy!