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There are miles of beach to explore in Koh Chang—but there’s a lot more than that.
While on the island, why not take a boat trip? Or learn to cook Thai food from veteran chefs? Or actually ride an elephant? Koh Chang offers all of this, and it doesn’t end there. Here are seven opportunities you won’t want to miss.
The waters of Koh Chang and the surrounding islands are beautiful, as is the scenery. Why not change the view and get out on the water? Boat trips, either full-day or half-day, can be arranged from most major hotels and often include lunch and drinks. Charters depart from Klong Prao, White Sand, Bang Bao and Kai Bae beaches and prices vary substantially. The more people on the boat, the lower the cost per person. Take note: when they say full day, they mean it. A full-day charter often means 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
One unique way to see Koh Chang is on the back of an elephant, with a professional guide and handler (called a “mahout”) leading the way. Elephant trekking, as it is called, is one of the major attractions on Koh Chang, and there are several options. Ban Kwan Chang, an operator backed by the Asian Elephant Foundation, offers half-day tours 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.) that include a performance; bathing and feeding; and a one-hour trip into the forest. Another operator, the Chang Chutiman Tour on Klong Prao Beach, focuses more on riding, with a tropical rainforest tour that includes the Wang Nam Kiew Waterfall and pomelo orchards. One-hour trips are also available, generally leaving on the hour between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.
If you are impressed with the Thai food in Koh Chang—and the odds are that you will be—you can learn to cook from the veteran chefs who prepare it. Several resorts, including Aiyapura in Klong Son Beach and Blue Lagoon in Klong Prao Beach offer classes. So does Kati Culinary, a restaurant in Klong Prao. Expect to learn about popular Thai dishes and get some instruction in fruit and vegetable carving.
Koh Chang is home to several tattoo shops that offer both ink and henna designs. Like everywhere else in the world, the price varies with the artwork you choose.
Massage is available in every corner of Koh Chang, including right on the beach. Traditional Thai massage costs about 250 baht (8usd) for a one-hour session, but the treatments available—scrubs, scrapes and more—are endless. Many resorts and hotels have spa facilities, and there are also independent operators. One well-known outfit is Bodiwork Spa Academy, which operates in Klong Prao Beach and Kai Bea Beach. Perhaps the best-known is the facility run in the five-star Aiyapura Resort and Spa in Klong Son Beach.
Koh Chang is agreeable to hikers, with its mountainous terrain and deep forests. The most friendly hiking trails are on the southern end of the island. Inland, you’ll find more challenging terrain, meaning thick forest and steep hills. Local guides are available and advisable.
The forests on Koh Chang play home to some exotic aviary friends, including parrots, hornbills and sunbirds. The Nok and Nature Club organizes tours all year long, with a full-day experience costing about 1,000 baht.