Diving & SnorkelingDive and snorkeling trips operate here mostly in the dry season, from mid-October until May, but there are a few places that stay open year-round. However, the visibility is so-so outside of the dry season. Most trips head to the islands of Ko Khlum and Ko Wai (a particularly beautiful island), or to Ko Phrao (for wreck dives). BB Divers (www.bbdivers-koh-chang.com; tel. 08615-56212) is the best of the island's many diving outfits, and they have locations around the island. Second place (a near one) goes to Dolphin Divers (www.scubadivingkohchang.com; tel. 086101-4783). PADI-certifications average 3,500B for an introductory lesson and more than 20,000B for a master-dive certification. Most of the diving outfits in town offer snorkeling trips as well or will let surface swimmers tag along on dive trips. If you're lucky, you might share your dive with a whale shark; these non-threatening (they’re filter feeders, not predators) underwater giants come around in high season.
Ko Chang Adventure: Hiking, Kayaking & Trekking
Several well-marked hiking trails crisscross the island’s peaks, but our favorite leads up from Had Klong Phrao to Klong Plu Waterfall, which is most spectacular July through August.
Ko Chang also has well-established trekking routes that venture into the lush forest so hikers can view local flora, fauna, and wildlife. While you could strike out on your own, you’ll likely spot more fauna, and better identify flora, with a guide. Evolution Tour (www.evolutiontour.com; tel. 03955-7078) employs expert local guides who grew up exploring the jungles for both casual family-friendly trips and full-day treks that challenge endurance levels. Jungle Fever (www.junglefever.in.th; tel. 081588-3324) is tops for bird-watching, but also offers scenic hikes to waterfalls and various peaks. Trips start at 700B.
Most hotels rent simple sea kayaks for about 300B per day. However, if you’re an experienced kayaker, KayakChang (www.kayakchang.com; tel. 087673-1753) stocks seriously high-end models. Their single and multiday trips are worth joining if you’d like to hop from uninhabited island to uninhabited island with a knowledgeable guide and skilled kayaker. Single day trips start at 3,700B; multiday trips start at 14,000B.
More outdoor fun can be had at the Treetop Adventure Park (www.treetopadventurepark.com; tel. 08431-07600), in Bai Lan, where you can teeter along walkways and whiz along zip lines suspended over the jungle. A half-day swinging through the canopy, including hotel pickup, costs 1,250B.