Snorkeling & Diving
Getting Wet and Wild
The best diving season is between November and April and the best dive sites are on the west and the southern tip of the island, between Koh Chang and Koh Kood where soft corals, anemones, myriad reef fish, and sometimes, eels are found. Hin Luk Bat and Hip Lap both have coral seamounts. Further south, white-tip reef sharks are found near Hin Phrai Nam. A decommissioned 100-meter long naval vessel, the HTMs Chang, was sunk on 22nd November 2012 off the southwest of Koh Chagn. Formerly the USS Lincoln County, it now serves as an artificial reef and the newest dive attraction. It is the biggest wreck in Thailand and is now home to a diversity of marine lives including barracuda, grouper, squid, octopus, batfish and many others.
There are two other popular wreck sites, the Koh Chang Wreck and the Pak One Wreck. The Koh Chang Wreck is a Thai warship sunk by the French navy in 1941. The wreck is only 15 meters deep in the Salakphet Bay on the southern tip of the island. The Pak One Wreck was sank after hitting a coral reef in August 1996 on its way to Vietnam. It resurfaced almost 8 years later. The 900-ton sunken tanker posed a danger to ships on international waters. The Royal Thai Navy drained off its 600 tons of liquefied petroleum gas and re-sank it between Koh Chang and Koh Samet. It now lies horizontally in 35-meter deep waters. Hotel transfers and food and drinks are provided dive centers. Some of the more reputable dive centers include the following.
Dolphin Divers (087 028 1627, 039 557 030) a center managed by a Swiss team operates speedboats from the Amari Emerald Cove's beach to the nearest dive sites in only 15 minutes. The instructors are stationed around the resort's swimming pool and offer free trial sessions at the pool during Thursdays and Saturdays. The diving group is usually kept at a minimal number so that attention to detail is ensured. However, there is more to this team than runner in bringing in more Thai master divers in the diving industry. His personal undertaking, "Diving Industry: Thais Can Do It" aims to help the people of Thailand discover and be aware of a good career in the diving industry. Mr. Ulmer's project has now organized conferences in 13 universities all over Bangkok. Interested students from the conference are offered free Discover Scuba Diving in Koh Chang during the weekend. Still looking for more sponsors, the project hopes to achieve a good balance of Thai and foreign speaking dive masters in the future. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/BangkokSeaEvents.
BB Divers at Bang Bao is a decade-old 5-star PADI IDC (Instructor Development Center) dive center. The IDC runs very successful PADI IDC programs and has produced qualified diving instructors now working around the world
Chang Diving Center at Klong Prao is another PADI 5-Star Dive Center offering scuba diving and snorkeling trips to the islands' rich seabeds of corals and teeming marine lives. The Scandinavian-run center boasts of multilingual staff who would help you in your quest for a memorable experience. The new custom built dive boat takes guests snorkeling at leisure.
Canoes and Kayaks - Canoes can be found along the beaches. Some resorts offer free kayaking for their guests. KayakChang.com is located on Amari Emerald Cove Koh Chang and provides guided sea kayak expeditions. They provide single or multi-day expeditions, accompanied by professional guides, allowing guests to explore the national park in a unique way. Group tours are only up to a maximum of 6 persons.
Mooring - The yacht berthing facility at Ao Salakphet at the Koh Chagn Marina & Resort provides mooring service on the island. The marina provides launching, wet and dry betrth retrieving, supplies and other maintenance services. Its yacht charter service is planned for opening soon. The marina also offers speedboat transportation service to other islands for island hopping and snorkeling trips.
Speedboats - 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 at 7,000 Baht. Similar 3-island trips to Koh Kood, Koh Mak and Koh Kham cost 1,500 Baht per person or you can charter a boat for 15,000 Baht. Advance booking is necessary. A shorter excursion to Koh Yuak is available at only 200 Baht per person. Many resorts also offer chartered speedboat trips.
Boating - Leisure trips can easily be arranged at most resorts, beaches, fishing villages or from Laem Ngob on the mainland. Boats can take 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 organizes boat trips for groups. Kon Tiki Luxury Gourmet Cruise sails through 15 islands taking passengers snorkeling at some of the best sites. the 3-decker boat measures 22 meters long and stops at 4 islands. Although it has a capacity for 100 people, it only takes maximum of 50 people per trip. Maximum safety is ensured with a registered Rescue Nurse on board. The luxury boat is equipped with air-conditioned meeting rooms, shower rooms and 2 comfort roooms.
Snorkeling gears and life jackets are all provided. European, Thai and Vegetarian dishes are prepared every morning by the Kai Bae Marina Restaurant. Breakfast and sumptuous lunch buffet are served on board. There are sailboats available for charter. The Sea Adventures at Bang Bao provides 13-meter catamarans for private trips or dinner cruise to watch the spectacular sunset. Most boats are equipped with snorkeling equipments, freshwater shower and toilet.
Parasailing - Nang Nual Beach Resort at Kai Bae Beach organizes parasailing activities at the resort at 800 Baht for a 15-minutes sail. The age limit is 12 years old.
Fishing - Both squid fishing and deep sea fishing are popular holiday activities in Koh Chang. The best time to fish for squid is in the evening between 6:00 to 9:00 pm. Fishing enthusiasts can charter local fishing boats equipped with lighting and fishing tackles and jigs for about 5,000 Baht. Koh Kood, Koh Rang, Koh Wai and the area around Hin Luk Bat of Koh Chang are the most popular fishing spots.