Unlike Thailand’s other two biggest islands, Koh Samui and Phuket, Koh Chang is a lot less developed, offering that rustic, authentic and unspoilt feeling that travellers are constantly in search of.
Koh Chang seems to have something for everyone; parties and fire shows on Lonely Beach for backpackers, high-end resorts for sunbed lovers, an incredible underwater world for water babies and rich jungle that is yet to be fully explored.
The island has maintained the back-to-nature feel that many of the popular islands in the south have sadly lost over the years. However this is now quickly changing in Koh Chang too. Development is rapidly increasing across the island, so if a barely touched island is what you’re after we’d recommend not waiting too long to visit Koh Chang.
If you’ve now added Koh Chang to your destination list, we’ve put together some of our favourite things to do on the island.
Don’t have time to read the whole article? Here are our top 3 activities to do:
#1 Take the plunge at Klong Plu and Than Mayom waterfalls
Koh Chang has 7 waterfalls, but the one you probably will have heard of is Klong Plu.
This is by far the more popular waterfall on the island as it’s easily accessible. You can swim around in the pools and there’s usually a good volume of water all year round.
The plunge pool at Klong Plu is the perfect place to cool off whilst surrounded by the towering cliffs and overhanging greenery. You won’t even have to work up much of a sweat to get here as it’s only a 15-20 minute walk to the waterfall.
As it’s located within the national park, you’ll have to pay an entrance fee of 200 baht, but you can make the most of the ticket by visiting Than Mayom waterfall on the same day. The falls have become famous after being visited by two Thai kings who carved their names into the rock. But to be fair, other than that, the waterfall isn’t really much to admire.
We’d recommend googling some pictures of Than Mayom and reading some reviews before you go to decide whether you think it’s worth a visit.
New to Koh Chang? We’ve written this compact Koh Chang guide to show you the best areas to stay, restaurants you don’t want to miss and many more tips for your visit to Koh Chang!
#2 Go snorkelling with an island exploration tour
Snorkelling whilst staying on Koh Chang is a must! The clear turquoise waters offer great visibility of the abundant wildlife and coral that fill the surrounding waters.
Couple this with a boat trip to a number of the surrounding islands in Koh Chang Marine National Park, then you get to explore even more of what the ocean has to offer.
Costing just 600 baht, the Kon Tiki Snorkeling Cruise is an absolute steal and a high-quality, fun experience that will stay with you for years after you leave Koh Rang.
This half day tour to 3 nearby islands also includes a lunch buffet and afternoon snacks whilst you laze under the afternoon sun.
Want more than just half a day? Hop onboard a traditional fishing boat and explore Koh Wai, Koh Klum, Hin Rab, and of course, Koh Chang over the span of 8 hours. You can book this tour via Klook for 1,072 Baht.
#3 Take on the trees at Treetop Adventure
A large proportion of Koh Chang is covered with dense, lush jungle, so why not get really in and amongst it?
And what better way than taking to the jungle canopy with Treetop Adventure. Situated in Ao Bai Lan, they offer 2 giant ziplines, over 40 games, 2 different trails and of course an incredible view of the jungle.
A ticket to the park costs 950 Baht if you need transport or 800 baht per person without.
#4 Explore Koh Chang’s jungles on a guided trek
80% of Koh Chang is hidden beneath the dense jungle canopy, making it almost rude to not explore the hidden world. Exploring it from the ground may also be a better option for those afraid of heights.
Unlike other Thai islands, there aren’t really any well marked trails or routes through the jungle so it’s best to hire a guide to take you on the adventure. An added bonus to this is that you can learn about the spectacular flora, fauna and wildlife that litter the landscape.
A highly recommended guide is Tan, the owner of Tan Trekking, so ask a local on the island to send you in his direction. Alternatively if you want to plan ahead, you can book with Koh Chang Trekking who offer both half-day and full-day treks.
#5 Watch the sky light up with fireflies
Something quite special to Koh Chang are the fireflies that light up the night, giving the feeling that it’s alive.
You can get a glimpse of the golden droplets if you head to the mangrove areas around the island, particularly after the rainy season. You can take on the adventure yourself and just view the spectacle from the banks or really get in on the action from the water.
Iyara Seafood restaurant and Phu-Talay Seafood restaurant both offer free boat trips around the mangroves if you dine with them. Alternatively, you can head to the south-east of the island where you’ll find the largest mangroves around Salakphet and Salakkok.
#6 Volunteer at Koh Chang Animal Project
Set up in 2002 by Lisa McAlonie, Koh Chang Animal Project looks to educate the local people on how to care for their animals and provide help when the owners can’t do so themselves.
Some of the work that the project provides includes vaccinations, wound management and emergency services, all of which are provided due to the generosity of private donations.
If you’re an animal lover that would love to volunteer to help care and clean for the animals then contact Lisa prior to your visit to arrange a day of volunteering. You can do this through her website.
#7 Practise the traditional art of Muay Thai
Muay Thai is undoubtedly the most popular sport in Thailand, but the fun isn’t just reserved for professional boxers. The sport is a great way to get fit, improve your flexibility and workout in a whole new way.
All of the camps offer 1-2 hour sessions costing between 500-600 baht, or if you’re serious about the sport you can opt for a week long course for around 3,000-3,500 baht depending on which club you go with.
Who doesn’t want to go home from holiday claiming they’ve learnt a new skill, and what a cool one Muay Thai is!
#8 Learn and cook Thai dishes at Napalai Thai Cuisine School
Even better, surprise your friends and family back home with the best Thai and Napalai dishes you learned to cook at a cooking class.
Whilst being surrounded by new and delicious dishes it’s easy to just shove the food straight into your mouth without giving a second thought about the culture and history that are incorporated into every mouthful.
Taking part in a cooking class allows you to learn how to cook these dishes yourself and pinpoint each of the spices that make them so delicious.
A highly-rated cooking school is Napalai Thai Cuisine School who offer both afternoon and evening classes for 1,000-1500 baht per person.
#9 Clean up the beach with Trash Hero
Trash Hero is a charity that organises weekly beach clean-ups and educates volunteers on the effects that waste, plastic in particular, is having on our environment.
They tend to meet every Wednesday at 9am at various beaches, but if you’re looking to get involved, they suggest using their Facebook page for updates on upcoming clean-ups. Also keep an eye out for the bright yellow t-shirts, they’re hard to miss!
The work they’ve done already is pretty spectacular! With over 200 clean-ups so far, they’ve managed to collect around 30,000kg of rubbish!
Pro tip: Trash Hero has gone global so make sure to check their website to see where else you can get involved.
#10 Enoy the view over Koh Chang from Kai Bae viewpoint
Who doesn’t love a viewpoint? It gives you a birds-eye view of a place, allowing you to see it from a whole new perspective.
Kai Bae viewpoint is one of the best you’ll find on Koh Chang. After a short 10-15 minute trek, you’ll be treated to views of Koh Chang as well as the other four islands within the marine national park.
As much as you can pretend to hate the influencer vibe, getting that perfect picture for Instagram is something we all want. The best time to get this perfect shot is before mid-morning as the sun will be behind you or at sunset. You’re welcome.
Just make sure the monkeys don’t grab the camera out of your hands!