Koh Chang Day Cruise
The speedboat appeared from around the corner and made its way to the beach, hopping across the waves. We jumped on and a couple of minutes later were climbing onto the deck of Thaifun’s boat where we were due to spend the majority of the day cruising around Koh Chang and the nearby islands.
We climbed up to the top deck and positioned ourselves on the sunbeds while the speedboat made a few more trips to shore to pick up the remaining passengers. Soon we were cruising down the west coast of Koh Chang, past rows of resorts and tropical rainforest blanketing the mountain peaks in the distance.
The crew held a safety briefing and told us what to expect from the all-day trip as the boat cut through the clear blue water, the flag of Thailand flapping in the cool morning breeze.
Tranquil Koh Wai
The dense jungle of Koh Chang was on our left and the open sea to our right as we hugged the coast before making our way to the small island of Koh Wai where we docked and spent 45 minutes snorkelling among the coral reef and its colourful inhabitants.
I spotted sea urchins and angelfish as I floated in the calm water just a few metres from the beach. After getting my snorkelling fix, I grabbed a ride to the shore and explored the area. Palm trees hung over the golden sand, shading huts of the beachside resort just a few metres from the water. Waves lapped around fallen coconuts and local dogs enthusiastically greeted beachgoers. Moored fishing boats bobbled in shallow water and kids performed backflips from the wooden pontoon.
The peaceful scene was momentarily disrupted as the boat horn sounded, signalling the end of our time at Koh Wai. We headed back to the boat and barely had time to relax before a delicious Thai buffet lunch was served – followed by fresh fruit. We ate on the deck, while cold beers were passed around by staff. We passed a private island of Koh Kham and docked a few hundred metres from neighbouring Koh Mak.
White Sands of Koh Mak
I worked off my lunch by diving into the deep water a couple of times while waiting for the speedboat to take everyone to shore. Once on dry land, we walked along the pristine sand and past small bar shacks. Hammocks swung between palm trees and water gently lapped around the wooden central pier. Just behind the tiny tourist office, taxis waited by a dusty road which led through fields to other parts of the island. Secluded Koh Mak is not on many travellers’ itineraries but whether it can remain that way for long is debatable and I made a promise to come back and explore the surrounding area by kayak, one of the best ways to see Koh Mak and the neighbouring islands.
Snorkelling around Koh Rang
We got back on the boat and headed to the second and final snorkelling stop of the day – a rocky outcrop just off the coast of Koh Rang – the reef here was even more impressive and alive with colourful fish and plants. I followed the coral surrounding the tiny island and watched as life unfolded underwater. There was to be no sightings of Nemo or the sharks that apparently make an occasional appearance.
After the now familiar siren sounded, we set off back towards Koh Chang with only afternoon tea and cake able to tear us away from our sunbeds. The swaying of the boat and the afternoon sun was sending me to sleep but the sight of a passing island with monkeys perched on the cliffs roused us from our slumber.
We relaxed on the deck and watched the sun slowly dip behind the horizon, the last of the afternoon’s rays reflecting off the waves and casting an orange haze in the sky. Soon it was our turn to jump in the waiting speedboat and wave goodbye to Thaifun’s crew as we finished our adventure with satisfied smiles on our faces.
Thaifun Koh Chang Day Cruise costs from 1390 THB (£27/$37) and can be booked from most accommodation on Koh Chang with pickups directly from the beach. The price includes snorkelling equipment, lunch, snacks and water/tea/coffee. Visit http://www.thaifun-kohchang.com/ for more info