Activities in the rainy season are subject to some changes due to unpredictable weather and low demand. From May to October, the best advice is to plan as normal but build in some flexibility to your scheduling, in particular allowing for last minute cancellations or shifting of days.
Activities in the Rainy Season – Snorkeling and Diving
Unless a tropical storm has blown into the islands or the winds are raging, diving and snorkeling trips do go out every day.
However, many of these snorkeling trips run on different schedules, a fact you’ll quickly grasp when you actually try and book one, with either your choice not available or morphed into something else all together. Rest assured, you are not alone, as the agents too are usually in the dark as to what’s happening until they make the call on your behalf.
The larger tour orientated boats, Sattra Tour, Koh Chang Boat Trip, Permpoon Sub will continue to head out on their 5 island trips to Koh Rang. It may be a choppy old hour getting down there, but Koh Rang itself, the Marine Park center, is nicely sheltered and the snorkeling remains more than passable most of the year.
Mr Khai Tours alternates between the 5 island and the 3 island and does not go every day. Kontiki runs a 3 island tour only, not its full Koh Mak, Koh Rang trip as in the high season. Sea Adventures closes up.
Speedboats are normally kept in harbour but with a good stretch of very calm weather, as can frequently happen during the rainy season, some operators spark them back into action. Check with agents locally in the run-up to the day you want to go.
Private trips are still available, your advantage there being you can just turn back home if the weather turns or is rougher than you envisaged. A recent customer thought this wise when atmospheric pressure blew the tops off the water bottles during a sudden lighting storm. Pragmatically, he put it all down to experience, an expensive one though, given it was only 11.00am when they called it quits.
Koh Chang Diving runs the same all year, with the only change likely to be companies pooling their customers onto one boat (usually BB Divers’) when numbers are low. Contrary to what your instincts say, visibility underwater can be excellent at this time of year, but don’t count on it.
Activities in the Rainy Season – Elephants Trekking, Jungle Trekking, Waterfalls
Elephants love the rain but their trekking route gets very cut up, so this may vary a little from normal for safety reasons. As always, the most popular 11.00am slot fills up fast, so consider other times during the day when it could be just you.
Jungle trekking is available, but the guides will not go out every day if numbers are low. Those pesky leeches will be much more prevalent along the trails at this time of year. Salt in a piece of tied cloth, slightly damp, works wonders or bring those special anti-leech socks.
One of the best activities during the rainy season on Koh Chang and Koh Kood is a visit to the waterfalls. Naturally, these are in full flow and mightily impressive with it. Hunting out the smaller ones and then tracking upstream to their hidden tiers is a great way to spend an afternoon, with the obvious caveats on slippery conditions, not going alone, taking a phone and so on.
Activities in the Rainy Season – Riptides, Swimming, Kayak
The sea at this time of year does have a different character, with waves higher, stronger and white capping. The ocean still looks fairly innocuous, but don’t be fooled as one of the principal rainy season dangers in Koh Chang are rip tides, very common on all the beaches.
Deaths occur every year despite the warnings, so take extra care, advice here. Needless to say, a moonlit ocean frolic after a few drinks is not the cleverest pastime.
If you go kayaking, check the weather forecasts beforehand, as things can change very quickly out there at sea.
Activities in the Rainy Season – Motorbikes
If you want to explore the island, renting a motorbike is the easiest way and this remains the case during the rainy season. Most days, the roads are dry and perfectly safe. However, when the heavens open, the Koh Chang roads do become highly treacherous within minutes, slippery in the extreme. This is especially true on the mountains between Lonely Beach and Kai Bae Beach, or coming over from Klong Son to White Sand Beach. Wait out the downpour if you can as the road surface dries very quickly.
Activities in the Rainy Season – The Weather
The weather between late May and October is unpredictable, with rain likely at least one a day, usually in the evenings. Most visitors enjoy lots of glorious sun throughout their stay, with just the occasional storm. If unlucky, your trip could coincide with an extended patch of the bad stuff, meaning idle hours waiting for the skies to clear. As long as you are aware that the weather can be changeable and that it might affect your day to day itineraries, it’s not worth giving it too much thought. You are after all on holiday.
Twister Photo © Ray Buzzby, which was taken off Koh Chang during the rainy season a couple of years ago. That’s Koh Chang Boat Trip’s 5 island tour.