We started 2016 with a snorkeling trip on Pern Poon Sub’s 5 island 1 day tour. When we booked the tour we specifically asked and were assured that it included a stop at Koh Wai which is supposed to be great for snorkeling. We paid B650 each for a one day trip which included pick up from the hotel. We were quite surprised when they sent a boat to pick us up for the trip.
In general you can take a snorkeling trip on a big boat, a speed boat or a long boat. You can also hire a private boat but that costs a lot more. We opted for the big boat which is the cheapest option. They are slower but we were in no hurry. New Year’s Day is probably the most popular day of the year to go on a snorkeling trip on Koh Chang. We were not alone! The guides gave a long explanation about what we were going to do in Thai and a very short explanation in English. Most of the people on the boat were Thai but the couple beside us were Italian. We attempted to translate the English into German for them as it was the only language we had in common.
The trip took us to the Islands of Mu Koh Chang National Park. Our first stop was Koh Yak Lak. When we arrived there we were far from alone there were a number of other boats already there, add that to the 100 plus people on our boat and it was certainly not lonely. Before we could leave the boat it was boarded by National Park Rangers to whom we had to pay B200 each as a park entrance fee. It was free for Thai’s but that just went up they now have to pay 40.
Despite the remarkable number of people in the water there were lots of fish and more live coral than I have seen snorkeling anywhere else. With so many people from so many different boats in the water we were a little concerned about being left behind. We were assured we would not be and told we had an hour to snorkel. The hour turned out to be closer to 45 minutes but they made lots of noise before they left and I do not think they left anyone behind!
We stopped an another the small island where we also snorkelled for about 45 minutes the water was not quite as clear but the snorkeling was still good. At some point between Islands we got a buffet style lunch which was really good. It included a tradition Thai dish made with ground meat which I am still trying to identify so I can try and make it.
By our count we stopped at one more Island and then at Koh Rang Beach where we were left to wander for an hour.
The water was incredibly blue but snorkeling was not really an option. When we left the island another boat ran over and broke our anchor line. The crew were pretty good natured about it. One of the guys went after the broken half of the rope in a dingy his another let the rope attached to the boat out as far as it would go so there was rope to tie the two ends together all went well until they realized that the end of the rope on the boat was not tied to the crank and the whole rope fell into the ocean!
But everyone was still laughing! We discussed it with the Italians and we are pretty sure we only went to four Islands and we are certain we did not go to Koh Wai but we had a great day and we learned something about travelling in Thailand. When you book a trip it is unlikely that you will actually get what you were promised but you still get a great trip at a great price so you may as well enjoy it!