beaches and communities on koh chang
The most attractive beaches with white or golden powdery sands are generally found along the west coast of Koh Chang, while the east coast features just a few beaches with darker sand or gravel.
The island has seen steady growth in visitor numbers over the past decades, and they continue to increase. Tourism is well dispersed over its long coastline, while most people tend to stay in the north west due to the quality of the beaches, the hospitality facilities and the proximity to the ferry.
WHITE SAND BEACH
White Sand Beach has become the centre of the island’s tourist trade and the busiest of all of the beaches on Koh Chang. There are hundreds of shops catering to every need located along the stretch of the ring road that passes the White Sand Beach area. Along the road, there are also dozens of mid-range hotels and beach resorts, as well as a wide variety of restaurants and bars nestled in and between them.
The beach itself boasts white powdery sand that is very rarely found anywhere else in the world. In the evening, the resort is transformed with beachside restaurants and bars laying out tables and chairs on the sand so people can dine or party directly on the beach.
Visitors and residents alike gather on the beach to take in the outstanding sunsets over the ocean. Walking White Sand beach is a very popular evening activity for many visitors who often stop to enjoy a cocktail in the many beachside bars.
Later at night, the discos, bars and entertainers start to crank up the volume as the beach becomes the centre of night life activity. Fire shows are performed every night along the beach, entertaining hotel and restaurant guests.
In spite of the development, the ambiance on White Sand Beach is still quite special, seeing many visitors return year after year.
KLONG SON VILLAGE AND BAY
Klong Son is home to Siam Royal View Resort and began as a fishing village partially built over water (this part still exists today). In today’s village centre along the island’s main ring road, there are many grocery shops, convenience stores and a local fresh market.
The village is host to a number of hotels ranging from simple guesthouses to high-end resorts as well as a number of restaurants, a clinic and a petrol station.
The village and its surroundings are considered to be the island’s premier residential location.
The beaches in Klong Son Bay can only be accessed through the Siam Royal View resort or through the Ayiapura Resort, which is located across the bay from Siam Royal View. Since access is practically restricted by these resorts, the beaches in the Klong Son Bay enjoy unparalleled privacy and tranquility unlike most other major tourist destinations.
KLONG PRAO – KAI BAE
This is the next major stretch of beach south of White Sand Beach. Many new and exclusive resorts have opened on this stretch of coastline and several more are planned or under construction.
The Emerald Cove Resort & Spa, the DEWA and AWA, and the Mercure Hideaway Resort (formerly Dusit Princess) are among the best known hotel resorts there.
The villages along the ring road are thus growing in line with this development, with shops, convenience stores and restaurants, bars and clubs opening for business a little further down the coast.
Just a few years ago, Kai Bae had been a backpacker haven, but now high-end hotels co-exist with low cost hostels and guesthouses.
Kai Bae has over the past years developed quite a lively restaurant, bar and club scene, mostly catering to a younger crowd.
Koh Chang – the Elephant island
Koh Chang received its name, in English as “Elephant Island” derived from the shape of the northern tip of the island. When approaching Koh Chang by ferry, the northern tip looks like the head, back and tail of an elephant wading in water, and the small island to the north looks like a baby elephant ( Chang Noi).
There are no wild elephants on Koh Chang, but there are multiple elephant camps offering elephant rides through the jungle, and even a swim with the elephants.
This used to be a backpacker’s haven, an insider tip for a secluded beach, but it is now becoming home to some high-end resorts.
Lonely Beach also sports a number of restaurants and a considerable but relaxed nightlife – including live music – which is centred along its “walking street”, not on the beach.
Located in the south of the island, Bang Bao boasts a unique fishing village built into the bay on wooden stilts with a light tower at its outer end. All the houses and structures are interconnected by wooden or concrete bridges.
Small bars and savoury sea food restaurants, numerous dive shops, tour agents, convenience stores and other small shops line the walkways over the water. The area off Bang Bao Bay is increasingly being developed. Bang Bao is the gateway to the southern islands of the archipelago.
OTHER VILLAGES ON KOH CHANG
On the east coast, Dan Mai is the largest ‘local’ village on the island, and home to the government offices of the Koh Chang Subdistrict Administrative Organisation, the Police Station, the Fire Station, and one of the two public hospitals.
Salak Phet and Salak Khok bays and their villages form the southernmost part of the east coast.