At a Glance – Bang Bao Beach (Klong Goi)
- Likely to meet: Tourists, backpackers, travellers
- The Beach: Good, long stretch, shallow waters
- Accommodation: Boutique to Backpacker in 200bt rooms to 5,000bt+ suites
- Resorts: Chivapuri, Chaipura, Tropical Beach
Bungalows: Bang Bao Beach Resort, Klong Goi Cottage, Yu Yu Golden Beach
Backpacker: Freedom House, Treehouse, Santisook, Sea You, Indie House (Hat Sai Noi)
- Klong Goi Cottage, Bamboo Hut, The Journey, Beach Cafe, Ido Ido (Hat Sai Noi)
- Djembe (Hat Sai Noi), Mr T Bar, Chan Siam, Rasta Beach , Karma Bar
At an Island Pace – Bang Bao Beach (Klong Goi)
Bang Bao Beach, also known as Klong Goi or Klong Kloi Beach, is the final beach on the west coast. With its fine sand, calm waters throughout the year and great views across the bay to Bang Bao Pier, it has witnessed a slow and steady development, quietly managed by the sole land owner who has resolutely held out against the large scale investors.
Both on the beach and around the creek at the top end, there are an increasing number of places to stay, ranging from cheap fan huts through standard a/c bungalows up to small boutique resorts.
Bang Bao Beach has become the day beach of choice for those that find Lonely Beach a bit too busy and of course, for those staying at Bailan Beach and Bang Bao, which do not have their own stretch of proper sand.
Beach style restaurants, with their deckchairs out front, together with a couple of low key bars and the odd massage spot ensure the overall mood is very laid-back, friendly and relaxed.
In the evenings, Bang Bao Beach feels nicely detached from the rest of the island, but perhaps inevitably you do now sense a nightlife scene emerging, as one-off parties become regular weekly events.
Songthaew taxis happily run out here during the day, but come dusk, they will ramp up the prices considerably, not least because they are unlikely to be bringing anyone back the other way.
Hat Sai Noi near Bang Bao Beach (Klong Goi)
Leaving Bang Bao village and just after the condos of Tranquillity Bay, the road passes Rasta View Cafe with its magnificent vista down onto the bay beneath. Its bungalows offshoot, Rasta Beach, lies alongside, followed by Karma Bar, another reggaed styled venue which also has its own rooms and Secret Garden, an Airbnb by the sea. There is also one of the Koh Chang’s National Park Rangers Offices on the forest side of the road.
Shortly afterwards, you reach Hat Sai Noi, a tiny stretch of beach that has become home to a handful of relaxed restaurants and bars, Maha, I-Do and the long standing, Djembe House. Indie House, a very cute little traveller resort, is the main place to stay, but there are also a few other rooms to rent along the sand. Djembe, perhaps the island’s original hippie hang-out, hosts weekly Follow the Flowers parties, with didgeridoos featuring heavily alongside the drums.
Walking along The Beach – Bang Bao Beach (Klong Goi)
A few hundred metres further on, you arrive at Bang Bao Beach proper. A small bridge crosses the creek, with The Beach and Yu Yu Golden Beach located at the top end, with their tables, deckchairs and loungers laid out along the sand. The Beach also provides rooms in a simple building behind, whilst Yu Yu Golden Beach now offers three rows of brightly coloured bungalows, including one set with balconies opening out onto the creek itself.
Continuing south down the beach, next door to Yu Yu Golden Beach, Sea Paradise is the base for Koh Chang Stand-Up Paddling (SUP), as well as having a small restaurant and some rooms, while Mr T’s T-Bar next door still provides the evening entertainment after all these years. BB Beach, the beach bar offshoot of the dive company, BB Divers, and Rim Ray, another cheap beach style diner, complete the set.
Klong Kloi Cottages, cheap to mid-range bungalows arranged in a semi-circle with more choices at the back and Bang Bao Beach Resort, pricier wooden huts in a row, are the accommodation choices, with Bamboo Hut Restaurant and its cooking school, sandwiched between them.
Further down the beach still, the upmarket boutique resort, Chivapuri Beach Resort, with its large Lanna style villas and swimming pool, nestles back amongst the trees, while the stylish round cabanas of Tropical Beach Resort sit at the end.
If you keep walking, you reach a weir and in the distance, another group of buildings is clearly visible. This is Koh Chang Boat Chalets, a huge resort which has undergone many name changes and re-inventions over the years but resolutely remains deserted.
The 30 metre high converted ship did serve as a hotel at one point. It is only accessible by following the road behind the beach to its end, see below, whereupon a 100bt entry fee is levied if you are not resident.
The Back Trails – Bang Bao Beach (Klong Goi)
Back at the bridge, if you wander to the left down the trail rather than heading down the sand itself, another area, a sort of grid, has begun to develop. Yu Yu’s waterside bungalows are on your left, with Chan Siam and its camper-van mobile bar nearby. This is followed by the six or so bungalows of the English owned Lakchai, which has its own 2 storey house at the rear overlooking the creek. The Journey Restaurant, a portacabin conversion, occupies the grassy area at the start.
After Lakchai Bungalows, the trail curves back round to join another wider trail, from where you can access Klong Kloi Cottages down on the sand or head in the other direction away from the beach. Taking that option, you pass the tiny Yak Bungalows on your right and the entrance to Treehouse Cottages, which is also on the lagoon, on your left. A few metres further on, also to the left, two more sets of backpacker bungalows are hidden away down yet another path, Sea You Place and right in the mangroves, Freedom Home.
After Treehouse Cottages, meanwhile, the main trail passes Santisook Bungalows and T-Garden Bungalows before reaching the access routes to Chivapuri Resort and Tropical Beach Resort. By ignoring them and continuing straight on, the track ultimately brings you out on the actual main road, which runs in a 4 kilometre arc behind the beach all the way from the starting bridge.
The Unfinished Road – Bang Bao Beach (Klong Goi)
To get on to that main road, you simply ignore the little bridge at the start of Bang Bao Beach and instead follow the road, which heads up and round the creek passing Chaipura Resort, with its restaurant on stilts over the water, at the beginning. After a short distance, there is a turning to the left, which was and in theory, could still be the back road to Salak Phet on the east coast. Despite what many maps might indicate, this section has never been completed due to a lack of funds.
Here in Bang Bao Beach, you can take the road and explore. Chai’s Tea Garden, unique refreshments and camping, is tucked away a couple of kilometres in but the route is severely degraded and it comes to a dead-end in the form of a broken bridge. If you clamber over to the other side, you can continue on foot but after a few hundred metres, the jungle has taken over and it soon enough becomes impenetrable.
You can follow the other end from Salak Phet by heading to Wai Chek Beach, but once there, that route too stops abruptly at its own collapsed bridge. It is now possible to cross the dried up river bed and keep going till the ever narrowing road runs out and then on foot continue down the path till you hit the dead-end at the rock slope. From here, you are just a few tantalising kilometres from the Bang Bao Beach end, but unfortunately, the two do not meet.
There is new talk of the project getting underway again, with the Army Prime Minister having given the go-ahead in early 2018, promising budgets and permissions. The locals, however, perhaps better versed in such matters, are still not holding their breath on construction starting anytime soon.
Behind The Beach – Bang Bao Beach (Klong Goi)
After this turning inland, the main road itself carries on behind the beach. It is a lovely drive through the forest, which passes along the way the long sandy track, the back route as described above, to Chivapuri Beach Resort, Tropical Beach Resort and the actual beach, before stopping rather abruptly at the kiosk for Koh Chang Boat Chalets and its 100bt entrance fee. If you do not want to pay the money to go in or cannot persuade them to forget the fee, you must retrace your steps.