Klong Prao Beach at a Glance
400bt rooms to 10,000bt+ for the pool villas
Klong Prao Beach at an Island Pace
Klong Prao Beach is the name given to the central area of the west coast, a very popular part of the island, offering everyone from lone travelers to couples to families, something that suits. There is a great choice of high end luxury resorts by the sea, with some backpacker bungalows and guesthouses thrown in, as well as mid range resorts or small hotels at the southern end or inland.
The beach, split into two sections by inland waterways, the klongs, is a long sweep of fine sand and calm waters, with tracks and better paved streets linking from it back to the road, which itself is lined with shops, good restaurants and bars along the whole stretch. On the downside perhaps, the area is quite spread out but songthaews are very regular around here, so you can hop from one end to the other without needing to get too hot and bothered.
Klong Prao Beach – The Northern End
Coming from Chai Chet, the area starts with the turning to Klong Prao Resort, a complex spread out around a small reservoir and along the seafront. By going straight through the resort, you emerge at the beach itself, with the small German restaurant Ko-Ko-Mo under the Casuarina trees, Aana Resort’s beach bar area and The Cape Seafood sitting on the bank of another little waterway that runs behind it. A short walk to the very end brings you to the mouth of the main klong, where it meets the sea.
Looking inland, it’s a majestic sight with places to stay, restaurants and homes dotted along both banks, small boats and kayaks plying back and forth and the whole picture framed by the mountains behind. The klong continues upstream a good distance before reaching a lagoon with two small mangrove rivers, the one on the right often teeming with evening fireflies.
Except for certain times of year when the tides are at their very lowest, it’s not possible to wade across the canal here and continue along the beach. Instead, you must retrace your steps back to the road proper.
After this turning to Klong Prao Resort, the road passes through an avenue of shop units with Scandinavian Chang Divers at the start and Bhu Tarn Resort further down, before continuing south through undeveloped land, sometimes used for fairs and past a track down to The Cape Seafood which runs through the scrub-land.
A little further along, the large Ramayana Resort sits on the corner of the small street, which leads to the north bank of the klong and half way along, its buildings give way to the upmarket Aana Resort, with its restaurant entrance sitting on the bend at the bottom.
The cute Phu Talay seafood restaurant, guesthouse and ornamental windmill hugs the riverbank together with a bar, Sapparot, Moleys Guesthouse and at the end, Iyara Seafood, all with their terraces built out over the water. Both Iyara and Phu Talay conduct evening dinner tours up the klong to see the fireflies.
Klong Prao Beach – Klong Plu Waterfall
Opposite Ramayana Resort, a track inland leads to The Cambodian Kids Centre, a school for the children of the many Cambodian workers employed for the menial and construction work on the island and who live in the shacks here. If you would like to help at the school or donate, see Volunteering for more details.
Further along the road, around the next bend, you reach the turning for Klong Plu waterfall. This drive though the forest is a world away from the dusty and noisy main street, with the river, an elephant camp, cooking school, small shops, some guesthouses, spaced out under the shade of the trees along the length of its gently winding course. The waterfall is at the very end with an entrance fee of 200bt. There are a couple of somtam, sticky rice and chicken stalls both here and just before, which make for a great lunch by the water.
Klong Prao Beach – The Central Area, Along The Beach to the Far Southern end
Several more shop units are located opposite the turning to the waterfall but heading south once more, you come to JE Seafood. Despite its less than glamorous location on the road by the bridge, it is packed to the gills throughout the year, mostly with Thai weekenders seeking their fix of crab.
A little further along on the mountain side, Ban Chang Thai, the second elephant trekking company in this area, with its ATV course inland. Sitting opposite you’ll find an airstrip, from where 2 seater planes once conducted tours over the island and after the bend by the bridge, 3 Seasons Bungalows and Krongtarra Resort provide undertstated rooms on the inland side. The local school is perched high on the hillside above, whilst on the other side, a market area has developed, with food, fruit and other household bits and pieces on offer.
Among the stalls, a speed-bumped street leads off down to the sea giving access to KP Huts, Tiger Huts and Santhiya Tree (formerly Panviman Resort), which are all located on the beach itself. Further along, it arrives at the back entrances to Baan Rim Nam, a small popular guesthouse and the boutique style, Keereeta Lagoon, both on the bank of the canal and at the very end sits Longstay Resort.
Walking along the beach back past the resorts of Santhiya Tree (formerly Panviman Resort), Tiger Huts and KP Huts brings you to the resorts of Barali and Centara Tropicana Beach Resort before you can head along the bank of the second klong to Blue Lagoon Resort and its cookery school.
It is possible to cross the canal over a makeshift pontoon bridge emerging at Lin’s Bungalows, before continuing along past the beach restaurants of Pilot Bar, Mandalay and Family, reaching the seaside entrances to The Dewa, VJ Serenity and (soon to be Marriott) Emerald Cove.
The final three resorts of Klong Prao are, in sand order, Koh Chang Grand Cabana, Magic Resort and Choc Dee Resort, the latter sitting on the southern headland and cliff. Magic Resort has a good well-priced seafood restaurant built out on stilts over the water.
Klong Prao Beach – The Central Area, Along The Road to the Far Southern end
Returning to the route by road, shortly after the turning down to Santhiya Tree (formerly Panviman Resort), a 7-11 marks the start of the old village, with carts selling all manner of bugs and crepes set up outside. Next door, Crust Bakery and Chumnan have tables by the road whilst opposite, shop units include the Tourist Police and Eco Divers. Klong Prao Temple, which holds various festivals during the course of the year is sandwiched in amongst all the development.
Various little streets head towards the interior, one to the local clinic, one to Iyara Resort and one to the single court tennis club, with other local houses, some of which are available for rent, also scattered about among the trees. A proper petrol station with a vast array of motorbikes for hire and a Tesco Lotus are a few metres further south.
Down the little streets towards the sea, you’ll find VJ B & B, Barali Resort and keep going around, Centara Tropicana, from where you can emerge back at the main road – almost opposite Sima Massage, a long established and deservedly popular spot for relaxation nestled in amongst the bustle.
Restaurants along the road include Bam and Tom, good for a cheap grilled chicken lunch, Kati Culinary and Tonsai as higher-end evening choices and there’s a long establised coffe shop at Moccaccino. Another elephant trekking operation, Ban Camp Chang, has its base by the road with entrances to Koh Chang Tropicana opposite and Blue Lagoon a little further south.
The next bend takes you past the Noren Resort, The Koh Chang Gallery, a small good value hotel, with The Big Elk, offering bungalows and steaks, after the bridge on the opposite corner. A rough and ready track adjacent to this, leads a good couple of kilometres into the forest to Chang Chutiman, the fourth elephant camp in Klong Prao.
There is a large vegetable shop, seafood wholesalers and Sing Thong’s store, a good source for western products at this end of the island, whilst the resorts, Boonya and Sofia Resort are found in secluded spots off small turnings towards the sea.
Further south still, the road takes you past the soi leading down to The Dewa, VJ Hotel and Emerald Cove, with Baan Maw Fan, the excellent island dentist’s and KT Optic in the shop units in front.
Grand Cabana’s entrance is next door, with Magic Resort, the street side motels, Golden House and Kachapol Hotel and the office of Dolphin Divers all in the immediate vicinity, with some girlie bars as company. Choc Dee Resort is on the final curve as Klong Prao Beach morphs into Kai Bae Beach.