UPDATED for 2018-19 Season
At a Glance – Klong Prao Beach
- Likely to meet: Tourists, backpackers, solo travellers, families and flashpackers.
- The Beach: Split by the two canals into three parts, mighty impressive from start to finish, nice laid back atmosphere.
- Accommodation: High end resorts, hotels, bungalows, guesthouses and huts
From 500bt fan rooms up to 17,500bt for the deluxe villas
- 4 Star Resorts/Hotels: Emerald Cove, Dewa, Centara Tropicana, Santhiya Tree, Aana, Ramayana, Barali Beach
2/3 Star Resorts : The Gallery, Bhu Tarn, Noren, Klong Prao Resort, Kachapol, Choc Dee
Bungalows: KP Huts, Tiger Huts, Blue Lagoon, Boonya, Jungle View, P & Pu House
Guesthouses: Watercolours, Baan Rim Nam, Moleys, Sapparot
- All Cusines: Family, Pilot, Mandalay, JE Seafood, Tonsai, Kati, Crust, Bam and Boy, One Million Somtams
Bakeries: Crust, Boonma, Bread Box
Coffee Shops: Marin, Waree, Mochaccino
- Bars: Sapparot, Alchemy, Bosses, Boom Bar, Susy’s, Lek’s, Hunter
At an Island Pace – Klong Prao Beach
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.
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. That main road itself is lined with shops, good restaurants and bars along the whole stretch.
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.
On the downside perhaps, the area is quite spread out but songthaew taxis are very regular around here, so you can hop from one end to the other without needing to get too hot and bothered.
The Northern End – Klong Prao Beach
Coming from Chai Chet, the area of Klong Prao is held to start with the turning to Klong Prao Resort, a vast complex spread out around a small reservoir and along the seafront. Waree Coffee sits next door.
Driving straight through the resort to get emerge at the ocean, you’ll find a small restaurant (formerly 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. As an alternative, you can also walk the whole way back along the sand to Chai Chet, reaching the resort, Flora i Talay in about 10 minutes.
After this turning to Klong Prao Resort, the main road enters an avenue of shop units, with Scandinavian Chang Divers, Koh Chang Gym, Bee Sleep Hostel and Paddy’s Place all in the first section. Further on, Bhu Tarn Resort sits tucked in amongst the other minimarts, a 2nd hand bookstore, karaoke bar and restaurants, such as Annie P’s American Diner, Austrian Restaurant, Boonma and Bread Basket, which line each side.
Continuing south through undeveloped land often used for weekend fairs, the road passes a small track to The Cape Seafood, before it reaches the large Ramayana Resort. This resort sits on the corner of the street leading down to the north bank of the klong. About half way along, its buildings give way to the upmarket Aana Resort, with its own restaurant entrance sitting on the bend at the bottom.
The cute Phu Talay seafood restaurant, guesthouse and ornamental windmill hugs the riverbank together with Sapparot Bar, 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 Plu Waterfall – Klong Prao Beach
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.
On the next section, after the long term bungalows for rent on your left, 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, Ban Kon Elephant Camp, Koh Chang 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 here but One Million Somtams a few hundred metres before, makes for the best lunch by the water.
The Central Area, Along The Beach to the Far Southern end – Klong Prao Beach
Back again at the main road, several more shop units are located opposite the turning to the waterfall but heading south, you next 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 golf driving range has now also taken up residence on the other side of the road.
A little further along on the mountain side sits Ban Chang Thai, the second elephant trekking company in this area. Just past it down the track, Koh Chang ATV has its base. Incidentally, Monster ATV, which uses a similar course inside the jungle, is around the next corner.
Opposite Ban Chang Thai, 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 understated rooms on the inland side. The local school is perched high on the hillside above, whilst on the other side, a market area has now taken root, with food stalls – the one with the Muslim flag across from Krongtarra is as authenic as it gets – fruit stands and other units selling household bits and pieces.
Midway along among the stalls, a speed-bumped street leads off down to the sea giving access to KP Huts, Tiger Huts and Santhiya Tree, which are all located on the beach itself. Chumnan Restaurant, a popular cheap diner once on the main drag, is now on the right hand side a few metres in.
Past Santhiya Tree, the track arrives at the back entrances to two guesthouses, Baan Rim Nam and Watercolours, both on the bank of the canal and at the very end, Longstay Resort straddles the canal, beach and outlet to the sea. Just before them all, another small sandy trail leads down to a tiny beach restaurant.
From that little beach restaurant, you can walk along the beach back past the resorts of Santhiya Tree, Tiger Huts and KP Huts and onto the resorts of Barali and Centara Tropicana Beach. After them, you hit the second klong, difficult to walk over unless at the lowest tide, though there is also a makeshift pontoon bridge. Blue Lagoon Bungalows, and its cookery school are on the left hand bank.
Using the pontoon bridge, you emerge 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 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. From Choc Dee all the way back to Longstay Resort is a nice 10 to 15 minute stroll.
The Central Area, Along The Road to the Far Southern end – Klong Prao Beach
Returning to the route by road, shortly after the turning down to Santhiya Tree, 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 has 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.
Meanwhile down the streets towards the sea, you’ll find VJ B & B, Barali Resort, long term rent bungalows at P & Pu House, Centara Tropicana and Blue Lagoon Bungalows. Opposite those last two, another elephant trekking operation, Ban Camp Chang, has its base as well as Sima Massage, long established and deservedly popular.
Restaurants along the road include the excellent Issan style Bam and Boy and Potato which houses a southern Thai curry and rice shop, as well as Kati Culinary and Tonsai, two recommended higher-end evening choices. There’s also a couple of coffee shops at Moccaccino and Marin.
The next bend takes you past Coco Massage, Noren Resort, Boom Bar and The Koh Chang Gallery, a small good value hotel, with The Big Elk, offering bungalows and steaks, after the bridge on the opposite corner. Koh Chang Archery has also made its base here. A new concreted road leads a good couple of kilometres into the forest to Chang Chutiman, the fourth elephant camp in Klong Prao.
Continuing on, there’s a large vegetable shop, a seafood wholesalers and Sing Thong 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. Shortly after Sofia, there’s a small collection of bars, Alchemy, Happy Happy and Lek’s, with the Swedish owned Bosses around the next corner.
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, Jungle View Bungalows and the office of Dolphin Divers all in the immediate vicinity. Suzy, You and Me and Hunter Bar provide the nightlife. Choc Dee Resort is on the final curve as Klong Prao Beach morphs into Kai Bae Beach.