Klong Son at a Glance
500bt or less for rooms to 7,500bt or more for deluxe pool villas
Klong Son at an Island Pace
Klong Son is the first area you reach when heading down the west coast from the two ferries, Centrepoint Ferry at Dan Khao and Koh Chang Ferry at Ao Sapparot. An unremarkable dusty street with a central crossroads and a hill at either end, it is a busy, bustling Koh Chang town, home to building merchants, petrol stations, cement works, vegetable shops, a 7-11 and seemingly not much else.
However, by returning under your own steam or choosing to stop for a couple of days in one of the resorts, you will find it has a lot more to offer – a wonderful inland road, with a waterfall at its end, a thriving little fishing community, a large temple, villas and private residences and an impressive bay.
Klong Son at the northern end
Proudly sitting on the hill nearest to the ferries is the Chinese Temple, where the godfather of Koh Chang, Chao Po Koh Chang has residence. What was originally a small affair, the temple and its environs have slowly grown with the success of predictions given by the godfather and his wife and there is even a yearly island-long procession to ensure that he stays firmly fixed in the locals’ thoughts.
Drivers will beep their horns three times on passing and it is free to have a look round, though what different rituals one should do on entering the temple is impenetrable without the help of a local to explain.
Dropping down the hill, a turning on the right leads past Blue Sapphir Bungalows and Pukdee Bungalows before emerging at the entrance to the largest private development on the island, Siam Royal View. This collection of villas, in neat rows on avenues by the sea, sits along the whole of the northern end of the bay. It has its own private beach known as Chang Noi, an impressive sweep of sand with clear though very tidal waters and a seawall of anamorphic concrete boulders.
As with all such developments, construction is ongoing but in addition to the two rows of villas already completed and the various tiny suburbs in the small bays at the top end, there is a boutique resort, Little Sunshine, a condo block, plenty of villas for holiday rent, two beach clubs with infinity pools, a 9 hole pitch and putt golf course and a newly finished marina.
Heading further into town, the road passes the large PTT station, which offers the best prices for petrol and diesel prices on the island, boasting of course its own 7/11 but also a very good Amazon coffee shop hidden away in the back. The Suvarnabhumi Bus Co, the service that goes back and forth between Koh Chang and the Airport, has its base just down from here. There are building merchants, cement works, the Riverside Guesthouse by the bridge as well as lots of food stalls and motorbike fixing shacks before you arrive at the 7-11 and Klong Son Hotel which sit at the crossroads in the middle of the village.
Here, the road to the right leads past Garden Lodge, hidden away down a track, and then curves back and forth before branching off to the local temple or on to Manee Guesthouse and the small pier with its fishing community. You can walk to the tip of the jetty where the boats are moored up and gain a great view of both the tree-lined sandbar and the inlet it creates, as well the bay and ocean beyond.
Offshore, there are two uninhabited islands, Koh Mapring off the southern side of the bay and Koh Chang Noi off the northern headland. Both can easily be visited by taking a kayak, with some good snorkeling off either and even a small beach on Koh Chang Noi.
Klong Son – inland to the Waterfall and Elephant Camp
A left at the 7-11 crossroads takes you along a wonderful winding road through fruit orchards and lines of rubber trees, deep into the valley, until it ultimately ends at the ford which marks the entrance to the waterfall, Klong Jao Leuam. This many tiered waterfall, one of the least known on the island, is free to visit and easily found by following the footpath. Ban Kwan Chang, the elephant trekking centre, run with the Asia Elephant Association is up a muddy well trodden path just a short distance beforehand.
As well as being the base for trekking tours, this inland area of Klong Son has a great spot for lunch at Blues Art Cafe. You’ll pass too a school, Koh Chang’s orthodox Russian church and a cockfighting ring, not a group of words you expect to see together again, anytime in the immediate future. And the unique Khmer style wall a few kilometres along is a German man’s private home, no questions asked.
The Koh Chang Animal Project, which does an invaluable job in treating both pets and the unwanted animals of the island is also located about half way along this road.
Klong Son – The southern end
Continuing past the crossroads, the road heads out of town, passing Grand Orchid Resort, popular with Thai weekenders, with a very good chicken over rice restaurant opposite. The street down to Aiyapura Resort is a little further along on the right.
Banphu Resort, budget accommodation and not to be confused with Banpu Resort in White Sand Beach, is just along here and at the end Aiyapura Resort dominates the southern peninsula with magnificent views out over the bay. There is another road just before you reach its entrance which leads all the way back to the fishing village pier, enabling you to make a loop.
Immediately after the Aiyapura Resort turning, the road begins its ascent up over the mountain, an interesting journey to say the least complete with both very steep sections and some switchbacks before it drops down into White Sand Beach and the west coast.