Long Beach, located in the far south east corner of the island, is one of Koh Chang most remote areas, but on a day out exploring the east coast by motorbike, it’s still the first port of call for most visitors.
Unfortunately, over the last few years, the notoriously dangerous access road, which always added an unwanted degree of difficulty to the trip, had deteriorated to such an extent that it began to seriously detract from the overall experience.
Well, happily as of June 2016, things have just got a whole lot better, with the almost complete reconstruction of the eroded and degraded track into a shiny new concrete highway. Admittedly, the last section is not complete yet, so there’s still that tricky hill but that too is in the pipeline for repair in the next few months.
The bridge, which orginally collapsed to be replaced by an earth mound, which in turn gave up the ghost, is brand new, so no more detours and deviations as was the case earlier this year.
Getting to Long Beach
To get to the Long Beach road, take the east coast road all the way down the island from the ferries, passing useful markers such Koh Chang Hospital, Than Mayom Waterfall and Koh Chang Shooting en route.
A couple of kilometres after Spa Koh Chang, you reach a left turn, signed at 12km to Long Beach. Follow this road past the Salak Khok temple and school and bear right on the bend at the bottom. You are now heading into the very local village of Chek Bae and shortly after Parama Resort, you take the left into the interior. You are on the new Long Beach road.
It takes about 15 minutes to reach the actual beach, but it’s well worth stopping at the terrific viewpoints along the way, the tiny Rangers’ Station in particular. On a clear day, you can see Koh Mak in the distance, Koh Kradat, Koh Laoya and Koh Wai as well as down into the truly beautiful Salak Phet Bay beneath .
Beyond Long Beach to Koh Ngam
Once at Long Beach, Treehouse Bungalows, charming old style thatch bungalows and the only place to stay, makes a great place for lunch. In the season, there will be nice mix of daytrippers and residents and the beach itself is perfectly quiet and deserted.
You can continue along the track up behind the beach past the yet (never?) to be completed Long Beach Resort and at the turning to Tantawan Resort, there’s another trail which brings you out at the far end of the sand.
Tantawan Resort, a stylish boutique resort of which no one has ever heard, is now open. It’s mostly used at weekends by Thai packages, but provided you can book 2 rooms to make it worth their while, they are happy to have all-comers.
A little further along, you’ll find the tiny Hat Yuttanavy Beach, complete with its war memorials. The 1942 Battle of Koh Chang took place just offshore from here and each year, dignitaries assemble to commemorate the Thai sailors who lost their lives when French warships scuttled the Thai fleet.
Finally at the furthest point on the island it is physically possible to drive, you can park up and take in the wonderful views across to Koh Ngam. Ask back at Tantawan Resort to rent a kayak if you fancy paddling across. There is actually a resort on Koh Ngam, but it’s been closed for a few years and so all you’ll find are a couple of lonely Cambodians caretakers, anxious to practise their English.
So Long Beach is back on the map, now very easy to drive too and well worth a visit.