A Tour of Dan Mai – Koh Chang East Coast

Dan Mai village on the Koh Chang east coast is found about 8km down from the second of the island’s ferry piers, Centrepoint.

Home to the tax office, the local land registry, the head police station, hospital and fire station, Dan Mai is the administrative capital of Koh Chang.

As this east coast of the island slowly develops, it is also now home to a few places to stay, as well as plenty of local island life, a gently tiered waterfall and Chinese temple.

Northern End of Dan Mai and The Waterfall

Heading down the coast from the ferries, you arrive on the outskirts of Dan Mai when you pass the entrance to the brand new resort Crown View Beachfront, with the tiny hostel, 2L Hostel (currently closed) opposite. Just around the next corner, the bightly coloured bungalows of Siriporn Resort sit in a row leading down to the sea and also now on the other side of the road.

Further on this same strip, there’s a very good somtam restaurant which usually has its chickens roasting on the spit at the front, another tiny restaurant hidden away at the back and Fuengfah Hotel. That too has a popular restaurant which looks down on the main road, with its cheap Thai style accommodation out back. At the end, a sharp bend starts you up the hill, whilst beneath, fronting onto the ocean, you’ll can’t help but notice the set of train carriages. These will form part of a new resort due to open in late 2023.

Dropping down the other side, you arrive in Dan Mai itself. The back road on the left takes you down to the seafront in the village, whilst the road proper arrives at the main local hospital. The main Koh Chang electricity station is opposite.

Next door to the hospital and behind the tiny fishing tackle shop, you’ll find another resort which was once called The Elysian Pearl but now goes under a different name, presumably to distance itself from the Swedish owner who is now serving 15 years for fraud in a US penitentiary. Other local cheap Thai restaurants sit on the opposite side of the road.

koh chang klong nonsi waterfall
Klong Nonsi Waterfall

Around one more bend by the bridge with a decent cook to order diner behind the foliage on the corner, you reach the clearly signed turning for the waterfall, Klong Nonsi. There’s a small and very popular somtam cafe, just a few tables really, perched up on the slope at its start.

Klong Nonsi Waterfall

For the waterfall, follow this street inland to the parking at the end – you pop 10bt in the pot – and then on foot, it’s a gentle 10 to 15 minute stroll through the orchards until you reach the river itself. On the opposite bank, you’ll find some useful steps to get you going on your ascent upriver but after those, there will be a fair bit of clambering up the banks of each tier if you want make the top.

It’s not a waterfall to set the pulse racing, but there is a lovely calm to the area, and depending on the time of the year, you might be able to have a swim in one of the plunge pools.

By the Sea at the Northern End

dan mai koh chang east coast
The Chinese Temple

After visiting the waterfall, head back to the main road and a few hundred metres further on, a small left turning opposite the police station, takes you further down into Dan Mai village. You pass the main school on your right, now made of concrete after the old wooden structure burnt down a few years back and next to it, the local temple.

At the crossroads immediately afterwards, head off to your left where the narrow little street takes you past the backs of the houses fronting onto the sea. Along here, Dan Mai Seafood has now closed for good, with a new resort emerging in its place behind the Pordee corrugated sheets.

The Chinese temple is certainly worth a few minutes of your time. Inside you’ll find some fascinating faded black and white photos of the local community up on the walls, as well as lots of kitsch little deities in front of the shrine. Outside, the pier gives some great views along the coastline. Continuing past there brings you to Baan Chid Talay, a small Thai resort and at the far end, a villa development of 4 to 5 houses, incuding one to rent.

Follow the twists and turns of the lane now and you emerge back on the main road right back before the hospital, that initial turning described above.

By the Sea at the Southern End

koh chang east coast
The old pier

Back at the central crossroads by the temple, next head straight towards the sea, past the fishing boats in the inlet until you reach the old fish sauce factory. Koh Chang used to produce its own bottled brand, by all accounts a good one too, but as is so often the case, the larger nationwide producers ultimately crushed any competitors and so production ceased. The battered old buildings, with their creaky floorboards open to the waves beneath, are all that remains. The chedi, however, continues to bestow its blessings on the fishermen.

Returning to that little crossroads once more, you can leave Dan Mai by going past the bottom of the temple over the bridge. The street goes in a loop back to the main road but you can make some detours to explore the undeveloped areas by the sea, and there are houses dotted here and there under the trees.

Leaving Dan Mai

Back on that main road, the main administrative buildings sit back behind the sports field and you can also find another entrance to the waterfall. There are more little local restaurants lining each side, coffee shops including Patalee and for those wanting to pitch a tent, the camping ground at Tippayarat. Good View Resort, run by Seaview Resort from Kai Bae, is down by the sea and it too has a good seafood diner on stilts out over the water.

Nearby, you can’t miss the three imposing private villas, Wave A, B and C, all available for holiday lets and two of them also up for sale. Uncle Chalerm’s Bungalows, another Thai operation, just about completes the Dan Mai Tour but look out too for Kamon’s Bakes, the fashionable little coffee shop at the far end.

Finally, one other place worth exploring is down the lane on the right hand side signed Homebar. Turn in and you’ll find yourself on one of those unknown Koh Chang inland roads which go on and on into the forest. At the end of this one, you emerge at the indicated Homebar (once of White Sand Beach), a few rooms to stay, camping and complete peace and quiet.

UPDATED November 22 FOR 22/23 Season

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