At a Glance
- Likely to meet: Tourists, couples, families, few backpackers, travellers
- The Beach: Long stretch, split into two halves, best at southern end and northern ends
- Accommodation: Mixture of high end luxury and 2/3 star resorts, bungalows, few cheaper huts and guesthouses. Prices from 500bt up to 20,000bt (peak season) for a pool villa or suite
- Luxury Resorts: The Chill, The Retreat, Gajapuri, Awa, Sylvan
- Resorts: KB Resort, Kai Bae Beach Resort, Mam Kai Bae, Kai Bae Beach Grand View, Cliff Beach, The Stage
- Bungalows: Paradise, Sea Breeze, Sea Escape, Coral, Porn’s, Green Resort, Sanook Sanang, Baan Chom Dao, White Knot
- Guesthouses, Hostels, Backpacker: Blues, M & M, JOP, Montra, Patoo
- Restaurants: Great choice, everything from Thai, Italian, Mexican, DIY BBQ, coffee shopto bakery
- Thai: Khao Kwan, Friend Seafood, Baan Kai Bae Seafood, Nai Hua Baoi Gaeng Tai, Kwetiao Reua Rangsit, Food Court (Infinity), Happy, Maneenat
- Western: Wine Gallery, Cabana, Mordi & Fuggi, Morgan, Fin, Little Italy, Papa’s Greek, Papa’s Bakery
- Other Cusines: El Barrio, Indie Raw, Indian Chef
- Vegetarian: Tofu Kitchen, Ocean 44
- Coffee Shops: Fig Cafe, The Mount, View Cafe
- Nightlife: Bars, live music, parties on the big annual nights
- Bars: Fin, Wine Gallery, Yak Yak, Jelly Fish, Green Bar, Indie Social
- Beach Bars: Cabana (seafront), Seaweed (White Knot), Sun View (Patoo), Porn’s
- Live Music: Sea Breeze
- Sports: Morgan
- Other: Waterfall, Offshore islands, Elephant Camp, Speedboat Pier, 7-11s, Lotus’s, Minimarts, Pharmacies, ATMs, Currency Exchange, Ticket agents, Tattoo, Gym, Motorbike Rental, Cannabis Shops (lots)
- Highlights: Choice in everything at every price
- Lowlights: Can feel a bit cramped on the main street, a steadily more touristy atmosphere
At an Island Pace – Kai Bae Beach
Kai Bae Beach is the last area before the road climbs over the second mountain and connects to the far south west of the island. Local and friendly, it’s a slightly cramped dusty place combining a hotch-potch of shops, restaurants and bars up on the road with a wide selection of resorts and a good beach, split into two sections.
Since the pandemic, it has become perhaps Koh Chang‘s most popular area with families and travelers alike drawn to its well priced rooms and its bustling but non-party (Lonely Beach) and non-package tour vibe (White Sand Beach).
Down by the sea, there is a wide choice of places to stay, with the majority 2/3 star resorts, but also including four high-end luxury options, Awa Resort, Gajaparui Resort, The Chill and The Retreat. In amongst them, you’ll find too some cheaper backpacker huts and guesthouses, while inland, there are a few long stay options.
The Northern End
After the last bend of Klong Prao Beach, with its track leading down to Choc Dee Resort, the now narrowing road reaches the northern end of Kai Bae, with the small police box a useful marker.
An assortment of massage shops, a laundry and a few cheap Thai diners including Chrisu (Dragon Place) and Pepper line each side of the street. Papa’s, the Greek restaurant, has also now moved to this end, whilst, built up against the hillside, Mai Pen Lai Guesthouse offers guesthouse rooms, a swimming pool and coffee shop. Adjacent to Mai Pen Lai, you’ll also find the ever popular Burger Station and a barber.
Bypass and Walking Street Area
Opposite Mai Pen Rai, you can pick up the Kai Bae bypass, which heads inland behind and above the village, giving some great views over the backs of the houses and out to sea. The southern Thai curry shop, Nai Hua Baoi Gaeng Tai is on one corner, with Indie Social, Indie Raw – both offshoots of the resort on Hat Sai Noi (Bang Bao Beach) – and the vegan resturant, Ocean 44 in a row leading away from the other one.
Were you to take the bypass, it cuts back to rejoin the main street about half way along at Koh Chang Residence (Fig Cafe) or continues on to rejoin the main road at the bottom of the hill near Sylvan (Seaview) Resort, the end of the town.
Back at its start, meanwhile, there is a small grid system of lanes where you’ll find bungalows for long term rent, the vegetarian restaurant, Tofu Kitchen, Thai diners First Sight and the eclectic reggae inspired Nid’s Kitchen. One of the sois (lanes) links through to Walking Street, a selection of beer bars which includes Maipai, Mark’s and Yak Yak. Sky Bar, drinks and food, runs all the way down one side of the Walking Street’s main entrance from the main road, itself on the left about 50 metres further on from Indie Social.
Lighthouse, an ever changing venue currently offering Thai live music and a nightclub, occupies the corner at at the far end of Walking Street and here you can rejoin that main road. The entrance to the large Chang Cliff Beach Resort sits directly across the way.
Beach Area at the Northern End
Pressing on from here, you meander down a rather depressing avenue of empty shop units on either side, though Koh Chang Hostel has reopened after a couple of years hiatus and the bars Hell Sinki and Bonjour are long running features.
A new cannabis shop has sprung up too, one of many in the area, indeed one of literally dozens on the island that have appeared in 2023. Time will tell how many can survive once the initial excitement at legalisation has worn off.
On the ocean side, the older resorts of Cliff Beach Resort and Chang Park Resort (now closed but seemingly gearing up for a redevelopment) have prime position at the excellent northern end of the beach.
The Central Area
As always, the 7-11 marks a good spot to get your bearings and Kai Bae Beach has two against which to navigate, one at this end and one at the southern end.
Friend Seafood and Poke Bowl (moved down the village, see below) are next door to this first one, while on the other side sits Koh Pin Toh, a ‘chilling’ (sic) bar restaurant, opened in 2023 and the guesthouse, JOP. Next door to them, Caan has taken over the old Ploy site, with live music, Mexican tapas style food and drinks.
Also in this strip, Blues Guesthouse, Lemon (behind the old Poke Bowl) and Baan Chom Dao (behind Chang Yes) provide some cheaper room options. The excellent Wine Gallery, a few doors down and now on two floors, comprises wine bar, a Mediterranean tapas menu and off licence all rolled into one. Sandwiched in amongst all those em are other massage shops, tailors and restaurants, including Hippo (newly refurbished) and Areeya.
Look out too for the bars, Jellyfish, Green Bar and Beach Babe/Island Boy, which itself sits at the front of the clothes shops of the old Laluna guesthouse. Mordi and Fuggi, has two outlets, whilst the stylish looking Thai fusion restaurant, Khao Kwan, owned and run by Yaa (formely owner of Blue Lagoon Cooking School, itself now closed) has a glowing reputation.
M & M Guesthouse, complete with its late night bar and The Stage (same owners as Gajapuri), smart rooms off two wooden decked swimming pools, share this section with another beer bar, Red Monkey. Restaurants include the middle European style, Bananas and opposite them, the BBQ at your table, Krung Kra Ta.
To complete the picture, there’s another couple of ganja shops, as well as P. Joom Gym, recently moved here from the now defunct BB Lonely Beach and a branch of Lotus’s.
Resorts by The Sea
On the seafront in this central section, you’ll find the three high end boutique resorts of Gajapuri Resort, The Chill and Awa Resort. The beach in front of them is not the best and tends to disappear at high tide.
Walk north, though, past the rudimentary backpacker bungalows of Patoo, the small couples resort, The White Knot, the defunct Chang Park Resort and the sand gets better and better towards the cliffs – home to Koh Chang Cliff Beach.
You can access Patoo and The White Knot via a lane before Gajapuri, with each little resort having its own beach bar, Sun View and Seaweed respectively. There’s also a 3rd one going up in front of Chang Park.
Inland Street to Bypass
Heading inland opposite Awa Resort, you pass their secondary mountain side accommodation, the entrance to Duckling Resort and some local longer stay rooms before reaching Koh Chang Residence, with its excellent Fig Cafe hidden away in the garden on the corner.
The T junction here is, in fact, the bypass road which started opposite Mai Pen Lai Guesthouse, so a left turn will take you back to Walking Street. A right turn meanwhile leads past the entrance to Filou Pool Villas and then a further little lane to the left into the interior. Along that, you’ll find houses for weekly and monthly rent such as Ariya or standard daily bungalows at Hippy House.
Follow the same back lane over the inland bridge to the end and you emerge at the main road at the bottom of the mountain to Lonely Beach. On the other hand, by taking a left inwards just over said bridge, you pick up the waterfall road. Look out for the signs to The Mount coffee shop, with its fabulous views out to sea and of Kai Bae.
Street to The Sea
Back in the main centre of the village, the lane straight across from the Awa inland street described above leads past the excellent new noodle shop, Kwetiao Reua Rangsit and The Green Resort, well priced bungalows by the river, down to Coral Resort which sits on the headland where this river meets the ocean. The bistro Cabana has made its home inside the resort by the sea, though you access it as described below.
A little bridge, with local Kai Bae fishing boats moored here and there, connects Coral Resort to the back of The Retreat, the new resort from the owners of The Chill, which opened in 2023.
If you cross the bridge, you can head back to the main street past the old Muay Thai ring and the bustling, popular food court, coming out at Morgan, the sports bar and restaurant. The actual road entrance to The Retreat runs parallel.
The Southern End and The Waterfall
Morgan sits by the bridge, with the sparsely occupied Kai Bae Market opposite, at the back of which you can access Duckling Resort across the foot bridge. Baan Kai Bae Seafood, the Mexican El Barrio, all rounder Ta Tum and India Chef are all long established restaurants in this strip. Now Belgian owned, Fin (formerly Filou) combines bar and restaurant at its open air venue.
Accommodation comes via Montra Guesthouse, Nonthawat (long stay bungalows) and the long established Garden Resort, which is accessed though a little lane, with Little Italy (same owners as Toscana in Klong Prao) and vegetarian Poke Bowl (in its new home) on the respective corners.
The next 7-11 marks the final section of Kai Bae Beach, with a track running inland adjacent to it. This track passes the bar Squid Story (currently closed), the standard bungalows at Sanook Sanang Resort opposite Meechai Kai Bae Elephant Camp, the final pachyderm spot on the island, before it too joins that bypass road by the little bridge.
If you head up the lane to the right, you twist and turn past various rented houses, staff lodgings and the track up to The Mount till hitting a dead end, from where you can walk the final stretch to Kai Bae waterfall. Though not often visited, its small drop, solitary plunge pool and sheltered surround make it a fabulous place for a dip, especially during the rainy season.
The Southern End and The Offshore Islands – Kai Bae Beach
Opposite the elephant camp, another street runs down to Kai Bae Hut Resort. Nor Nou Speedboats have their base here, crossing daily to Koh Wai, Koh Mak and Koh Kood, all the details at Koh Chang Island Hopping.
Kai Bae Huts Resort is situated at the start of the second section of the beach and you can now walk all the way to the very southern end. Two of the beach’s best mid range resorts, KB Resort and Kai Bae Beach Resort are first up, followed by Kai Bae Beach Grand Ville Hotel, Mam Kai Bae Beach Resort (with its Sea Almond cafe), Sea Escape (opened in 2023) and the old traveller favourite, Porn’s Bungalows.
The huge Sylvan Resort, hotel and bungalows on the beach connected by funicular shuttle to its mountain side offshoot clinging to the rock face above and Siam Bay Resort, at the very southern tip, complete the picture. Both of these (and Porn’s) are accessed from small streets leading off the main road as it crosses the mountain, but you can reach them by sand if you hop over the boulder wall dividing them from the rest of the beach.
Offshore is Koh Man Nai with its inviting beach clearly visible and indeed, around May, June time when tides are at their lowest, you can actually walk over there. Koh Man Nai, soon to be developed, is just one the of several uninhabited tiny islands off this shoreline.
Koh Rom and Koh Suwan, good for snorkelling, sit more at the northern end, whilst Koh Yuak, part of several boat trips’ itinerary, and the less exciting Koh Pli and Koh Man Nok sit near to Koh Man Nai at this southern point. All are within kayaking distance.
Leaving Kai Bae Beach
Back at the road itself, Paradise Bungalows is on the mountain side after the Kai Bae Hut Resort’s turning, with Seabreeze Bungalows alongside, together with its live music bar and Bai Bou massage centre. Papa’s Deli, the long standing bakery, sits across the way.
After KB Resort‘s entrance and the access lane to Kai Bae Beach Resort, Kai Bae Beach Grand Ville Hotel, Mam Kai Bae Beach Resort and Sea Escape, the main road then heads out across the mountain for Lonely Beach. It passes yet more partially occcupied shop units on the inland side including Sawasdee Travel, with their dozens of motorbikes for rent.
After its back tour of the area, that bypass too finally emerges to join the steep slope, which leads up to the main entrance to Sylvan (Seaview) Resort and Porn’s Bungalows. Shortly afterwards, you can turn in to the magnificent Kai Bae Beach viewpoint, with its picture postcard vista out over the offshore islands and way down the coast. There is also a good coffee shop here, View Cafe, with tables and chairs ideally positioned to take in that view.
UPDATED December 23
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