At a Glance – Kai Bae Beach
- 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: Three high end resorts with lots of mid range, bungalows, few cheaper huts from 500bt up to 10,000bt+ for a pool villa
Resorts: The Chill, Gajapuri, Awa, Seaview, KB Resort, Kai Bae Beach Resort, Cliff Beach
Bungalows: Paradise, Sea Breeze, Coral, The Stage, Porn’s, Green Resort, Sanook Sanang
Guesthouses and Hostels: Sea Turtle, Siam Cottage, Blues, M & M, JOP
- Restaurants: Great choice, everything from cheap Thai, Italian, Mexican, diy bbq, coffee shop and bakery
Thai: Friend Seafood, O2, Ploy, Too Ka Ta Kai Moon,
Western: Ziva, El Barrio, Cabana Ocean Bistro, Mordi and Fuggi, Sharky’s
Coffee Shops: Marin, Papa’s Bakery, Fig Cafe, Gelateria
- Nightlife: Bars, live music, parties on the big nights
Bars: Mojito, Filou, Wine Gallery, Apache, Sky Bar, Yak Yak, Funky Monkey, Deep Island, Cabana
Live Music: Sea Breeze
- Other: Waterfall, Offshore islands, Elephant Camp, Speedboat Pier, Dive Shop, 7-11, Tesco, Internet, Minimarts, Pharmacies, ATMs, Currency Exchange, Ticket agents, Tattoo, Motorbike Rental
- Highlights: Choice in everything at every price, the beach
- 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 is a slightly cramped dusty place with a hotch-potch of shops, restaurants and bars jostling for position up on the road, and a good beach, split into two sections, just a hundred or so metres away.
Down by the sea, there is a wide choice of places to stay, with the majority mid-range resorts, but also including three high-end luxury options, Awa Resort, Gajaparui Resort and The Chill. In amongst them, you’ll also find some cheaper backpacker huts and guesthouses, while inland, there are a few long stay options.
Kai Bae Beach has become a popular Koh Chang spot with families and travelers alike, perhaps more easily affordable for beach front rooms than the larger resorts of Klong Prao Beach, relatively peaceful when held up against the party scene of Lonely Beach and without such a package tour feel as White Sand Beach.
The Northern End – Kai Bae Beach
After the last bend of Klong Prao Beach, with its track leading down to Choc Dee Resort, the now narrow road passes the small Kai Bae Beach police box and then reaches Mai Pen Lai Guesthouse.
Opposite, with Marin Coffee on the corner and Dolphin Gym two doors down, the Kai Bae bypass heads up through dusty, cleared land towards the interior. Its route takes it behind and above the village, giving some great views over the backs of the houses and out to sea, before it cuts back to rejoin the main street about half way along at Koh Chang Residence or continues on to rejoin the main road at the bottom of the hill near Seaview Resort at the end of the town.
Adjacent to Mai Pen Lai and similarly packed against the hillside, there are a couple of small places to eat, the ever popular Burger Station, Sao’s Lemongrass Kitchen, Happy Time bar and a barber, On the other side, another smaller soi, known as ‘Walking Street’, curves around in an arc to meet the road proper a few hundred metres further along, with an excellent ramshackle no-name somtam restaurant sitting on its corner.
After a slow start, Walking Street and its surrounding area is now gradually filling in. Long term bungalows are up for rent at The Village, whilst you also have a decent selection of bars and restaurants in places such as @ Mark’s, Easy Going, Sky Bar, Berlin Bar and Yak Yak. The now closed Russian owned Seafood Lighthouse occupies the far corner, with the entrance to the large Chang Cliff Beach Resort directly across the way.
The Central Area
Pressing on, the main road meanders down a rather depressing avenue of empty shop units on either side, though Boobz Bar and Sea Turtle Hostel are open. On the ocean side, Cliff Beach Resort and Chang Park Resort have prime position at the excellent northern end of the beach.
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 White Corner are next door to this first one, while on the other side, JOP, Ploy Seafood, O2, Ziva Italian and Hippo Cafe provide a decent selection of dining choices.
Also in this strip, Blues Guesthouse, Joke and Laluna Guesthouse stump up some cheaper room options, with the Wine Gallery, a few doors down, both wine bar and off licence all rolled into one. Sandwiched in amongst them are the usual assortment of tailors trying to catch the eye of the uninitiated, clothes stalls with makeshift corrugated iron roofs and massage. Look out too for the small popular bar, Funky Monkey Cafe, the bistro Apsara and another Italian Mordi and Fuggi, which also has a 2nd outlet further up the street.
The backpacker bungalows of Siam Cottages, a tiny resort, The White Knot and the high end boutique resorts of Gajapuri Resort, The Chill and Awa Resort are all beach-side here. Indeed, you can walk north down the sand to the cliffs at the far end in just a few minutes though a high tide might mean getting your feet a little wet.
On the mountain side of the road, M & M Guesthouse, complete with its late night bar and The Stage, stylish wooden rooms around a decked pool, are located opposite the three large resorts. Restaurants and bars include very tasty Gelateria, Mojito Lounge, the premier party venue in Kai Bae, the Thai style DIY bbq, Kung Kra Ta and by the bridge, Took Ka Ta Kaimoon with its slowly grilling chickens out front on the spit. Tesco Lotus has a branch here too.
A small western food court comprised of the modern European Sharky’s, the pizza outlet of Mordi and Fuggi’s, Papa’s, a Greek restaurant and Deep Island Cocktail Bar, completes the picture.
Heading inland by the tailors, you pass the mountain side accommodation of Awa Resort and the longer stay rooms of Mango Tree before reaching Koh Chang Residence, with its Fig Cafe out front. 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 Walkling Street or a right turn either further into the interior or out the far end of the Kai Bae Beach at the bottom of the mountain.
Back at main road, the lane straight across from the inland street leads past Le Moon Bar, Apache Bar 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. A little bridge, with local Kai Bae fishing boats moored here and there, connects Coral Resort to Nang Nual Beach Bungalows, known for its evening cabaret show.
Kai Bae Beach – The Southern End and The Waterfall
Morgan, good food, beer and playing all the live sports on its screens, sits by the bridge, with a bustling Thai food court behind it. This in turn leads down to the Monkey Gym and the Muay Thai ring, which hosts weekend bouts during the high season.
Newly opened opposite Morgan, the units of Kai Bae Market are slowly starting to fill in with stalls, whilst also dotted about here, Baan Kai Bae Seafood, the Mexican El Barrio, all rounder Ta Tum and Emperor of India are all long established restaurants. Filou Bar provides more Kai Bae nightlife at its open air venue.
Accommodation comes via Montra Guesthouse and the ever popular Garden Resort, which is accessed though a little arch, with its Backstage Bar on the corner.
The next 7-11 marks the final section of Kai Bae Beach, with a track running inland adjacent to it. This track passes the standard bungalows at Sanook Sanang Resort and Meechai Kai Bae Elephant Camp, the final pachyderm spot on the island, before it too joins that bypass road.
If you continue on, you twist and turn past various rented houses and staff lodgings 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. At the top sits Kai Bae Hut Noodles,a popular restaurant for locals and tourists alike and at the bottom is the resort itself. 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 and the old traveller favourite, Porn’s Bungalows.
The huge Sea View 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 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.
On the road itself, Paradise Bungalows is located on both sides of the street shortly after the Kai Bae Hut Resort’s turning, with Seabreeze Bungalows on the mountain side, together with its live music bar and Bai Bou massage centre. Nestled in amongst them sits the long standing bakery, Papa’s Deli and the well reviewed diner, Melting Pot.
After the streets down to KB Resort and Kai Bae Beach Resort, the main road then heads out across the mountain for Lonely Beach, passing yet more shop units on the inland side including Mr Moon, 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 Sea View 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.