At a Glance
- Likely to meet: Tourists, backpackers, solo travellers, families and flashpackers.
- The Beach: Split by the two canals into three parts, mighty impressive from start to finish, nice laid back atmosphere.
- Accommodation: High end resorts, hotels, bungalows, guesthouses and huts
From 500bt fan rooms up to 17,500bt for the deluxe villas (listed below north to south)
- 4 Star Resorts/Hotels: Aana, Santhiya Tree, Dewa, Emerald Cove
- 3/4 Star Resorts: Centara Tropicana, Barali Beach, Vayna Boutique, The Splash
- 2/3 Star Resorts: Klong Prao Resort, Annika, Bhu Tarn, Iyara Boty, Boonya
- Small Hotels: The Gallery, Kachapol
- Villas, Long Stay: Baan Suan, Long Stay Resort, Elegance Pool Villas, Maddekehaoo, Baan Zen
- Bungalows: Leelawadee, Krongtarra, P & Pu House, Sabaidee, Papaya Cottage, The Forest, Jungle View, Choc Dee
- Guesthouses: Myristica, Moleys, Sapparot, Baan Rim Nam, Watercolours
- Hostels: Riverview (currently closed)
- Restaurants: Huge choice from cheap Thai, fusion to western, on the beach, by the street, some real crackers
- Thai: JE Seafood, Jae Mam, Phu Talay, Iyara (all seafood), Kati (chic Thai), Bam Issan, Zhong Zi Pad Pad, Baan Ta Klua (both eastern Thai), Raang Gaeng Som (southern curry and rice), Naga (vegetarian)
- Other Cuisines: Babylon, Spaghetteria Toscana, Sale e Pepe (all Italian), Annie P (American), El Greco, Big Elk (steak)
- Bakeries: Crust, Bread Box
- Coffee Shops: Marin, Waree, Mochaccino, Pawina’s (Kombucha), Amazon @ PTT
- Nightlife: Low Key, Beach bars, beer bars
- Bars: Sapparot, Lek’s, M & D, Suzy’s, Lion Bar
- Beach Bars/Restaurants: Pilot, Mandalay
- Other: Minimarts, Pharmacies, ATMs, Banks, Ticket agents, Tattoo, Motorbike Rental, Massage, Temple, Dentist, cannabis shops
- Activities: Klong Plu Waterfall, cooking school, elephant camps, trekking, ATV
- Highlights: Waterfall, the choice of restaurants and high end resorts, the beach
- Lowlights: Very spread out along a long busy road – cannot walk from place to place if not in the central temple area
- Thai Name: Klong Prao (klong is canal)
At an Island Pace – Klong Prao Beach
Klong Prao Beach is the name given to the central area of the west coast, a very popular part of the island, offering everyone from lone travelers to couples to families, something that suits.
The beach, split into two sections by inland waterways, the klongs, is a long sweep of fine sand and calm waters, with tracks and better paved streets linking from it back to the road. That main road itself is lined with shops, good restaurants and bars along the whole stretch.
There is a great choice of high end luxury resorts by the sea, with some backpacker bungalows and guesthouses thrown in, as well as mid range resorts or small hotels at the southern end or inland.
On the downside perhaps, the area is quite spread out but songthaew taxis are very regular around here, so you can hop from one end to the other without needing to get too hot and bothered.
The Northern End
Coming from Chai Chet, the area of Klong Prao is held to start with the turning to Klong Prao Resort, a vast complex spread out around a small reservoir and along the seafront. Waree Coffee sits next door.
It’s possible, though not encouraged, to drive straight through the resort to get to the beach, where you’ll find an abandoned restaurant under the Casuarina trees and Aana Resort’s beach area with bar, beach tennis, and Ray Rai grilled Chicken restaurant. Koh Chang Seafood sits on the bank of another little waterway that runs behind it.
A short walk to the very end brings you to the mouth of the main klong, where it meets the sea. Looking inland, it’s a majestic sight with places to stay, restaurants and homes dotted along both banks, small boats, SUPs and kayaks plying back and forth and the whole picture framed by the mountains behind.
The klong continues upstream a good distance before reaching a lagoon with two small mangrove rivers, the one on the right often teeming with evening fireflies.
Except for certain times of year when the tides are at their very lowest, it’s not possible to wade across the canal here and continue along the beach. Instead, you must retrace your steps back to the road proper. As an alternative jaunt now you’re here, you could also walk the whole way back along the sand to Chai Chet, reaching the resort, Flora i Talay in about 10 minutes.
After this turning to Klong Prao Resort, the main road enters an avenue of uniform single storey shop units – not one of the island’s most aesthetic spots. The Lakes Bar and Bistro (run by Klong Prao Resort) starts things off leading onto other massage and government units. Annie P American Diner, beloved by the expats, is one to look out for, whilst DD Mhuek, the Cambodian border minibus company and Koh Chang Gym are across the road.
Further on, Bhu Tarn Resort (sister resort to Klong Prao Resort) is set back with its minimart out front, with Scandinavian Chang Divers and an open air 329bt BBQ at your table (Ka Ta) restaurant alongside. Opposite, its’s a mixture of cannabis shops, some small cheap diners (Sushi Khao, Burrito Maa), noodle shops and yet more massage. At the far end, the curious set of steps leading up the hillside bring you out at Myristica, a set of bungalows with, you’ve guessed it, fabulous views out to sea.
Continuing south, look out for the area of undeveloped land often used for large weekend markets and festivals. The eastern Thai food restaurant, Zhang Zi Pad Pad sits at one end and another small track heads down to Koh Chang Seafood.
The North Bank of the Canal
After a few hundred metres, you reach Annika (formerly Ramayana Resort), which sits on the corner of the street leading down to the north bank of the canal (klong). About half way along this, its buildings give way to the upmarket Aana Resort, with its own Eastern Thai restaurant, Baan Ta Klua, sitting on the bend at the bottom.
The cute Phu Talay seafood restaurant, guesthouse and ornamental windmill hugs the riverbank together with Riverview Hostel (still closed post pandemic), Baan Moon, Sapparot Bar, Moleys Guesthouse (changed hands in 2023) and at the end, Iyara Seafood, all with their terraces built out over the water.
Depending on demand, both Iyara and Phu Talay conduct evening dinner tours up the klong to see the fireflies. If you want to try SUP (Stand-up Paddling), then you’re in luck too, as Iyara has a rental centre (with or without instructor) here.
Klong Plu Waterfall
Opposite Annika Resort, a track inland leads to a shanty town, which houses the many Cambodian workers on the island. There’s also a school for their children, The Cambodian Kids Centre – if you would like to help at the school or donate, see Volunteering for more details.
Way beyond them down the rutted track, the bohemian KangPlaeng Art Garden, a bar come homestay with 3 rooms, has the jungle all to themselves.
In the next section, passing on your left, Baan Suan, long term bungalows for rent, you reach the turning for Klong Plu waterfall.
The drive though the forest is a world away from the dusty and noisy main street, with a hotch potch of local houses together with old and closed up resorts, all spaced out along the length of the river’s gently winding course. Unfortunately, there were major floods here a few years back which caused immense damage and in truth, the whole valley does now feels somewhat run down. Look out for Ban Kon Elephant Camp at the start and further in the German restaurant Metzgerei Baum.
The waterfall is at the very end with an entrance fee of 200bt, parking at 20bt. There are a couple of somtam, sticky rice and chicken stalls here but the ramshackle looking One Million Somtams, a few hundred metres before, makes for a decent lunch above the water.
Roadside from The Waterfall to the Central Area
Back again at the main road, several more shop units are located opposite the turning to the waterfall but heading south, you next come to Jae Eew Seafood, rated now as the island’s best seafood diner. Despite the less than glamorous location by the bridge, it’s packed to the gills on public holidays and indeed many weekends when the Thais descend en masse on Koh Chang.
A little further along on the mountain side, Ban Chang Thai, the elephant camp has now closed, but down the track, Koh Chang ATV still has its base. Monster ATV, which runs on an almost identical course in the jungle but using more powerful vehicles, is around the next corner. Deep Island, cannabis outlet and Japanese restaurant, has moved here too from its old base behind the temple.
Incidentally, opposite the turning into the ATV, the large unoccupied patch of land was once an airstrip, from where 2 seater planes conducted tours over the island.
After the bend by the bridge, Leelawadee Bungalows and Krongtarra Resort, complete with its smart coffee shop out front, provide understated rooms on the inland side. The local school is perched high on the hillside above them. Baanta (owned by Santhiya Tree) is a decent enough Thai restaurant here too.
On the other side, food stalls and fruit stands line the street, serving up cheap and cheerful one dish over rice dishes to order or spicy Issan style food (somtam, sticky rice, grilled chicken, laab). Look out for the Muslim one at the start by the bridge, great for fiery southern Thai food and much loved by the locals.
Down on the Beach
Midway along the stalls, a speed-bumped street leads off down to the sea. On the left, the Muay Thai gym has now closed down but a few metres further down, Elegance Pool Villas (same owners as Pearl Beach) has its villas down the track.
Head right to the end of the street and you’ll find the abandoned KP Huts, Tiger Huts and Santhiya Tree all on the beach. Santhiya Tree has a huge hotel block on the canal too.
Past Santhiya Tree, the track arrives at the back entrances to two guesthouses, Baan Rim Nam and Watercolours, both on the bank of the northern canal and at the very end, Longstay Resort straddles the same canal, beach and outlet to the sea. Just before them all, another small sandy trail leads down to a tiny beach restaurant.
Back along the Beach to the Southern End
From that little beach restaurant, you can walk along the sand back past the resorts of Santhiya Tree, Tiger Huts, the closed and disintegrating KP Huts, a large chunk of undeveloped land (a rarity on any beach on the island) and onto the resorts of Barali and Centara Tropicana Beach. After them, you hit the second klong, difficult to walk over unless at the lowest tide, though there is also a makeshift pontoon bridge.
If you head up the side of the klong, you enter Blue Lagoon, which is now run by the landowners as bungalows only, no restaurant or cookery school. At its entrance, you’ll also find Pawina’s, a cute and excellent kombucha cafe. The separate vegetarian restaurant on the lagoon was renovated ready for the the 22/23 season but never opened….seems unlikely too for 23/24.
Using the pontoon bridge over the klong, you emerge at Lin’s Bungalows and then pass the beach bar restaurants, Pilot, Mandalay and Family (currently closed). Pilot Bar is the same owners as the Italian diner Babylon up on the temple street. Continue on still further and you reach the seaside entrances to The Dewa, Vayna Boutique and Emerald Cove.
The final three resorts of Klong Prao are, in sand order, The Splash, Magic Resort and Choc Dee Resort, the latter sitting on the southern headland and cliff. Magic Resort has a good well-priced seafood restaurant built out on stilts over the water and Summer SUP, a tiny beach bar with SUP hire, is squeezed in here too.
From Choc Dee all the way back to Longstay Resort is a nice 10 to 15 minute stroll.
The Roadside Central Area – Klong Prao Beach
Returning to the route by road, shortly after the turning down to Santhiya Tree, a 7-11 marks the start of the old village, with hawkers offering grilled insects and bugs, crepes and lottery tickets all usually set up outside.
Next door, Crust Bakery has been a fixture for many a year, whilst across the road, there’s a bank and yet another cannabis outlet. Klong Prao Temple, which holds various festivals during the course of the year, stands firm as a bulwark of former times, sandwiched as it is amongst all the development.
Continuing on, a gas station with a vast array of motorbikes for hire, a phone shop (repairs too) and the plastic shop (household items and much more besides) can all come in handy as indeed as does the small Tesco Lotus across the way.
Restaurants along the road include the Issan style Bam, Spaghetteria Toscana, El Greco, Babylon (Italian), Kohchang 7 Korean BBQ, Izakaya and Kati Culinary (Thai). Raan Gaeng Som is the southern Thai curry and rice shop, with the trays in the cabinet – always packed with the island’s workers. You can also grab a coffee at Teddy Bee, Moccaccino, and Marin.
Next door to the curry shop, Family Urfer, a bar come indoor market for handicrafts (leather in particular) together with the simple cheap accommodation at Traveller’s Rest and opposite, long stay bungalows at P & Pu House, complete the set.
Sois inland and sois towards the sea
Various little streets head towards the interior, one to the local clinic, one to Iyara Resort with 7 Rooms on the right hand side as you drive in and one to the single court tennis club. Also down this one, you’ll find a very useful copy, scan and passport photo shop, Baansin 8 (same owners as the tennis court). Beyond it, other local basic houses, are scattered about among the trees.
Meanwhile, down Soi Boonlong, shortly after the temple, you’ll find the Thai Dutch restaurant and the curiosity of the vast and very much closed down, VJ B & B – same owners as the newly revamped shopping plaza, Neighbour by VJ and Island View , over in Chai Chet.
That street links back via the construction site of the new pool villas development Villa Sensiri, to the access to the large oceanfront resorts, Barali Resort and Centara Tropicana. Following the loop back, you arrive back at the main road. Thong Dee, Ban Klong Gog, Sabaidee and Blue Lagoon Bungalows are down the street parallel which takes you to the southern canal and the pontoon bridge mentioned above.
Opposite those last two streets, another elephant trekking operation, Ban Camp Chang, has its base as well as Sima Massage, long established and deservedly popular.
Far end of the Central Area
At the far end, just before the bend the bridge, you pass a mix of massage shops (Coco, Wassana) and cheap Thai restaurants, including Naga with has a good vegetarian section, before hitting The Koh Chang Gallery, the budget hotel. Iyara Boty is immediately next door. Look out too for the small fishing tackle shop across the road, Blue Lagoon (not connected to the bungalows).
The track behind Koh Chang Gallery brings you to the ocean, with the bungalows of Papaya Cottage down the left turning at its start. The Forest, rooms and modern houses, is further round from Papaya, whilst straight on the track brings you to Maddekehaoo, a set of villas and pool by the canal. You can also link back to the Blue Lagoon area via the watefront house for rent, Baan Zen.
Towards the Southern End
Back on the main road, the bungalows and steak house of Big Elk are shortly after the bridge on the opposite corner and inland from them, a good couple of kilometres into the forest, you arrive at Chang Chutiman, the third elephant camp in Klong Prao.
Continuing on, there’s Jae Mam Seafood, restaurant and wholesalers, a large vegetable shop and Sing Thong store, a good source for western products at this end of the island. Bread Box, its offshoot bakey and coffee shop is on the left hand side. Across from them, you can fill up cheaply at the second of island’s PTT petrol stations, which has its own franchise Amazon cafe.
In and around here, the cheap resorts, Boonya and Sofia are found in secluded spots off small turnings towards the sea. Shortly after Sofia, M & D and Lek’s, two Koh Chang stalwarts, are among a scattering of small bars and cheap diners. Go Pok Cafe, a curry and rice shop, is the newest 2023 addition just after the empty plaza.
Further south still, the road takes you past the soi leading down to The Dewa, Vayna Boutique and Emerald Cove, with Sale e Pepe, the Italian restaurant on the corner. Next door to them, The Splash, with its huge feature swimming pool and multiple water slides, is hard to miss.
Magic Resort and the street side motel, Golden House lead onto Choc Dee Resort on the final curve as Klong Prao Beach morphs into Kai Bae Beach. Opposite them, Hua Pla Mor Fai is another good seafood diner and KDC (Koh Chang Dental Clinic) has its latest home. Kachapol Hotel, Jungle View Bungalows and a couple of beer bars, Suzy and Lion, complete the set.
UPDATED December 23
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