At a Glance
- Likely to meet: Families, couples, few travellers, a good mix including ex-pats in the villas.
- The Beach: Excellent at the northern end (within Siam Royal View), though does get very low tides, no beach at the southern end.
- Accommodation: Villas, couple of resorts, motels, guesthouses and bungalows
500bt or less for rooms to 7,500bt or more for pool villas, villas.
- Resorts: Aiyapura, Little Sunshine, Peninsula, Marina Sands, The Boathouse, Grand Orchid
- Villas: Blue Haven Bay (Siam Royal View), Beach Laguna
- Small Motels: Banphu, Riverside
- Bungalows/Guesthouses: , Evergreen, Feel@Chill, Havana, Pukdee, Blue Sapphir
- Restaurants: Mainly cheap Thai, bit of western.
- Blues Blues Art Cafe (currently closed), Beach Club
- Coffee Shops: Amazon, Pukdee
- Nightlife: Almost none, Thai karaoke.
- Bars: Cool Down Bar and Lounge (currently closed)
- Other: Waterfall, Chinese temple, Thai Temple, fishing village, elephant camp, ATMs, Minimarts, Gas Station, Motorbike Rentals.
- Highlights: Local life, nice beach, interior area.
- Lowlights: Separated off from west coast, not much outside resorts and villas.
At an Island Pace – Klong Son
Klong Son is the first area you reach when heading down the west coast from the two ferries, Centrepoint Ferry at Dan Khao and Koh Chang Ferry at Ao Sapparot. An unremarkable dusty street with a central crossroads and a hill at either end, it is a busy, bustling Koh Chang town, home to building merchants, petrol stations, cement works, vegetable shops, a 7-11 and seemingly not much else.
However, by returning under your own steam or choosing to stop for a few days in one of the resorts or villas, you will find it has a lot more to offer – a wonderful inland road, with a waterfall at its end, a thriving little fishing community, a large temple, private residences and an impressive bay.
The Northern End
Proudly sitting on the hill nearest to the ferries is the Chinese Temple, where the godfather of Koh Chang, Chao Po Koh Chang has residence. What was originally a small affair, the temple and its environs have slowly grown with the success of predictions given by the godfather and his wife and there is even a yearly island-long procession to ensure that he stays firmly fixed in the locals’ thoughts.
Drivers will beep their horns three times on passing and it is free to have a look round, though what different rituals one should do on entering the temple is impenetrable without the help of a local to explain.
Dropping down the hill, a turning on the right leads past Blue Sapphir Bungalows, Pukdee Bungalows and 5 Star Resort, before emerging at the entrance to the largest private development on the island, Blue Haven Bay (formerly Siam Royal View).
Blue Haven Bay
Split into two distinct sections, this part of Blue Haven comprises 3 rows of near identical ochre coloured private villas with Lanna style roofs, all laid out in a grid system with the beach at the front and a a 9 hole pitch and putt golf at the rear. Some of the villas also sit on an adjoining little beach, Half Moon Bay.
At the northern end, you’ll find the boutique resort of Little Sunshine, The Beach Club complete with a wonderful 30 metre pool and the row of deluxe rooms which makes up Peninsula Resort – they also rent out various villas around and about the complex.
The beach, is known locally as Chang Noi and it’s a mightly impressive sweep of sand, with lovely clear though very tidal waters. A seawall of anamorphic boulders runs across the front of the northern end.
A small rough track connects this section to the southern area. Here, larger villas, including Laguna Beach, sit along the beachfront, with Shambala, another beach club and its slightly smaller pool, sitting in the centre. Behind them, accommdation is in a 3 storey condo block and a boutique lodge, The Boathouse.
From here, if you take the proper route out (with its crazy paving surface), it brings you first to the hotel Marina Sands Resort and next door to that, a large marina, which berths some pretty impressive vessels. Continue onto the end and you emerge opposite the large PTT gas station, one of two on the island. That has the ubiquitous 7/11 but also a very good Amazon coffee shop hidden away in the back. You are about 500 metres from the original turning in by Blue Sapphir Bungalows.
Street Area towards the 7-11
Heading further into town, the Suvarnabhumi Burapa Bus Co, the service that goes back and forth between Koh Chang and BKK Airport, has now closed its office and station here due to Covid-19 – it may restart once the borders reopen?
There are building merchants, cement works, the Riverside Guesthouse by the bridge with a small Italian restaurant out front, as well as lots of food stalls and motorbike fixing shacks before you arrive at the 7-11 which sits at the crossroads in the middle of the village.
Street towards the Sea
Here, the road to the right leads past the homestay style Garden Lodge, hidden away down a track and then curves back and forth before branching off either to the small resort Feel@Chill and the local temple or to Havana, a small motel with pool. A few hundred metres from there, Family Guesthouse is located next to the small pier with its fishing community.
You can walk to the tip of the jetty where the boats are moored up and gain a great view of both the tree-lined sandbar and the inlet it creates, as well the bay and ocean beyond.
Offshore, there are two uninhabited islands, Koh Mapring off the southern side of the bay and Koh Chang Noi off the northern headland. Both can easily be visited by taking a kayak, with some good snorkeling off either and even a small beach on Koh Chang Noi.
Inland to the Waterfall and Elephant Camp
A left at the 7-11 crossroads takes you past the school along a wonderful winding road through fruit orchards and lines of rubber trees, deep into the valley, until ultimately ending at the ford which marks the entrance to Klong Son’s waterfall, Klong Jao Leuam.
This many tiered waterfall, one of the least known on the island, is free to visit, but the local landowner does charge 40bt for you to walk through to the footpath.
Klong Son Elephant Camp, the elephant trekking centre, is up a muddy well trodden path just a short distance beforehand.
As well as being the base for some excellent trekking, this inland area of Klong Son has a couple of places to stay at Phet Luran Bungalows and Evergreen Resort and your curiosity will undoubtedly be piqued by three other spots found along the way – Koh Chang’s orthodox Russian church, a cockfighting ring and a huge Khmer reproduction gate, straight out of the Siem Reap guidebook, behind which sits a German man’s private home come castle.
Look out too for Koh Chang Animal Project, which does an invaluable job in treating both pets and the unwanted animals of the island and the hidden gem of a restaurant at Blues Blues Art Cafe (currently closed).
The Southern End – Klong Son
Back at the main road and continuing past the crossroads, you start to head out of town, passing a few small restaurants, Klong Son’s only nightlife at Cool Down Bar and Lounge Club (currently closed) and Grand Orchid Resort, which is popular with Thai weekenders.
At the base of the hill, you reach the long winding street which leads to Aiyapura Resort, with Banphu Resort, motel style accommodation and not to be confused with Banpu Resort in White Sand Beach, a few metres in.
Follow the street to the end and Aiyapura Resort, one of Koh Chang’s first resorts, dominates the southern headland – it’s well worth a quick visit for the magnificent views of the bay below.
Incidentally, if you take the road off to the right shortly before Aiyapura’s entrance you can loop all the way back to the fishing village pier and from there back up to the 7/11 crossroads.
Immediately after the Aiyapura Resort turning, the main road begins its ascent up over the mountain, an interesting journey to say the least complete with both very steep sections and some switchbacks before it drops down into White Sand Beach and the west coast.
Return to Koh Chang Beaches