At a Glance – Klong Son
- 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, Grand Orchid
Villas: Siam Royal View
Small Motels: Banphu, Riverside
Bungalows/Guesthouses: , Evergreen, Feel@Chill, Pukdee, Blue Sapphir, Garden Lodge, Family
- Blues Blues Art Cafe, Beach Club
Coffee Shops: Amazon, Pukdee
- Bars: Cool Down Bar and Lounge
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 – Klong Son
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 and Pukdee Bungalows before emerging at the entrance to the largest private development on the island, Siam Royal View.
This collection of villas, in neat rows on avenues by the sea, sits along the whole of the northern end of the bay. It has its own private beach known as Chang Noi, an impressive sweep of sand with clear though very tidal waters and a seawall of anamorphic concrete boulders.
As with all such developments, construction is ongoing but in addition to the three rows of villas already completed and the various tiny suburbs in the small bays at the top end, there are 2 small boutique resorts, Little Sunshine and Peninsula Resort, a hotel at Marina Sands Resort, 2 condo blocks, plenty of villas for holiday rent, two beach clubs with infinity pools, a 9 hole pitch and putt golf course and a marina.
Heading further into town, the road passes the large PTT station, which offers the best prices for petrol and diesel prices on the island, boasting of course its own 7/11 but also a very good Amazon coffee shop hidden away in the back. Opposite, the small street leads down to the marina and the southern part of Siam Royal View.
The Suvarnabhumi Burapa Bus Co, the service that goes back and forth between Koh Chang and the Airport, has its base just down from here. There are building merchants, cement works, the Riverside Guesthouse by the bridge 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.
Here, the road to the right leads past Garden Lodge, hidden away down a track, and then curves back and forth before branching off to the small resort Feel@Chill and the local temple or on to Family Guesthouse and 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 – Klong Son
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 the 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.
Ban Kwan Chang, the elephant trekking centre, run with the Asia Elephant Association 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.
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 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 its 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.