At a Glance
- Likely to meet: Couples, families, solo travellers, badly researched bookings.
- The Beach: Not great, gritty red sand variety at Dan Khao and other spots.
- Accommodation: Small boutique resorts, villas, other resorts.
500bt for fan rooms to 20,000bt for large villa.
- Resorts: Amber Sands, Serenity, Sunrise Beach, Crown View Beach Resort, Spa Koh Chang, Na Tara, Garden of Joy
- Villas: Ban Thai Talay, Wave Villas, The Terrace, Beachfront Villa with Apartment (sic)
- Bungalows: Ban Chid Talay, Good View, Privacy, Siriporn, Uncle Chalerm, Baan Talay, Baan Mai Rim Fang Nam
- B & B: Blessed, Pen and Cesar
- Restaurants: Seafood, Issan, local Thai, in the resorts.
- Dan Mai Somtam, Spa Koh Chang, Amber Sands
- Coffee: Baan Kafae, Ronnie’s, Na Tara
- Nightlife: None.
- Other: Ferries, Hospital, Main Police Station, ATM, Waterfalls
- Highlights: Local life, lack of development, tranquillity
- Lowlights: Lack of beach, need your own transport.
At an Island Pace – Koh Chang East Coast
Along the way, the road passes through the administrative capital at Dan Mai and other little hamlets but it is a world apart from the west coast, with very little tourism, certainly no proper beaches and seemingly, therefore, limited attraction.
Yet, as with so much of Koh Chang, scratch away the surface and there is plenty on offer – excellent, well-run peaceful resorts, a health spa, local Thai restaurants, a couple of waterfalls and a terrific coastline to boot.
The Ferry Piers
Coming away from Klong Son and its Chinese temple perched on the brow of the hill, you immediately drop down to the Koh Chang ferry terminal at Ao Sapparot, with the Thai resort, Baantalay (formerly Fasai) and a seafood restaurant hidden away down a little street at the bottom of the slope.
A couple of kilometres further on, the road passes the garishly pink Thai resort, Mayuree before shortly afterwards reaching Dan Khao, where Centrepoint Ferry is based. Next door is another now disused pier, at which the little old wooden ferry used to dock, with its cargo of backpackers squeezed together like sardines, their packs piled unceremoniously one on top of the other in the prow of the boat.
Dan Khao is a steadily developing area, centred on a small stretch of beach looking out over the mainland. It’s home to three excellent boutique resorts, Amber Sands Resort, just 8 bungalows, pool and restaurant and Serenity Resort and Residences, a mixture of cabanas and larger villas and Sunrise Beach, 7 bungalows with pool. All are English owned.
In amongst the resorts, there’s a tiny bed and breakfast at Pen and Cesar, The Souk restaurant (currently closed) and at the far end, two Thai homestays, Baan Mai Rim Fang Nam Bungalows and Chanmai Nai’Lay, more than happy to accept allcomers.
The beach, its red gritty sand typical of all the beaches down this coast, is no award winner but the location is peaceful and secluded, so the resorts are deservedly popular. Along the road, a few cheap roadside restaurants and a small minimart have now sprung up to feed those that venture out but there is not much else besides these.
Far End of Dan Khao
Continuing past this section, you reach Sompot Garden, an eco-tourism homestay come farm, where Thais come from the mainland to learn all about the local variety of fruits grown on Koh Chang, durian in particular. It’s worth a stop to nose about in the little shop.
Blessed, a fabulously decorated artist’s guesthouse, is just a bit further along followed by the deceptively large Garden of Joy Resort. The plantation next door is durian by the way, one of several huge orchards that have appeared on the east coast in the last couple of years.
Around a few more twists and turns and just past Suan Wirote restaurant, you can swing into Baan Talay Thai, a closely packed mix of private houses and holiday rent villas, many with pools, which is located down on the seafront.
After passing the large tracts of newly cleared land – a durian orchard on the mountain side and rumoured to be a resort coming on the seaside – the main road now heads straight down the coast towards Dan Mai, the administrative capital of Koh Chang.
Along the way, the tiny 2L Hostel (currently closed) sits on one side, while opposite, a small winding street snakes through the rubber trees to the very private Crown View Resort, which comprises a Thai/European style of double storey and family rental houses, a feature swimming pool and restaurant.
Around the next corner, Siriporn Resort offers bungalows on both sides of the road, quickly followed by an excellent somtam restaurant another tiny diner behind that and the Thai guesthouse Koh Chang Fuengfah.
A final hill – look out for the train carriages, which will be part of a resort when finished – brings you to the back entrance to Dan Mai village on the left (signed for the Chinese temple) and straight on to Koh Chang’s public hospital. Incidentally, there is a ATM to the right of the in-patients waiting area.
Next door to the hospital, you’ll find a good fishing tackle shop and behind that, a resort which comes with somewhat of a history. The island’s main electricty grid sits opposite with other small diners sharing the space down to and immediately after the bridge.
Klong Nonsi Waterfall
Dan Mai is the main government area on Koh Chang, with lots of administration buildings as well as the head Police Station. It also boasts a gentle but very pretty tiered waterfall, Klong Nonsi, clearly signed as you enter the area, but as a pointer, look out too for the popular somtam restaurant perched up on the corner of the turning.
There’s another access road further on down the little street by the sports field. Various other small Thai restaurants are dotted about the main road, all cheap and tasty and especially busy at lunchtimes when the office workers take their break.
Down by the Sea
Opposite the Police Station, a narrow street leads past the school and temple to the village itself, with a crossroads at the bottom. Taking a left here, brings you firstly to Pordee, a new resort development on the site of the old Dan Mai Seafood restaurant and then to a tiny Chinese temple, with its brightly painted pier.
Continuing along this lane, you’ll pass an understated small resort of bungalows and coffee shop at Baan Chid Talay and at the far end, a row of private villas including Beachfront Villa with Apartment, its online booking name (in case you wondered). If you follow the winding route away from the sea, you’ll eventually emerge out at the main road before the hospital, as mentioned above.
Back at the crossroads, you can walk to the estuary and the old pier. This was a fish sauce factory in its heyday but nowadays, the whole area is unfortunately very dilapidated. Still, by treading carefully, you can get out onto the pier and enjoy the great views back to Dan Mai village itself including the local chedi.
Returning to our crossroads once more, you can take the right fork, which leads you past the Buddhist temple, over a small bridge and via local houses, in a loop back round to the main road, coming out near the sports field and the government buildings.
Heading out of town down the east coast, you’ll spot Tippayarat, a place for camping, Patalee Coffee and Good View, cute bungalows with accompanying restaurant by the ocean, managed by Seaview Resort from Kai Bae Beach.
That resort is followed by the three huge imposing private villas, Wave A, B and C, available for holiday rentals, with A and B also for sale. After them, a small track leads down to the Thai style resort, Uncle Chalerm’s Bungalows and a little further on, the IG stylish Kamon’s Bakes, a coffee shop with tasty cakes.
One final place to explore is the fascinating inland road which leads all the way to Home Bar, camping and a homestay in the forest.
Than Mayom to the Salak Khok Turning – Koh Chang East Coast
After passing through the hamlet of Baan Klong Makhok and its long abandoned condo development which fronts a half decent beach, the east coast road next reaches Than Mayom waterfall, with its principal entrance by the bridge. Rimthan Restaurant (currently closed) is across the road .
Than Mayom is one of the main centres for the National Park Authorities on Koh Chang with various offices and staff lodgings, as well as a long disused pier (now off limits), a pretty little beach, sometimes open coffee shop and 2 or 3 bungalows, Baan Ing Luk (currently closed). The waterfall is 200bt to enter, 100bt for kids.
Over the brow of the next little hill, a row of blue metal benches along the seafront makes a welcome spot to pull over and take a breather – if you’re lucky too, you may spot a kingfisher here. The boutique resort of Na Koh Chang Tara Resort, with its coffee shop by the water, is at the far end.
Hat Sai Daeng and Baan Klong Ta Khian
Hat Sai Daeng is next up, a collection of buildings straddling a bridge, with an ice factory one side and on the other, up the small gravel path, Koh Chang Riverside, a homestay of wooden stilted houses. A coffee shop sits on the corner.
Heading on again, you reach the hamlet Baan Klong Ta Khian, with Baan Look Chang, a shooting range at its start. A couple of kilometres or so after that, Baan Kafae serves up its homegrown coffee in its cafe, with its long established hydroponics nursery next door and homestay behind. Diagonally opposite Baan Kafae, Ronnie’s Organic Garden also offers coffee, food and shakes in its wooden hotch-potch style diner.
Continuing on up over the hill and then past the tiny Privacy Resort with the abandoned Vietnamese restaurant, Paradise by the Sea opposite, you enter the district of Salak Khok.
Kooncharaburi, a huge resort, which opens and closes with the wind, is located at the the end of a long track in its own cove, known as Ao Kong Kang, complete with great views back down the coast. The wooden cabanas of Flukies House, popular with Thai weekenders, are scattered around a small phospherescent lagoon at the start.
Salak Khok Area
The road itself drops down one last hill to the The Spa Koh Chang, the secluded detox retreat which nestles deep in the mangrove forest. An old style gas station, useful for those that have forgotten to fill up before leaving the west coast, is opposite, with a very good noodle soup restaurant on one corner and a new Thai homestay shortly before.
Finally, after some 20 or more kilometres from the ferry piers, the turning to Salak Khok village, Chek Bae and Long Beach hoves into view on your left. A minimart and small cafe is located on the corner amid all the signage, while Salak Phet itself is another 3 kilometers straight on from this point.
UPDATED NOVEMBER 22 for 22/23 Season
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