UPDATED for 2019-20 Season
At a Glance – Koh Chang East Coast
- 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, Spa Koh Chang, Na Tara, Garden of Joy
Villas: Ban Thai Talay, Wave Villas, The Terrace
Bungalows: Ban Chid Talay, Good View, Privacy, Siriporn, Uncle Chalerm, Fasai, Baan Mai Rim Fang Nam
B & B: Blessed, Pen and Cesar
- Dan Mai Seafood, Dan Mai Somtam, Spa Koh Chang, Amber Sands
Coffee: Baan Kafae, Na Tara
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, seafood and local Thai restaurants, a couple of waterfalls and a terrific coastline to boot.
The Ferries to Dan Khao – Koh Chang East Coast
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 Koh Chang Fasai Resort and some more than acceptable seafood restaurants 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 and 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 and at the far end, a Thai homestay, Baan Mai Rim Fang Nam Bungalows, 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.
Continuing past this section, you reach Sompot Garden, a 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, complete with its own bakery and vehicle hire. 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.
Dan Mai – Koh Chang East Coast
After passing the large tracts of newly cleared land, 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 sits on one side, while opposite, a small winding street snakes down through the rubber trees to another new development, as yet unopened – this one consisting of double storey houses with a feature swimming pool, all hidden away behind the wall.
Around the next corner, Siriporn Resort offers 4 bungalows down by the ocean, quickly followed by an excellent somtam restaurant and the Thai guesthouse Koh Chang Fuengfah, both on the other side. A final hill brings you to the back entrance to Dan Mai village which is signed for the Chinese temple and then onto Koh Chang’s public hospital. Next door behind the fishing tackle shop, The Elysian Pearl, a resort of bungalows, pool and hotel rooms has now closed due to its Swedish owner being extradited to America for an alleged financial scam and money laundering.
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. You can also find another access road further on down the little street by the sports field. There are various other small Thai diners dotted about the main road, all cheap and tasty and especially busy at lunchtimes when the office workers take their break.
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 to Dan Mai Seafood, an old style restaurant over the water with a lovely one table sala out over the water.
There are plenty of other local houses, a tiny Chinese temple and brightly painted pier, an understated small resort of bungalows and coffee shop at Baan Chid Talay and down at the far end, another small never completed row of private villas. If you follow the route here, you’ll 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 now, 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 now 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.
Now heading out of town down the east coast, you’ll spot Tippayarat, a place for camping and Good View, cute bungalows and 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, you can follow a fascinating inland road all the way to Home Bar, camping and 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 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, restaurant and 2 or 3 bungalows, Baan Ing Luk. 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. The boutique resort of Na Koh Chang Tara Resort, with its coffee shop by the water, is at the far end.
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 run by the same owner as Garden of Joy. A sometimes open 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 kilometre 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 past the tiny Privacy Resort, a handful of bungalows around a small pool and the abandoned Paradise by the Sea, you enter the district of Salak Khok. Kooncharaburi, a huge resort, now open again, is located at the the end of a long track in its own cove, known as Ao Kong Kang, which has 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.
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 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 on the other.
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 2 kilometers straight on from this point.