UPDATED for 2019-20 Season
At a Glance – White Sand Beach
- Likely to meet: Tourists, families, couples and few backpackers.
- The Beach: One of the island’s best, excellent at the northern end, giving way to rocks and cliff at the southern end.
- Accommodation: Mainly resorts and hotels but bungalows, huts, guesthouses also available
From 500bt fan rooms up to 12,000bt for the deluxe oceanside villas
- Resorts: KC Grande, Kacha, Chang Buri, Grand View, Apple Beachfront, Bamboo, Banpu, Cookies
Small Hotels/Motels: Erawan, The Grand, Keeree Ele, Palm Garden, SP Place, Sai Khao Inn, Paddy’s Palms
Bungalows: Tantawan, White Sand Beach Resort, Arunee, Jinda, Rock Sand Resort, Para
Backpacker: Independent Bo, Island Lodge, Tuk Tuk, Maylamean
- Nong Bua, Seabar, Invito, Buffalo Bill Steak House, Thors Palace, The Tropical, Pink, Beach Tango, Alaturka, Iyara Seafood
Coffee Shops: Marin, KC Grande, Royal Cafe, Isle Brew Cafe
- Party: Sabay Bar
Bars: Rock Bar, Zap, Tapas Bar
Live Music: Oodies, Rock Bar
Sports: Paddys Palms, White Elephant
At an Island Pace – White Sand Beach
White Sand Beach is generally split into north and south, with the vast majority of the actual beach at the northern end and the southern section generally held to start at the point where the sand gives way to rocks and the cliffs.
What was once a small village is now a bustling tourist town with one huge luxury resort, other mid range hotels and resorts, smaller bungalow operations, motels and backpacker rooms. Alongside the accommodation, there is a wide array of restaurants, bars, cafes, massage and spas, tattoo artists, clothes and souvenir shops, pharmacies, motorbike rental, ticket agencies, banks and currency exchanges.
White Sand Beach is a popular choice for those that want the standard Thai beach resort holiday. During the day, you can enjoy a terrific stretch of sand, with clear calm waters, whilst in the evening, you can wander along the main street or the beach for something to eat, with the chance to cap things off at one of the nightspots dotted around town later.
It is safe, hassle-free tourism but if that is something you normally steer clear of, then White Sand Beach is probably not your kind of place.
The Northern End – White Sand Beach
Crossing over the mountain from Klong Son, the road makes a couple of hard switchback climbs near the National Park Office before it passes the steep incline leading to White Sand Beach Resort and begins its descent into White Sand Beach itself. A viewpoint just before this last stretch offers some great sweeping aerial views of the town, beach and out to sea.
At the foot of the hill at this northern end, the luxury resort KC Grande dominates the immediate surroundings with its buildings on both side of the road and staff lodgings winding back up the hill. A couple of cheaper smaller guesthouses, Jinda, Arunee and Palms Garden Hotel among them, can be found opposite. To the left of the 7-11, one of several to be found in White Sand Beach, a concrete walkway gives public access to the sea.
Taking the walkway down onto the sand brings you out in the middle of the beach, a world apart from the busy Koh Chang street just a few metres away. It’s a wonderful sight, with powder white sand stretching far into the distance in both directions, blue shallow waters ahead and jungle covered cliffs looking down on the northern peninsula.
Walking to the right and north along the beach, you soon stumble upon the backpacker quarter of White Sand Beach. The cheap and cheerful bungalows, Pen’s, Star Beach, Chang Beach, Ban Na, Independent Bo’s, Rock Sand Resort and Maylamean, are all uniquely built up the cliff face, with their little restaurants at the front. High tide brings the sea right up to the buildings, with you actually needing to walk into Rock Sand, through it and out the other side in order to continue on your way.
The bungalows of White Sand Beach Resort, whose steep road entrance you passed when snaking over the mountain and beyond it, an abandoned restaurant, complete the picture at this far northern end.
The Central Beach – White Sand Beach
Heading the opposite way and south from the concrete walkway, you can walk right to the end of the northern section of White Sands Beach, passing restaurants and bars such as 15 Palms, Sangtawan and Sabay Bar, the beach-side entrances to the larger resorts of Cookies Hotel, Mac Resort, Koh Chang Lagoon Resort, Kacha Resort and Banpu Resort or the densely packed bungalows of Sang Arun, Tantawan, Bamboo and Apple Beachfront.
Tables and chairs are laid out on the beach by each of these spots, making a great place to break from the sea and sun for lunch or at night, with their low lights and candles, enjoy dinner to the sound of the waves.
At that southern end, you can emerge back onto the main street via another beach walkway just after the restaurant, Thor’s Palace and by the boutique-style small hotel, Du Talay.
On the Street – White Sand Beach
At street level, meanwhile, the road of course passes the entrances to these places from their other side, with small shops nestled in among them, selling the usual array of Thai souvenirs, clothes and beach mats. There are multiple minimarts, travel shops and ticket booths, BB Divers with 2 shops, Oodies with its nightly live music, Zap Bar, Buffalo Bill’s, Taste of India, Bua Spa, Marin Coffee, several motels in SP Place, Gold Beach Guesthouse and Baan Saikao, pharmacies, banks and the police box. The Erawan, a 35 room hotel with rooftop pool and The Grande, 34 rooms, sit on the mountain side of the road.
Close to Tantawan and its neighbours at Bamboo, Apple Beachfront and Sea Bar, the street comes alive in the late afternoon and on into the evening, with stands laid out selling little bags of curry, fruit, bbq chicken and and sticky rice, even kebabs. Royal Cafe has a coffee shop and bar here also.
Just before Kacha Resort, a small road leads inland to another little world of cheap no frills guesthouses, Fishermans’ Hill, Tuktuk, Island Lodge and White Sand Garden all built up the hillside amid the trees and just a short walk to the beach. Iyara Seafood, of Klong Prao Beach, has a open air branch at the front of Kacha Resort.
Another cheaper guesthouse, Sai Khao Inn, is located at the end of the small soi opposite Banpu Resort, with the restaurant, The Tropical, the wonderful jewellery and accessories shop, Peace Moon and the cheap and highly popular Thai eateries of Nong Bua and Gai Mun (Boogie Chicken) either side of the turning. Isle Brew Cafe whips up a decent brew alongside.
Alina Hotel has rooms and buildings on both sides of the street. The smal hotel, Du Talay, now very popular with the Chinese market, is its neighbour.
The Southern End – White Sand Beach
Shortly after the walkway from the beach, Grand View Resort sits at the start of the rocks and cliffs, which signal the southern end of White Sands Beach. Marin coffee shop is at the top of the resort entrance, whilst opposite the so called Grand View Plaza houses restaurants along the front, Monkeys, Alaturka, Bella Vita and Royal India among others. At the rear, Rock Bar provides the nightlife.
The mountain side builings of Chang Buri Resort sit between Makro Food and 7-11, with Siam Kitchen a popular little diner a few doors down. Opposite them are the main entrance to Chang Buri, its seaside accommodation and another small coffee shop.
Next up at this southern end, you’ll find the zoned area for the beer bars – a dense concentration of small open air venues staffed by scantily clad hostesses, which pump out competing loud music fom 18.00 onwards. Further up the hill, seaside, are the resorts of Plaloma, Koh Chang Hut Hotel and Top Resort, with its Foodland store and German Beer Garden out front. Keeree ele Hotel, a Bangkok style boutique hotel, Paddy’s Palms Pub, The White Elephant, both pub come resorts and Sea Sun Hotel sit on the mountain side.
Invito al Cibo, one of the island’s best Italian restaurants, is accessed through Koh Chang Hut Hotel, with the Thai Danish cafe in the same strip. Next door to Sea Sun and opposite the excellent fruit and vegetable shop, are a couple of recommended food stalls offering Thai staples such as chicken over rice (khao man gai) and braised pork leg (khao ka muu).
Finally, Chang Cliff Resort, with its ingenious walkway built into the cliffs, is the last resort on the sea side. Various other long stay options are opposite as well as a couple of smaller bungalows operations at Para Resort and Baan Aunrak.
Ciao Italian, another well established Italian restaurant, is also found at this end, with Anna’s, the cash and carry store stocking many European foods, located at the top of the hill.
Leaving White Sand Beach, the road passes the international clinic, Bangkok Trat on the mountain side and on the opposite side sits a curious flight of steep concrete steps lead to the crest of the hill. An increasingly slower and slower walk up brings you out at the Naval Memorial, with a great view out to sea, a couple of guns, a small shrine and not much else.