Tan Khu Bay (Ao Tan Khu) is a charming little beach on the mainland, overlooking the far northern end of Koh Chang. Whilst most Trat beaches are found en route to the Cambodian border at Had Lek, Ao Tan Khu is just a few kilometres from Laem Ngop, where the Koh Chang ferry piers are located. It’s easy enough to rent a motorbike on the island and head across for lunch, a very Thai kind of day out.
The beach itself is no more than 500 metres long, set in a tiny horseshoe bay with clear, calm waters, fringed by a few coconut trees. A simple guesthouse sits at the northern end, a more local house with rooms out the back at its southern counterpart. A small dusty beach road runs between them, with other guesthouses on one side and restaurant tables under corrugated sunshades on the other.
It’s all very low key, with the handful of places to stay, practical, no frills spots offering a/c or fan rooms in the 400bt to 700bt range. Their restaurants too are laid-back affairs, where you place your order over in the main building and then take a seat by the water. There’s plenty of seafood of course, whole fish in chilli sauce, steamed crab and so on but you can also choose something much lighter; fried rice, prawn cakes or glass noodle salads are just perfect with an ice-cold drink, as you while away the afternoon.
Weekends can get busy as locals head out of Trat down to the beach for the day, but visiting Ao Tan Khu during the week, likely as not, it will be delightfully peaceful. As for the view from Ao Tan Khu of Koh Chang, that small island at the tip is its namesake Koh Chang Noi, with noi meaning , you guessed it, little. You can kayak out there from Klong Son
As you leave the bay, you can explore a couple of the neighbouring coves, both also offering accommodation, one with a marina. There is a clear sign too for the Koh Chang ferry, a nice gentle back road route though the rubber trees.
Ao Tan Khu – Directions
Coming from Koh Chang, the easiest way to reach Ao Tan Khu is by taking the main road which connects up the two ferry piers at Centerpoint and Ao Thammachat in the direction of Trat Airport, with the left turning clearly marked after 5 or so kilometres. If coming down from Bangkok, you will make your turn to the ferries at the Saen Tung junction with its Koh Chang signs and simply follow this for around 25 km until you see the same sign (on the right of course)
Ao Tan Khu – Accommodation
Ao Tan Khu Resort (middle) 082 055 8544
Sai Kku Resort (north end) 085 748 4510
TKK Resort (next cove) 087 509 9306