If there is one thing that Koh Chang is famous for – it is her beaches, yes the powdery (or rocky) shore that leads into the ocean, idyllic palm trees overhead, waves lapping on the shore. Slow sunsets, relaxed and fun – yes, Koh Chang has beaches…
Yes, it certainly can be an almost postcard like vision – and most of that is true. But each beach here has its own sort of vibe and each beach will either make you smile, or maybe make you want to move on. But we rest assured that you will find at least one beach you can call home for a while.
Overview of Koh Chang Beaches: If you are looking for any beaches the west side of the island including White Sands, Chai Chet, Klong Proa, Kai Bae, Lonely Beach and Bang Bao is where you want to be. If you looking for the palm trees, long sand, great swimming and beach life – just go to the west side of the island.
There is a fairly empty beach on the east side called Long Beach, but is very isolated and fairly hard to get to. That may be perfect for you-if that is what you are looking for. We still recommend the East Side of Koh Chang for site seeing and some of the views from the various bays are quite incredible. But the West Side wins for beaches and facilities…
Koh Chang has outlawed all forms of jet boats and tourist long tails, banana boats etc... This is probably one of the best things about the Koh Chang beaches as they tend to be fairly quiet and free of scammers trying to get you to pay for non-existent damage. Instead you get some very laid back and excellent beaches that cater to a more relaxed life style. You can actually sit, talk and have a nice day free of hearing these things go screaming by. It actually makes for a huge difference and once you stay here for a bit Pattaya and other beaches will just seem too noisy, busy and not great at all!
Map To The Beaches:
Editors Pick for Koh Chang’s Best Beach:
That of course is a hard one… depends what you really want:
Best Quiet and Relaxed Beach: Klong Prao: the largest and least known beach, still central and easy access.
Best Off The Beaten Path Beach: Bang Bao Beach, isolated at the south end but well worth it.
Best “Meet Fellow Travelers” Beach: Lonely Beach, lots of travellers and a very laid back beach-party feel.
Best Romantic Beach: Klong Prao, great walks and very good food along the way. Watch the sunset go down and take a photo together.
Best Family Beach: Kai Bae. Easy to get to, excellent and close facilities but not too crowded. You can go from the beach to gelato in 7 minutes.
Best “I want the place to myself” Beach: Head over to Long Beach on the east side.
White Sands Beach:
For all intents and purposes this is the main beach of Koh Chang. The most hotels, resorts, shops, restaurants and services will be found here. White Sands sometimes get some bad press for being too touristy… but that can be a good thing or a bad thing depending on what you are looking for.
The beach itself is very long at about 2km of really nice sand starting in the north and continuing into a rocky shore and cliffs in the south. The sand is fine, the shore slopes very gently into the sea. There is quite the variation in high to low tides and so during low tide there is a lot of shore, ergo a lot of traffic.
White Sands is busy with many shops and restaurants along the length, if you want something quiet heading into the area around Rock Sand Resort in the north might be a good idea. If you like busy stay around the middle and you will be impressed. You can find lots of places to dine right on the beach along with lots of places for shade and a quick drink.
If you want some excellent views of the island head farther south and check out some of decks that are high up on the cliff sides, like Tops Resort or Chang Cliff are good choices, it makes for a great meal way high up overlooking the bay.
Please note that during heavy weather there can be a chance for rip tides. See our article here on how to spot and avoid these. Seriously, read it…
Not really any kind of a beach for sunbathing or such, the term Pearl in Pearl Beach refers to the large polished and rounded rocks that are all over, it also is said to refer to the name of the first baby born around the area and it might just be because there are a lot of oysters in the sea – take your pick for best idea…. Great place though if you like to snorkel. I know its a short description, but there really is not much of a beach at all. Bring your snorkel or fishing gear though and you might be raving about the place!
On the bright side if you want a quiet place to stay this is a good area.
Chai Chet Beach:
A very picturesque bay with an excellent beach, good sand and shallow drop off. Dominated by several resorts all along the way, but really quite nice. Definitely not as many beach restaurants and sellers, but food and drink can easily be had in any of the resorts. Usually pretty quiet and laid back. For an awesome view of the beach head into Coconut Resort and go just before the bridge. Makes for great photos!
Klong Prao Beach:
The longest beach on Koh Chang coming in at around just over 2km. Excellent sand almost all through with a very shallow drop. Some complain about the shallowness but great for families (Johnny can wade for a long time before the water is over his head!) and for those who don’t like deep water. The northern end is the Klong Prao River that separates it from Chai Chet Beach, the river runs all the way up to Klong Plu waterfall. The northern half is very quiet, the middle taken up by large resorts, at the southern half it turns into cliffs.
Very beautiful bay and views. Relatively calm and peaceful tides and currents. There are some great places to eat along the shore from the resorts to very cool little beach huts that specialize in seafood and great sunsets.
Kai Bae Beach:
Running at 1.5 km the beach wraps along its way this picture perfect bay in a slight crescent shape. Excellent sand and lots of shade. It is possible during low tide to walk out to the smaller islands you can see off the shore. If you do be sure to time your return to low tide. Getting stuck on the small island for a few hours is not a lot of fun…
Kai Bae used to be very small and undeveloped although over the last few years this has really changed with it becoming much more popular with families and other travellers. We think in a few years time it may even rival White Sands as the “place to be” on the island.
Easy to get a meal, drink, massage or get to a toilet, the main road is within easy walking distance of the beach. Really quite a beautiful place with great views all round.
Lonely Beach is great in the north around Siam Bay Resort with good sand and a low drop off. The farther south you go the rockier it gets, at Lonely Beach proper it is not really a beach at all.
Lonely Beach was at one time, well, lonely. It took a day trip to get here by boat and it was remote, now that is not true anymore and it has become for all intents and purposes a stop for Gap year students and fans of reggae. You will find lots of small restaurants and shops, lots of small nightclubs and very funky, very laid back beach life here. For many it is the best beach on Koh Chang…
Wai Chek/Bang Bao Beach:
Located at the very end of South Koh Chang it is a great beach that not a lot of people get to but it would be worth it to see. Actually one of the least crowded due to its fairly isolated location it is worth it to hang out. Drive about 6km ssouth of Bang Bao and you will see a rough wooden bridge across a river. Walk over that and you are there. Great sand, excellent views and a few small food areas for a quick drink and meals if you need it.
Koh Chang Beach Access:
It seems that sometimes finding the beach can be a problem for some people on the island. The original plans called for no development along the beach, but years ago, that note was lost to the developers and so now there is wall to wall hotels almost along all the good beach shores. There are two simple methods A: Just walk through the hotels (it is fine!) B: Look for the Beach Access signs that are here and there. After a while of not seeing them just go to plan A.
The sun can be a killer here for a westerner. Don’t imagine that you can get off your plane in December and just hit the beaches for a full day of surf and sand your first couple of days. Best idea is to make sure you gets lots of shade and water and sun block for the first bit. See our article on sun safety. Don’t even think about using “sun enhancers” – you will wind up in the hospital with burns!
Although a good towel is a necessity, a great idea is to get a small roll-up bamboo mat that you can buy at just about any store. It makes for a great base for lounging.
We encourage everyone to clean up and help keep the beach clean. We will love you even more if you not only take your garbage off the beach, but if see some trash from others – please dispose of it!
Beach hawkers are hardworking people that usually will approach you in the busier areas. Unlike a lot of other places in Thailand they tend to have good manners and a quick smile and “no thank you” or Meo Kap (or Ka for women) is usually good enough to get them on their way. On the plus side sometimes they have some cool stuff that you should bargain hard for!
Topless sunbathing is not actually allowed by law. If you have to just find a remote spot and nobody will hassle you. If you insist on doing so in the public places don’t be surprised when a Thai and Western fan club erupts around you. And don’t get mad…
Koh Chang Beach Gallery:
Sometimes you just want some pictures and so no worries. Various photos and images taken over the last couple of years from great beach shots to sunsets!