Which are Koh Chang’s Best Hotels?
As unanswerable questions go, that’s one of the most unanswerable because everyone has differing budgets and requirements when choosing a hotel on Koh Chang or anywhere for that matter. So what’s best for one person, isn’t going to be best for another.
So, first things first, this isn’t just a list of the most luxurious resorts you’ll find on the island, they are simply places that not only do I like, but based on the emails I receive and the reviews I see online are well received by their guests too.
There are well over 150 different resorts, hotels, bungalows, guesthouses and huts to stay in on Koh Chang, many of which are pretty ‘samey’ so another of the criteria for the resorts that I have listed is that they also have to offer something different to the norm.
I’ve limited the selection to six, as it seems like a nice round number. There will be other resorts that I have listed here that would make other people’s ‘Best of’ list – no doubt about that. But I’m pretty sure that if you book one of these resorts then you won’t have any unexpected surprises.
And to narrow down the choices even more I’ve listed two luxury resorts, two mid range places and two for those on a tight budget.
If you have a credit card and aren’t afraid to use it then consider staying at:
With the addition of a couple of new hotel blocks, one with a rooftop pool, and a beachfront lagoon pool KC Grande ticks all the boxes for anyone wanting a high standard of accommodation on a great stretch of beach yet only a few minutes walk from dozens of places to eat, drink and shop.
And that’s not all. Some cracking beachfront villas opened in late 2015. They aren’t cheap, but they are the best the island has to offer in terms of a 5 star beach villa with direct access to the beach.
KC Grande is located at the northern end of White Sand beach and has one of the longest beachfronts of any resort on the island. There is a variety of accommodation options from older beachfront bungalows to the new Sea View Grand Suites complete with jacuzzi on the balcony which are as good as you’ll find anywhere and the Garden view rooms and villas that provide cheaper but very comfortable alternatives.
So you have a resort that is fancy enough for honeymooners but with spacious gardens, great beach and huge pools that families will enjoy. You can also escape the crowds at the rooftop pool on the inland side of the main road and have a good night out with plenty of shops, bars and restaurants within a few minutes walk.
Judging from emails I receive, KC Grande Resort is by far the most popular 4 – 5 star resort on the island.
Not a fan of large resorts? Like wooden bungalows but also love a bit of luxury?
Compared to other islands there is a dearth of what travel magazines like to call ’boutique’ hotels on Koh Chang but for anyone looking for a medium size resort with a very high standard of service and accommodation, which is private yet only a few minutes walk to numerous restaurants and small shops the Gajapuri Resort is as good as it gets on Koh Chang.
The original resort consisted of 19 teak wood cottages, including four pool villas, are linked together by raised wooden walkways that run through the resorts lush gardens from the breakfast room at the rear to the four beachfront bungalows. In 2014 the annex on the adjacent beachfront plot opened and doubled the size of the resort. However, this means that there is a now a large communal pool and plenty of outdoor space in the beachfront garden area. Admittedly the beach isn’t the best on the island but this is more a place for people who want to relax and get away from it all than it is for those who want to lie on the sand all day.
A very good pick for an upmarket romantic getaway where you can be pretty sure you wont be surrounded by hordes of children or Chinese package tourists.
Should have been on the list?
The Emerald Cove would be an obvious choice. Excellent staff, European management, pricey but great Italian restaurant, the Emerald Cove, once part of the Amari chain, has everything you expect in a 5 star resort.
The Dewa, close to the Amari, has unique ‘love it or hate it’ architecture. and is the funkiest of Koh Chang’s luxury resorts for sure.
The Mercure Hideaway, from the well known Accor chain, so you know you’ll get a high level of service and high standard of room there, just don’t mention the ‘beach’.
Finally, a new resort in Kai Bae, Awa Resort – which opened in late 2014. It has the same owners as The Dewa and has a more interesting design and architecture than most large resorts.
If you need some home comforts, want to chill out but also party a little, consider:
It was a bit of a risk for the two Thai partners who own Warapura to build what is a very nice, stylish small resort smack in the middle of Lonely Beach, the main backpacker area on the island. But it has paid off and the resort is exceptionally popular with those who appreciate a sea front pool, wifi, LCD TV and informal but efficient staff. Inside the resort you are a world away from the backpacking masses staying in the budget huts nearby yet you are only a few minutes walk from a multitude of bars and restaurants where you can eat, drink and party cheaply.
If you have travelled in your youth and still like a good night out, but now need a good night’s sleep and some comfort combined with a laid back atmosphere then Warapura is the place for you. The resort is by the sea but not on a sandy beach, but if you’re the type of person who would stay here then a 10 minute walk to the sand isn’t going to kill you.
Best laid back, small resort to get away from it all. It’s got to be . . .
Amber Sands . . . but it’s on the wrong side of Koh Chang!?! True, this six bungalow family run resort is located on the east coast, but only 15 minutes drive from the busy White Sand beach, and true it isn’t within walking distance of any souvenir shops, beer bars, tailor’s shops or even a 7-eleven.
And that’s the whole point.
It’s a little hideaway where you can while away your days away from the vast majority of visitors to the island safe in the knowledge you wont be sharing breakfast with a large group of hungover package tourists and won’t find all the sunloungers permanently annexed by Eastern Europeans.
The South African owners take great pride in their customer service and in running a family friendly resort for anyone who wants to experience a quieter side of Koh Chang. The bungalows all have sea views and are built around a garden area, complete with small swimming pool. Adjacent, a beachfront restaurant is open all day long. There are a couple of other small resorts on this stretch of red sand beach, so you aren’t tied to eating every meal in the resort.
As with any resort, a full range of activities are on offer so arranging the same trips and tours as are possible from any west coast resort is a breeze.
Cosy, friendly, good value and well run. You can’t really ask for much more in a small resort. Ideal if you want to spend your days busy doing nothing.
Should have been on the list?
Quite a few other options that are well worth considering. Especially when it comes to small resorts.
For five star luxury then the new Parama Koh Chang Resort in the south east of the island is a great place to get away from it all. Not on the beach but they have a private island nearby with a lovely white sand beach – and that more than makes up for it. Downside is that it’s a long way from the main beach areas and no shops, ATM, etc close by.
Nest Sense – Newer and a bit more upmarket than Warapura which is 400 metres away. Opened in early 2014 and already getting very good reviews.
The Spa Koh Chang – Beautiful health resort in a very peaceful spot, looking out over a mangrove lined bay ideal for anyone looking to spend a week detoxing or just want some ‘me’ time with no distractions.
Little Sunshine Resort – Family run and actually three luxury beachfront homes combined to make a small upmarket resort with great personal service and attention to detail.
Kai Bae Garden Resort – well run and gets rave reviews, one of the best options if you don’t need sea views or to be right by the beach.
Best guesthouse owned by myself:
Voted as one of the ‘Top 25 B&B’s in Thailand’ by Tripadvisor for 2013, 2014 & 2015. And that’s in addition to being owned by me, the person who writes this site.
I wanted to list one place with cheap aircon rooms which also fitted the criteria for getting good reviews and being something a bit different from the norm and that isn’t easy to find on Koh Chang.
You can find an AC room for around 1,000 baht/night in High Season on Koh Chang at numerous roadside resorts but staying next to a main road isn’t a setting that gets the pulse racing. If you are looking for something different that you wont find on most islands, then Baan Rim Nam might be for you. We have just 5 ensuite, double rooms in two renovated wooden fisherman’s houses on the Klong Prao river estuary. The beach, which is the quietest on the west coast of the island, is 150 metres walk through the coconut field or 300 metres paddle down the river.
There’s no traffic noise and no loud bars nearby and you are more likely to be woken up by birdsong than anything else. Although we are right in the centre of the west coast of Koh Chang, we are 15-20 minutes walk from the nearest shops & minimart but there are several restaurants within easy reach.
Should have been on the list ( some good value small resorts with AC bungalows – but not owned by me)
Little Eden, – Very popular, well run backpacker huts that seem to remain full throughout the High Season, located just off the main strip in Lonely Beach. And even if you don’t stay there the restaurant is worth trying.
Elephant & Castle – Owned by John who has a bit of reputation for being one of the most helpful & decent people you’re likely to encounter on the island. Not a prime location, these budget AC bungalows are just off the roadside on Pearl beach. But again very well run, loads of repeat customers and convivial atmosphere.
Oasis Bungalows – At the top of the hill above Little Eden. Another upmarket backpacker place that does a great job drawing in younger guests who want some comfort. Has AC and fan bungalows and the addition of a treehouse 20 metres off the ground with amazing views.
Lazy Republique – Only four rooms and located in Bailan, south of Lonely Beach. This French/Thai run ‘resort’ has modern AC bungalows for around 1,000 baht/night. 100 metres walk to a small beach and free flowing coffee at breakfast time. Book in advance – it’s full most of the year.
And if you like to spend more on meals than you do on accommodation or just enjoy a simple life then try:
To be fair the rustic fan huts were never going to win awards for design or comfort but Cliff Cottage is one of the few resorts on Koh Chang to have won an award of any kind. And in Cliff Cottage’s case it was the HostelBookers Awards for Excellence which, based on feedback from guests, ranked Cliff Cottage in 2nd place for Best Atmosphere in Asia.
This is the place to head to experience backpacking the way it used to be. It’s the friendly owners, spectacular location – with both sunrise and sunset views and easy going ambiance that keeps guests coming back year after year.
The old, run down fan huts have now gone, replaced with new fully furnished ‘glamping’ tents. Some suitable for couples, others for families. New AC bungalows with amazing sunset views were built a couple of years ago. Ideal if you want to avoid the gap year students, loud music, fire shows and just have a quiet place to chill out, one where you can enjoy a good meal, great views and socialize with fellow guests from all walks of life. Plus there’s some pretty good snorkelling in the cove right outside the restaurant.
Should have been on the list?
Tiger Huts – Everything you want in an ‘old skool’ budget backpacker hut. No frills, no wifi, no cocktail buckets or fireshows, just cheap accommodation on a quiet stretch of beach and a very good, inexpensive restaurant.
Hippy Hut – Located near Bangbao fishing village on the south coast of Koh Chang. These basic, rasta themed fan huts with shared bathroom go for around 200 Baht / night in High Season. You won’t find anywhere cheaper.