Where to Stay on Koh Chang?
And also ‘What are the best hotels?’ As unanswerable questions go, these two are 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. Hopefully the will give you some ideas to help narrow down your choice of good places to stay.
There are well over 200 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. 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 places in a few different categories, depending on your budget and the type of place you might be interesting in staying in. One new category for 2019-20 is for the best pool villas on Koh Chang. Over the past few years these have really taken off with pool villas not only being found in more resorts but also as stand alone properties.
Large Luxury Resorts.
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 Resort 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 beach frontages of any resort on the island. That’s a very big plus for the resort as 90% of people reading this would want their resort to be on a good beach. There is a variety of accommodation options from 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.
I’ll admit that it’s probably not the best for service and that it can get crowded and a bit chaotic during peak season but it just ticks so many boxes that it’s hard to ignore when it comes to recommending a good luxury resort on a great beach. Judging from emails I receive, KC Grande Resort is by far the most popular 4 – 5 star resort on the island.
Luxury Bungalow Resort
Not a fan of large resorts? Like teak wood bungalows but also love a bit of comfort and good service?
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.
Other top hotels on Koh Chang
Santhiya Tree Resort is an ideal choice is you’re looking for a secluded location on the west coast of the island. It’s in the centre of Klong Prao beach, the quietest stretch of beach on the west coast. Always gets great reviews for it’s staff, many of whom have worked there over a decade. A new riverfront hotel block with huge suites, all of which have plunge pools opened in late 2018. And the beach restaurant and pool access suites were all renovated in mid 2019. Main downside ( for some ) is a 15 minute walk to the village. But there is a free shuttle service for guests.
The Chill, Kai Bae beach. The top rated luxury resort on Booking.com. If you want the convenience of KC Grande with plenty of shops and restaurants close by but without possible downsides such as too many families or being in a very large resort, the The Chill is an ideal resort to consider. Big enough to have all the facilities you need but small enough that you’re a name not a room number to the staff. The smallest room is 50sqm and all are fitted and furnished to a contemporary 5 star standard. They even serve an all day breakfast for late rising guests. One negative to be aware of is the beach, which is just a thin strip of sand in front of the hotel.
The Emerald Cove would be another obvious resort to consider. One of those places that doesn’t offer anything unique but you know what you’ll get before you arrive and it’ll be done to a very high standard. A bit like a hotel equivalent of Starbucks. European management, pricey but great Italian restaurant, the Emerald Cove has everything you expect in a 5 star resort. The highlight is the huge pool. Not a great beach unfortunately, so the resort has made a very spacious sandy area with sun-loungers for guest use.
The Dewa, close to the Emerald Cove, has unique ‘love it or hate it’ architecture. and is the funkiest of Koh Chang’s luxury resorts for sure. If you want something distinctively different book here. Love the reflective, dark drown pool tiles that make it look like you’re diving into a mirror.
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. Often has very good deals on rooms which makes it the best value for money 4 star resort on Koh Chang. However, it’s a bit of a hassle getting out and about as it’s away from the main beach areas. And, whilst the beach looks great at high tide, at low tide you can see it’s artificial and offshore there are a lot of rocks. Not ideal for swimming but great if you want to catch a few crabs or shellfish.
Awesome Pool Villas
It’s good to treat yourself sometimes. Maybe it’s a special occasion, maybe you need your own space to get away from it all. Whatever the reason, if you want to chill out in style in a private pool villa then take a look at . . .
Sea View Resort has undergone a lot of rebuilding and renovation over the past few years. Most recently the aging, dingy bungalows have been replaced with nine stunning pool villas. These 224sqm bungalows come with awesome sea views and are located on the hillside, a stone’s throw from the beach. They come complete with private pool and jacuzzi.
Sea View is the southernmost resort on Kai Bae beach and so is more private than most. Guests won’t be disturbed by loud parties or noise from bars at night. A wide choice of shops and restaurants can be found in Kai Bae village , which is a 15 minute walk along the beach or free shuttle bus ride away.
As they are located in a resort, you’ve got all the facilities you’d expect in a well run 4 star hotel. The only downside is that the pool villas lack cooking facilities. This isn’t an issue if you’re on holiday to relax and be pampered. But, if you want to combine a bit of luxury with self catering, there are some pool villas with kitchens listed below.
More pool villas to consider . . .
Gajapuri Resort. I’ve just mentioned it and although their spacious, 135sqm, pool villas are beautiful and the equal of those at Sea View Resort, the lack of a good beach outside the resort was the deciding factor. If you don’t need a long beach to stroll on and want to be close to shops & restaurants then take a look.
Paradise Resort. The pool villas at Paradise were built several years ago in a traditional Thai style. They occupy a prime beachfront location on Klong Prao beach. Thy’re showing their age a little but the location is great, the beach rarely gets too busy and prices are often very reasonable. They also offer Family Pool Villas, ideal for two couples or a family, in a huge, 240sqm, villa.
Mercure Hideaway. A cheaper option. A bright, airy, sea view, pool villa from a brand name resort for under 10,000 Baht / night in High Season. The location is a little out of the way, in the southwest of the island. But the Mercure Hideaway is a solid 4 star resort and a good spot to stay if you are trying to avoid busier beaches.
Filou Pool Villas. I’d say these are the best value pool villas on the island. Sure, they aren’t going to win awards for design and you won’t find fancy fixtures and fittings inside. But they do provide guests with a comfortable, home away from home in a convenient location. You get two bedrooms, living room and kitchen plus your own pool and all within a few minutes walk of Kai Bae beach. Lots of shops and restaurants within easy walking distance. And breakfast can be delivered to your door from the nearby Filou restaurant. All that for around 4,000 – 5,000 Baht/night during high season.
Elegance Pool Villas & Pearl Luxury Pool Villas. A small development of pool villas with different owners. These are the newest two bedroom pool villas on the island. They’re modern, stylish and tastefully decorated. Ideal for a group of friends or family. And located in a quiet, residential area in Pearl beach, midway between White Sand and Klong Prao beach. However, although they are near the sea, don’t expect sea views as the buildings are clustered tightly together. You will need your own transport or rely on pick up truck taxis if you want to get to the beach or an area with variety of restaurants.
Koh Chang Beach Villas. Siam Royal View is a luxury housing development in the northwest of the island. It’s a large project and it’s here that you will find many private homes and villas for rent. Many of which have a private pool. All homes are built to a high standard and as such the decor and fittings are a step up in quality from those on Pearl beach, mentioned above. But prices are also higher. Guests have use of resort facilities such as two beachfront pools, restaurants and shuttle to the nearby village. The beach is private and so is never busy. You are isolated from the real world here. Which may or may not be a plus point for you. It’s the type of place where you could easily spend a week relaxing and not leave the development.
Mid price, Flashpacker bungalows
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 Beach Resort.
Amber Sands Beach Resort?. . . 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 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?
There are quite a few other options that are well worth considering. Especially when it comes to small resorts.
Only 100 metres from Amber Sands lies Serenity Resort, which gets equally good reviews and has a similar standard of bungalows plus small pool by the beach. It should also be on the shortlist of anyone looking for a cosy, small resort away from the crowds.
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 only a couple of local shops, close by.
Nest Sense – Newer and a bit more upmarket than Warapura which is 400 metres away. Opened in early 2014 and gets consistently good reviews. Far enough form the parties for you to get a good night;s sleep but c lose enough to be able to walk to find some nightlife.
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. No beach and no distractions, such as shops, nearby. Although the resort does provide some daily trips to the outside world and the bright lights of the west coast.
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. This lovely little beachfront resort is akin to staying in a wealthy friend’s house and having their staff take care of you.
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 getting one of those ‘Traveller’s Choice’ award things every year too. ( I think our dog ate the last certificate we got.) 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 – 1,500 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 won’t find on most islands, then Baan Rim Nam might be for you.
We have just five 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.
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. The restaurant also has a very good reputation for serving up some of the best food in the area.
Lazy Republique – Only a handful of modern AC bungalows, located in Bailan, south of Lonely Beach. This French/Thai run ‘resort’ is around 1,200 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.
If you like to spend more on meals than you do on accommodation or just enjoy a simple life then here are a few places to try:
Journey’s End. This English-run hideaway is located way down in the south-east of the island on the shores of Salakphet Bay. It offers an escape from the hustle and bustle with just a handful of fan and AC bungalows, plus the option of camping if your budget is really tight. Only been open a year or so but already has a great reputation. There are a few restaurants and shops nearby but you’re a world away from the west coast beaches. The resort also runs regular boat trips to the islands south of Koh Chang.
Cliff Cottage in Bangbao. Spectacular location – with both sunrise and sunset views and easy going ambiance. Choose from fully furnished ‘glamping’ tents or AC bungalows. Ideal if you want to avoid the gap year students, loud music, fire shows and just have a quiet place to chill out. Plus there’s some pretty good snorkelling in the cove right outside the restaurant. Kayak rental is free of charge for guests staying 3 nights or more.
Tiger Huts – Everything you want in an ‘old skool’ budget backpacker hut. The old huts have been rebuilt and are now waterproof. 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.
For some recommendations for hostel or dormitory accommodation, here’s a rundown of the best hostels on Koh Chang
Apartments and Houses For Rent on Koh Chang
There are an ever increasing number of Airbnb rentals on the island. If you’re looking for a luxury villa for a week then the two main locations are at Siam Royal View in the north west of the island and Baan Talay Thai on the east coast. Each of these developments has numerous properties listed by their owners. There are some beautiful homes available. Prices are cheaper at the properties at Baan Talay Thai.
The downside is that it is a 20 minute driver from the main west coast beaches. Neither of these developments are ideal for are ideal for anyone who wants to be able to walk to shops and restaurants easily. That would be the only drawback
If you’re looking for a one or two bedroom apartment in a quiet location, with amazing views, beachfront pool and a good range of shops and beach restaurants within 10 minutes walk then Tranquility Bay Residence is a great place to consider. Prices are cheaper than hotel rooms and, although you won’t get the same service as you do at a resort, you will get far more space for your money. Figure on around 3,500 Baht / night for a one bedroom property.