Visitor Guide to Klong Kloi Beach ( Bangbao Beach )
✔ Popular with day trippers, so can get crowded
✔ Great views & a good choice of beach bars and restaurants
✔ Try the adjacent Had Sai Noi beach for a more chilled beach bar experience
Klong Kloi beach, also known as Bangbao beach, lies just 1Km further along the main road from the turn off to Bangbao village.
Until just a few years ago this beach was totally undeveloped and home to one fishing family who’s house still stands near the centre of the beach – although now surrounded by restaurants, bars and small resorts.
The beach was off the beaten path, as most visitors only got as far as Bangbao village before heading back to their west coast beach resort. The pick up truck taxis also didn’t head down here and so intrepid visitors on their rental scooters were the only ones to visit and had a pristine beach with panoramic views of the islands south of Koh Chang to themselves.
Note that if you plan on visiting in the rainy season and want a beach where you can swim, then Klong Kloi is the best beach on the island to stay – simply because it is sheltered from monsoon. Bangbao peninsula provides a break from the strong southwest and westerly winds that cause rip currents and strong waves on west coast beaches. On Klong Kloi beach at that time of year the sea is more often than not very calm.
The first beach bars and restaurants opened there in 2007 and within a couple of years there were a handful of places to get a drink, massage and meal on the sand. Then came the resorts. Now the number of places to stay is increasing yearly. Klong Kloi Cottage offer the most basic accommodation, which is still a step up from most backpacker places and also include free wifi which his very handy.
Nearby, Bangbao Beach Resort are a step up in the comfort stakes with a dozen or so wooden bungalows just 20 metres or so off the sand. The beach’s one luxury option, Chivapura Resort is next on the beach. Accommodation in spacious Thai style houses and a lovely beachfront pool. One of the best luxury resorts to stay if you want to be away from the crowds. A further 200 metres east, past a stretch of undeveloped beach is Tropical Beach Resort. The circular AC bungalows here are usually good value for money.
There’s another 3* option on the main road at the back of the beach, Chaipura Resort -which also gets great reviews and has bungalows facing the lagoon behind the beach. Whilst in the more crowded western end of the beach YuYu Golden Beach and The Beach both have new, no frills aircon bungalows and rooms for rent at reasonable prices.
Koh Chang’s Strangest Resort
The far eastern end of the beach was also home to the most beautiful lagoon on the island, which was destroyed in order to build Koh Chang’s largest resort, Aunchaleena Resort ( formerly Koh Chang Grand Lagoona Resort ). See the bottom middle photo on this page, taken during construction of the resort & showing the coral reef that was just off the beach being dug up.
If you keep following the road past Klong Kloi Beach and you’ll find that it terminates at this resort where the security guard will politely ‘shoo’ you off the land unless you look like you have a reservation or want to pay 100 Baht to come in and have a look around.
This wannabe 5* resort featured prominently in the Thai newspapers in November 2003. It’s a long story but basically the resort is owned by a Thai billionaire who ignored every single planning & building rule ever laid down on paper in his effort to build his dream resort. Locals were paid small fortunes to keep planning officials away and things reached a head when high ranking National Park officials landed in the resort by helicopter in order to see just what was going on there. The moored boat/hotel in their advertising brochures was actually classified by local planning authorities as a building . . . obvious really as it couldn’t be classed as a boat as it didn’t have a seaworthiness certificate.
In the end the title deeds were all found to be in order, apparently they were issued a day before the resort opened – after the owner initially couldn’t find them when asked to produce them for the powers that be. (Probably lost them down the back of the sofa – “Half a packet of mints, a key for something, AA battery , oh, and title deeds for a few million dollars worth of land. That’s where they were!” )
Still, it is a bizarre resort, and, in my mind worth the 100 Baht charge to look around. You can see the floating swimming pool, access is by walking along a fallen palm tree trunk. Explore ‘The Galaxy’ a ship that has been turned into a floating hotel. But it’s dark, musty, eerily quiet, plush carpeted corridors will remind you of the set from an early 1980s horror movie. Great views from the roof though. ( Last time I visited in late 2016, the doors were locked and I couldnt look inside again. )
There is also a nice little waterfall that’s worth a side trip during the rainy season. Other highlights you can see there include a lifeboat off the Texaco Maine oil tanker, plus rusting, abandoned plant machinery and acollection of dilapidated speedboats.
Along the Beach
Getting to Klong Kloi beach now is easy in High Season. Pick up truck taxis are happy to head here and if you are coming by scooter it is easy to park by the main road or ride across a small canal on a newly constructed concrete bridge to the beach. If you are driving a car then all resorts can be reached by road but this involves looping around the back of the beach, half the way is on paved road and half on sandy track through coconut fields.
As mentioned there are only a handful of places to stay on the beach, but it fast becoming a very popular place to spend the day, increasingly popular with Eastern Europeans who head here in droves during High Season when the rows of deckchairs at the bars and restaurants closest to the main road remain full from mid morning until late afternoon.
However, it’s easy to walk along the beach 200 metres to find some peace and quiet and escape the topless Russian girls – should you so wish.
Try Bamboo Hut beach restaurant for good Thai food and the popular Mr T Rasta Bar for a fruit shake or cold beer and mellow tunes with a reggae infused atmosphere. This is where Mr Tee, who obtained cult status with self penned ditties such as ‘Chorp, chorp, chorp’ i.e Like,like, like‘ at Monkey Island Resort on Koh Mak, now has his own bar with live reggae music in the evening.
That said, for anyone staying here the nightlife options are limited and whilst it is easy to get down to the beach for day trippers those staying there will find it hard to get a taxi up to one of the west coast beaches for a night out.
The area inland from the beach is now being developed with more cheaper huts for people staying long term. In fact, with the dusty sand roads and mellow atmosphere, it’s becoming a popular alternative for people who might have stayed on Lonely Beach in the past but now find it too noisy and crowded.
Santisook bungalows , set in a coconut grove about 3 minutes walk from the beach are worth checking out for new, wooden bungalows with Western owners. And close by, built on an island in the small lagoon, Treehouse Bungalows are one of the best places to get away from it all for a few days. Again, not by the beach, but close enough to be able to walk there easily and then escape to some peace and quiet in the evening. Their bungalows are built on a small island in the middle of the lagoon behind the beach. A very relaxing spot.
Hat Sai Noi Beach
Between Bangbao and Klong Kloi beach there is also a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ beach called ‘Hat Sai Noi Beach’, here you will find four small beach bars, a couple which also have basic fan huts and an even more laid back vibe. These rickety wooden shacks are a throwback to the times before tourism really took off and are the ideal remedy for anyone staying on the west coast beaches and who find the bars there too commercialised.
The beach is quite small but you can swim there and there is a very friendly, chilled atmosphere that you wont find on any of the busier beaches.In late 2015 and 2016 a few more bungalows have been built and older ones are being modernised as this beach too undergoes a renaissance and attracts more visitors.
From Klong Kloi beach the road loops up a steep hill and around the back of the beach. This is a nice little ride on your scooter which will test it’s brakes and engine and also your nerve. There are also some great views of the jungle clad mountains. After a kilometre you’ll pass the turning for what was going to be the road to Salakphet and a little further on , on the right is the well signposted dirt track that leads to the rear of the resorts on Klong Kloi beach.
Some maps do show a road around the island, leading from the rear of Klong Kloi beach to Salakphet in the southeast of the island. This exists only in the imagination of the cartographer.
About 15 years ago work began on the 10.157km (according to signs) single lane road which was officially only for motorbikes and bicycles. The money ran out though well before the project could even be half completed. You’ll see the start of the road around a kilometre before you reach Aunchanalee Resort (Grand Lagoona), the paved road heads off to the left.
You can drive along it, for just over two kilometres, , in a 4WD or by scooter, but you need to take a lot of care as many stretches are little more than rutted gravel and dirt. The road ends at theriver – there was a bridge, this was washed away in August 2005.
It is possible to walk across the river and follow the overgrown road on the opposite bank but there really isn’t any point as the road ends in a rubber plantation about 500 metres further on. From there there isn’t any obvious path or trail to follow.
The good news is that in 2010 the go ahead was given for a new budget and construction of the road was expected to begin shortly thereafter. The bad news is that this was 6 years ago and so far nothing has happened.
Head east from Bangbao past the handful of beach bars on Hat Sai Noi and you come to Klong Kloi beach where you’ll find a growing number of laid back places to eat and stay. Here’s the scooter cam video of the ride to the beach.