Guide to the North Klong Prao Beach / Chai Chet area
2020 – 21 Update
✔ Accommodation all in large resorts
✔ 1.5Km long beach that rarely gets crowded
✔ Plenty of places to eat & drink. Plus a Russian shop for latex rubber items.
January 2022 – I haven’t done a further update and many small shops, restaurants and resorts won’t survive the financial impact of the covid pandemic. When the situation is back to normal and it is easy to travel again, I will do a full update.
All you need to know, and more, about the northern end of Klong Prao beach and Chai Chet. To be honest, the man made delights of Chai Chet are few and far between with not a lot to hold your attention unless you are looking for beer bars, a petrol station or a builder’s merchant. ( Here’s a pictorial guide to the armpit of Koh Chang.)
However, there are some great views from the cape plus large, family friendly resorts and plenty of small shops & restaurants at the northern end of Klong Prao beach.
When travel reporters from visit Koh Chang the one comment that is always made is that Klong Prao will become the island’s equivalent of Chaweng on Samui or Patong on Phuket. Meaning that as Klong Prao has a long stretch of sand, plenty of beach front real estate still up for grabs and land behind the beach where a small town is beginning to grow; then things will gradually snowball and before you know it they’ll be resorts the length of the beach and the road will be a clutter of restaurants, workers’ housing, karaoke bars, motorbike rental shops and beauty salons.
White Sand Beach is currently the most touristy beach but further development is limited by the lack of usable land – i.e. any development on White Sand Beach is pretty much limited to a roadside strip. Unlike in Klong Prao where there is far more land available, and if the development of the island continues at the rate the government and local developers would like to see then it would Klong Prao will eventually morph into the main town on the island. Fortunately that prospect is still many years away.
Chai Chet ( as this area is also known )
As you travel south from Pearl Beach you go over a rise and head past the Chai Chet stretch of roadside that is rapidly being lined with small beer bars plus a couple of resorts which offer longstay accommodation in addition to daily room rentals. The new garbage disposal plant – along the paved road heading inland , was intended as a big improvement on the old hole in the ground which was where all the island’s garbage went until a couple of years ago. You can still see this if you drive up the road and the gates to the disposal plant are open. The plant originally had lots of automated machinery – this mostly all in a state of disrepair now. (Some photos of how the island’s garbage is processed.)
A couple of places of interest in this are Max’s Bistro – popular with expats for his weekly buffets and the Crocodile Show. Which is popular with Chinese and families who aren’t into animal rights. It’s pretty depressing. It’s also home base for the members of the Koh Chang Rescue team. These guys do a good job and act as a volunteer ambulance and rescue services on the island. They’ll be at the scene of any road accident, fallen tree, sinking boat or drowning swimmer before the police. All funded by voluntary donations.
A little further south are cheap shop units set back from the road. These initially housed various businesses but most have been made into bars now which are all open from mid morning onwards in order to provide liquid breakfasts to their regular customers.
Opposite these bars is the grandly titled, Koh Chang Entertainment Plaza. A motley collection of an ever decreasing number of beer bars housed in what was built as an indoor market. Most nights you could spray the place with machine gun fire and still not hit a customer. It’s that quiet. But if you’ve ever dreamed of
pimping hookers running a bar in Thailand then you’ll be able to find one for rent here.
A little further south on the same side of the road there’s a great little restaurant called ‘J. Kloy’ . One of those small, no frills places that is packed throughout the day with locals, Thai visitors and expats in the know. Large portions of very good, inexpensive Thai food.
Moving swiftly on, two roadside resorts, Kerdmanee Resort and Thai Garden Hill have good value rooms. Thai Garden Hill has small rooms with fridge, AC, cable TV, hot water plus a swimming pool for under 1,500 Baht/night in High Season. From here it’s 5 minutes walk to the north end of Klong Prao beach. Once you’re inside the resort it’s pretty good spot. There’s no traffic noise and the pool is a good spot to hang out and sunbathe. No sea views of course, but you do face the jungle clad hillside. They also have good deals on monthly rentals.
A petrol station and the builders’ merchant round off the list of Chai Chet’s highlights.
More cheap and fairly miserable long-stay accommodation is available in rooms and bungalows behind the petrol station. You’ll also see a coffeeshop and noodle shop on the forecourt of the petrol station so no need to miss your morning coffee or cheap lunch if you’re unfortunate enough to be staying here. On the opposite side of the road, down a narrow concrete road leading towards the sea, there’s some newer, better quality bungalows for monthly rent.
Here you’ll find ‘Fine Times Resort‘ and ‘Infinity House’ which are new bungalows for weekly or monthly rent. Fine Times Resort has large houses and bungalows on a hillside so they get a nice breeze. Infinity House’s bungalow are a much more modern design and are by the roadside. Either would make a good base as they are tucked away from the passing traffic and within easy walking distance of the beach, supermarket, minimarts, restaurants, bank etc.
This narrow paved road then leads towards the coast where there is a natural harbour and homes of a few families that still fish for a living. It’s a strange little area which is very ‘local’. You’ll get a few stares if you wander down there – as very few visitors do. But from the seafront you get a great view north along the rugged shoreline towards White Sand beach.
Shopping & Eating
As you round the sharp left hand turn you enter the northern part of Klong Prao beach. This is the most heavily developed area of the beach. Here you’ll find a range of shops including tour agents – CocoDeeBo – is recommended if you need someone reliable to sort out your holiday or travel plans. There’s also currency exchange; a bank, several ATMs, supermarket, opticians, beachwear vendors and numerous small restaurants in the bowels of the two shopping plazas that lie on the inland side of the road. Of course there’s a 7-eleven and also a Tesco Express, just in case the supermarket doesn’t stock whatever it is you want.
A couple of restaurants of note are, firstly, Nhong Korea BBQ, adjacent to Thai Garden Hill. This is a large roadside buffet restaurant where you cook your own food on a charcoal BBQ on your table. Ideal if you are hungry and want to eat your bodyweight in prawns and meat for only 239 Baht. And if you tire of thai food or don’t fancy the BBQ, there’s Pizza King Express. Which is located among the beer bars in Chai Chet, so isn’t the most romantic of Italian restaurants, but they do exceptionally good pizza. Definitely worth trying or you can order takeaway by calling: 092 670 9294.
VJ Plaza, look for the concrete elephants standing guard at the entrance houses what was – until Tesco arrived on Pearl Beach, the largest supermarket on the island V Mart, plus a branch of Siam Commercial Bank which is open daily until late for currency exchange. there is also a stand alone currency exchange close by. Both give better than average rates – as I discovered when I set out to find the best exchange rates on the island.
Inside the plaza several small restaurants either serving Thai or Italian food or both, compete for business. The further you enter into the bowels of the plaza the quieter the restaurants become and the more it resembles a commercial death zone, with many of these bars and restaurants changing ownership on a regular basis.
And if you want good cheap Thai food, just grab some somtam, noodles or 40 baht a plate Thai food from the stalls directly under the eves of the supermarket. At night food vendors set up shop by the roadside outside the bank, you can get a good, cheap Pad Thai, Turkish kebab or banana roti.
The roadside area outside the plaza is Ground Zero for Koh Chang’s kebab war. For some reason, visitors staying in the vicinity seem to love kebabs. Presumably as they are reminiscent of food at home, contain some salad – so are almost healthy, and are relatively cheap. I’ve no idea what part of an animal, or indeed what animal, the meat comes from but they aren’t too bad. I’ll admit to having one for a quick lunch once in a while. You’ll see several scooters and sidecarts parked up from lunchtime onwards. Figure on 60 – 80 Baht or so for this pita bread wrapped delicacy.
At the bottom end of the plaza you can’t miss VJ Island View Apartments where a fully furnished AC room can be rented long term for around 6,000 Baht in high season and 4,000 Baht/month low season for long term rental. ( You might need to haggle a bit to get these prices though.) Rental rates have actually decreased in the past couple of years as more longstay bungalows open up on the island and people have more options as to where to stay. But most units have been recently refurbished, have cable TV, security and relatively few psychotic expats.
One floor of the apartment block has now been given a makeover and begun a new life as a backpacker hostel called The Habitat Hostel Koh Chang. They’ve done a nice job of creating a bright, cheaper alternative to the very popular Pajamas hostel a kilometer further south.
Next door, the recently revamped Koh Chang Plaza has large, good but expensive coffee shop ‘Marin Cafe’ guarding the entrance. They do make good coffee, and have a good selection of cakes and snacks but be prepared for Starbucks prices.
Further back are various small businesses, most with signs in Russian – giving you an indication of who the make up of the typical tourist staying in resorts nearby. If you take a look around you’ll find a few tailor’s shops, tour agents and a pretty good Thai restaurant called ‘Yes’, a longstanding Italian restaurant ‘Abella’ and a little cocktail / reggae bar called ‘Malibu’ – worth a stop for a few after dinner drinks.
On the right hand side ( beach side) you’ll find more shops and extensions to the popular Coconut Beach Resort which offers all manner or rooms, most located off the beach. Follow the concrete access road and it will lead you to the rocky cape and ‘Chai Chet Resort‘ which has been undergoing upgrades over the past couple of years. A new swimming pool / reception / restaurant area offers spectacular views over the bay and along the length of Klong Prao and Kai Bae beaches as do new some very nice seafront bungalows that line the walkway leading to the rocky headland. You can also still find older AC bungalow here for around 1,800 Baht even at busy times.
Chai Chet Resort has also built a little trekking trail that takes you around the rocky headland and over the hill. It’s easy to follow, has some good sea and panoramic views and is a good way to spend 30 minutes or to or work up an appetite. Walk around the back of the pool/reception area, head towards the cape, keep the hillside bungalows on your right and you’ll see a well marked start to the trail and also a wooden sign with a route map.
South of Coconut Beach Resort you come to Paradise Resort, the best in this area with a couple of hundred metres of beachfront and some stunning new pool villas all built in a modern Thai style. If you’re looking for a good combination of privacy, beachfront, views and restaurants/shops within easy reach then this is hard to beat on Koh Chang. Their new annex ‘Paradise Hill Resort‘ opened in November 2018. It has simple, modern AC rooms around a pool area for under 2,000 Baht / night. No frills and the sort of place that looks like it was designed by an accountant who want; to maximise income and spend the minimum on soft furnishings. But a great location and value for money.
Adjacent is Koh Chang Resort, a fading 2 star if ever there was one. This really has seen better days – the late 1980s for example, when it was constructed. Great location but there are plenty of better options to choose from. A quick glance at the Tripadvisor reviews tells you all you need to know.
‘Flora i Talay’ is a new bungalow resort just south of Koh Chang Resort which has been open since mid 2013. It’s a very nicely designed resort and the restaurant already has a good reputation for the quality of the food. Recommended spot for an evening meal by the beach. It’s also expanded and a new reception and additional bungalows opened in mid 2017. There in-house cafe ‘ Cafe de Flora‘ does excellent ‘Bingsu’ – Korean style shaved ice desserts. Share one between two people. That’s probably my favourite dessert / sweet treat on the island.
Down on the beach the old favourites, basic Palm Beach and Lay Lay Tong restaurants have gone. This, in order to make way for the expansion of Flora i-Talay. That, plus the demise in mid 2018 of Koh Ko Mo Beach Bar leaves the beach with no stand alone beach restaurants. Only those in resorts. That’s a shame.
Just south of Flora iTalay, you’ll find an access path leading from the main road to the beach, follow this and you’ll come out onto the main road. The first thing you’ll see are the new Nong Beua Seafood restaurant and adjacent Pajamas Hostel.
The hostel is a safe, modern ‘flashpacker’ type of place ideal for sociable people on a budget. There are both dorm rooms and private rooms available. The resort runs various activities for visitors and has a spacious open plan lounge / kitchen area near the pool where guests can socialise. The restaurant is a branch of the long established Nong Beua on White Sand beach. Very good seafood and Thai food at reasonable prices.
Around this area on the roadside in this area, few shophouses that house a real mix of businesses including restaurants, laundry, internet cafe & gaming centre, hair salon, mobile phone shop, a vet’s and Koh Chang Latex, that specialises in selling expensive natural rubber mattresses and pillows to Russian tourists. There’s also one combined cooking and taekwando school.
Heading south, you’re now approaching Klong Prao Resort, one of the first in the area, that has older rooms for around 1,800 Baht/night. But if you want anything that resembles comfort then go for the VIP rooms by the beach. ( Anyone with a credit card is a VIP here) or the newer lagoonside bungalows, with a bright, modern design and well appointed interior for around 3,500 Baht/night.
The plus point is a long stretch of beach, the downside is that the resort, like an increasing number on the island, is very popular with package tourists. Often from Mother Russia and her former republics, no doubt drawn here by the opportunity to purchase rubber mattresses nearby.
Adjacent there’s a hipster coffeeshop called ‘Wari’ where you can enjoy a Cappuccino or smoothie in air-conditioned comfort by the beach.
On the main road by the entrance to the resort, yet more new shop houses and a long row of shop units have been built. Here you’ll find places to eat cheaply, rent a scooter, buy hydroponic vegetables, buy paint, book a dive course, have some business cards printed or workout at the gym.
In late 2010 a new tourist attraction, a Thai dancing show, which combined a sanitised Thai meal plus extravagant dance show opened for about a week before closing permanently. In late 2014 this site was redeveloped into Bhu Tarn Resort. It has the same owner as the nearby Klong Prao Resort and whilst the location isn’t as good, it’s not beachfront, it does have very well appointed rooms, a pool and backs onto the lagoon. So you can hop in a kayak and paddle to the beach if you don’t fancy 3 minute walk or walk across the lagoon on their pontoon bridge to Klong Prao Resort. A great choice if you want better value for money than most beachfront resorts can offer.
If you’re in need of American comfort food, Annie P’s does old fashioned home cooking just like Mama used to make. So if you need your pulled pork, burger or cheese steak done right, then this is the place for you.
Head down the beach from Klong Prao Resort, you’ll come the a stretch of beach rented by Aana Resort before reaching the mouth of the Klong Plu & Klong Prao river estuary. Aana Resort itself is located a further 300 metres into the estuary, so guests kayak or take the free boat service to the beach.
The mouth of the river is often too deep to wade across, for most of the year you will have to swim 30 – 40 metres or so to cross the river. But towards the end of the High Season the river mouth gets shallower as sand is deposited and it’s then relatively easy to walk across in waist deep water.
More on this estuary, that most people who visit the island don’t see on the next page which covers the southern half of Klong Prao beach.
And here’s a video ‘ride through’ of Chai Chet and the northern part of Klong Prao beach, so you can check out the roadside action outside your resort.
Hotels around Chai Chet and the north of Klong Prao beach
These resorts and bungalows are all on the northern half of Klong Prao beach or a few minutes walk away in the Chai Chet area. They are all bookable on booking.com. The price shown is a typical high season nightly rate. It may well vary and expect it to be higher at holiday weekends and during peak season.
Thai Garden Hill Resort – 5 minutes from the beach with large free-form pool and mountain views – 1,400 Baht
Kerdmanee Resort – Large bungalows on the hillside just off the main road with pool – 1,200 Baht
Blue Lake Resort – Spacious wooden aircon bungalows built around a small lake – 1,500 Baht
Coconut Beach Resort – Popular mid-price beach resort with wide range of rooms – 2,200 Baht
Chai Chet Resort – A mix of smaller old bungalows, hotel rooms and spacious modern seafront villas. On the peninsula with great views across the bay – 1,900 Baht
Paradise Resort – Best resort in the area. 4* bungalows and pool villas on 200 metres of beachfront – 3,750 Baht
Koh Chang Resort – Old beachfront resort, popular with and budget conscious tour groups – 1,900 Baht
Pajamas Hostel – Probably the best hostel on the island. Dormitory beds and private rooms plus a pool 100 metres to the beach – 550 Baht ( Dorm) 2,400 Baht ( private room )
Bee Sleep Hostel – Rooms in small roadside hostel with friendly atmosphere, 2 mins walk to the beach – 1,000 Baht
Bhu Tarn Resort – Value for money 3* rooms in this modern roadside resort with pool – 2,200 Baht
Klong Prao Resort – Older resort with simple AC rooms plus more modern bungalows. Popular with tour groups – 2,400 Baht