North White Sand Beach Guide and Visitor Information
✔ Far northern end of the beach is excellent
✔ Everything you need is within 5 mins walk of your hotel including a Makro cash & carry
✔ Ideal for unadventurous visitors or families with lazy arsed kids who need junk food
White Sand Beach is the first beach that you reach after heading through Klong Son and over the steep hill. As you start to head down the hillside you’ll get a picture postcard view looking down along the length of the beach and south towards the small islands that lie off the west coast of Koh Chang. It all looks very serene from up here.
Then, as the road after the road has winded down to sea level, you’re greeted by a huge, newly constructed annex to KC Grande Resort where some of the rooms are either just a few metres from the main road or have views towards a concrete wall of the block in front. Around the corner the 7-eleven marks the starting point of White Sand Beach. This is by far the busiest and most built up on the island.
After experiencing the the shock to the system that was the roadside cement works and shops with no English signs in Klong Son village, on the other side of the hill, you can now relax safe in the knowledge you are in package tour civilisation.
As such all your needs are catered for in English, Chinese and Russian. Check in to your resort, wake up at 4am the next morning to reserve your sunbed by the pool and other than turning over every 30 minutes to allow the sun’s rays to bake various pale body parts, you need never move for a week.
This is the first beach the road runs alongside as you head down the west coast and is only 10 – 15 minutes drive from the ferry piers. One the plus side, it is a a very long beach with powdery white sand or at least the northern two-thirds of it is, especially the far end between KC Grande Resort and White Sand Beach Resort.
If you can’t to do without such comforts as souvenir t-shirts, beer bars, opticians, a multitude of tailors, internet cafes, huge choice of hole-in-the-wall tour agencies, tex-mex food, Premier League football and a beer bar enclave all a stone’s throw away from your room then this is the place for you.
But, to be fair, even White Sand Beach has a long way to go before development reaches the extremes seen on Samui, Phuket, Phi-Phi or Pattaya. If you are used to holidaying there it may even seem a sleepy & serene backwater in which to spend a week or two.
White Sand Beach Accommodation
Places to stay vary from basic 500 Baht/night rooms off the inland side of the main road to 15,000 Baht/night beach villas. Somewhere in the middle are the package tour hotels aimed at weekending Thais and foreigners who don’t know any better than to trust travel agents when booking holiday accommodation. Some of the older resorts are still hangovers from when the visitors were predominantly Thai, i.e. they consist of dark, featureless, unimaginative concrete bungalows or hotel rooms designed to keep cool air in and sunlight out. (Think Butlin’s Holiday Camp circa 1975 or Guantanamo Bay circa 2005)
However, things are rapidly changing and older bungalows are being replaced by new shiny new hotel blocks. Cookie Resort, KC Grande, Kacha Resort, Mac Resort, Grand View, Sabay Bar, Koh Chang Lagoon, Bamboo Resort & Apple Resort have all been extensively remodelled or totally rebuilt in past few years.
Koh Chang Lagoon now has a very nice beachfront pool which was built in 2015. Whilst Bamboo Bungalows and Apple Beach Resort were also totally rebuilt from the ground up in late 2014. Gone are the old bungalows, now replaced by two storey beachfront hotel blocks.
Only Sangtawan & Tantawan remain of the older beachfront bungalow resorts that have yet to be renovated. These offer good value accommodation but aren’t the sort of place to stay if you want some space & privacy. But are fine if you just have to be less than 20 metres from the beach and enjoy staring into your neighbour’s balcony from yours.
If you don’t want to pay a premium for a beachfront room you’ll find some good value fan and AC rooms can be had on the inland side of the road in small, newly built guesthouses. These places are also worth a look if you’re after long term (e.g. monthly) deals for AC rooms. Places such as Arunee & Palm Garden offer basic rooms for well under 1,000 Baht/night even in high season and usually have signs roadside listing the room rate. Gold Beach guesthouse is also around the 1,000 – 1,200 Baht/night mark in High Season and a couple of hundred metres away Baan Sai Kao has good value rooms in the 1500 – 1800 Baht/night range during High Season
Nearer the centre of the beach ‘Island Lodge‘, the funkier ‘Tuk Tuk Guesthouse’ and a couple of other small places are located on the inland side of the main road, accessible by track adjacent to Kacha Resort. These have a range of budget rooms from basic fan to ensuite AC around 200 – 300 metres walk to the beach. Graham, owner of Island lodge, was one of the first expats living on the island and so has a wealth of information and tips to offer guests.
A little further south, ‘Sai Khao Inn’ which is tucked away down a narrow lane opposite BanPu Resort, also has good value, quiet AC bungalows and rooms up against a hillside rubber plantation.
Despite the obvious mid-range ambiance, don’t be surprised to see backpackers hop off the pick up truck taxi on White Sand Beach. For some back to basics huts, head to the northern tip of the beach, north of KC Grande Resort.
This involves walking along the beach, as there is no immediate access from the main road.
Here you can find a some cheap places to stay, Bob Marley blaring and a mellow, ageing hippy type of atmosphere akin to that on Lonely Beach 15km to the south. Places to stay include ‘Mylamean’ ‘Rock Sand’, ‘Star Beach’ & ‘Pen’s’ – all have rooms and hillside bungalows. Then there’s the one of a kind ‘Independent Bo’s‘ which you will want to photograph. It’s more an oversized work of art than a bungalow resort.
These small resorts all hug the hillside and at very high tide you will find yourself getting your feet wet when you go for breakfast. But as you lie back on this empty stretch of beach & watch the world slowly go by it’s comforting to know that you aren’t more than 5 minutes walk from the nearest 7-eleven.
It appears as though the beach ends at Rock Sand Resort. But it doesn’t. Walk around the resort ( at Low tide ) or through the restaurant ( at High tide ) and you come to the beach at White Sand Beach Resort, 500 metres of quiet, perfect sand with clear water.
It’s probably the best stretch of beach on the island.
For anyone staying here, at the far, far northern end of the beach, access from the main road is down an unbelievably steep track that leads down from the main road at the top of the hill. You won’t be walking this road. Much easier to just stroll south along the beach for 15 minutes to reach shops and restaurants.
And even if you aren’t staying at White Sand Beach Resort, it is worth walking up there, along the lovely beach, past the bungalows to the far northern tip of the beach. Here you will find a little beach bar. Light meals and cheap beers served in a friendly little shack by the sea. It’s a totally different world to that a few minutes walk south. Fortunately most visitors to White Sand beach don’t walk very far when on holiday and so this section of beach remains a great spot to get away from it all even at the busiest time of year.
The northern section of the roadside is the most heavily built up with all manner of places to eat, drink, sleep & shop lining the road. KC Coffeeshop is the pick of the internet cafes/coffee shops in this area and 15 Palms is a popular beach restaurant with pretty good, if ‘tourist priced’ Thai & Western food. But there’s big comfy beanbags on the beach and it’s lways busy when live sporting events are shown.
A little way further south on the beach Cookies Hotel have well-appointed rooms and also one of the most popular beachfront ‘Sun& Soul’ which triesd to do some fusion food and cocktails. The food works pretty well, the drinks aren’t great. But it makes a change from run of the mill Thai & seafood restaurants that line this section of beach in the evening. It’s not a great area to be if you value taste over location. Better beachfront food can be had at the nearby Sangtawan Resort restaurant – or ‘Beach Tango’ both around 200 metres south.
Next door to Cookies, Sabuy Bar is the island’s largest beach bar with a music policy which involves the Filipino house band playing everything from hard rock to disco to AOR to Bieber in a single set. Early on the band plays outdoors and then moves indoors for a late night set. Plus there are the nightly fire shows on the beach for which the bar is famed – although these haven’t really changed in the past few years, so if you’ve seen one fireshow, you’ve seen them all. The bar is comparatively expensive and is also the place to go to pick up freelance hookers at 1am – some of whom are female, many of whom aren’t, but are hoping to be once they’ve saved enough money for the operation.
The most luxurious accommodation on offer in the area is in KC Grande Resort where new hotel blocks include seaview rooms with private jacuzzis on the balcony and on the inland side of the main road, a rooftop pool with a great view. I’m sure the jacuzzis are damn sexy if you are on the top floor, but maybe slightly embarrassing if you are on the ground floor and hoping for a bit of fun in the tub. In late 2015, their brand new beach front villas opened. These are in a great location. Open the floor- to-ceiling glass door and walk a few steps onto the sand. If you want a luxury bungalow on a great beach then you won’t get any better than this.
If that is too posh or pricey, Kacha Resort, in the centre of the beach, has an inland annex as well as beachfront rooms and bungalows and is a good 3* choice for families. The annex also has a large pool.
In early 2016, a new roadside hotel – The Erawan Hotel – openend up on the inalnd side of the road near the north end of the beach. This offers bright, stylish rooms with sea views from the upper floors and a glass walled restaurant which is ideal for people watching at breakfast. This is another good choice for anyone wanting better value than many beach resorts offer.
Restaurants and Bars
Other places of interest on White Sand Beach are the popular ‘Oodies Place’, on the inland side of the main road just north of Cookies, this is where you’ll find live music and steaks and has been a popular tourist hangout for years. But for tourist food, again you have to expect to pay tourist prices. More than the equivalent meal would cost in a good Bangkok or Pattaya restaurant for example. But it’s worth it for the music. The house band is excellent and musicians from Bangkok and elsewhere also regularly make guest appearances. If you’re a visiting musician or singer with some talent and want to jam then go along. You’ll be welcomed.
If you want to skip the beachfront Thai food and just need a slab of meat with some potatoes accompanied by a cold beer, then Buffalo Bill’s is the place to check out. Buffalo Bill’s also has a mechanical bull for customers to ride whilst waiting for their food to arrive – best to ride it before you eat, rather than after.
If you need a proper massage or spa experience, then hidden away in the big ugly building opposite Mac Resort, you’ll find Bua Spa. The best place for a good massage on White Sand beach – according to a couple of people I know who are connoisseurs of this type of thing. It’s located on the top floor of the building and prices are reasonable.
As far as eating on White Sand beach goes, nowadays you aren’t going to find great food on the beachfront. The restaurant owners have long since figured that they don’t have to make an effort in order to fill tables, the location – eating on the beach under the stars gets diners in. Therefore, if you want good Thai food in a clean roadside restaurant, rather than paying a premium for eating on the beach, take a look at either of the two restaurants, ‘Nong Beua’ and ‘Dancing Chicken’, located opposite Banpu Resort. The former has a good selection of well priced seafood in the evening and the latter is best for BBQ chicken and some proper Thai food. they are the types of places you will also see Thai people eating in. They both also do some European food for those who like to travel half way round the world but who think foreign food is a bit dodgy and so prefer something, anything, that is deep fried and served with boiled vegetables.
Other useful, rather than interesting, shops and services nearby are the Kodak Shop, for passport photos, spare memory cards or a new camera to replace the one dropped in the sea during a drunken night out; and also branches of several Thai banks – Bank of Ayudya, Bangkok Bank, Thai Military Bank and Kasikorn Bank. (A couple will allow tourists to open bank accounts easily. Just need your passport and 1,000 Baht, 15 minutes later you will be out the door with a bank book and ATM card you can use anywhere in Thailand or abroad. Very handy if you are staying longterm or travelling throughout Thailand and need to keep your cash safe but easy to access.) There is alco oa currency exchange in this area with slightly better rates than you get in the banks. Read this article to find the best rates on the island .
The fact that every hotel / bungalow resort has a restaurant and bar on the beach means that in the evenings the street-side shops lining the main road are pretty deserted until after everyone has eaten. Although you will find the cheap foodstalls that spring up late afternoon along the on the 100 metres of undeveloped roadside just north of Kacha Resort are always busy with workers, hotel staff and visitors eager to try some weird and wonderful meats on sticks. Worth a look on your way back from the beach, but again not on a par with the streetfood that you’ll find in Klong Prao village or Kai Bae – which cater to more Thai visitors.
Shopping. There are a few arty/crafty small shops but on the whole most of it is the generic souvenir junk you can find anywhere in Thailand and there’s very little that you won’t find cheaper in any market in Bangkok, do your souvenir shopping there if you have time. All shops tend to sell the same stuff, so if you see a t-shirt with an elephant on it that you like, check prices in a few shops. Remember to haggle.
The good news is that there is one place that is worth searching out if you want a more unique souvenir, Peace Moon, which sell handmade leather items – everything from small bracelets to wallets, belts and bags. Some very nice,hand made stuff there. Located on the inland side of the road, just south of Kacha Resort.
A quick mention of pharmacies – they’ll rip you off far more than you can imagine. Which is why you see so many of them, especially on White Sand beach.
It’s a very profitable business to be in. Something that is 30 Baht in Bangkok is 100 Baht or more here. Generic drugs are very cheap in Thailand but unless you already have an idea of how much you should be paying, you will be charged double or triple the real price. So don’t feel bad about haggling with pharmacist.
This two minute video takes you along the main road through the north end of White Sand beach, starting at KC Grande Resort.