Visitor Guide to Pearl Beach
2023 – 24 Update
✔ No beach – despite the name
✔ Some good value accommodation in small well run resorts
✔ Only 5 minutes by scooter from White Sand or Klong Prao beaches
✔ Has two large supermarkets and is home to the island’s Post Office
A kilometre south of the International Clinic, you’ll reach ‘Pearl Beach’. This beach is also marked as ‘Hat Kai Mook’ the Thai name for ‘Pearl Beach’ on quite a few maps. Some resorts & some online booking sites like to lure customers to the resorts here by just classifying it as part of White Sand Beach.
There are some good, small bungalow resorts here with sunset views and is a convenient option, midway between White Sand Beach and Klong Prao Beach. Providing you are willing to hop on songtaew or rent a scooter to get to a good beach. If so, then you will save money on accommodation by staying in this area.
The elephant in the room is the name . . . . Pearl Beach . . . . Which conjures up images of coconut palms swaying in the sea breeze whist g-string clad couples stroll on a sun kissed expanse of pure white sand. I’m doing a ‘hula’ just thinking about it.
In reality, there is no beach, other than a stony shoreline. The story goes that the beach was named after the new born daughter of the first Thai/Western couple move to the area. Matt at ‘Paradise Palms‘ will give you the full explanation.
Where to Stay and Eat on Pearl Beach
The good news is that there are some very nice bungalow resorts on Pearl beach with sunset views, plus modern, value for money pool villas and also some good options if you want to rent a bungalow cheaply for a few weeks.
The lack of good beach and no large resorts in the vicinity means that you usually have no problems finding a sensibly priced room. The resorts are quieter and often better value than on the busier beaches. Some resorts even throw in free scooter hire to entice guests during low season.
So before you write off Pearl Beach for lack of a sandy beach, bear in mind that many resort owners seem to make more of an effort when it comes to offering well priced accommodation and great service for their guests.
Down on the shore, a couple of resorts have created mini artificial beaches for guests to laze on. But the stones underfoot make walking along the beach or wading into the water difficult. On the plus side, there is some pretty good snorkelling off a small coral reef just offshore. You will definitely see far more fish here than if you try to snorkel off the sandier west coast beaches.
The easiest way to access the sea is at Kai Mook Resort. ( Head down the road adjacent to the Honda Scooter shop and stop at the end ). There’s also a small, rocky peninsula here which you can walk out on and get good views north along the coastline up past White Sand beach. The resort itself has recently been rebuilt by the local owners.
Alternatively, there’s also sea access at the campsite adjacent to the Lotus supermarket at the north end of Pearl beach. You can pitch your tent for 100 Baht and enjoy a great sunset view. There’s also a small restaurant plus shower and toilet facilities.
Nearby groups of expats has bandied together and built ‘The Pearl Luxury Pool Villas‘, ‘The Elegance Pool Villas‘ and ‘Koh Chang Luxury Pool Villas’ – which appears to be named for search engines rather than humans. The first of these identical pool villas opened in late 2018 and the most recent in mid 2023.
These all provide spacious accommodation for couples and families who want more for their money than a similarly priced hotel room can offer. No views, as they are clustered close together, but they are quiet, good value and come with a small private swimming pool and all the conveniences of home including Netflix.
If you want a more spacious holiday rental with garden, also check out Suphattra House and Villa Tippawan, both of which offer more privacy and are on Airbnb.
Further north by the sea, The cosy, wooden ‘Remark Cottages’ closed permanently in early 2018 but has since re-opened as ‘Ban Na Kai Mook’ bungalows. Nice location however, the huts are beginning to show their age.
The family orientated ‘Penny’s Bungalows’, good value ‘Paradise Palms’ and stylish ‘Saffron on the Sea’ are all pleasant places to stay by the sea. Paradise Palms, in particular, has been one of the top rated B&B’s on Koh Chang for well over a decade on Tripadvisor and has had the same owners for over 20 years.
For value for money and longstay options, ‘TP Hut’ & ‘Macura Resort’, along a paved track on the inland side of the main road. These cater for people who hop off the pick up truck taxi just before it rounds the corner at the northern end of Pearl beach proper. TP Hut can also do good long stay deals and it’s a nice location, nestled at the food of the hill. Likewise, at the entrance to the huts, ‘Alisa Room For Rent’ has, as the name suggests, rooms for rent. In the form on a handful of bungalows. Another good longstay option.
Then you have ‘Elephant & Castle’ and ‘Baan Ton Rak’. Both also well reviewed, not so much for the location as for the ambiance and the expat hosts who go out of their way to take care of guests and make them feel at home. And in the same area, opposite Lotus supermarket, is Rose Garden Resort where you can get a Fan bungalow for under 500 Baht/night and AC for not much more.
These aren’t places for your average backpacker, or for people wanting direct access to sand. Just for anyone looking for a quiet, convenient, moderately priced place to base yourself for a week or two.
The area has one large resort – Koh Chang Resortel, which has the largest swimming pool on the island. Unfortunately, it is one of those places that very few people know of or bother to consider when looking for 2 star accommodation. (As of mid 2023 a for sale sign has gone up at the entrance.)
The pool, pictured above, is the largest on the island and even includes concrete starting blocks. The type last seen at the Moscow Olympics in 1980. When I took that photo, during last busy High Season in 2020, there was no-one around save for two cleaners. No other hotel staff in sight and although the rooms were made up, there were no signs of guests. Apart from one guy who had the best pool on the island to himself.
Adjacent to the Resortel lies Privilege Resort. This offers spacious, value for money bungalows. Unlike many resorts these are spread out over a large area and not clustered together. So there’s plenty of open space and also a small pool near the sea.
For those with a large family or looking for a place for a group of friends to stay, then Inspiration Villa, a large standalone beachfront home is a great spot. It’s hidden away, out of sight of the main road, but is the only beachfront holiday home by the sea in this part of the island. You’ll find it on Airbnb.
Map of Pearl beach
This is just the highlights to help familiarize yourself with the area.
By the roadside
On the roadside in Pearl Beach, you’ll also see several of new shophouses in the area surrounding the Post Office. The Post Office not only does a roaring trade in stamps, but you can also rent a PO Box cheaply if you are staying on the island long term.
If you’re looking for a location for a business & home the shophouses in this area are a good bet, providing you don’t require any walk in customers. The office of Whitesands Publications, who produce the best maps and printed, quarterly guides to the island guide is located adjacent to the Post Office. However, according to a website update in early 2023, it looks like they may have printed their last map, which is unfortunate.
A Honda scooter dealership has also opened, to the delight of the locals. And a vegan restaurant also opened, to the delight of vegans.
‘Everflow’ does some delicious vegetarian food, cold pressed juices and smoothies. It’s hidden away, adjacent to a car wash and so isn’t the easiest place to find. See their Facebook page for info: https://www.facebook.com/everflowkohchang/ and on the opposite side of the carwash is Royal Cafe, for all your non-vegetarian coffee needs.
Behind the Post Office you’ll also see the main office for the NT ( National Telecom – formerly the Telephone Organisation of Thailand.) If you need an ADSL / Fibre optic internet connecting, this is the place to visit.
It’s also the place to go to complain when your new internet connection stops working. Which will happen if you use NT. Then you’ll be back every few days for the next month or two until eventually they set a date to fix it. By which time you’ve signed up with another , far better, customer friendly and efficient ISP. Such as AIS or True.
Nearby, down this and the adjacent side street, you’ll see several large, modern homes. This is one of the few areas on the island where it is still possible to buy a small plot of land with good title deed on which to build a home. It isn’t cheap, figure on 5 Million Baht for a small plot. Which is why many of the houses are rather posh (for Koh Chang). And it is a convenient location to have a house. One of the real estate agent ads amused me by claiming this area was the ‘Beverly Hills of Koh Chang‘. There’s still a while to go before that is the case.
The aging concrete monolith that is ‘Sky Bay’ pub, which was Koh Chang’s top i.e. only, Thai style nightclub, also sits slowly crumbling on the inland side of the road. It is now closed and partially obstructed by shophouses which have stood largely empty since being built in 2009. Although a couple of years ago one was rented and has openend as ‘The Studio’. This cinematic themed guesthouse offers budget rooms and also has a small selection of craft beer for sale.
Opposite is the boutique Keereeta Resort, which was the first boutique resort on Koh Chang and has a couple of dozen very nicely appointed rooms in various designs, but not much English spoken. A pity, as the design and layout is nice. They also do weekly and monthly rentals.
Further south, a couple more places to eat can be found near the Post Office and a couple of dirt tracks lead from the main road towards the sea. There used to be a handful of budget bungalow resorts down here but they have now closed.
The two remaining highlights of this shopper’s paradise are the Lotus and Big C supermarkets. Lotus was the first large supermarket on the island and Big C followed a year later. Both have cheap in-house bakeries, good selections of fruit & vegetables plus some imported goodies. I prefer Big C, as it’s brighter inside and the staff seem fairly interested in doing their jobs. Lotus has an air of desperation about it.
One reason why you may want to visit Pearl beach is for a cocktail and meal at ‘Saffron On the Sea’ – one of the nicest seafront restaurants on Koh Chang. There are only half a dozen tables, some undercover and some under the stars. Plus, an open kitchen, good food, lovely peaceful setting, friendly owners and no loud music.
Grab a table by the sea and listen to the waves lapping against the shore a you sup your cocktail or beer. Recommended spot for a romantic meal on the island and to escape the crowds on White Sand beach.
In late 2023 there should be a new restaurant opening by the sea, Iyara Pearl Beach, owned by the well known Iyara restaurant based in Klong Prao. This is situated on the site of the old Jane Chalet bungalows and JuJu Bar.
Finally, in late 2019, Le Jaojom , a new beachfront coffeeshop / bistro opened on Pearl Beach. It’s a very Instagram worthy place which also has excellent smoothies, coffee and, in the evening, cocktails. The building is a bamboo structure with a large glass walled aircon seating area plus a covered terrace. These face a garden which opens to the sea. Very nicely done and well worth visiting. At present there’s just a limited food menu, aside from some delicious cakes and high calorie desserts.
Hotels on Pearl beach
These resorts and bungalows are in the Pearl beach area and 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.
Macura Resort – Large bungalows in a garden setting on the inland side of the main road – 1,700 Baht
Elephant & Castle – On the hillside with sea views. Fan and aircon bungalows plus popular restaurant. – 800 Baht
Saffron on the Sea – Bungalows in a shady tropical garden by the sea. Good cocktails at the restaurant. – 1,200 Baht
Paradise Palms – Cosy beachfront resort with just a handful of bungalows by the sea. – 1,500 Baht
The Grand Tree Resort – AC cabins in a garden setting roadside between Pearl beach and Klong Prao beach. – 1,200 Baht
Elegance Pool Villas, Koh Chang Luxury Pool Villas & The Pearl Pool Villas – Virtually identical, just with different owners. Modern pool villas with home comforts, sleep up to 6 people – 7,000 Baht/night
Koh Chang Privilege Resort – Spacious aircon bungalows in large garden by the sea. Has a pool. – From 1,000 Baht