I thought that posting this at the busiest time of year would be apt. Right now the main west coast beaches on Koh Chang are all pretty busy and that isn’t to everyone’s liking. However, with a bit of effort is it possible to have a beach almost entirely all to yourself. There are three contenders for the title of Koh Chang’s Quietest beach. To qualify, the beach has to be a real beach, not just a small patch of sand & visitors also have to be able to get there by road. There’s no point listing a beach that no-one can get to.
All photos taken late December, pretty much the busiest time of year on the island.
3. Siam Royal View, Klong Son
In third place is the beach at the Siam Royal View housing development in Klong Son Bay in the northwest of Koh Chang. OK – it’s not really a contender for the overall title, but is definitely more accessible than the others and has more in the way of amenities. If you don’t happen to have a house at the development you can still head there for a meal in their restaurant or to play a round on their impossible to master, Par 3, pitch & putt course. There’s also a beachfront pool and a very nice kilometre long stretch of sheltered beach. At high tide this is a nice spot to swim, at low tide you have to walk a few hundred metres to get waist deep in water.
If you fancy an adventure, rent a kayak from the watersports centre at Siam Royal View and paddle out to one of the small islands at the mouth of the bay.
2. Long Beach, Salakphet Bay
This would be most people’s choice for the title as quite a few people go down there. At time of writing the old Treehouse bungalows were being renovated and these should be open once again from early January onwards. All the comforts of home – if home was a refugee camp. The Treehouse is located at the north end of the beach and looks south along a 500 metre long swathe of palm fringed sand. The main downside is that a lot of garbage can accumulate on the beach during the rainy season. There are other places to stay at the long beach Hotel, above the beach and luxury Tantawan Resort another kilometre south which has bungalows built over the sea.
Getting to Long Beach entails heading down the east coast of Salakphet Bay and then taking the most scenic road on Koh Chang, which is signposted to Long Beach. The first three kilometres are paved and, with one exception are an easy ride or drive. The one exception is a spot where the entire road has been washed away and the only way past is over a rickety wooden bridge. This doesn’t look too safe but is passable by scooter, car or pick up truck. The paved road ends just after a viewpoint, if your in a car – now is the time to turn back. If you’re on a scooter, now is the time to take care as there are some steep sections on the dirt track. And if you’re in a 4×4 you can have some fun.
The easiest place to stop is the large parking area at Treehouse bungalows at the north end of Long beach but you can continue further along the road to the far southern tip of Koh Chang.
1. Wai Chaek beach, South Coast of Koh Chang
If you plan on heading round to Long Beach then you could also head to Wai Chaek beach and compare the two for yourself in the same day. Wai Chaek is accessed by taking the incomplete road which was originally supposed to connect Salakphet and Bangbao but was never completed. You need to start at the Salakphet end. As you head down the western side of Salakphet Bay, keep an eye out for the tarmac road leading off on the right hand side. There’s a barrier across it which will be raised. Follow the single lane tarmac road for about 3Km, you pass a cleared area of land and then on your left will see a well worn dirt track. This heads across a river bed and then winds through grassland and coconut plantations to the beach.
Be aware – there are some steep sections and you’ll need to take care on a scooter as there’s a lot of loose gravel in a couple of areas. Also crossing the river bed entails maneuvering the scooter over and around some pretty large stones.
If you are driving make sure you have a vehicle with good ground clearance i.e. a 4WD pick up truck. If you try doing this in a small Toyota you’ll probably need to buy a new exhaust. Also bear in mid the road is only single track. You might have a problem in the unlikely event of meeting another vehicle coming the other direction.
You’ll be rewarded with a beautiful 400 metre long beach with lagoon at the eastern end. On the headland at the western end is ‘Wai Shak’ bungalows, run by the owners of Ting Tong Bar in Lonely beach. Only five very, very basic huts for 200 Baht/night. There’s also a small restaurant with cold drinks and a limited selection of Thai food. The beach here is very clean at present this is due to a couple of backpackers who are camping on the beach and pick up any garbage that is washed ashore on the tide.