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Though choices are few on Lonely Beach itself and also in Ao Bailan, a clutch of decent eating and drinking spots are found along and just off the main road in Lonely Beach village. This is also one of Ko Chang's liveliest nightlife areas.
Though northern Lonely Beach mainly offers resort restaurants, Garden Thai Food is a lovely little restaurant perched on stilts over a vast area of wild greenery that we imagine will someday become a luxury resort. They do a decent breakfast to go with smoothies, coffee and Thai standards. On the beach itself, Siam Hut's seaside patio fills up with the smells of seafood barbecue after sunset, then transforms into a beach party with fire-spinning shows after dark. On the main road as you enter Lonely Beach village, Sign-ngam Kitchen is worth a try for spicy and cheap northeastern Thai cuisine.
Seeing as Lonely Beach is the centre of Ko Chang's budget travel scene, it's no surprise that some good, cheap food can be scored here. We enjoyed a simple but tasty bowl of 40-baht noodle soup at Kong Dao Kitchen, a no-frills local-style restaurant that does a range of cheap Thai dishes on the side road to Warapura and Seaflower resorts. In that same general vicinity you'll find a decent kebab and grilled sandwich stand, excellent pizza, pasta and gelato by the Italian chef at Sawatdee Restaurant, and Little Wing, a ramshackle bar that does cheap burgers and beer.
Across from Little Wing, Stone Free has quickly become a local institution thanks to its dive-bar atmosphere that often hosts the rip-roaring sounds of the Sticky Rice Blues Band. Stone Free also happens to be a good breakfast and lunch spot, serving egg-and-cheese croissants, tempura shrimp and burgers. If you're looking for coffee and smoothies in a more modern ambiance, plus brick-oven pizza, Kaotha is a good option on the main drag.
Not far from that, at the southern end of the village, you'll find a string of places that aim both for diners and drinkers. Margaritaville is a lively spot that serves beach-themed cocktails to go with gorgonzola-burgers and Swedish meatballs with mashed potatoes. Q Bar aims for an urban hip-hop theme, and they were featuring bloody mary as the drink special when we passed through. Also in the "slightly-more-refined" category is World of Tapas, a Spanish-themed spot that sells small plates, wine and cocktails.
Choices are fewer down in Bailan, but a few interesting dining spots are found here. Not least of them is St Tropez La Province, a relatively pricey French spot that does steak tartare, Australian beef tenderloin and a well-thought-out selection of wines. For cheap Thai, Pa &Lung is a hole-in-the-wall shop next to the muay Thai facility that serves a range of Thai dishes that go easy on the wallet, including 40-baht noodle soup.
If you simply desire a laid back beach bar to while away the day, Lisca Beach to the south of Bailan Bay is a fine choice. Back along the main road, Jungle Garden has a similarly low-key atmosphere, plus simple but quality Western food and excellent cocktails.