Most bungalows are found on Ao Yai, divided by natural features into North, Central and South. A bit further south, Ao Tadaeng has a few more bungalow spots, while a few tiny beaches on the far northwest coast each has one place to stay. The two bungalow operations down on Ao Siad are worth considering if you really want to get away from it all. Many places to stay are very similar, all with cold-water showers and power switched on only from around 18:00 to 22:00. Travellers staying a week or longer can expect significant discounts.
Only a few places on Ko Chang Noi can really be called “resorts” and only one of these, Koh Chang Resort, which we’ve found overpriced and not so well kept, offers air-con and can be booked through booking sites like Agoda (filed under Ko Phayam). It’s usually fine to just show up and grab a bungalow on the spot, but do call ahead to reserve a room if you’ll be on the island around Christmas and New Year’s. Expect rates at some places to spike from mid-December to February. Virtually every place closes during rainy season from May to October.
The long and quiet northern stretch of Ao Yai has a handful of places to stay along with the island’s only temple, the hippie-style Bar La and the Om Tao yoga venue, both of which also rent out a few bungalows. Great for strolling on the sand without being interrupted by rocks or canals, North Ao Yai is the island’s longest uninterrupted beach.
With a lively restaurant overlooking a fine stretch of beach, Sunset offers large wood and bamboo bungalows built into a hill covered in dense rubber trees and palms. The Thai owners run a tight ship, with an actual logo on the business card and a big red sign along the beach, while maintaining a low-key vibe that many travellers return for each year. Mostly built of dark wood with metal... Read our full review of Sunset Bungalows .
The largest and one of the longest running resorts on the island, Cashew has a bunch of concrete and wood bungalows facing a great stretch of North Ao Yai. Popular and well equipped, Cashew draws quite a few long-stayers who plant flower gardens, string up awnings, paint murals and otherwise turn their bungalows into second homes. The friendly Thai owner was willing to show us as many... Read our full review of Cashew Resort.
Wedged between an estuary and an outcrop of rocks, Central Ao Yai is the shortest of the bay’s three sections. From here it’s a straight 1.5 kilometre walk inland to the village, and both the northern and southern stretches of Ao Yai can be reached in 10 minutes or less. Central Ao Yai hosts Thai Bar and Freedom Bar, making it the best area for some low-key nightlife.
Covering a sizeable stretch of Central Ao Yai, Chang Thong is a classic islander-run spot with large wooden bungalows built within steps of the sand. The wooden bungalows were set up with plenty of space between them, with those in the second row enjoying largely unobstructed sea views from big porches with hammocks and chairs. Rooms are available in two sizes and made mainly of wood, with... Read our full review of Chang Thong Bungalow.
The bay’s fairly long southern section extends beyond a rocky outcrop and so feels more like a separate beach. Tsunami Bar provides some reggae-inspired nightlife in the southern corner, with a couple of slightly more upmarket resorts overlooking the sand and a few more places to stay on the hill-topped peninsula which forms the southern rim of Ao Yai.
Crocodile Rock is a great choice for its breezy location, simple but tasteful bamboo bungalows, good food and sincere owners. The small bungalows are built out of bamboo rods with wooden floors and metal roofs amid flowers and trees at the end of the high eminence that gives the resort its name. The best one is set above a steep drop with a large porch bagging you unobstructed views, but they... Read our full review of Crocodile Rock Bungalows.
Sawasdee is one of the island’s few places to stay that actually has a website and business cards along with attractive bungalows spread over neatly raked grounds. A helpful Thai couple offers a range of clean wood-and-concrete bungalows with hammocks strung to large porches facing the beach. We checked out a smart medium-size edition made of dark-wood walls with a nifty panel that can be... Read our full review of Sawasdee Resort.
A five-minute walk further south through the rubber trees from the southern end of Ao Yai takes you to Ao Tadaeng, a stumpy beach with dark sand and a few little bungalow joints. It’s a good choice if you prefer an added layer of seclusion without being too far from Ao Yai and the village.
Overlooking the longest patch of beachfront of any place to stay on Ao Tadaeng, Suan Por is the first bungalow spot that you pass through after walking down here from South Ao Yai. Bamboo, wood and concrete bungalows are jumbled alongside the sand amid a tangle of trees, vines, ropes, buffalo skulls, seashells and painted strips of driftwood. The cheapest huts are very rustic, with nothing... Read our full review of Suan Por Bungalows.
Walk north for a half-hour from the northern end of Ao Yai and you’ll pass the Navy base before reaching four tiny beaches, each with its own equally tiny bungalow joint. Our favourite of these is featured below, but any of them will do if you’re after a rustic bungalow in an isolated location.
Hornbill occupies its very own beach that’s easily noticeable when passing by in a boat thanks to a large Rastafarian flag fluttering above some offshore rocks. Shaded by a massive banyan tree among other foliage, bungalows all face the beach and were built gradually over the years to suit different tastes. The cheapest huts come with firm beds raised off unfinished wood floors along with... Read our full review of Hornbill Bungalows.
Accessed only by boat or a multi-hour hike through the forest, this far southern bay draws nature lovers in need of ultimate seclusion. It’s one of the most remote corners with accommodation that we’ve come across on any Thai island, but there is cell coverage and even a freestanding eatery or two.
The first sign of life that you see after hours of hiking south along the main trail to Ao Lek and Ao Siad is the word “Pirates” hand-painted on a wood sign and nailed to a tree. Keep walking and a green-and-black sign points left to Green Banana, a pirate-themed bungalow joint run by Thai hippies in a far-flung corner of a far-flung island. The design expresses the beach-bum persona of... Read our full review of Green Banana.
Anchored by a large open-sided restaurant with hammocks strung between coconut trees, Tommy’s Garden offers rustic wood bungalows on a forested hill rising behind the western corner of Ao Siad. The cheapest unvarnished wooden bungalows are almost as basic as can be, with minimal space, thin mattresses, mosquito nets, attached bathrooms with squat toilets, a few windows and porches facing the... Read our full review of Tommy’s Garden Bungalows.