Take your pick
Ko Chang’s accommodation scene caters to everyone from bare-bones backpackers to holidaying families and luxury long stayers. Read on to see our top picks in three categories: budget, family and romance.
Before you settle on a specific place to stay, take a look at Ko Chang’s different beaches and villages to figure out which will suit you best. Start by reading overviews of Ko Chang’s major areas: Haad Sai Khao, Khlong Prao, Kai Bae, Lonely Beach, Bang Bao and the north and east coast from Khlong Son to Salak Phet. In each of these you’ll also find descriptions of Ko Chang’s many smaller beaches and bays, like Haad Khaimook, Ao Bailan and Long Beach.
Note that room rates mentioned below are for high (not peak) season. You’ll often pay considerably less in the rainy months.
Standing as a work of art where boulders give way to Haad Sai Khao’s dazzling northern stretch, Independent Bo bags you hammocks, sunset views and access to one of the more memorable bungalow spots in Thailand. Also charging 300 to 600 baht for solid sea-view bungalows in this vicinity is Maylamean, where you can soak in a view from the loo.
In Khlong Prao, Blue Lagoon serves up 250-baht tents and cosy bungalows for 700 baht—great value for the porch with hammocks perched along a soothing estuary. Also worth a mention are the tall stilted bungalows at KP Huts, where those who can deal with hard beds can enjoy a porch standing almost directly above the high-tide surf. If you like Chai Chet and could go for a super-slick dorm along with a swimming pool, go Pajamas.
Though Kai Bae is mostly a midranger’s paradise, good old Porn’s Bungalows keep on sailing alongside a treehouse restaurant that draws diners and sundowners from around the island. Starting at 600 baht, the wood bungalows are plain, worn and exactly what many backpackers are looking for.
Further south in Lonely Beach, Oasis boasts an even taller treehouse along with quality bungalows starting at 850 baht. The LB is also where you’ll find Ko Chang’s cheapest digs, including cushy air-con dorms for 350 baht at Beach Jungle and plain fan rooms with shared bathroom for 250 baht at Marco Guesthouse. Take a stroll around the village and you’ll find many more.
Down on the scenic western shore of Ao Bang Bao, Khlong Kloi Beach has its own village full of cheap bungalows at classic family-run resorts like Klong Kloi Cottage and reggae-inspired joints like Tree House Cottages, where the fan bungalows with shared bathroom fetch just 400 baht. If you fancy a room on the pier, the family behind Bang Bao Paradise Homestay will welcome you to their 600-baht rooms where you’ll snooze with the sea splashing below.
In Chek Bae on the remote southeast coast, we found the 600-baht bungalows at Journey’s End worth a stay if you seek peace and quiet and great kayaking opportunities. Keep going in that direction to find 200-baht shacks with no electricity at Long Beach Bungalows, the only place to stay on this remote beach rimming part of the elephant’s trunk—grab a map to see for yourself.
The long-standing Rock Sand Resort accommodates families in half a dozen room types fetching 2,000 to 5,000 baht, sea view most likely included. For those who can’t swing the cushy but very pricey KC Grande Resort, Rock Sand makes up for its lack of swimming pool with access to the fluffy white sand of North Haad Sai Khao.
Families who prefer a more intimate, homestay-type setting could head to Paradise Palms on Haad Khaimook, where the affable family owners live in the house across from their five seaside bungalows starting at 1,800 baht. In nearby Khlong Prao you’ll find a strong range of family bungalows to go with activities like cooking classes, trampolines and sandboxes built into retired longtail boats at the beautiful Blue Lagoon.
Parents hoping to get their kids some genuine cross-cultural interchange should look into Sports Buddies, a branch of the Swiss Buddies charity. Families can settle into affordable bungalows near Wat Bang Bao in Khlong Prao village to let their kids join Khmer migrant kids for games of soccer, volleyball, tennis, basketball, takraw, badminton and more. It could be an unforgettable experience for kids who love sport.
Moving south to Kai Bae, Garden Resort makes up for its lack of beachfront with a big saltwater pool, a notably helpful owner and comfy concrete villas representing excellent midrange value. If you just can’t go without the sand and surf right outside your door, K.B. Resort is another very good midranger that had made some upgrades since our last visit.
Down in Bang Bao, Nirvana Resort offers terrific value with lots of style. Large families can rent a two- to three-bedroom longhouse for 4,000 to 6,000 baht, while those with just one rug rat can use comfy daybeds as kids’ beds in most of the freestanding villas that fetch around 3,000 baht. Across the bay on Khlong Kloi Beach, Bang Bao Beach Resort’s clean 2,400-baht bungalows will do the trick for families who don’t require a swimming pool.
More affluent families might consider Little Sunshine for its two-floor, two-bedroom luxury villas with private plunge pools on a sheltered beach in Khlong Son. Families who could go for great kayaking spots and exposure to a fishing lifestyle could stay in Salak Phet or elsewhere on the sleepy east coast. Small islander-owned resorts like Baan Chan Lay and Salak Phet Seafood do a fine job of accommodating families.
Making it into the great-for-couples category, Khlong Prao’s Blue Lagoon is the only place we chose for all three categories in this article. Yes, it’s that versatile, and that good. Year after year we’ve found the simple 800-baht bungalows perched beside a lush estuary to be ideal for backpacking couples. Bring your mozzie spray and candles, and watch the fireflies.
Overlooking another of Khlong Prao’s estuaries, flashpacking couples will find comfy rooms for around 1,300 baht in a converted fisher house at Baan Rim Nam. Take your partner on a stroll through the orchid-dotted mangroves or a paddle on the calm water to see just what makes Khlong Prao so romantic.
Up in Haad Khaimook, Saffron the Sea had long been one of the more interesting boutique resorts on Ko Chang, and prior to our most recent visit it underwent a major sprucing up. Once again Saffron’s individually decorated rooms are a bargain at 1,500 baht. As a bonus, the seaside Thai restaurant is one of the best—and most romantic—on Ko Chang.
Down at The Mangrove in Bailan you can tuck under the mosquito net on your four-poster bed as the sea breeze rustles the branches outside your windows. Fan-cooled and quietly beautiful, these 1,200-baht bungalows come with an open, natural design that you won’t find elsewhere on Ko Chang.
Further south on Bang Bao Bay’s quiet western shore, Nirvana Resort possesses its own brand of artistic elegance sketched through hill-tribe fabrics, giant wooden masks and 1960s rock band posters in villas built amid the forest. A full list of creature comforts and quiet setting boasting seafront on both sides an isthmus make Nirvana a perennial holiday stop for many couples.
Among the higher-end resorts, our first choice would be Gajapuri in Kai Bae thanks to the two swimming pools, soothing atmosphere near a lively dining strip and plush rooms done up in a traditional Thai theme. Honeymooners who don’t mind a quick boat ride to the beach in exchange for mountain and river views should also check out Aana Resort in Khlong Prao.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
Our top 10 places to stay in and around Ko Chang