Apart from a freestanding bakery and a couple of cafes in the village, all of the meals on Ko Chang Noi come from the resort kitchens. Most of them close up by 21:00 so don’t miss out!
Set along the lane running inland from Koh Chang Resort, Deanna’s bakery adds fresh-baked breads to the breakfast and lunch plates at many of the resorts. Many long-stayers pop up to the shop every few days to purchase whole loaves of bread along with cakes and baked goods, which do come in handy after the resort kitchens close.
Over in the village, Crossroad Restaurant also has a bakery and is worth the walk for pizza, pasta and ice cream served with fresh coffee. The expat-run spot also does some Thai dishes, or you could head over to the nearby village noodle shop for a simple Thai-style lunch. Next door to Crossroad, Sunshine Shop is the largest convenience store on the island and also has a little bakery and Thai restaurant along with live music on occasion. Behind Central Ao Yai and across from the temple, Minimart has a little kitchen of its own whipping up pad Thai, krapao and other simple Thai dishes for cheaper than at the resorts—and you can use the free WiFi when you eat here.
Just inland from the temple behind North Ao Yai, Little Italy bakes its own great bread and, if you’re lucky, the Italian owner will prepare you a plate of Bolognese from scratch. It’s not always fully open to outside patrons, preferring to take care of guests staying in the three bungalows, but the food is good enough to stop by and beg if you have to.
The Thai food that we’ve sampled at some of the resorts has been decent, if generally watered down for Western tastes. Prices typically fall between 100 and 200 baht unless you're going for whole grilled fish or other barbecue items, available at most resorts during high season.
At Sawasdee Resort we had a tasty and spicy vegetarian laap salad made with minced tofu, roasted chillies and herbs. The popular restaurant at Cashew Resort delivered a solid bowl of green curry with chicken and we liked their breakfast fry up with fresh bread and local cashews added to the home-fried potatoes. Nearby Sunset Bungalows also has a lively restaurant if you’re staying on North Ao Yai. At the other end of the bay, Crocodile Rock does a good range of Thai food and a few cocktails served to a dining deck with great views.
Just south of the canal on Central Ao Yai, Thai Bar features a foosball table and occasional live music on the One Love stage. Further down the same beach, Freedom Bar is a smaller and very mellow spot run by a smiley young local guy with help from a dreadlocked Spanish dude who hangs here in high season. They serve a great rum with coconut juice in a fresh coconut; patrons take a few sips off the top to make room for the Sangsom and Malibu.
Over on South Ao Yai, Tsunami Bar is another laid-back spot with lots of Bob Marley flags, while Bar La on North Ao Yai has its own reggae bar hidden behind some driftwood lofts. All of the bars usually stay open until the early morning hours and rent out a few tents or bungalows as well.