Brilliant to the north
Published/Last edited or updated: 12th February, 2018
Stretching for some two kilometres along the west coast, Haad Sai Khao, or White Sand Beach, is the most popular and developed beach on Ko Chang. Especially when strolling along parts of the excellent northern end, it’s easy to see why this was the beach first chosen by some of Ko Chang’s earliest tourism-related businesses.
Hit the beach anywhere near KC Grande Resort, turn right and after a leisurely walk you’ll reach a cluster of cheap, old-style bungalow joints and bars catering to backpackers. Keep walking past (or through) Independent Bo and Rock Sand, and you’ll emerge to a wide stretch of fine powder-white sand. This is probably the best sunbathing beach on Ko Chang.
A steep jungle-draped hill rises from behind to cut this northern stretch of Haad Sai Khao off from the main road, creating a feeling of seclusion although the main drag is less than a kilometre away. Offshore there’s a fairly steep drop off, making the beach, mostly backed by White Sand Beach Resort, a great swimming venue. It’s just gorgeous—do make it here for at least one sunset, best enjoyed from the deck at Maylamean.
Walking back south and past the mega-resort KC Grande, the beach narrows and starts to feel a lot like Ko Samet’s Haad Sai Kaew—a bit crowded with a lively bar scene and mostly old concrete resorts that block any sea view you might have had from the main road. Continuing south the beach tapers to a rocky shore, ostensibly known as South White Sand Beach, before hitting a headland hill.
Awash in beachwear shops, motorbike rental outfits, travel agents and tailor shops, Haad Sai Khao’s rather tacky main drag of pavement comes as a startling contrast to the backpacker village found at the beach’s northern end. Live music bars like Oodie’s and Sabay keep the atmosphere lively as package tourists browse the shops and have a bite.
Things get seedy at a block of “beer bars” to the south of town, near where the main drag passes a Makro supermarket and widens on its way down to Haad Khaimook. This quiet pebble-shore beach conceals a minor snorkeling site near Saffron on the Sea and Paradise Palms.
Staying in Haad Sai Khao puts a great beach and plentiful comforts at your fingertips—if you don’t mind the all-out mainstream tourism scene.
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.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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