Watch for falling coconuts
Published/Last edited or updated: 12th February, 2018
Khlong Prao, or “Coconut Canal”, takes its name from the estuaries that flow into the sea at all three ends of this sweeping seven-kilometre bay. Rimmed by powder-sand beaches for much of this distance, the spread-out area attracts those who prefer the quiet life while keeping conveniences close by.
The name refers to the whole bay, the central river that flows into the bay, and a village hosting a temple, police station and plentiful shops on the main road. Unlike in Haad Sai Khao, Kai Bae and Lonely Beach, where pretty much everything is within walking distance, Khlong Prao has various clusters of civilisation separated by rivers and long empty spaces. If you’re not keen on sticking close to your resort, staying here without a vehicle can be frustrating despite the location spanning the centre of Ko Chang’s west coast.
Marking the far northern end of the bay is the first of three scenic waterways spilling cool water from the interior forest into the sea. Related to the nearby village of Chai Chet with its good book shop and a few eateries, this far northern stretch of sand is arguably the best in Khlong Prao Bay. Resorts like Paradise and Chai Chet Resort take full advantage of it.
Draped in umbrella trees and coconut palms, Chai Chet Beach is a favourite of Scandinavian, German and Russian tourists, including a lot of families who seem content to laze around and watch the kids build sandcastles.
Piercing the centre of the bay is the widest estuary, Khlong Prao itself, a soothing spot to chill on a deck or hop in a kayak for a paddle inland towards the mountains or out to sea. Amid the stilted houses you’ll find a handful of guesthouses, resorts and restaurants on either bank, including the excellent Aana Resort and Baan Rim Nam. Kayaks are readily available here and you can rent SUP boards at Iyara Restaurant on the northern bank.
Hosting KP Huts along with a few other resorts and bungalow joints, the bay’s most central beachhead near Khlong Prao (the river) has faced erosion in recent years, with much of it now disappearing at high tide. Yet this remains a scenic and relaxing beach with plenty of scope for privacy beneath casuarina trees.
Moving down to the southern side of the bay, the final estuary is arguably the most scenic thanks to plentiful trees draped along both banks—keep an eye out for soaring herons by day and fireflies after dark. Making the most of this calming setting is Blue Lagoon, a destination not only for good-value bungalows but also a restaurant, cooking class and more.
From here you can walk south further down the beach before bumping into a seawall that marks the point where the sand vanishes at high tide. In this area you’ll find a fistful of tightly packed luxury resorts, and very little else.
Khlong Prao is the largest village on Ko Chang’s west coast, hosting a school and several markets and shops where you can get your nails done and pick up fresh produce. The area hosts a few non-profit organisations of note: the Cambodia Kids Care school for children of migrant labourers; the Swiss Buddies group running a cross-cultural interchange program for youths who love sports; and the Koh Chang Rescue team that responds to all of those motorbike accidents.
Around the centre of the Khlong Prao area, a lane cuts inland to Khlong Phlu Waterfall, arguably Ko Chang’s most impressive and certainly its most popular.
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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