Narrow beach, great food
Located just south of Khlong Prao and north of the steep hairpin turns leading to Lonely Beach, Kai Bae makes up for its narrow beach by virtue of excellent food and nightlife in a tightly packed village.
The area is very popular with mainland Europeans, Scandinavians and Russians, including families, couples and quite a few travellers in their twenties and thirties looking to party. While many seem to stay here for the abundant food options and lively scene on the main drag, Kai Bai Beach might leave sand snobs longing for northern Haad Sai Khao or Khlong Kloi. Towards the northern end, the upscale Gajapuri Resort and its neighbours overlook fine light khaki sand that disappears at high tide.
The sand ends a little further south at the beach’s central estuary, a pretty spot that pops up unexpectedly with small boats, banyan trees and footbridges. At the mouth of the river sits Nang Nual Resort and the trendy bar/restaurant, Salt, which hosts Ko Chang’s infamous chilli cook-off every December.
The southern stretch of Kai Bae Beach widens in front of KB Resort but quickly narrows again to practically nothing at high tide as you head south to Porn’s. From here you get a lovely outlook to the rest of Kai Bae, Khlong Prao and the lush mountains rising in the north.
With shallow water interrupted by a fair amount of rocks and seaweed, Kai Bae Beach is not the best swimming spot on Ko Chang. It does however offer some good sunset spots, chief among them the viewpoint just south of the village where you’ll also find a national park office and tourist info centre.
For the entire length of Kai Bae, the narrow yet densely developed main street bustles with bars, restaurants and shops, and much of Ko Chang’s best international food is served at places like Barrio Bonito, Chez David and Papa Bakery. After dipping in the refreshing and little known Kai Bae Waterfall, end the day at Jonas Jonasson or another of Kai Bae’s funky bars.
If you’re riding a bike or driving through Kai Bae and want to avoid the cramped and crowded main drag, look for the sealed bypass lane that had been built since our previous visit.
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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