Koh Chang – So maybe it’s not that bad…

by Poi on February 28, 2012

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As we tell those passing through Bangkok on their way to Chiang Mai, where you stay can greatly affect your enjoyment and perception of a place.

We didn’t write about Koh Chang after our first visit last year simply because we didn’t have enough to say, it would have gone something like this.

“We spent the last few days on Koh Chang, it should have been longer but we were bored out of our minds and the place we stayed, in White Sands, was horrible. There was a place that sold good beer though…”

Not much of a read hey? So why did we go back?

Some friends of ours spent a substantial time on the island during the Bangkok floods and had a remarkably different opinion of the place than we did. So what were they doing right that we weren’t?

Lonely Beach, Koh Chang

Free boat…

Turns out the answer to that question is quite simple. They stayed on Lonely Beach.

Taking their advice on where to go and where to stay we headed back to the island with some friends, Dave and Lauren, to try and change our opinion of an island that so many other people seemed to love.

Compared to the single main road that runs through White Sands full of large western restaurants, tailor shops and ‘t-shirts, shorts & inflatable shark’ shops Lonely beach appeared a million miles away. Instantly the backpacker feel of the place stood out. Far more appealing than the family holiday/sex tourist crowd we found at White Sands.

Bars line the streets, scattered stands divide them selling buses in all directions and overpriced snorkelling tours. There’s the option to get tattooed 10 times on the same street & everything appears to be made from bamboo and halfway through the process of dying. Does this sound terrible? Because I felt much more at home here before I’d even checked in than I did across the island.

Koh Chang, Thailand

Lonely Beach

Although it sounds like your standard backpacker party town It really doesn’t feel that way, I’m by no means suggesting it’s a quiet getaway, it’s not Koh Mak, but being tucked away near the Cambodian border means it doesn’t get nearly as many rowdy backpackers as Phagyan/Samui/Phi Phi etc. There is of course a backpacker crowd, we are in Thailand.

I tried to think of a more descriptive way of saying this but it’s just the truth. Everything about Lonely beach was better than White sands.

The beach is nicer, cleaner, more scenic, has better-looking sunbathers (that one is especially important) and you don’t walk off the beach onto a main road that looks like it should be anywhere but on an island.

Sunflower Bungalows, Koh Chang

The Sunflower Resort

The accommodation was better. Our hotel on white sands was dull and full of people we had no desire to be around. This time we enjoyed the bungalows of The Sunflower Resort and their cheap food and lounge area during the heat of the day.

Do I need to continue? I think it’s quite clear where I think you should stay during you time on Koh Chang (Lonely Beach, in case you’ve skipped just for the answer)

Whereas last time we couldn’t wait to leave, this time it was completely the opposite. I could easily go back and spend a few weeks if not longer strolling to the beach each day, relaxing with a fruit shake spread out over some cushions in the shade before enjoying a few drinks at night over sunset.

Instead we’re going home, eurgh.


{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Skott and Shawna - Get Up & Globe February 29, 2012 at 1:27 pm

Thanks for the info – we are headed to Thailand next week, and slowly trying to gather all the info we can…. much appreciated!!


Poi March 1, 2012 at 2:09 pm

You’re welcome and hope it helps!


Andi of My Beautiful Adventures February 29, 2012 at 10:28 pm

It looks SO lovely!!! I had no idea you have been to Koh Mak, headed there next week I can’t wait to check out your link.


Poi March 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm

You’ll love Koh Mak Andi, it’s perfect as far as quite islands go!


Tiffany March 2, 2012 at 2:25 am

It’s crazy how much different of an experience you can have just across the island. Thanks for the info. will definitely look into places in Lonely Beach instead of White Sand when I plan on traveling to Thailand. Can’t wait to read more of your adventures, you guys are awesome!


Poi March 5, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Haha Thanks Tiffany who doesn’t like being called awesome 🙂

It makes such a difference so if we can stop other people being put off Koh Chang as we were the first time that’s great!


Bula @ The Irreverent Traveller March 6, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Aw, you guys all met up! I can only imagine the culinary adventures of watching Lauren eat. I could spend days doing it. In fact, I have.


Poi March 29, 2012 at 12:15 pm

We did talk about it maybe a little bit too much. Her life story is pretty awesome too!


Antoinette B. April 2, 2012 at 8:42 am

Sometimes all it takes is to hear another person’s story… I feel like with every travel, there are always many sides to a place. It could be boring for one, fun for the other, adventurous for the next. Glad you guys gave it another try. Lonely beach looks awesome in your photo!


Poi April 2, 2012 at 4:26 pm

You’re right, luckily it’s so easy to meet other travellers and make the most of their tips. I’m glad we gave Koh Chang another chance, Lonely Beach was great!


Paul May 10, 2012 at 9:16 pm

Hi, I’m on a tour around SE Asia and so far have skipped the Thai islands. All I here is generally they are full of Europen drunks and pi..heads, as well as being grossly overpriced in everything. Not really why I travelled from Europe to SE Asia.

Your description here suggests Koh Chang might me different, and worth the effort getting there.




Kirsty June 12, 2012 at 1:49 am

Yeah I would definitely recommend this island as well as Koh Mak which is close to Koh Chang both are beautiful. I would recommend Koh Mak if you are looking for something very quiet and not full of other backpackers 🙂

Check out http://www.noplacetobe.com/travelblog/goodtime-resort-koh-mak/


Vicky May 18, 2012 at 2:38 am

Very interesting how different your experience was the second time around! Thanks for the advice so now we all know which beach is the right one to stay at!


Kirsty June 12, 2012 at 2:24 am

Definitely! I would go back to Lonely beach in a heart beat!


JRinAsia December 18, 2012 at 2:17 am

Thanks for sharing this experience. It’s a great example of why we should always we should always be willing to give a place a second chance.


Jaclynn April 2, 2013 at 10:22 am

how close was sunflower to the water?!


Kirsty April 2, 2013 at 4:52 pm

Very close, Lonely beach is about 5 minute walk away but the water is just down the road and there is a lovely sunset bar where you can watch the sunset over the water.


Lindsey October 5, 2013 at 1:34 am

I first read about Lonely Beach a few months back on Adverturous Kate’s blog. My husband and I are going to Thailand in Dec and are staying at Little Eden on Lonely Beach for several days. I am so looking forward to that part of our trip. Everything I have read about Lonely Beach suggests it is the perfect backpacker paradise we will love!!


Lisa April 21, 2014 at 11:44 pm

I did exactly the same thing – I went from hating Koh Chang to it being the highlight of my Thailand trip, just because I moved from White Sands to Lonely Beach. I’m gutted I wasted 5 days on White Sands as I was so sad to leave KC and wish I had more time.

I stayed in Seaflower bungalows and would highly recommend it there. It was perfect in my opinion. Clean and basic rooms with choice of air con or fan, laundry service, a shop which came in handy too. Short walk to the beach and the nightlife, but cannot hear a thing at night. I am looking at Indonesia for my next trip but I’m scared I will be disappointed after my Koh Chang experience! KC could not have been more my type of getaway.


f June 13, 2014 at 7:52 pm

Thank u!! Im leavin to koh chang tomrw, ill deff go diractly to lonely beach after reading this, thanks again!! 😀


Poi June 17, 2014 at 10:38 am

Glad to have helped, Enjoy Koh Chang!


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