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?
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.
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.
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.