Koh Chang – at Lonely Beach one may not be lonely for long
Lonely Beach is clearly carrying its name over from a past era when only backpackers had heard about this island. It's real name is Ta Nam Beach, and today it is neither very lonely nor particularly crowded – it's somewhere in between. But it remains a fun scene for the young-at-heart, with budget bungalows still out numbering the newer, boutique resort rooms that have arrived quite recently.
As our beach map and photo gallery of Lonely Beach show, the beach now has quite a few hotels along its length, though it is not completely built up and the top of the beach remains green and natural with a nice line of trees. The sand is fine here and the water good for swimming at high tide, but too shallow at low. The mountain rises close to the back of the beach, giving it a natural green backdrop.
Getting to Lonely beach is something of a trek. First one must get to the Koh Chang ferry, some five hours drive east of Bangkok, wait a while for ferry, and then cross to the island. Then begins a long, winding trip down the island's rugged west coast that can take anywhere from half an hour to an hour. Though sometimes rough, it's an especially pretty trip. Many younger travellers are squeezed tight in the back of a song taew truck and get only glimpses along the way. The long trip from Bangkok discourages those on brief holidays and of course blocks group tours.
Long travel distances to Koh Chang are perceived by some as an advantage for the island, keeping out group tours - just as the quiet nature of the beaches here discourages some mainstream tourists. But perspectives differ, and the pros & cons of Koh Chang are often interpreted quite differently.
The beach here is a gathering point for young travellers from around the planet who mix it up with those on shorter holidays. The atmosphere is relaxed and international. Conversation flows easily between those from various European countries east and west, from America, Australia and elsewhere. Some of the new breed of young Russians also congregate here, who, unlike their infamous elders, speak English and are international, friendly and out-going.
The restaurant and terrace of Nature Beach Resort is one centre of activity during the day, when people mingle and exchange travel stories and more. At night a new scene cranks up at Siam Hut, where a live band performs and revellers dance in the sand. This, Sandy Bar, sometimes becomes an all-night scene.
As on Koh Tao , another Gulf of Thailand island considered quite female-friendly (despite the horrific double murders there in September 2014) there were no locals living near this beach before the arrival for foreign beach-seekers. It means that the new, very limited nearby community is 100% dependent on spending by tourists. Not surprisingly, these people all welcome foreigners. There are no locals who feel left out or angered by the arrival of foreign visitors – as has happened in many other tourist destinations. In those places some locals who did not see tourism helping their lives, while it pushed up prices, felt they were suffering an unwelcome invasion. Resentments, naturally, grew in some communities.
But not here in Koh Chang. It helps make this a relatively safe place for all foreigner visitors, something that females travelling alone or in pairs can appreciate. And the scene on the sand at Lonely beach is relaxed, young, casual, friendly and very international.
If looking for a romantic resort, you can see we have added Bhumiyama Beach Resort , one of Lonely Beach's more comfortable establishments with air-com and a swimming pool, to our list of Koh Chang’s top 10 Most Romantic Resorts .