Sai Khao Beach (White Sands Beach) is far and away the most popular and developed stretch of coastline on Koh Chang island, surely because it is easiest and fastest to get to from Bangkok. Here both the back-of-beach roadside and beachfront spaces are crammed with the usual haphazard array of tourism developments; shops, hotels, restaurants, mini-marts, ATMs, massage huts and etc.

As with most of Koh Chang's West coast, here the mountain falls into the sea, leaving only a narrow beach with sands that often disappear completely at high tide. Sai Khao has, as the name suggests, beautiful, white sand. Most of the year it has crystal clear water which runs quite deep due to the lack of an offshore reef, providing good swimming. The shoreline is shaded by coconuts palms, casaurina and other large native trees.

In the southern sector (our Sai Khao South map) the road runs close to the beach, leaving little space for beach resorts. Many have built on both sides of the road here, and we qualify these only when the major portion of the hotel, including reception and public areas like the swimming pool, are on the beach side. Many hotels in this South strip do not pass these qualifications, so beware if booking into this area – or you might have to fight traffic to get to the beach. Those resorts that are true beachfront here are generally the smaller places.

Our North map shows the part of Sai Khao where the road is higher on the mountain, allowing space for two larger resorts. One of these, KC Grande Resort & Spa, claims 4-star status and is the most comfortable beachfront accommodation here.

by John Everingham