Lonely Beach, Koh Chang: My Favourite Thai Beach

lonely beach koh chang

If I ever wanted to stop travelling for three months or and do nothing but lie on a beach all day and hang out in bars playing non-stop Bob Marley at night then Koh Chang would be the perfect place to do so. I love this beautiful Thai island!

I stayed on Koh Chang for five nights and soon decided that this was the perfect chill-out island and I definitely needed to spend a lot more time there in the future.

Even if it was horrible to get to.

Yep, getting from Bangkok to Koh Chang can be a bit of an exhausting journey. Getting from Chiang Mai, like I did, is even worse! It started with a 12 hour overnight train from Chiang Mai to Bangkok where the rocking was so strong that I got barely any sleep. From Bangkok, I took 5 hour bus journey to Trat, following by wandering around for an hour at midnight trying to find a guesthouse. Let’s just say I slept hard that night! The next morning included a 30 minute minivan trip to the ferry, an hour on the ferry to get to Koh Chang and a 30 minute songthaew ride to Lonely Beach.

Lonely Beach. 

I spent almost every single day in Koh Chang sunbathing on Lonely Beach.

It is my perfect beach.

Lonely Beach is clean and it isn’t overrun with people. The sand was soft and the water was clear and warm. It was easy to find quieter parts of the beach with nobody around and the busier parts were filled with the sound of reggae from the nearby beach bars.

And the palm trees!

I LOVED the palm trees!

lonely beach koh chang

koh chang lonely beach

lonely beach koh chang

How ridiculously beautiful is that beach? On Koh Chang, it’s easy to lose track of time and fall into a routine of sunbathing during the day and drinking buckets at night. I can see how some people get stuck here for months.

When I wasn’t spending my time practicing my beach bum skills, I rented a scooter and spent some time exploring the rest of Koh Chang. Here’s one of the many views from our scooter ride — again, loving those palm trees!

koh chang beach

beach koh chang

I originally planned on circling the island but hit a snag after 10 minutes when we arrived at a ticket office and barrier. We would have to pay 200 baht ($6) to pass. After the guard confirmed that the road continued through the fancy looking resort gates, we decided to pay rather than turn around.

Of course, it didn’t. We had reached a dead end.

There were worst places to be, however, as we were now “stuck” in a super fancy resort with gorgeous surroundings, fancy restaurants and our own private beach!

koh chang resort lake

private beach koh chang

The highlight? The amazing palm tree swing that I wanted to spend all day on!

palm tree swing in koh chang

My favourite time on Lonely Beach is between 3pm – 5pm. The temperature is cooler, there are less people on the beach, the low sun makes for some beautiful reflections on the surface of the sea and it’s the perfect time to go for a swim!

swimming on lonely beach koh chang

And then every evening is then finished off with a huge vodka bucket small beer and an amazing sunset at one of the many bars lining the beach.

sunset in koh chang

If you’re looking to spend some time on a Thai island with a friendly, chilled out, hippie vibe then you can’t go wrong with Koh Chang.

Just make sure you stay on my beloved Lonely Beach…

About the author

Lauren Juliff

Lauren Juliff is a published author and travel expert who founded Never Ending Footsteps in 2011. She has spent over 12 years travelling the world, sharing in-depth advice from more than 100 countries across six continents.

Lauren's travel advice has been featured in publications like the BBC, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Cosmopolitan, and her work is read by 200,000 readers each month. Her travel memoir can be found in bookstores across the planet.


  1. Heathers Harmony
    June 12, 2012

    Wow, this looks beautiful and I can tell it’s my kind of place. You would find me with a drink in hand on the palm tree swing!

  2. A Montrealer Abroad
    June 12, 2012

    So beautiful! I would LOVE to hang around that beautiful tree.

  3. Amanda @ Farsickness
    June 13, 2012

    Koh Chang is one of my Thailand must sees and this post just made me want to go even more. Beautiful!

  4. Caroline
    June 13, 2012

    As a Canadian, I think I’ve been born in the wrong country since I think I could hang out at a beach ALL DAY! This looks wonderful, will definitely try and check it out!

  5. Ad-lib Traveller
    June 13, 2012

    Beautiful photos, I absolutely loved Koh Chang. Doesn’t receive half the publicity that it deserves…but then that is half the beauty :)

  6. Kieu
    June 13, 2012

    I miss lounging around and doing nothing on the beaches in Thailand. Lonely Beach looks lovely.

  7. June 13, 2012

    seems like a nice place to be! i feel like i am ready to go to thai beaches right now :) thanks for sharing!

  8. Toni
    June 13, 2012

    Get me there right this second!

  9. June 13, 2012

    Looks like a true paradise. Beautiful, and serene. Definitely worth the long hours of traveling to get there!

  10. Fash
    June 14, 2012

    As a child I always wanted to live by the ocean, I traveled the world and one day I stopped at Koh Chang, the next few days on the island I knew this is the place i want to live and that was 10yrs ago. Its beautiful tropical island with the mountain on one side and the sea to other…..what else can one ask for….
    10yrs ago there was no tarmac road and no fancy resorts, little has changed since then still has its charm even though the road and 5 start hotel are here….
    Koh Chang is known to many travelers once you visit this island you want to return again it has its natural pull.
    You can also fly to Trat from BKK if you don’t want the long bus trip.

  11. Vicky
    June 14, 2012

    Wow, looks beautiful! I think if I ever get the chance to chill for four months I’ll come with you :)

  12. Jaime
    June 26, 2012

    How do you find all these places? I am gonna pick your brain about SEA when I finally get there!

  13. June 28, 2012

    Hey Lauren, I stumbled upon your blog from Twitter, I think, and I just have to say THIS! To the whole post. To Koh Chang. To Lonely Beach, and how it is so totally worth the pain-in-the-assery to get there. I’ve been to a couple Thai beaches now, and I’d only return to Lonely. Great beach, great prices, and GOOD Thai food.

  14. October 2, 2012

    Beautiful! I’m flagging this as the place to go for our ‘beach time’ we go to Thailand in the Spring.

  15. January 21, 2013

    Many people come to Koh Chang to see the beaches but the island offers a great deal more. I recommend taking a look at the best elephant camp on the island which is in the Klong Son valley, visit some waterfalls and take a guided tour into the jungle, and don’t forget the scuba diving. Talking about scuba diving HTMS Chang was laid to rest at the bottom of the sea and will become a haven of sea life in the future so add Koh Chang to your list of places to visit! I have to say that your photos are excellent thanks for sharing these.

  16. November 2, 2016

    I was on Lonely beach yesterday to take a look around and see how it had changed. Always good to compare photos from a few years ago with those from today.

    It’s going a bit more upmarket now. Even Siam Hut has knocked down the old bungalows and is building much nicer air-conditioned huts by the beach. At Nature Beach Resort, where the beach bar photos were taken. They now have a pool and a load of new bungalows. It;s more amid-price family resort now than backpacker hangout.

  17. Richard.
    June 5, 2020

    Sounds so amazing! I think my next trip is going to be Thailand and I’m definitely going to check out Lonely Beach while I’m there. The beach looks so beautiful

  18. Rochelle
    June 8, 2020

    Have you been to any of the other beaches on Koh Chang to compare them with Lonely Beach? If I’m not into the backpacker scene, is there a place on Koh Chang for me?

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