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Lonely Beach Ain’t Lonely No More

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

I arrived in Lonely Beach

with an overwhelming desire

to be alone.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Not just to be alone

but to feel uncertain

lost, confused

lonely.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Perhaps I sound a bit odd.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Thailand

as much as I loved it

depleted me

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

with too many backpackers

and an unexpected love.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

I longed to regain my center

to remember

who I was.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

I thought

I needed to do that

alone.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

So poetically

I headed to Lonely Beach

on big Koh Chang.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

But to my dismay

Lonely Beach

was not lonely

at all.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Resorts lined the shore

with flashing lights

and swimming pools.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Tourists sizzled in the Thai sun

hawkers made laps with counterfeit sunglasses

there was no patch

to call my own.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Trance music pumped unfailingly

morning noon and night

drowned only by the sounds of construction

a forecast for what this town would become.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

On the back of a motorbike

seeking the solitude of a fishing village

the jungle, a hidden waterfall

along treacherous curvaceous roads

I took quite a fall.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

As locals came to my rescue

cleaned my wounds, shuttled me home

I began to see the real Lonely Beach

that was better than lonely

it was full of kindness and love.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

The dusty paths

that wind through the town

lined with tattoo parlors

half Thai half Western cafes

began to feel like home.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

Where I first saw tanned bodies

concrete structures

and tourist traps

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

jungle began to take over

snakes fell from ceilings

monkeys ran through the street.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

When I ventured beyond

that crowded stretch of sand

on pebbled beaches and grassy fields

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

watching the fishermen at sunset

I found my clarity and peace.

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

In that moment

I remembered that I didn’t have to be alone

to be balanced in my heart and mind

 

Lonely Beach Koh Chang

 

what I needed

like all beings

was the company

of the perfect, magical earth.

 

 

Lonely Beach - 22

 

How to Get to Lonely Beach

 

From Bangkok

600 baht, $20

Tour offices on and around Khao San Road sell transportation packages to Ko Chang from your hotel in Bangkok. A shuttle van takes about five hours to get from Bangkok to the ferry dock in Trat. From there you will have to negotiate with the driver to go with you on the ferry and take you to Lonely Beach. Most likely this is where everyone in the van will be headed. We paid about 200 baht extra each, however if you go early in the morning you can negotiate for much less.

 

From Cambodia 

600 baht, $20

It’s possible to book a shuttle from Siem Reap or Sihanoukville to Koh Chang at any hostel, hotel, or tour desk. However, border crossings between Thailand and Cambodia are notoriously filled with scams, so be prepared. The shuttle will take you from your hotel in Siem Reap or Sihanoukville to the border. You will have to walk across and another shuttle will meet you on the other side. Of course, if you are asked for payment again, insist that you paid for transportation all the way to Ko Chang. The shuttle takes you to the ferry dock where like coming from Bangkok, you will need to negotiate for transportation to your hotel in Lonely Beach.

 

Lonely Beach Ko Chang

 

Where to Sleep on Lonely Beach

 

Rather than make a reservation, I just turned up at night and didn’t have much trouble finding a place. The neighborhood is pretty small so it’s easy to walk from one place to another. Blog posts I read from two years ago mention $2 huts which I never found; generally it seemed like Lonely Beach had become less of a backpacker destination recently.

 

Paradise Cottage

500-1250 baht, $16-40, for an ensuite cabin

I came here often to use the free wifi and enjoy the gorgeous view from their hammocks. It was way more chill than the sandy beach nearby. The facilities are beautiful and modern and each hut comes equipped with a private bathroom and hot water. They occasionally host wild electro parties on the weekend. It’s a fifteen minute walk to the sandy beach.

 

Magic Garden

400 baht, $13, for an ensuite bungalow

These bungalows are small and basic but charming set in a garden on the main road about a ten minute walk from the sandy beach. FYI: the website offers all kinds of outdated information. There are no yoga classes available despite the fact that it states they are included in the price of the room. Also, they do not hold fire dancing parties on the beach which it also says on the website. The beach is not accessible from the hotel because there is construction taking place, but it’s not far to just take the main road.

 

Siam Huts

250 baht, $8, for an ensuite hut

These were the cheapest digs I found but extremely basic. I loved the aesthetic and simplicity of the huts right on the beach, but keep in mind the walls are completely unfinished. Expect a bed in a freestanding wood structure, and loud electro music on party nights.

 

Lonely Beach - 24

 

Where to Eat on Lonely Beach

 

Nearly every restaurant in Lonely Beach has exactly the same menu. Really. Exactly the same. The prices vary, but the menu is exactly. the. same. Breakfast? Fruit, yogurt, and muesli. Thai? Curry, phad thai, fried rice. Western? Burgers or spaghetti. For this reason I chose based on the vibe and the price.

 

Stone Free

90 baht, $3

My favorite place for dinner in the area. It’s one of the few places I found that had the hippie reggae vibe other bloggers experienced in Lonely Beach. Probably the best thing about the restaurant is a guy named Jackie who hangs out every day in the front. It was unclear whether he was the manager, an owner, or simply a character who they allowed to loiter. Either way, if you’ve always wanted to meet the 60 year old crazy eyed Thai version of Jimi Hendrix, you must go. The red curry is da bomb.

 

Warapura

30 baht to 150 baht, $1-5 

I thought the atmosphere was cute here so I came in the morning for a smoothie. They have a large brick oven and make pizzas; I never tried one but they smelled amazing.

 

Street Food

40 baht, $1.50

On the street I like to call, “the bar street” near Ting Tong there are a few street food stalls with good phad thai and other traditional Thai dishes. They’re fast, cheap, and delicious. My favorite spot was on the corner adjacent to Warapura, but be prepared the service is slooooowwww. At dinner expect to wait an hour. At lunch they may or may not have food and may need to go to the market to buy more.

 

Free BBQ

Free

Many of the bars on the beach, including Siam Huts, and on the street surrounding Ting Tong bar, offer live music or DJ sets with a free buffet BBQ. The only caveat is that you have to buy your own drinks. But hey, it’s free!

 

Lonely Beach - 26

 

What to Do in Lonely Beach

 

Rent a scooter and explore

Ko Chang still has quaint fishing villages, especially nearby Cai Be, and plenty of undeveloped jungle on the other side of the island. Get a map and head to some of the waterfalls, hike through the jungle, and stop at each of the different beaches for the day. The roads here are incredibly steep and winding, so I recommend this only for people who are very comfortable on a scooter.

 

Take a daytrip to a nearby island

There are small, undeveloped, jungle covered islands nearby and tour offices on the main street in Lonely Beach offer day trips or overnight transportation. Koh Wai is one of the most beautiful and least developed with three simple resorts on the entire island.

 

Get a tattoo

Tattoo shops everywhere offer the famous bamboo tattoo, but be sure to head to Blue’s Bamboo Tattoo. Not only is he basically the nicest guy ever, who took great care of me when I fell off the motorbike, but he did a stellar job giving my friend her first bamboo tattoo.

 

Party

Every night in Lonely Beach it is possible to party your face off. Bars and resorts rotate throwing events and it’s advertised all over town. Ting Tong usually has live music around sunset and often throws dance parties. I drank a bucket, danced like crazy for a couple of hours, but it really wasn’t my scene. Most partygoers appeared to be on a various cocktail of drugs and the music catered to their mental state rather than mine :/

 

lonely beach koh chang

 

Where to be Alone on Lonely Beach

 

It’s not easy to find solitude on Lonely Beach, but I did my best to try!

 

Watch the late sunset or early sunrise

The sandy beach in Ko Chang is stunning… when it’s not crowded with people. If you go early in the morning or stay until the end of the sunset, the crowds clear out and it’s possible to actually enjoy the natural beauty. Either way, be sure to head to the far right side as most people just plop down at the entrance.

 

Kayak to small nearby islands

A few outfits on the beach rent kayaks. If the current isn’t too strong you can kayak to some of the nearby distant islands. A relaxing way to pass the day Robinson Crusoe style.

 

Hang out on a rocky beach

The only crowded beach in Lonely Beach is the sandy one. Follow the dirt path away from Siam Huts and a quiet pebbled beach stretches for about a mile. It’s not the greatest place to lay out or swim, but I loved walking this path home from the beach to Magic Garden or sitting to watch the sunset.

 


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Comments

  1. Sometimes wonder how you manage to stay connected in the loneliest places…? Getting secure internet can be hard enough at home, but it’s so important to us!

    • Camille Willemain Says: January 16, 2014 at 6:09 pm

      Getting secure wifi on remote islands has been really tough for me, but it’s a great reminder to disconnect and really be in the moment. It also forces me to focus more on writing and less on online distractions.

  2. What a beautiful post. It’s funny how things change over time but I’m glad you were able to enjoy Lonely Beach in the end.

  3. I think we are heading that way on Friday, still deciding. We are a family of 4, so we are looking at the jungle bungalows rather than the beach party type. I hope it isn’t too crazy for us. Gorgeous photos. Do you know what a taxi would run from the pier to lonely beach?

    • Camille Willemain Says: August 2, 2014 at 9:16 pm

      Hi Heidi, hm unfortunately I don’t remember. For a family I hear Cai Be is really nice and much quieter!

  4. Its hippy wannabe prats like yourself, that seem to think they deserve to be the only person in a particular location, that give real travelers a bad name.

    Fuck off back to the states you baggy elephant trouser wearing cunt….

  5. What a shithole lonley beach is! Rubbish throughout the town, loud music and stupid drunk backpackers. Walked past a German guy who was calling a thai girl a filethy pig. Wtf?
    This is not for me I’m out.