I’m part of a family that is spread all over the world, from India, Thailand to USA and Europe, so deciding upon a location for a reunion was a fairly tough decision to make. We had to make sure that the temperature and terrain suited all family members – from the 6-month-old to the revered grandparents. After several long-drawn Skype sessions and WhatsApp calls, we decided upon Sea View Spa and Resort located on Koh Chang, an island in the Trat district of Thailand, as the location for our reunion. A reunion on an island! It just couldn’t get better than this; all the water babies were ready for their dives and the photography enthusiasts were ready with their cams.
Getting to Koh Chang
Once all of us were gathered in Bangkok, we hired a traveller van (mini-bus) for the journey.
– Koh Chang is 350km away from Bangkok, a journey that takes 6 hours to complete. You can also take a bus from Bangkok to Koh Chang only for 600 TBH (₹1200) per person.
– The closest airport to Koh Chang is Trat Airport in Trat, to which daily domestic flights fly from Swarnbhumi International Airport, Bangkok. Once at Trat, you can hire a cab up till the pier.
We started early in the morning at 7am, despite all odds like cranky children, thanks to the pain of waking up early. What we thought would be a long journey, turned out to seem extremely short with traditional road trip games like Atlas, sing-offs, and of course, Uno!
A Ferry Ride and The Island:
After reaching Trat District, we boarded a ferry to reach the island which was the perfect trailer to the scenic beauty of Koh Chang. The water shone like diamonds and we could see our island across, which couldn’t look more tempting! What came as a surprise was the hilly terrain of the island with extremely winding roads that were almost like roller-coasters, no exaggeration.
Time to Unleash the Family Madness at Sea View Resort and Spa:
The Sea View Resort and Spa is a four-star luxury resort that is located amidst the island’s beautiful combination of serpentine hilly roads and serene ocean. All of us instantly fell in love with the resort as we set foot at the reception. Located away from the bustle of the island, Sea View Resort and Spa is a massive property that boasts of numerous amenities that can keep you relaxed and entertained for several days! Our favourite was the resort’s private beach, Kai Bae, an extremely calm and shallow beach which made it great for the toddlers to swim and for adults, for whom the entire ocean became a swimming pool. Moreover, the beach was beautified with sun-bathing seats, swings over the water that looked right out of a movie, and a volleyball court. Most importantly, all these were connected to each other and had easy access to the restaurant, making it the perfect setting for our reunion.
It was only on the second day that we discovered all the three swimming pools of the resort, one of which is beachfront, while the other-two are cliff-top infinity pools that are connected by a water slide! Yes, you read it right, water slides. We all went berserk and unleashed the child within and enjoyed the slide with the kids.
A few other favourites were the walking trail in the resort that became popular among the mountain lovers in the family, and the glass funicular that provides a panoramic view of the ocean and leads right onto the beach. High up the resort is located a view point which is a three-level man made structure, 100m above sea level.
This spot has been recognised as Koh Chang’s most beautiful scenic point as it provides a 180 degree view of the Kai Bae Beachand offers magnificent sights, especially during sunsets. By the night, we witnessed the amazing fire show followed by a movie night by the beach.
The resort’s beachfront restaurant has a breathtaking setting that is made even better with its expert specialisation in a variety of international cuisines. This exotic culinary experience added just the right amount of flavour to our get- together. As long as the food was great, everyone was happy. Do try Thai dishes at the restaurants that are made from completely fresh and organic produce.
We stayed in deluxe family rooms which were all interconnected and has the most magnificent view of the ocean. The average cost per room came out to be ₹15,000 per night. There are various other categories of rooms like deluxe room, grand-deluxe rooms and twin rooms that range between ₹7,000-₹10,000.
Around the Property:
Koh Chang maybe an isolated island but is extremely vibrant and full of life. Lined with numerous pubs and restaurants, a visit to the main city was an exciting one.
One of the best eateries of the island, Kati is located at a distance of about two kilometres from the resort. Located right on the street, Kati is the typical coastal restaurant that you may have read about. The food at Kati was so delicious that we re-visited it thrice during our stay. The snapper fish, green, red and yellow Thai curries, the vegetarian fried rice and pad Thai noodles were my personal favourites.
Emperor of India
It goes without saying that there were a few family members who were craving the Indian tadka. Emperor of India came to our rescue and became a go-to for those who are not blessed with experimental taste buds. At Emperor of India, we felt like we were transported back to one of Delhi’s dhabas as the inviting smell of Indian spices and tikkas took over. If you’re visiting Koh Chang, this is the place to visit, for a genuine taste of home.
Located right by the pier, El Greco restaurant was the perfect place to spend an evening. Facing the ocean, we enjoyed the super windy evening on the restaurant’s deck. The Greek food here was absolutely amazing, my favourite in the entire trip! This is a must-visit if you’re heading to Koh Chang.
This is a mild trek that leads to the Koh Chang waterfall that seems right out of a fantasy world. The waterfall is not only famous among tourists for its magnificence, but also has the pools in which you can leisurely swim and spend hours in the cool water, as the sun shines over you. While in the water, be prepared to be tickled by the shoals of fish that swim in the pools, as they pull on your dead skin. Free foot spa alert!
We went kayaking to the three tiny islands located near the resort. However, there’s much more that you can do. You can go snorkelling at the Isles of Koh Chang marine park which is a must-do activity on the island. Along with this, the hotel organises dives in Koh Chang, Koh Maak and Koh Rang where you can explore the wondrous underwater world.
Best Time To Visit:
We were lucky to have gone in the month of December which is the best time to visit as the island is green and abundant with flora. Other suitable times to visit Koh Chang are October-June before the monsoon sets in.
A Once In a Lifetime Experience
Along with so many activities, in and outside the resort, we also went for massages, enjoyed live music at Cocktail Filou, took walks along the hills in the middle of the night, and enjoyed looking at the clear sky blanketed with stars. With so many activities, fun at every step of the way, and most of all, getting the chance to spend time with my family, made this a vacation that will always have a special place in my heart.
If you’re looking for an unmatched travelling experience, I say, go with your entire family. A vacation far away from your worries is the best way to bond with your family, and it will surely be one you will never forget.