We just returned from a fantastic 4-day trip to Koh Chang Island, Thailand. Perhaps part of the reason it was such a great trip was due to the fact that we never left the resort. After a fun-filled but challenging summer including visiting 4 countries and making one international move, we really needed a break.
Usually, when we go on a trip, I have every day planned out with activities and things to do. I literally had a 1” binder filled with every minute detail for our summer trip. Not this time. When the family asked, “what are we going to do on our trip?”, I simply answered, “I don’t know”. They were honestly quite taken aback at my lack of planning as was I, but I just didn’t have the planning energy (I know it sounds easy, but planning a trip is really time-consuming) in me this trip and frankly didn’t really want to do anything but relax. I also knew that having two lazy teenage boys and one overworked husband in tow meant no one would argue my decision.
All that being said, Koh Chang Island offers much to do. It’s one of the largest islands in the Gulf of Thailand. Dense jungle, mountainous hills, waterfalls, and spectacular ocean life offers visitors of all ages and interests something to do. As spoiled as I know this sounds, we have done the snorkeling, waterfall, and elephant trekking things so didn’t feel like we were missing out on a rare opportunity if we didn’t take advantage of these activities this time.
Also, since Koh Chang is an easy 5-hour drive from Bangkok, we could easily come back again and do more things. Because the island is so large and the shimmering pale green water so beautiful, we would love to make this a quick trip destination again and again. The island also feels as if it is a hidden secret. It doesn’t seem overcrowded like Phuket or Koh Samui. We noticed there were mostly local Thais and Eastern Europeans who were visiting, and nothing felt too busy. We arrived on the island at night after about six hours of car driving and ferry boat riding.
Upon arrival at The Seaview Resort and Spa, we were offered cold towels and sweet lemongrass tea. After getting checked in, we were taken to our rooms. Since it was dark, we couldn’t see any of the view but knew we were located right on the beach. So, getting to the resort was great, check-in was great, but our rooms, not so great. Now I will be the first to admit that my three years of being an ex-pat and staying at some of the most beautiful locations in the world has made me a bit of a resort snob. It’s ok, we all have our vices, right? I have come to desire a beautiful, updated location inside and out. Pretty much an Instagram-worthy picture perfect room and view. Spoiled as I am, our room at the Sea View Resort was dated. It was clean but felt old and tired. It was very brown and very plain. So instantly, my inner snob came out and I hemmed and hawed over the room not being to my liking. Goodness, I sound like such a diva!
The next day after Brett could no longer stand my whining about our room, he inquired about the availability of any other (more updated) rooms in the resort. We were told there was one available and it was in the process of going through a soft opening. A new, updated room with a pool, a beautiful view and at half the price of what it will be when it’s fully operational? Now we’re talking! So we took the room and collected our bags from the first room. However, like I said, there was only one room available so we had to make the tough decision of leaving the boys in the older room telling ourselves that they could come and spend all their time in our room and only sleep in their room.
Parents of the year over here, I know. 😉
When we walked into the new room we were pleasantly surprised by an entirely different feel from the rest of the resort (which also seemed a bit dated). Airy, bright, incredibly modern, and brand new. The design architects thought of everything with planning this villa. Water flowed from the front of the villa under a glass walkway, spilling into the pool at the back. There was even an outdoor rainfall shower and tub connected to the large sleek white marble pool. Copper accents, clean lines, and a Japanese toilet (I shouldn’t say this was my favorite feature, but it is definitely in the top 5!) made this room very comfortable and modern feeling.
Not to mention, our level of service increased substantially. So much so that the waitstaff at breakfast insisted on carrying our plates while we made our choices from the morning buffet. Now that was a bit much even for my posh tastes, but I think I could get used to being spoiled like this if I had to. 😉
Of course, being the hyper-planner that I am, I had loosely thought about signing us up for an ATV ride or hike through the jungle. There was also a treetop adventure park nearby. However, our room was hard to leave and the resort offered so many things to do that we really didn’t feel the need to go anywhere else. Each morning of the four days we were there we would wake up, ask each other if we wanted to go do anything, and everyone would shrug their shoulders and say no. However, although we didn’t venture off the resort property, we did manage to keep ourselves comfortably busy. Through the Seaview Resort, we scheduled a brick oven pizza making class, a picnic lunch to accompany kayaking to a nearby island, and a delicious Thai dinner.
There were two wonderful restaurants serving everything from burgers and Thai dishes to pizza. As well as; two pools, a fantastic beach, a game room, spa, various daily activities within the resort, and kayaking or stand up paddle boarding from the resort’s private sandy beach. So really, why would you need to leave?
If you think The Seaview Resort and Spa on Koh Chang Island might be your own little piece of paradise, here’s some more information:
63 Moo 4, Koh Chang
Trat, 23170 THAILAND
Tel: +66 (0) 39.552.888
Reservations: +66 (0) 39.552.800
Thoughts and Things
- There were lots of mosquitoes so make sure you bring bug spray.
- The resort offers two levels of rooms (beachfront and hillside) artfully built into the side of a steep hill. Getting to the top requires a cable car. Trust me, you will want to use it. Don’t try to be a hero and walk up. If you do you’ll be drenched in sweat and exhausted before you even get to breakfast.
- I would suggest booking a room down at the beach level because that’s where most of the activities, lobby, spa, and beachfront restaurant are located.
- Book your stay directly through the hotel and select the Family Holidays package. It’s a great value!
- Our new room was a private pool villa and if you can swing it, totally worth the price! Leave the kids in the older part of the resort if you need to. Haha!
- This resort is very family-friendly. There were a lot of kids running around so if you’re looking for a peaceful, honeymoon-like location and the sound of screaming kids bothers you, you may want to look into staying somewhere else. Being a mom of 4, I’ve become immune to the sounds of screeching children so it didn’t bother me…oh boy, do I crack myself up!
- The spa is great and offered 20% off between 10am-12pm. They even offer beach-side massages and have their own resident monkey named Long!
- Whether you fly or drive (van shuttle service is available from Bangkok), You will need to take a 30-minute passenger/car ferry to the island. When we went, the last ferry left the mainland at 7pm. Make sure to allow plenty of time. The ferries aren’t huge so there could be a back-up, tacking on 45 minutes+ to your travel time.
I learned a lot on our quick trip to Koh Chang. Mainly that every moment doesn’t have to be planned. You can still have a perfect trip if you pick the right location and enjoy the amenities that are offered therein. Sometimes it’s worth paying a little bit extra if the location you are booking has a lot of activities and amenities to offer. You may end up like us and never feel the need to leave and spend money elsewhere. All that being said, if I knew we were only going to Koh Chang once, I would be sure to plan more and explore all the amazing sites the island has to offer. It truly is a beautiful laid-back island location for an easy trip outside of Bangkok.