Koh Chang with Kids – Thailand’s enchanting paradise

By on November 10, 2014

When Japanese travel agencies promote package tours to Thailand, you can bet that Pattaya, Koh Samui, Hua Hin, Pjuket, Krabi, and Chiang Mai are big on their list of must-visit resorts. If you’re simply looking to escape to an island unspoiled by pollution and over promotion, and where kids can see and experience amazing animals like the Macaque, Elephant, Civet, Mongoose, the once thought to be extinct Chang Wart Frog and 61 species of tropical birds, Koh Chang delivers.

Koh Chang is Thailand’s second largest island next to Phuket and is 360 km from Bangkok. Nature lovers can roam around freely on this 30-m long and 14-km wide tropical paradise of white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters and rainforests.

Despite being 85% covered by tropical rain forests and the entire east coast passable only by 4×4 through treacherously steep mountain roads, over the course of the last 10 years, residents of Koh Chang have befun to see small pockets of development that include about 25 world-class resorts and holistic spas and around 100 smaller, more grassroots lodging options. If one considers a major resort a smattering of bungalows, a handful of bar/restaurants, a 7-11 and an international clinic a “village,” then these tropical villages appear out of nowhere in the most unlikely of places and disappear into the jungle just as quickly. And as the transport vans hitch and jerk their way to their passengers’ chosen resort on the two-lane road that circumvents Koh Chang, it is easy to see why it takes two hours to make the 64-km trip.

7395989710_aa12bd4d9c_kAlthough there are a number of beautiful world-class resorts on the island – all offering their own version of the natural Koh Chang experience and all deserving of their own press coverage – Amari Emerald Cove Resort, located along Koh Chang’s exclusive Klong Prao Beach is the only one that has been granted the coveted 5-star rating by the Tourism Authority of Thailand. With hotels in Bangkok and Chiang Mai and resorts in Pattaya, Samui, Phuket and Trang, Amari is also the first world-class hospitality chain to build a resort on the island.

The Amari Emerald Cove Resort is a hotel-style resort with165 superior and deluxe rooms and suites – all of which offer either a mountain or seaside view – in adjacent smartly designed buildings that blend with the aesthetics of the surrounding jungle and fated to create a secluded compound around which guests can safely wander at any hour of the day or night. While roaming the premises, the far-off echo of the jungle combines with the rhythm of the waves of lapping the shoreline, and one cannot help but allow home-front pressures and deadlines to melt away.

ActivitiesThe resort boasts Koh Chang’s only Olympic-sized 50-meter swimming pool as well as a fitness room, onsite scuba diving/snorkeling center, speedboat trips to uninhabited islands, rainforest-trekking on the backs of elephants and a seaside spa that features a full selection of body and facial treatments.

The village surrounding the Amari Emerald Cove Resort is sparsely peppered with a convenience store or two, three or four bar/restaurants, two very persuasive tailors and an odd massage/bartending family business. Though the village is quaint and interesting, if it’s food you seek, the island is home to fairly decent restaurants. Sassi, an Italian restaurant serves up Thai-Italian fused dishes. For a more cozy romantic ambiance, get a secluded seating at Just Thai. If an Al Fresco bistro overlooking the swimming pool appeals more to your taste, try the Cove Terrace where you can order a la carte all day.

On the other hand, if you’re out and about and seeking a bit of adventure and local flare, Amari Emerald Cove Resort is located just a 20-minute ride from Laem Bang Bao, which is the largest fishing village- and coincidentally, the largest shopping area on the island. Bang Bao, featuring scores of homes and restaurants set atop stilts filleting, frying and fire roasting the day’s fresh catch, is a wonderful little place where time slowly drips away and if you stay long enough, you can watch the squid fisherman embark on their evening journey, as the sound of hpmemade shell wind chimes clink in the warm breeze about your head. In addition, Bang Bao may be the only marketplace in Thailand where one is neither pressured nor harassed by the local merchants.


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