This is a small resort overlooking the sea with white-washed villas set around gardens and a tiny but attractive pool. It isn’t as polished perhaps as some of the bigger corporate hotels but that is part of its charm. There are various villa types and prices but none are basic boring hotel rooms and they range from about £35-65 per night. They are minimalist in design but with quirky touches and individual character. All the rooms are named after starsigns and we stayed in Taurus which had real wow factor with huge floor to ceiling windows and a private roof deck and we also had a couple of nights in Libra which was a cosy seaview and had a balcony, small lounge area and a massive bathroom which was half inside half outside so you could shower in the sunshine or under the stars! The rooms have a flatscreen TV and DVD player and wifi is available but charged at around £2 an hour with pay-as-you-go cards at reception. The staff are friendly especially a girl called Moi and they can organise trips and tickets but don’t pressure with you any sales patter. They also looked after our luggage when we went away to Koh Mak for a couple of nights and arranged a breakfast box when we had to leave early to catch a flight. The restaurant is slightly more expensive than others in the area but offers a good menu and a lovely location on the water’s edge where you can hang out in hammocks or sit at tables. A good buffet breakfast is also served here and included in the room rates. Warapura is good value for money as it offers a little luxury without charging a fortune. The resort isn’t directly on the beach but you can take a kayak out or walk along the road and reach Lonely Beach in ten minutes. We were pleasantly surprised and impressed with the area which we knew was popular with backpackers staying in basic bungalows. Despite having a reputation for wild parties, the atmosphere was really chilled and laidback with a slightly scruffy hippy feel and plenty of cafes and bars to suit everyone.
4/3 Moo 1 Koh Chang, Tahi Koh Chang, Trat, Thailand 23170
We spotted this restaurant driving past one evening and were very impressed with the authentic tasting Italian food. So many of the tourist restaurants offer the same boring menu and you can tire of Thai food and look forward to other flavours so this really satisfied that craving. The menu includes woodfired pizzas and home-made pasta plus desserts which can be hard to come by apart from fresh fruit so instead you can indulge in tiramisu, ice cream, pannacotta and chocolate cake. Delicious with friendly service and reasonable prices. Main courses are £5-7 which is pricey for the area but worth the extra money for the quality of ingredients and standard of cooking.
Kai Bae Beach
We flew into Trat having booked a hotel on Koh Chang hoping to find out once we got there how to make the transfer as it wasn’t one of the posh resorts who send a van to pick you up. It couldn’t have been more straightforward as there was a desk at the airport where you could book one ticket at a fixed fee that included an air-conditioned minibus to take you to the port and onto the ferry then drop you at the door of your hotel on the island. It seemed to be a monopoly as there were no other options available. Tickets were 470 Baht one way or 800 Baht return. It took an hour to reach Koh Chang then the journey time depends on how far along the coast you are staying. If you are arriving in Trat by bus, you can get shared taxis and minibuses to the port then board as a foot passenger and pick up another shared ride on the other side.
Many of us have been fortunate enough to take a trip to Thailand and tragic though it is after a few months of gallivanting around, sight-seeing and eating enough pad Thai to sink a long-tail, you can become a little uninspired on arrival to yet another beautiful beachut on yet another beautiful island. But when you arrive at Porn's bungalow you will feel a spark of magic and calmness surrounds it allowing you to explore the delights of Koh Chang without the boom boom of a techno sound system in earshot.
The bungalows owned and run by the Porn family are beautifully located on a golden beach where the water is almost like a lagoon allowing you to walk or snorkel until your hearts content. They are very affordable starting at just 500 bhat each and your hosts can't do enough to make your stay just perfect.
A recommendation to fill your time, should you get board of lying in a hammock reading your favourite book, is to relax with a turmeric face mask at the Bailan Herbal Sauna in Ao Bai Lan (086 252 4744 Opening time: Daily 4–8pm).
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