Relax and Revive on Thailand’s Koh Chang
It was a 40-minute ferry ride from the province of Trat on Thailand’s mainland to Koh Chang, the country’s third-largest island. We had spent two-and-a-half days learning about community-based tourism in the local villages, and now it was time to focus on wellness and relaxation. We were more than ready for the adventure that lay ahead.
It’s not a visit to an island without some beach time, right? We dipped our toes in the Gulf of Thailand at the KC Grande Resort & Spa, which is located on a secluded corner of Haad Sai Khao (White Sand Beach), the longest and most popular beach on Koh Chang. Travelers can book one of the resort’s 140 ocean- or garden-views rooms and enjoy access to four pools, a fitness room, a sauna, a Kid’s Club, and the Sabay Spa. And, of course, the property is just steps from the sandy beach and rolling waves.
When it comes time for poolside refreshments, KC Grande has it covered. Not only is there a bar overlooking the beach and one at the interior pool, but the resort also offers a rooftop bar beside its 130-foot-long infinity pool. Finer dining options include Gusto Restaurant, which offers European cuisine, and the Beach Restaurant, which serves seafood and other dishes with Thai and European influences. The resort also has a coffee shop on property.
After a few hours spent playing in the waves, we were happy to stop for dinner at the canal-side Phu-talay Restaurant in Klong Prao. The casual open seating plan with a spacious patio perfectly fit with the island’s laid-back vibe. We spent the first few minutes after our arrival taking photos of the sun as it set over the water before grabbing tables right at the canal’s edge and digging in to an array of colorful seafood and Asian fusion dishes washed down with light Thai beer.
It was dark by the time we arrived at our hotel, the Spa Koh Chang Resort, and after a long day spent in the sun I was very ready to check into my room and call it a night. My spacious villa cottage featured tiled floor in the bedroom and bathroom, neutral décor, and double doors leading to a patio overlooking the resort grounds. A cool, air-conditioned space greeted my arrival, and I fell asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.
Spa Koh Chang isn’t all about a good night’s sleep, however. This is a wellness resort dedicated to the “Five Habits to Longevity”; guests can participate in yoga, meditation and massage, and cleansing fasts in order to improve their health and follow a path to fulfillment and happiness. And what a setting in which to find this nirvana: Spa Koh Chang is located on the east side of Salak Kok Bay and is surrounded by a mangrove rainforest. It is quiet and peaceful and feels a world away from all the stress of daily life.
I kicked off my morning there with fresh fruit and tea before making my way to the yoga hall for a revitalizing practice. We began with a few minutes of meditation before our instructor led us through strength and balance exercises to help jump-start our day.
After yoga, it seemed only fitting to further unwind my mind and body with an aromatherapy massage, which was performed on an open-air deck surrounded by trees. The resort’s Natural Spa offers a variety of treatments, including Thai massage, facials, an anti-cellulite package, and herbal hot compress. Guests can also take advantage of an herbal steam room with an adjacent outdoor cool-water shower and a far-infrared sauna.
With about an hour left before lunch, I couldn’t resist taking a dip in Spa Koh Chang’s blue-tiled pool, flanked by palm trees and red-flowered plants and next to a soothing lake. In less than 24 hours at the resort, I had found peace; I can only imagine the feeling guests have after participating in one of its full health retreats.
Spa Koh Chang’s on-site restaurant, Radiance, serves vegetarian, vegan, and health-conscious dishes in an indoor-outdoor space above the lobby. There’s no red meat here, but the restaurant does offer poultry options and fresh seafood from the fishing village at Salak Kok Bay. Though we weren’t there long enough to complete one of the resort’s detox packages, I did try one of the delicious fasting juices on the menu, a blend of kale, coconut water, and other fresh fruits and vegetables.
Many of the food options here are served raw, which means they are not cooked or exposed to temperatures hotter than 108 degrees Fahrenheit in order to retain their high nutrient value. Our buffet-style lunch featured colorful, creative dishes that proved healthy and raw and nowhere near boring, which rang especially true when the staff brought out our dessert: frozen and fried banana topped with honey and cinnamon.
From a beach resort to a tropical wellness retreat, Koh Chang has much to offer travelers looking for Thailand hospitality and cuisine in island form. It’s a beautiful place for a getaway.