Christmas Away From Home
A guest blog by Ted from FlyTedAway
The thought of skipping the winter cold is appealing to say the least. We had read that winter was the best time to explore Southeast Asia for warmer weather. For us, spending Christmas away from home was just a part of our 3 month trip traveling. We didn’t pay the festivities much thought, all we knew was that we would definitely get a good tan. But we discovered that a Christmas on the other side of the world is well worth a try.
If you’re planning a trip for the holiday’s season, Koh Chang has all the trimmings for a festive fly away. We stayed for just under two weeks, celebrating in to the New Year also. The island is a cracker and has something to suit all tastes. Here’s where we stayed, our highlights and why you should perhaps swap snowmen for sandcastles.
Grand Orchid Resort, Klong Son.
We started our trip by staying right at the top of the island at Grand Orchid Resort and Spa, two minutes walk from Klong Son Village. This resort offered a classy and relaxed but quiet stay, due to its location. If you are after pool days and pampering, this is the right place.
You will get a look at local life here. Walking through Klong Son Village up to Chang Noi Beach is an experience but take a detour along the way to see the temple and fishing harbour. The shop stalls are great but it’s good to get a real glimpse of how the islanders live. Expect a fair few dogs to wander with you.
The only flaw in staying in this location is the lack of restaurants, but this resort runs several taxis over the mountain to White Sands Beach daily, where you are spoiled for choice when it comes to cuisines.
On Christmas day, sunbathing and massages are just the thing for homesickness. You may have to venture quite far for a traditional dinner though. The half hour taxi ride seems expensive but is worth it for the turkey, Yorkshire puddings and gravy. Paddy’s Palms was where we booked and the atmosphere in there was excellent. It’s surprising when you realise just how many westerners are on the island as you book somewhere for the most important meal of the year. Get it booked early for the best time slots.
Seaflower Resort, Lonely Beach.
After Boxing Day, we headed down the west coast to Lonely Beach to see what it had to offer. You hear at home of the likes of Koh Phangan and Koh Samui, but Koh Chang is never talked about in regards to moonlit mashups, but we found that it certainly should be as Lonely Beach is paradise party central.
Our room here was a private, cute and clean bungalow, very close to the shore. There’s not much of a beach at Seaflower Resort but during the day you can easily take a taxi down to Bang Bao Beach to soak up some rays and swig on some cocktails.
In the evening you wont need to venture far for nightlife. Our favourite watering holes were the Reggae Bar and Margaritaville. Enjoy free BBQ chicken with your beers at the former and try the mojito’s whilst you lounge at the latter.
Magic Resort, Klong Prao.
We stayed for the remainder of our visit at Magic Resort, located at the most southern part of Klong Prao Beach in the Mob Klong Kao area, halfway down the west coast. This was another bungalow resort with views of the gulf of Thailand, but it also featured a busy, budget restaurant built on the water. The cracked black pepper chicken is well recommended.
As is kayaking out to the uninhabited Koh Suwan, which is another great place to watch sunset. We also spent a day with elephants, arranged by the staff at Magic Resort. We saw zero signs of these animals being mistreated and any bad feelings about riding on board these animals soon disappears when you’re sent overboard by them in the river. Swimming with elephants is pure joy.
We enjoyed lots of candle lit, fresh seafood dinners whilst witnessing mesmerizing fire shows on this stretch of sand but come New Years Eve, we headed back down to Lonely Beach. We drank and danced before some fantastic fireworks announced the arrival of 2016. That party was literally on fire, the guys behind the bar were having a lot of fun.
Why a Koh Chang Christmas?
It’s cheap in most places in Thailand and there will be plenty of ‘Ka-Ching’ moments on Koh Chang. There’s no need to pay more for peace of mind when booking accommodation. All the rooms we stayed in were mid range prices but in hindsight, we didn’t need the luxury of stone elephant shower heads.
The cheapest room we stayed in, on Lonely beach, actually had the comfiest bed out of the three. We regret booking anything at all though because despite visiting at Christmas, the island was not ridiculously busy and it might have been possible to haggle a cheaper rate had we just turned up.
If you decide last minute like we did, that Koh Chang for Christmas is the place to be, you won’t go wrong here as there really is something for everyone. We felt that, despite having just under two weeks here, we hardly scratched the surface. For example, we missed out on the several waterfalls on the island, we could have gone snorkelling or scuba diving. The list goes on.
There is so much beauty and there are bundles of brilliant things to do on this island. But a Koh Chang Christmas is a gift in itself. It’s at the top of our list, of places to go back to.