There are ‘getaways’ and then there are those really true escapes – meant to reach as much away from urban intensity as one possibly can. And there’s no denying that this takes a bit of effort in densely populated Thailand. Local citizens and expatriates embarking on weekend trips out of Bangkok will know this all too well as they face outbound and inbound traffic and then tourist crowds and – for good and for bad – ever-increasing development at the familiar destinations.
So, to really get away, the answer lies in this example of untouched territory down the coast southeast towards Cambodia; this tourist frontier yet to become populated by any development of significance. Can it be that such a gem exists, you might ask? Yes, some 5,5 hours by car from Bangkok (or via plan to Trat’s airport near Koh Chang an hour away from the resort in question.) And this distance is itself protection from this hidden gem becoming the next holiday on everyone’s wish list.
Lesser known here means a positive thing. Let Koh Chang get the attention while the off-the-beaten-track beaches, like in Laem Klud, can stay a relatively well-kept secret.
Another strong indicator of development or lack of it is the existence of branded mini marts. If there is none it means there are much fewer people around too. Here, you have to drive at least half an hour or more by car to reach one.
Here, it’s practically you and the sea (a claim that is no cliché), besides the rest of the intimate “crowd” that fits into the 44 suites and villas at Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat. There are no neighbours, and, just behind, the resort is flanked inland by the Cardamom mountain range which forms the boundary to Cambodia.
The outside world is suddenly at a comfortable distance, though you can stay connected via Wi-Fi of course…
All things combined make this resort all the more visit-worthy. And there is still often room for more guests, in particular during the low season for tourism and on weekdays. Being part of the Centara Hotels & Resorts brand makes this boutique escape a popular resort among Thais, mainly for weekend sojourns, while fewer foreigners tends to find it, though they would really love the pristine nature and calmness of the place!
The setting is sublime, with the infinity beachfront pool (with nature green stone tiles and coming with a shallow section for children), overlooking islands and Koh Chang in the distance, shaded by Casuarina trees. The 800-metre beach, facing the sunset, is a dazzling fringe of white sand, where also cabanas are placed under shade spots . Guest can order cocktails and meals throughout the day and enjoy casually on the beach. Breezes Beach Bar is set right on the beach, offering daily sunset happy hour. There is also a lawn surrounding the pool and sunbeds and the various accommodation buildings, combined with tropical landscaping and walkways.
Especially the few Beach Front Villas hugging the sandy beach are much sought-after, and as if made for romance and distressing in its sublime form, coming with semi-private outdoor Jacuzzis and sunbeds on outdoor verandas.
The Tropical Family Suites and Beachfront Villas are best suited to groups of friends and families and feature two double beds and living room. In addition this is a pet-friendly resort!
All accommodation types are spacious; ranging from 58 to 91 square metres and including a large living room, a comfortable master bedroom, and a spacious outdoor terrace or balcony.
No resort of this kind would be complete without a spa, SPA Cenvaree, which offers absolute relaxation in a natural environment, including getting one’s massage on a Thai cabana beachside.
For leisurely activities the resort also offers complimentary use of non-motorised water sports including kayaking, snorkelling and windsurfing. Do note: this is a beach free from jet ski, vendors and anything else that could disturb your peace and quiet. Rare but true!
Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat comes with one all-day dining outlet, Azure, where the Thai chefs offer Thai cuisine at top level and awesome seafood. Crispy Thai squid served with tamarind and garlic coriander dipping and Steamed seabass with ginger soya sauce are among the sumptuous dishes. There are also Mediterranean dishes with a twist, for instance combining pasta pesto with tiger prawns.