Want a Thai island beach holiday without the hassle of going to an island?

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You may have wondered where we got to on our recent holiday, well read on…

TRAT -DSC04732 (8)This was our 3rd visit to Centara Chaan Talay Resort & Villas Trat, the closest thing we’ve come across to feeling like you are on an island when you are actually still on the mainland.

Expect to take about 4-5 hours to drive from BKK. It’s about 45 km (35 minutes) from Trat and 42 km before the border. It’s not difficult to find as it’s on a the road from Trat to the Cambodian border – you really can’t get lost.

It’s probably in the quietest section of a very scenic country road (brilliant for road biking!) that runs parallel to the sea and a small Cambodian/Thai mountain range border, and just 2 kms before ‘Checkpoint Charlie’ at the Red Cross base (where the Cambodian refugees were based when they poured over the Thai border during the fighting 30 years ago; check it out, has a decent museaum which will take only 20 minutes to see but worth the effort).

TRAT -DSC04732Expect a very quiet holiday as there isn’t a lot to see or do in the area; daytrip to Trat, another to the border (apparently all the shops, casinos and things of note are on the Cambodian side so take your passport) and then you’re done. Similarly there are almost no restaurants worth making the effort to visit in the evening (there is a seafood one 8km before the resort on the main road). Unless you were visiting for a week or more then staying in the hotel / eating in the hotel shouldn’t be a problem – we stayed 6 days/5 nights and ate in the hotel 4 nights and enjoyed it. The restaurant was excellent for sitting for ages and soaking in the sea views. Breakfast was typical fare but as a Thai / Expat family there was something for us all and we had no complaints. Both the Italian and Thai food in the evening was tasty and good value.

TRAT -DSC04732 (6)On arrival and parking, you are collected by a golf cart and taken to check in and your room; the car park is a stroll from the resort so there are no traffic sounds. The golf cart service is always available to and from the resort.

The hotel doesn’t have too many staff but they are very friendly and helpful and unlike in a large hotel you will get to know them. Service in the resort was great and most staff seemed to speak some English.

The room (the family room with double beds) was excellent, huge and real value for money at Baht 2,500 including tax and breakfasts. An over-large living room with fridge, sofa seating 4 of us comfortably, TV, DVD (free hire of DVDs which we used). Huge balcony. Bathroom was ok but disproportionately small to the huge living room. Bedroom was large and comfortable – I particularly enjoyed lying on the bed and reading in the excellent natural lighting and with a great view of all the trees and shrubs – and the beds were large enough for 2 adults and 2 small kids to sleep without problem. Both bedroom and living room have aircon.

TRAT -DSC04732 (7)The resort itself was extremely quiet – probably only a handful of guests except for the weekend when there were a few Thais down from Bangkok but still not busy – and just the way we like it. We mainly had the pool to ourselves, and many times there wasn’t another sole on the very attractive beach.

Plenty of things to do in the hotel from swimming, kids playground, free water sports (sea canoes were very popular with the guests), mountain bikes, etc.

The beach is very clean and safe; it looks out at Koh Chang, Koh Muk, etc.

For us there was only one downside – the sand flies. I never ever saw them but they got me; very itchy bites which itch for days later. The days I sprayed my legs with the lemongrass spray for sale in the room I never had a problem. Surprisingly my kids who spent hours on the beach amusing themselves chasing and catching the abundance of small crabs on the beach, we barely bit.

TRAT -DSC04732 (1)The place deserves to be successful but I guess hardly anyone knows it exists, foreign tour companies don’t know of it and it’s a great shame – it’ll be the secret of a few of us in the know.

My wife and I likened it to a Phuket, Samui, Krabi hideaway resort but without the expense and effort of air travel. I could go but you’ve probably guessed that we loved it, had a great time and we will be back, definitely!

A great place for families with young kids, and couples who like their own company; not a place for anybody who likes bars and nightlife.

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