Uncover Hidden ThailandTrat & Koh Chang, Thailand
Sneaking off the well-trodden path is not always easy in Thailand, a country where tourism first took off more than half a century ago; yet there are still some secret nooks that escape the hordes. In the country's southeastern corner, snugly sat on the border with Cambodia, lies Trat. Best known as the gateway to the Koh Chang National Marine Park and its 52 tropical islands, this coastal town also stocks plenty of charm for the more curious visitor. From the creaky wooden shophouses to a market for every reason and season, plus ample opportunity to gorge on local seafood. And you won't have to share paradise with hundreds of others at Trat's Centara Chaan Takay Resort & Villas either. A 40-minute drive outside of town, the Chaan Takay Resort has just 44 suites and villas, some with their own private outdoor Jacuzzis. Secluded by pristine jungle on one side and a crescent of ivory sand on the other, this Thai resort boasts oodles of privacy.
From Trat it's a mere 30-minute sailing to the jungle-clad crests of Koh Chang. Some pockets of Elephant Island are more developed than others, but as the second largest island in the country there are plenty of slices of beach that haven't been colonised by tourists. Explore mangroves, fishing villages, hidden waterfalls and seemingly infinite stretches of beach by day, and by night hunker down with a cold bottle of Chang on the terrace of your beachfront cabana at Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort. With their thatched roofs, wooden floors and tropical décor Centara's accommodation offers a local touch but with all the mod cons you can dream up (hello spa, fitness centre and room service). Soak up the tranquility at Tropicana or get out and explore.
Book your transfer with either Centara and they will meet at you at Trat airport and transfer you to the resort. It’s a one-hour flight from Bangkok to Trat.
Centara Koh Chang From US$55 per person per night. Centara Trat from US$50 per person per night.