If you’ve ever dreamed about joining the Lost Boys and escaping to Never Never Land, now’s your chance. A cluster of gorgeous (and low-populated) islands in Thailand’s eastern-most province of Trat fits the bill to a T, beginning with the Peter Pan Resort in Koh Kood. Think: luxury tree houses, white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, with hardly a soul in sight. The unspoiled beauty of the islands has been largely untouched by tourism and those privy to the “secret” can enjoy nature’s magic at it’s best. Perfect for a honeymoon or those seeking adventures in discovering the real Thailand.
After an hour flight from Bangkok, we arrived in Trat (cutest airport ever!) and jumped on a speedboat at Laem Ngop pier that whisked us away to Koh Kood, the furthest island from the mainland. We zipped past several green islands jutting out from the startling blue sea (among the province’s 52 islands) and couldn’t wait to set foot on one.
As our speedboat slowed down and curved around the sandbar, a few delicate island trees blew in the wind, creating a gorgeous reflection in the bay. We pulled up to the Peter Pan Resort, a tropical boutique resort, situated on Klong Chao Beach with powdery soft white sand (and no rocks!).
Have you ever seen a more heavenly location for a massage? Be sure and book one as soon as you check-in. Tropical breezes and a stunning ocean view are the perfect combination for a relaxation session right on the beach. Afterwards, take a dip in the warm crystal clear water and you’ll never want to leave.
Whimsical signs point you in the right direction at the Peter Pan Resort with tropical hut-style rooms in the background, some with private or semi-private pools. The boutique-style bungalows are enchanting and serve as a nice reprieve from the sun.
The shot of this colorful fishing boat in the turquoise sea was taken from the pier at Ao Salat, a fishing village on the northeast end of Koh Kood. The residents still make their living by fishing, as they have for generations. Don’t skip the chance to buy the freshest seafood you’ve ever had!
The authentic fishing village of Ao Salat is built on stilts in the water connected by a long pier and walkway. For those who’d like to experience the sea life for themselves, a home stay (B&B) is available at the end of the pier at Ao Salad Seafood, where diners can pick their own fish or crabs from the nets under the floorboards and have it cooked to order.
Our party sadly bids adieu to the Lost Boys (staff) of Peter Pan Resort, as we board the speed boat and prepare for more adventures at sea. The magical island of Koh Kood will be but a dream. Island hopping, James Bond-style awaits us, so not all is lost.
Koh Mak is a tranquil island, unspoiled by mass tourism, and is privately owned by the same families that originally inhabited the island. Most islanders still make their living by growing rubber and coconut trees. Eco-tourism is practiced on the island and plans have been implemented to reduce the environmental impact and preserve the natural beauty of the island.
The small island of Koh Wai is famous for its sapphire-blue coral that attracts snorkelers and scuba divers. It’s worth a stop at this island just for a mouth-watering fresh seafood lunch at Koh Wai Beach Resort, which has a private beach and a variety of accommodations, from Thai teak houses to beachfront villas.
Koh Chang (Elephant Island) is Thailand’s second largest island with more development and attractions than neighboring islands, which means more tourists, but also more options. Nature lovers will revel in the fact that 70% of the islands is covered by unspoiled rainforest. A wide variety of affordable accommodations can be found, with plenty of gorgeous beaches and waterfalls.
Venture to the eastern side of the island to visit Salak Kok, a quiet fishing village with one of the largest and best preserved mangrove forests in Thailand. You can peacefully drift among the mangroves on a traditional wooden boat, and get a glimpse of how the local community has kept their lifestyle, culture and traditions. (It can be precarious stepping onto the small boats, so be sure the weight is balanced or someone might take a dip in the bay.)
Time for a detox? If that sounds too extreme, you can simply focus on health and wellness at the Spa Koh Chang Resort in a myriad of ways. This peaceful retreat is the first health destination on the island and offers detox programs, yoga classes, and healthy foods in a nurturing, green environment. Delicious vegetarian/vegan food and fresh juices can be found at Radiance, an award-winning restaurant, which may deter you from fasting completely.
Misty morning view of the mountains from Kacha Resort & Spa in Koh Chang. The lovely beachfront hotel is located on White Sand Beach and offers many activities day or night. Don’t miss a traditional Thai massage at the resort’s spa… you’ll likely be sore the next day, but it will be well worth it.