We loved this place. After staying on the west side of Koh Chang on the beach at the south end of a rather un-charming strip of deserted tourist-oriented shops, empty bars, and not much else, we looked forward to the Mangrove Hideaway to experience a more natural and authentically-Thai setting on the less-populated east side of the island. This place FAR exceeded our expectations. The hosts, Jean Luc and Oliver, have created an excellent and classy resort that is placed right on the water, with fishing boats passing by occasionally, and a feeling of being in the real world since it is surrounded by a thriving and authentic fishing village, the forest and the sea. The accommodations are very comfortable in every regard; I cannot recommend it more. The real surprise was their cuisine (a word which is usually reserved for haughty multi-star resorts). Wow, the Mangrove Hideaway chef (who they modestly called their 'cook') is very talented and very skilled. We are quite experienced with Thai cooking, and can assure you the Mangrove Hideaway's dishes will impress. The menu all depends on what has been caught that morning, so the fish and seafood is all absolutely fresh and right from the sea (unlike what you might get from the usual tourist-oriented restaurants, especially off-season). Besides their seafood, try the Lab Kai! It's fantastic.
The weather was as to be expected in July (alternating from calm and clear with views up to the surrounding hills, to drenching downpours that would quickly pass), but even when raining, the soft breeze was refreshing and the ambience during the storms was great, with fine music (some originally composed by Jean Luc) on the ground floor terrace in front of our air conditioned room as well as the 'relaxation attic' (a covered but open-to-the-breeze pavilion with views, hammocks, platforms with cushions, etc.). Ah... we felt relaxed as soon as we arrived and settled into the place, and left even more so. Jean Luc and Oliver have a refined sense of timing, leaving us to ourselves yet showing up discreetly to coordinate for planning activities and meals.
We enjoyed being pretty lazy for three days, but did take a walk along the boardwalk into the mangroves, visited the local wat (Thai temple), and Jean Luc took us up to the first level of the Kiripetch waterfall.
This is a wonderful place to stay on Koh Chang.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Off the beaten tracks The Mangrove Hideaway is nestled in the Salak Phet fishing village, a peaceful spot surrounded by nature miles away from mass tourism. This mountainous scenic bay of the southern Koh Chang Island is home for hundreds of botanical and animal species. Besides the numerous outdoor activities, such as mangrove canoeing or jungle trekking, we warmly welcome travelers to share our values & efforts in sustainable tourism for an authentic and relaxing stay in the heart of the Mu Koh Chang Marine & National Park. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- The Mangrove Hideaway Koh Chang Ko Chang, Thailand