Top child-friendly beach hotels offer good facilities, nice environments, good prices

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There's a good number of family-friendly resorts on this island

How family-friendly is the resort island of Koh Chang? Moderately so, is the best that could be said. After all, there is almost no place in Thailand where children are not welcomed and well taken care of. But when measuring children-dedicated facilities in the beachfront hotels on this rather distant island the ‘moderate’ description is fair. To compile this Top 10 list of good family resorts we had to drop the standards that we applied to both Phuket’s Top 10 family-friendly resorts and to Koh Samui’s Top 10 family resorts, where hotels simply had to have a kid’s club to be included.
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Only about half of the ten resorts listed here boast a kid’s club, and we doubt that all of those are well staffed or always active, particularly in the off-season months when guest occupancy is very low. The number of families, particularly foreign families, coming to Koh Chang, is still relatively small. More Thai families from Bangkok drive down here in private cars once the foreigners become scarce from March onwards.
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Travelling distance has kept Koh Chang low in the rankings of family-friendly beach destinations in Thailand. Five or six hours drive from Bangkok to the ferry port, followed by an hour on the water and another half hour or so driving down the island have long discouraged foreign tourists.
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Despite the long trip, Koh Chang holds enough incentives to attract an increasing number of foreign families each year. One attraction is simply the sense of getting off the beaten tourist track, and the other is, of course, price. Many of Koh Chang’s room rates are more family-friendly than their counterparts in more famous, and more convenient beach destinations. Then, for some young families the kid’s club is simply not as important at the room rate.
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Emerald Cove Koh Chang Hotel – family-friendly at the bottom of Klong Prao Beach

This is one of the larger beachfront resorts on Koh Chang, with some 165 rooms in three-storey blocks surrounding a large central courtyard with two swimming pools and green lawns. While Emerald Cove Koh Chang Hotel was built with children in mind, it gave them only minimal facilities. Its open spaces are quite good for young ones. It has a small pool for kids, a games room and offers baby-sitting and child minding services for parents wanting some free time together.
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The central courtyard is also quite a good, safe place for kids to run and play in. The beach is a bit narrow, with the sand disappearing at high tide – but that’s a problem common to most beaches on this island. The water in front is quite shallow, another plus for children and parents. At low tide there are just a few inches of water stretching out for quite a while, making an excellent paddle and play place for toddlers.
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Sea View Resort & Spa Koh Chang – open shady areas, shallow water for kids

Sea View Resort & Spa Koh Chang is another mid-range beachfront hotel built for guests of all kinds, families included. While this does not have a dedicated children’s club with organized activities and child minding, the total area of this large, expansive resort offers many different venues for children to play and have fun in.
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First are the two swimming pools – one at the top of the mountain with grand views, the other below close to the beach. The latter is quite large, with different areas and depths and a favourite with kids.
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Adjacent to this pool is one of this resort’s major advantages, a large open area just above the beach, something like a huge sundeck. It’s a good area for kicking a ball or a game of badminton. But there’s also a good scattering of trees that give many shaded areas for children to play in during the hot times of day. It’s also easy for parents to observe from a sun lounge.
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The other advantage here for young children is the shallow water off the beach and the protection the little offshore islands gives from waves. Calm and shallow, this makes an excellent, safe playground for little ones. Bigger kids will enjoy kayaking to and around that little island.
Sea View Resort offers two styles of family accommodation, each twin bedroom with most opening near the swimming pool.
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Mercure Hideaway Resort – an international name brings top children facilities

As one of the few international brand hotels on this island, Mercure Koh Chang Hideaway is one of the few beach resorts here offering the full range of facilities for children and families expected in a 4-star hotel. One glance at the huge, green-bottom swimming pool with its various shallow areas for little ones tells us that this was planned as a family hotel from the beginning.
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A kid’s club with supervised activities is available, along with baby-sitting and child care services. The hotel’s outdoor areas included grassy lawns and many shaded places where kids can play. The beach is small, but it’s pretty and one of the few sandy areas on this more remote part of Koh Chang. A rock walkway protrudes out into the sea in front of Mercure Hideaway, making a fun place for kids to explore, and a platform to swim from at low tide when the water is very shallow at the beach.
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Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort – family-friendly with a name like this

The Centara Group, famous for the best family hotels in Thailand, did not build this spacious, green beachfront hotel but took over via a management contract. Thus, the kind of super family facilities found in many of the purpose-built, Centara family hotels are not found here.
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Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort is however, one of the best for families on of this island. There’s a shallow pool for children, a kid’s club with activities for little ones. The green lawns between many of the bungalow rooms are also excellent for little feet. The resort sits on the junction of the beach and a small inlet, giving it sand around two sides and a much bigger area for kids to run and play. This pleasant beachfront area is also well shaded, and a kids’ playground is placed in the sand here.
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KC Grande Resort – good family hotel with good beach for children

This resort on Sai Khao Beach (White Sand Beach) is the biggest on Koh Chang’s busiest, most famous beach, with over 200 rooms on two sides of the road. Two great advantages made this beach the island’s most developed. It’s the first in the string of west coast beaches to be reached after alighting from the ferries, giving it the shortest travelling time. Then, as the name suggests, it has beautiful soft, white sand.
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KC Grande Resort & Spa lies at the attractive north end where Sai Khao Beach is widest and sandiest, and has the deepest water. This is the best part of the beach for children – and everyone who likes to swim. The south end becomes shallow and rocky.
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KC Grande was originally built as a weekend getaway for families from Bangkok, who drive their own cars here. It is thus well equipped with good pools for children, shaded play areas plus a kid’s club and activities.
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Many Thai families are seen here from March to May, following the end of the foreign tourist season. And increasing numbers of families of international origin are seen here each year during the high season months from November to March.
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Aiyapura Resort & Spa – enjoying a private beach and spacious luxury

This large resort on the north coast of Koh Chang has a few advantages over its many beachfront rivals that families, and others, will appreciate. Aiyapura Resort & Spa lies in a pretty bay by itself, where its 450-metre width runs along a waterfront and sprawls up a spacious hillside. The beach is small, but the overall vista of red-roofed bungalows spread through a green landscape and overlooking the water and distant shore is both attractive and especially tranquil. Also, being close to the ferries lessens the travel time from Bangkok compared to that for beaches further south, and the big, steep mountain that separates the west coast does not have to be crossed.
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Aiyapura provides some of the best children’s facilities on the island, including kids’ club, children’s pool and a fun, covered playground for little ones. Bigger kids can go kayaking around the bay.
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While the beach is not particularly good, the resort has built a sandy sun terrace and a long stone jetty out into the bay, giving easy boat access. The garden and pool villas are particularly good for families, with some having their own pool while others open directly onto the sand. All are surrounded by manicured lawns that are excellent for little feet and the inevitable crash landings.
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Koh Chang Paradise Resort – 3-star accommodation for families or couples

Though this resort has not been built as a family-dedicated beach resort, Koh Chang Paradise Resort & Spa does have many attributes that puts it among the best beachfront accommodations for families on Koh Chang. First among these is perhaps the big area of the resort, and its 260-metre long frontage onto the beach. The 69 bungalows are spread through gardens with trees and coconut palms shading the walkways between, providing a cool, green ambience.
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The swimming pool has a children’s area, though it’s not shallow enough for toddlers. At low tide the water on the beach is very shallow, and makes a great splash area for the youngest ones. The beach also has a thick line of foliage that provides deep shade through the hottest times of day – a great playground for kids while their parents are chilling out on the sand.
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While there is no kids' club here, Koh Chang Paradise does provide baby- and child-minding services.
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Siam Beach Resort – a modest family resort hidden on Lonely Beach

Siam Beach Resort is almost hidden at the top end of Ta Nam Beach, also called Lonely Beach by the backpacking westerners who discovered it in the 1990s. Apart from the rather remote location, the resort is buried in a deep forest and is barely visible from the water. It is this natural green environment and the wide sandy beach that helps put this resort onto the family-friendly list. Like most other 3-star resorts on the island, Siam Beach has a good pool area for children, but has no children’s club nor resort-organized activities for them.
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The real family advantage here is in the wide open spaces and excellent beach. Trees keep much of the sandy area between room blocks and beach cool through the day. The resort’s beach restaurant, directly in the sand, is kept in deep shade by a single, magnificent tree with branches reaching far out towards the sea. While parents eat, drink or pass time here their kids can dig sand right under the table.
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Like most other beaches on Koh Chang, Ta Nam has wider sand and deeper water here at the north end. It makes this excellent swimming beach, though parents will need to watch over young ones who can’t yet swim if they’re playing in the ocean.
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Klong Prao Resort – budget family accommodation by beach and canal

This large, spacious resort towards the centre of Klong Prao Beach enjoys one of the most interesting locations that kids will love – though the canal-side accommodations might not be ideal for families with young toddlers. Klong Prao Resort offers both beachfront rooms with great ocean views, and others opening onto its inland mangrove canal. A bridge across the canal gives easy access to the beach, though the resort also has an internal road to cross – though traffic is quite sparse.
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This is another 3-star beach hotel typical of so many in Koh Chang. It welcomes families, but is not big enough to provide a full range of children-dedicated services like a staffed kid’s club or organized activities. The swimming pool is large, with a good-size, separate area for children.
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The resort is spacious, with 250 metres of beachfront, and nearly as much land stretching back to the north-south island road. The beach is quite good for children, and not particularly deep. At low tide it is very shallow, but sandy and thus good for really young ones to splash and play about in safety.
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Perhaps this resort’s main drawback is the lack of trees, making it hot in the middle of the day and forcing most guests to retire to their rooms or to the restaurant to escape the dire effects of the midday sun.
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Koh Chang Boat Chalet Resort – a big, off-beat resort for families with big kids

NOTE: In 2017 this resort closed most of its rooms due to the need for renovation, though such renovation had not begun. Only a few rooms were being rented. It’s unfortunate, for this resort enjoys one of the most beautiful locations on the island. With only a few of its better rooms operating it would not be good for families, but would still be fine for couples seeking a real hideaway. Check carefully before trying to book this.
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Koh Chang Boat Chalet is not your typical family beach hotel, however it has some very special attributes that will suit some families with older children. The facilities associated with most family hotels, a kid’s club and organized activities, plus baby-minding services, are absent. However, for bigger children who like to bicycle, kayak and swim, the huge area of this resort will provide lots of activities and fun. The grounds are so vast that all guests are offered bicycles to get about – though there are golf carts to transport guests also. The calm internal lagoons are excellent for kayaking and fun, though the kayaks can easily be taken into the open sea, which is generally very calm in the high season.
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The rooms in old rice barges over the lagoons are another unique characteristic of Koh Chang Boat Chalet, as are the standard rooms in a floating ‘ship’.
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The beach here is surely the best swimming beach on Koh Chang, with deep water even at low tide. A small estuary cuts this end of the beach off from the five beach resorts at the other end, giving this resort what is virtually a ‘private’ beach.
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by John Everingham
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