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WalterSobchak Feb 28th, 2006 09:06 PM

Ko Chang -- Tropicana or Barali?
Does anyone have an opinion on which is nicer? They look to be the same price, and I've read good reviews for both.

rhkkmk Mar 1st, 2006 05:57 AM

we stayed at the barali....we liked our bungalow very much and everything there was perfect except for the food which at best was mediocre....that was easlily solved by walking next door to the tropicana where the food was excellent....1 minute walk through the bushes that seperate the properties...

the pool had some problems but i believe it was fixed last summer after we left...

the beach is quite nice and wide and is sharred by both hotels and a few others...

we did not see the rooms at tropicana but heard that they were decent....the manager is a very nice guy who aims to please....applies actually to both hotels..

amari emerald cove is down the beach a ways and is the far superior establishment....great food for a treat or check their prices for rooms....opened last year...

in any case i think you would be pleased with any of the 3..

robmac Mar 1st, 2006 06:09 AM

My wife and I stayed at the Amari Emerald Cove in December of last year.

I can thoroughly recommend both the hotel and the staff. We had the best service over any hotel we have ever stayed at.

You can check my post at "Thailand Diary" for a more complete report of our stay on Koh Chang.

till_then Mar 2nd, 2006 03:40 PM

My husband and I were on Koh Chang for 10 days in Dec 05, and we stayed 4 days at the Barali, and the rest of the time at Amari. Just happened to be the way we booked it beforehand.
The bungelows at Barali are very nice, as was the staff. The food, however, left a lot be desired. Particulary the breakfast, which was included with our room - not much of a selection, and the coffee was always cold (and weak..) Anyway, we also had one meal next door at the Tropicana, and it was fine. Where we really liked to eat, (and I think we had 5 or 6 meals there) was the Blue Lagoon - a little place that has little individual huts on stilts, just past the Tropicana towards the Arami. Just before you go across the stream (I'm talking about on the beach - very well lit, and safe) there is a little path that goes along the lagoon, past a tiny beach bar, then down a foot bridge. Excellent food! And very cheap - I think our dinners, including beverages, were an average of $8 Cdn. You can also get to this place from the main road. The Blue Lagoon sign is a bit hard to see, and it's about the equivalent of a long city block to reach it from the road.
The Aramin was wonderful. Great rooms, great service, fabilous breakfasts, and good coffee. (and the chef is a fellow Canadian, from Calgary) For meals, we also liked eating at the little place in the road leading into the Arami - when you are facing the Arami, walking down the alley/street (seems like an alley, but it is actually the main access to the Arami) right beside the tailor, there is a small restaurant with only about 4 or 5 tables. The owners are delightful, and the food was wonderful. Best fruit shakes we had anywhere. And again, very inexpensive. The owner also does tours of the Island, which unfortunatley, we never discovered until the last day, when it was too late.
For massages, we would go (daily) to the massage place that is right beside the stream that I mentioned earier - the ladies were so much fun, and gave great massages. They got to know us, and when we didn't show up one day, they wondered what happened to us, as they knew we still had a few days left. Really nice people, where ever we went.

WalterSobchak Mar 2nd, 2006 05:11 PM

Thanks. Based on everyone's good reviews, I decided to go with the Barali over the Tropicana.

rhkkmk Mar 2nd, 2006 05:43 PM

we chose an ocean view level bungalow which is one section back from the beach and pool....we had a full view of the pool and lawn and out to the ocean...booked through

JamesA Mar 2nd, 2006 11:08 PM

We stayed at Barali long while back and hence I suggested to Bob as a mid range, the Amari does get great reviews.
Do you plan to fly to trat or do the road option?

WalterSobchak Mar 3rd, 2006 08:48 AM

I'm planning on the road option. I figure I can handle five hours on a bus to save a few hundred dollars. Does anyone know if five hours from Bankok is accurate?

rhkkmk Mar 3rd, 2006 08:42 PM

we drove with two days in the middle in pattaya.....don't do it the drive....spend the money and it is quite cheap and qucik....

the drive is boring except near to trat and takes will not do it total in 5 hours....two to pattaya and then perhpas 5 more after that to the island with the boat ride...

till_then Mar 6th, 2006 07:52 AM

I agree about not doing the road option. We were met by a friend at the BKK airport, and drove by car to Pattaya, and stayed there a couple of days. We then booked a mini bus from Pattaya to KC, and it took more than 5 hours just for that part of the trip, as we had to go to the other hotels and pick up more people until we were literally squeezed into the mini-bus. I am 5'2", and there was no leg room even for me, let alone my 6' husband. And there really is nothing to see along the way, so you are both cramped and bored! Also, if you go the mini-bus option, you have to get off at the ferry landing and walk on to the ferry with all your bags, and then walk off and catch a "taxi"/ride in the back of a truck on the Island. Ok is you don't have a lot of bags, but most people had more than one bag, and it was hot, and we had to rush to the ferry. We then had to wait in the back of the truck for the next ferry to get in, as the taxi driver would not leave until his truck was full. It was about 6 to 6 1/2 hours from Pattaya to our hotel on Koh Chang (Barali). We just looked at it as part of the adventure....

However, we flew back to BKK from Trat - very inexpensive, although, because of the ferry and having to check in early, we still had to leave KC at 1:30 or 2:00 for the 5:00 flight.

rhkkmk Mar 6th, 2006 08:12 AM

our driver was able to drive onto the ferry for a very low price and took us directly to the hotel which was much nicer than described below, but i still suggest the flight...and yes the trat airport trip is a bit of a pain but not too bad....many hotels arrange transportation from the airport for a fee which is not bad

WalterSobchak Mar 6th, 2006 11:46 AM

What airlines fly between Bangkok and Trat and what are the rates? Is it cheaper to book a round trip, or is one-way half the price of round-trip (e.g., if we decide to bus to KC and fly back)? Thanks.

rhkkmk Mar 6th, 2006 07:30 PM

the trat airport is owned by bangkok air and they are the only carrier flying there to my is an open air airport like in koh samui...very charming....

not sure of rates but it should be about $100 r.t or slightly more...look at their website where you can buy tickets...

Scotters Mar 6th, 2006 07:40 PM

Bangkok Air is the only airline since they own the airport. From Bangkok fare is 2230 baht ($57) oneway and return oneway of 2380 (more because you have to pay 200 baht airport tax rather than the normal 50 baht).

WalterSobchak Mar 6th, 2006 09:46 PM

Thanks for the info. Is it better to purchase tickets for Bangkok Air on the internet before you go to Thailand or is better to wait until you're in Bangkok (i.e. is either method cheaper)? Is it possible to purchase the tickets in Bankgok a day or two before your flight?

rhkkmk Mar 7th, 2006 05:30 AM

bkk air does not discount fares very much so buy them on the internet in advance....also this will avoid disappointment should flights be full

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