If you are recovering from jet lag, need to ride out a miserable cold, and have to endure a tropical reudu fon [ฤดูฝน] or rainy season, there can be no better place than The Spa Resort (official site) in Koh Chang to do it. I know, it sounds like I am writing an infomercial! We stayed very cheaply, as we’d bought a special package at a Thai travel fair last year, but I’d readily go back at normal prices. The dates we had booked well in advanced turned out to be fortuitously timed, as it was right after an exhausting European trip and there was a Thai long weekend we’d forgotten about so we were able to stay longer than we’d originally planned. It was also semester break at the university, so I added a few days on my own. This extra time was doubly lucky, because we’d also forgotten how long it takes to get to Koh Chang and we needed an extra day just to recover from the trip! While it might only be 385 kilometres (officially) from Bangkok to Trat, this feels a lot longer when you are travelling on Thai roads in a public bus with too much baggage. (This is ME we are talking about: I may love travel, but I’m very bad at it!) I never know what to expect on Thai buses: VIP buses have attendants in snazzy suits and hats who provide you with water, blankets and snack boxes. This bus didn’t. On the plus side, it also didn’t have a video system on board, so we weren’t subjected to excessively loud slapstick comedy, which is the norm on many distance buses. A few brief stops and six hours later, we were in the bus station in Trat, hauling our gear onto a song taew [สองแถว], essentially a pickup truck with two facing rows of seats and a tin roof, which was to take us the half-hour drive to the ferry. Although we were told the ferry trip took 45 minutes, it actually lasted an hour, which was followed by half an hour in the resort van. By this stage it was late, and we were truly ready for dinner. On our arrival at the restaurant we discovered that although there IS wine on the menu, there was none in the bar. So, it was a good excuse to do a “mini-detox” and go without. It seemed to be the least we could do, as many people come to the resort to do three- or seven-day fasts. No fasting for me at the moment, thanks! Especially as the menu is so appealingly healthy. Fasters are accommodated with an incredible range of juices and smoothies. Halal, vegan and raw-food diets are catered for. The vegetarian options are extensive, but there is also a range of seafood (this is an island, after all!) and a smattering of chicken and pork. We thoroughly enjoyed every meal we ate. Having an entire week of grey skies with little sunshine is a rarity in Thailand, even in Koh Chang which is one of the wettest parts of the country, and even during the wettest month (July) which is now. Usually, even during rainy season, we have short afternoon storms or overnight rains. I’ve never seen anything like this last week in Koh Chang! To be fair, it is not raining now, and the sun did come out for about an hour today and briefly yesterday. But, truly, I’ve never seen so much incessant rain. So, as I said earlier, if you have to endure the rainy season anyway, why not sit in a spacious, airy cottage room with a high, thatched roof, and a partially covered balcony overlooking the verdant jungle. The best part is, the air con works if you want it, and the WiFi is pretty good. There is also TV and DVD – not that I turned them on. The large umbrellas got us to the restaurant for meals, to the sala [ศาลา] or open-air pavilion for the guided morning meditation and yoga, and to the massage rooms for traditional Thai or oil massages. What more could you want? When the rains broke for a moment or two, we cycled or drove to nearby fishing villages. One of the highlights for me was chatting with the workers at a nearby fish-farm. Add this to jobs I’m glad I don’t have to do: sit on a swing suspended in seawater, sorting squiggly grouper into baskets by hand according to size. Yuch!I hope you enjoy the photos. More photos from Thai islands and beaches are on my Flickr site here and here.