I figured I would take advantage of the free time during the summer, since my contract ended and I have yet to sign on to anywhere new, and take a little family vacation. After spending way too much time checking out places to go, we settled on an all-inclusive resort for reasons that probably won’t be in line with most of our readers, but a few of you might find it useful.
After all, one of the benefits of living in Taiwan is that we can use it as a travel hub to other parts of Asia.
Why Club Med?
First off, this is not my preferred type of travel. I have spent most of my time trekking to different countries solo and on the cheap. But, as this was a family trip, a nicer place was called for. After lots of comparing, this specific Club Med location won us over this time.
I have never been to a Club Med before moving to Taiwan, and while I had heard about them, I knew the resorts by name only. I didn’t really know anything else about them. However, they apparently market quite strongly in Taiwan, and they offer lots of packages. In fact, the entire flight was basically a charter for Club Med from Taiwan.
I’m not totally sure if they do that all over, but a couple of years ago we went to the Kabira Beach location because it was a pretty fair deal during Chinese New Year, which is the most expensive time to travel in this part of the world.
This time we opted for a different location as it was the same price, but the Cherating Beach resort is a bit bigger, and it has a few particular features we were looking for. All in all, the price for a 5 day, 4 night trip came to a little less than $1,300 USD.
That price included the flight, the shuttle to and from the airport, the room, all the food and drink you could possible be able to stuff into your mouth, and access to all of the activities and amenities. Unless you wanted to buy some clothes or Champaign, there really wasn’t a reason to spend anything else. And, in all honesty, the less you need to spend over that upfront cost the better, because everything inside the resort, like sun tan lotion and pool toys, have a very healthy markup attached to them.
MTT Tip: If you plan to visit from Taiwan, make sure you get a package that has a direct flight. If you have to change planes in Kuala Lumpur, you’ll basically waste an entire day traveling.
Mini Club Med
Aside from the price, this absolutely sealed the deal for me. My wife and I have a daughter, and she has more energy in one day than the two of use have combined for a week.
Mini Club Med is a bit of a daycare and summer camp rolled into one. It runs daily, and starts right after breakfast and runs until about 4:45, though I believe there is one for teens that runs a little later. You can drop off and pick up your child whenever you want during their operating times, so it isn’t something you need to commit to for a whole day, or the whole trip.
Having a place to take our kid for a few hours so we could do some activities that she couldn’t was super valuable. It also gave us a little bit of a mental break from her non-stop chattering.
But, the real bonus to Mini Club Med is that they have lots of activities for kids. I don’t really have any way to let my daughter experience kayaking, and while she likes to swim in the pool with me, playing in the pool with other kids her age was one of her favorite parts of the trip.
The Mini Club Med at Cherating was also much bigger than the one at Kabira Beach. In Kabira, my daughter maybe stayed joined a day or a day and a half worth of activities, but she went to the Mini Club for at least a couple activities everyday in Cherating.
Even with the Mini Club, you can spend a lot of time with your children. It just gives them a chance to do some things that they cannot normally do with Mom and Dad, and it gives parents a little break as well.
The final reason we picked this location is that the resort looked really spacious from the pictures we could find online. It’s nestled between the jungle and the ocean, and it has a massive swimming pool in the center courtyard. It was enough to get our attention, so we figured we would give it a try over Kabira this time.
All About the Facilities
While this resort tends to focus more on the activities than the facilities, if you visit expecting a 5 star suite, you will be sadly disappointed. The room is small, with all the basics, and nothing more.
The bed was fine, and we had a large bed, I think it was a queen, and a small bed for our daughter. There was a closet with a safe, which worked fine. The bathroom was split, with the shower and sink in one room and a toilet in the other. They were small, but did the job. There was also a T.V. that might have been a relic from the 1970’s. It only got 3 channels, barely, and the programs were in Japanese.
While this would normally be unacceptable for a resort, we spent almost no time in the room, using it only to sleep and shower. It served its purpose, but I have stayed in hostels that were nicer.
The rest of the facilities are nice though. The main dining area has indoor and outdoor tables, and it clean and spacious. The Rembulan restaurant which requires reservations and short shuttle ride is super nice, and worth checking out.
There is also an open-air theatre, a large swimming pool with 3 different depth levels, a basic gym with some weights and cardio equipment, and lots of other little rooms and nooks you can discover. Everything was clean and worked well.
Near the pool there is a main bar that serves all sorts of drinks, coffee, and juice. They offer snacks in the afternoon too. There is also a little bar on one of the beaches, but I never tried that one out.
There’s also a fair amount of wildlife running around, which was kind of interesting. You will definitely see the monkeys roaming around the village. They kept their distance for the most part, but we say them almost daily. There’s also lots of reptiles, birds, and some squirrels.
Fair warning though, the Wi-Fi is abysmal. It’s almost unusable in your room, and the only place we could really get a half-decent connection was at the front desk.
MTT tip: the mixed drinks are 99% juice and 1% alcohol, if you are lucky. If you want a real drink, stick with the beer or wine.
All About the Activities
This is really where they put their focus. There are all sorts of things to keep you busy, some of which require participation, and others that you just sit back, relax, and watch.
There is a jungle walk that is actually just a short hike though the trees on a trail running parallel to the coastline. It’s not long or all that difficult, but there are some steep parts and you’ll want to watch your step.
There is also:
- lots of fitness classes
- rock climbing
- a trapeze
- shows that the staff put on
At night they even try to simulate a dance club, though it’s rather mild compared to a night out in a big city.
The staff that run the activities are called G.O.’s and almost all of them speak a little English. They tend to be friendly and helpful, and a good G.O. can really make an activity fun, while a cranky one can kind of kill it. For the most part, the staff was really accommodating.
As this was a family vacation, Club Med Cherating Beach was a great choice. We were all busy from he break of dawn until we went to bed. There was a ton of things for children, and adults have a lot of choices too.
It might be OK for young couples that prefer an active lifestyle to party lifestyle. But, if you are big on partying your face off until 5 a.m. every night, you won’t like this type of resort. Also, if I were vacationing solo or with a group of friends, I think we would have gotten bored here.
It was a good vacation, and perfect for families. I would consider going again if the time and price was right, but only as a family vacation spot.