Monday, September 12, 2016

{Family Trip} Club Med Cherating, absolutely in love!

Big guy and I last went to Club Med Cherating and Club Med Bintan many years back as a couple (like 10 years ago?!), and finally we came back again; but this time, as a family of 4. The kiddos and us absolutely loved it here, so much so that we lingered on after we have checked out just to immerse in the lively beat of this Mediterranean village. 

So, what have we done in our short 3D2N trip at the Cherating Club Med? Let me give a quick summary.. 

For the teenages & adults:
• Archery - aim for that bull's eye!
• Trapeze - feel the thrill in the mid air! 
• Outdoor rock climbing - scary but exciting at the same time
• Kayaking - let's battle the wave!
• Sailing - on a catamaran by trained instructor
• Aqua gym / water polo at the main pool
• Aqua yoga at the zen pool (I missed that >.<)
• or just simply relax at the beautiful Cherating beach 

We started the morning with rock climbing. Pierre and Dodo were really helpful and encouraging. I would not be able to complete both routes without their guidance. (Honestly, I nearly gave up half way up but they pushed me to go forward.)

Yeah, completed my first outdoor climbing challenge! 

Didi, me, Pierre and Big guy.

We then headed towards the other side of the beach for some water sports. Thank God it's a cloudy day so it's not too hot.

My first ever experience with kayaking. I was scared of the wave but so glad we did it! 

Next, sailing on the catamaran with a GO. If you are professionally trained you may opt to sail solo too. (definitely not us, hehe). 

Archery... Did it 2 days in a row. GOs at the archery range, Fabrise and another Scotish guy (sorry but forgotten his name) were mingling and joking with us instead of just giving boring instruction. 

I did not managed to capture any photo of myself at the trapeze as big guy decided to take a dip at the pool instead of joining me. I did few rounds under the guidance of the circus team, would have continued with the next level challenge if not because of the sudden rain. :-(

It was fun and thrilling at the same time, but if you are already at the resort, you really ought to give it a try. I did it during our last trip, and glad I am still agile enough to do the same stunt again! :P

What about Activities for the kids? This is one question I get asked a lot, in fact as a 4 trident club med, Cherating village have lots to offer the little ones.

Depending on the age of your little ones, you can check them into Baby Club (4mo-2yo, additional charges applies), Petite Club (2-3yo), Mini Club (4-11yo), Passworld club (12-17yo). 

Since E and C are of similar age range, we signed them up with the Mini Club and they were taken care of by some well-trained GOs from 8:30am to 4:45pm. If you would like to, between 6:45-8pm you can leave the kiddos for the special performance, then continue from 8pm-12pm for pajama party if you feel like hanging out at the bar at night. It's truly a family friendly club. But frankly, by 9pm the kids probably zonked out already, like ours! :D

Club Med Cherating have a full range of activities for the little ones, among those that the duo participated in the span of 2 days include:
• bouncing ball / balancing sports
• archery - for 6yo onwards
• trapeze - for 4yo onwards 
• Aqua game - swimsuit is a must
• Treasure hunt 
• dance / water park / circus play
• football games
• petite chef - the kiddos missed this as we arrived late on first day due to heavy traffic.

Just see them in action..

Both of them absolutely loved the "flying" experience with trapeze.. 

Balancing is among other sports available (under supervision of the GO) 

Their favorite GO - Chick (or popularly known as Chicken) from Senegal. All the kids just love him!

E's favorite - archery. He was so excited to have finally hit a shot in the blue zone.

Some other activities that we've missed due to clash of schedule:
• tree top challenge
• Pilates, sunrise / sunset yoga
• power walk / jungle walk

What make us LOOOOVE our stay at Club Med so much?

• while the resort offers nice ambience and beautiful view, the GOs, the super friendly Gentle Officers who are trained to manage all activities and take care of the guests with a smile, are the true gems that make a whole lot of difference. We were lucky to have the very passionate GO team which really elevated the experience in the village. From the Circus crews (James, Susan, Kevin, Tammy), to the Mini Club crews (Chick, Tylah, Ai, Owen), the Sports crews (Pierre, Dodo, Fabries) and others who would just walk around and check on all guests as and when they walked pass (such as the cheerful Kiwi, Sparkles who welcomed us upon arrival at the village), including the Chief Village, Clayton. They truly made us feel like VIPs.

Generous free flow of food & drink. There are 3 restaurants and 2 bars that operate from breakfast, lunch, late lunch, tea time to dinner; you would never feel hungry nor thirsty. Drinks at the bars are mostly free of charge unless you want some premium liquor, otherwise you can really just eat & drink till you drop, which we did! :-))

• Parents get to enjoy to the fullest as kids are managed by trained crews. Seriously I don't know how they manage all the super hype kids, but (almost) everyone were cheering and laughing most of the time. They were really careful and professional with the kiddos, there were few GOs assigned to each group and they kept close eyes on them, did headcount at every check point and gave encouragement to all of them during the activities. Provide kids friendly food (they asked for allergic background during registration) and ensure they are properly dressed (yes, including changing for them) for various activities. 

Our duo came back feeling like champions, kept telling us about their fantastic experience.

• Despite the village is rather dated (it was the first Asia Club Med built back in 1976!), it is very well maintained and absolutely love the greenish landscape and how they respect the nature - the train that commute every half-hourly between main village to the Pantai Beach (where the Rambulan restaurant and water sport activities are hosted) are operatored on bio-diesel energy, and they do not offer jets ski nor motorboat activities at the beach - pollution is really keep to the minimum, that probably explains why the beach & water is so clean and clear.

Magnificent view of cherating beach on a windy afternoon.

Zen pool at Pantai Beach, it's reserved for 18yo and above only and where the young gals hang out ;) we were informed that if you are lucky, you may see one or more sea turtles that comes to the shore at night.

The main pool where most activities take place.

The rooms are nested among the greens.

The train that was always busy ferrying guests.

• the food... Club Med offered a wide variety of Japanese, Korean, local, Cantonese, Indian, Italian and American cuisine; on top of that there's a wide selection of salad, dessert and bread selection ("only" 5 flavor of ice creams thou, without my favorite green tea flavor :). I'm quite a light eater compared to other guests who really have plateful of bacons / steaks / pasta / pizzas... but there is certainly something that fits everyone. 

I was about to dig into my kimchi ramen & octopus salad.. but let's take a picture first. Lol. 

We practically drank wine, beer and cocktail everyday without any additional charge. Yup, including my favorite margarita.. ;-)

Chilling out at the main bar.. For non-alcohol drinker, fret not, they do serve fruit punch and juices, or just help yourself to a glass of ice water.

Despite the eateries were always packed with people, we hardly noticed any rubbish or flies around. They cleaned up real quick and were always attentive to request. Really got to love the passion & dedication..
2 nights in a row we were entertained by the talented GOs at night. Seriously it's not easy to be a GO at all, it's definitely more than just drinking and dining with the GM (gentle members, which refers to the guests). Plus, one has to be pretty good looking (or most of them we met are :)

So, conclusion?
All in all, we really enjoyed ourselves to the max at the village. Despite some friends still feel that it's an expensive / luxury vacation, for the fact that it is all-inclusive (except spa, premium liquor) and we get to try out on full range of activities under supervision of the trained crews (not to forget full day daycare for the kiddos!), so we both think it's totally worth it.  

Just some quick tips, if you do plan to visit the club..

• Bring along your sunblock, mosquito repellent, sunglasses and hat. It can be really hot during the day time. As seen in the pic below, my essential emergency kit for the family.

• Bring 2 sets of swim suits as you probably wear it daily. You can dry it in the room's balcony or ask for laundry service.

• bring a small waterproof backpack with you, just bring along a pair of slipper & swimsuit while you wear your sports attire, this way you don't have to keep going back to the room (quite a walking distance depending on which resort you stay in)

• if you are traveling with young babies, they do have a baby room next to the main restaurant / reception area (double entrance), the room is equipped with a milk warmer and fridge if I'm not mistaken. You may call to confirm before your trip. However, worth to note the the restaurant serves plain porridge, plain yogurt / muesli and fresh fruits daily, so it's quite easy to settle the toddler's meal if you ask me.

• you can ask for excursion trip at the counter (comes with a fee). The turtle conservatory Centre is located right next to Club Med's entrance, you can request to release a turtle at the Pantai Beach (for a fee, of course, and if the season is right), or request for arrangement of other activities if you like (such as firefly watching trip, river cruising, lake Chini visit etc)

• last but not least, do take note that the village only opens for 9 months (or so) in a year as it's usually closed for monsoon season, so do check out their website and plan your trip wisely.

That's all folks, thanks for stopping by and reading till the end of this long-winded write up..

Feel free to post a question or 2, I will try my best to reply (while I think about which village should we visit next) ! ;-)


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