Jun 27 2011
For most travellers coming to Thailand, beaches are part of the allure. Scores of incredible islands and beaches wait to be explored all over the region, but a couple of spots not too far from Bangkok are perfect for those looking to get out of town for a few days.
One of the oldest beach resort areas in Thailand, Hua Hin is only two and a half hours from Bangkok. Very popular among Bangkok weekenders and families, the area is also home to the Royal family’s beachside palace. The beach is on the mainland and is not white-sand picture-perfect, but it is long and wide with a dramatic tide and is actually quite beautiful in a seaside city kind of way.
Delicious seafood is served in town at restaurants built over the water and the streets are lined with a lot of those “ye olde time shoppes” and stalls that are so trendy among Thais. Hua Hin is great option if what you’re looking for is more along the lines of tasty food and pleasant strolls, and less about discovering a tropical paradise.
Ko Samet gets a far worse wrap than it deserves. From the reports I’d heard going in I expected an island filled with sky-high resorts and not a patch of clean beach in sight. Ko Samet is certainly developed but in a sort of laid-back, discreet kind of way; think torchlit paths and dirt roads.
Another lovely thing about Ko Samet is that many of the tourists are Thai, which makes for a substantially different vibe than sexpat stops like Pattaya or backpacker favourites like Ko Phi Phi. The water is lovely, the food is tasty, the scenery picturesque and while yet, it’s more crowded and more developed than places further south, it makes for a very good local option only three and half hours out of Bangkok.
Gorgeous Koh Chang is a bit far for a weekend jaunt but is perfect for a long weekend venture. About six hours by bus from Bangkok, Ko Chang is a national park island covered in jungle and surrounded by white sand beaches.
While it is a supreme option in terms of getting out of Bangkok, I’d say that Ko Chang is one of the better options among all of Thailand’s islands. Much more in the direction of a postcard paradise, Ko Chang has a huge range of activities and accommodation which makes it a seductive choice for a whole range of trips.
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