Photo: Need salt? You’re in the right place.

Day trip to Baan Laem and Bang Tabun

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A day trip from Phetchaburi to the coastal towns of Baan Laem and Bang Tabun reveals old-style Central Thai scenes of salt farms, rice paddies, riverside temples and crab-fishing huts dotting the ocean to the horizon and beyond. Very few foreigners come this way, but those with a car or scooter who are up for something different should consider giving it a shot.

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Starting at Haad Chao Samran, we motored north beside the coast on Highway 4028. Vast salt flats defined the landscape, mirror-like squares of shallow water rimmed by “flower of the sea” salt collected in neat mounds by the workers. Galvanised metal roofs of log-and-bamboo barns reflected on the water, the Tenassarim Mountains rising in the west.

Classic Thailand scenery. Photo taken in or around Day trip to Baan Laem and Bang Tabun, Phetchaburi, Thailand by David Luekens.

Classic Thailand scenery. Photo: David Luekens

While most of the salt is packaged and shipped, some of the finest stays in the Laem Phak Bia area for use in sea salt spas offering facials and body scrubs. Ruen Sabai Spa at I-Tara Resort provides hour-long treatments in the 900 to 1,500 baht range, though you’ll also find smaller spas operating out of humble houses and most of these sell local products if you’d prefer to bring your salt scrub home. In Laem Phak Bia, you could also take a stroll through a mangrove forest to check out the mud crabs and birds.

In the village of Pak Thale we stopped to peep colourful fishing boats lining a slender canal as the scent of homemade shrimp paste and sun-drying fish grabbed the air. We also passed Chinese shrines, mosques and temples, including an enormous boat-shaped wihaan at Wat Nok Talay that was under construction when we passed through.

Further up the road we arrived at Baan Laem, a small but bustling seaside town with markets, temples and old houses clustered around the mouth of the Phetchaburi River. Here we turned onto Highway 4012 to continue north—if travelling by motorbike you can use a narrow bridge in the old part of town near the Gulf to the east, but if by car you’ll have to cut west towards the hospital and use the ... Travelfish members only (Around 900 more words) ... please log in to read the rest of this story.

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What next?

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