Take a walk by the sea
Published/Last edited or updated: 24th June, 2017
Often overlooked in favour of the more popular sands of Cha-am and Hua Hin, Haad Chao Samran and Haad Puk Tian are the closest beaches to Phetchaburi and while neither is great for swimming, they do make for a pleasant afternoon with some cold drinks, fresh seafood and a salty breeze.
Haad Chao Samran enjoys considerable popularity among Thais, so visit on a weekday if you’re after a quiet day by the sea. A better beach than Haad Puk Tian, this still remains a mediocre stretch of sand and we were surprised at just how many resorts are here, all deserted on weekdays. The sand runs up to a rocky beach break and a series of rocky breakwaters protect against erosion some 100 metres out. Around August you can arrange a boat for 5,000 baht to go looking for Bryde’s whales.
The name Haad Chao Samran means “Contented King’s Beach” thanks to a 17th-century visit by King Narai that apparently went well. King Rama VI added to this royal legacy when a beachfront palace called Phra Tamnak Haad Chao Samran was completed for him in 1918. It was later dismantled, moved down the coast to a site between Cha-am Hua Hin, and renamed Mrigadayavan Palace.
Some 10 kilometres south of Haad Chao Samran, the tiny coastal town of Haad Puk Tian is also popular with locals on weekends but virtually deserted during the week. The beach disappears along much of the coast at high tide, though patches of rather grotty tan sand can be found at any time to the south. A few budget resorts have survived among others that sit abandoned after developers in the 1980s and ‘90s gambled that Puk Tian would become the next Hua Hin (it didn’t).
Perhaps the best reason to hit Puk Tian is for fresh seafood, available from at least a dozen beachside shacks towards the north side of the beach. From here you can gaze at statues built over the water that depict characters from Phra Aphai Mani, one of Sunthorn Phu’s best-known tales. The prince Phra Aphai sits with his flute near the six-metre-tall Phi Seua Samut, a gruesome ogress who can’t get enough of that sweet flute music.
Highway 3177 runs straight from the southeast corner of Phetchaburi town for 20 km to Haad Chao Samran, and from there, Highway 4028 cuts south down the coast to Haad Puk Tian. We were told that a Haad Chao Samran-bound songthaew picks up in front of The Islamic Bank of Thailand, across from the clock tower at the corner of Matyawong and Wat Tho roads in Phetchaburi.
David Luekens first came to Thailand in 2005 when Thai friends from his former home of Burlington, Vermont led him on a life-changing trip. Based in Thailand since 2011, he spends much of his time eating in Bangkok street markets and island hopping the Andaman Sea.
These tours are provided by Travelfish partner GetYourGuide.
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