Newcomers to Bangkok tend to arrive via the Suvarnabhumi Airport, with its oddly positioned golf course right next to the runway, or the antiquated Don Mueang airport. With the hustle and bustle of each, it can seem a far cry from the relaxed atmosphere of the beach. Although Bangkok sits not far from the Gulf of Thailand it is not blessed with a truly great beach. With just a little onward travel you will find some true beauties, however. Whether you are looking for a busy resort or a chilled out beach experience, you’ll find what you are looking for not far from Bangkok.
Pattaya Beach has a global reputation which has definitely become a bit tarnished these days, caused by an over influx of tourists. However, it still retains some of its original charm. Allow a few hours to drive the 130 kilometres from the city centre. Yes, the nightlife in the city of Pattaya attracts sex tourists but the area has more to offer than that. Check out the largest beach resort in Asia which has two distinct fronts on a stunning sweeping bay.
Venturing a little further than Pattaya, via the ferry that runs from it, is Ko Lan. This island is famed for stunningly beautiful beaches that lie on its western side. Tourists tend to flock to Tawaen Beach because it has a small harbour and some shopping. For more unspoilt natural beauty that you can explore without a crowd, try Tonglang Beach instead.
Another island with great beaches not to be missed, and is also positioned to the south east of Bangkok, is Ko Samet. It lies off the coastline of the provincial area of Rayong. The beaches of Ao Phai, Ao Wai and Ao Kio Na Nai all offer fine white sand. All three beaches lie on the eastern side of the island where you are likely to see a few monkeys as well as fellow travellers. Expect to bump into Thai people escaping city life as well as tropical coral reefs and crystal clear seas. However, avoid June when the island’s beach resorts are likely to be closed down for the rainy season.
Ko Samet (credits to www.koh-thailand.info for the image)
If you head westwards from Bangkok it takes a bit longer until you find a truly beautiful beach, but the effort is worth it. Road and rail connections will bring you to the resort of Hua Hin which also has a more chilled out feeling than the city, although it remains popular with Bangkok residents. Accommodation near to the five kilometre beach is easy to find if you don’t want to make the return journey back to the capital and ranges from luxury hotels to simple beach huts.
Press on a little further along the coast southwards until your reach Cha Am Beach which has a stunningly long seafront with perfect sand. Much of the beach front is served by reasonably priced bars which operate in a relaxed atmosphere. Once you have found the right spot on the beach you may find you don’t feel the need to explore any further.
Cha Am Beach (credits to www.beachthailand.com for the image)
With so many relaxing beaches to choose from, Bangkok can be an ideal place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth either. Flights from London to Bangkok are usually cheapest between two and four months before departure so if possible, try to book within this time frame. Why not use a tool like the momondo flight insight tool to get a better idea about which airports might be cheaper to fly from. Good value accommodation is also quite easy to come across if you book a few months in advance of if you turn up last minute, you might find some amazing hotels offering extremely low rates just to fill their empty rooms!
Author Bio: David Bell is a freelance writer and blogs about travel, interior design, online marketing, telecoms and small business solutions. Follow him on Twitter @DavidBellWriter