Sand, sea and lots of space in Chanthaburi
The long and winding road from Chanthaburi town to the border with Trat province takes in some of the best and quietest beaches on the Eastern shoreline
While also famed for its less-travelled mountainous attractions, with the Chanthaburi Mountains in the north, the southern part of Chanthaburi province along the Gulf of Thailand offers coastal charisma without the crowds.
Chanthaburi shares the charming Chalerm Burapha Chonlathit Road, which starts from Chonburi and runs through Rayong and Chanthaburi all the way to Trat, making this 111-kilometre scenic road the longest seaside route in Thailand.
Kung Wiman, Laem Sing, Chao Lao and Laem Sadet are just some of the tranquil beaches scattered along the shoreline. While popular with local residents, they are delightfully uncrowded and offer a very laid-back ambience and a relaxing environment with inexpensive accommodation to boot.
Of these, the one-kilometre-long Kung Wiman Beach is probably the most idyllic and private and more than lives up to its name – Wiman meaning ‘heaven on earth’. Chao Lae offers a range of aquatic activities including banana boat trips and snorkelling and at selected times of years, a trip out to sea in a glass-bottomed boat to admire the marine life on the seabed. Several restaurants along the beach serve a wide variety of freshly caught seafood at reasonable prices, making this is a perfect place to gorse on shrimps, crabs and more.
Shaded by pine trees, Laem Sadet boasts a pristine beach three-kilometres long while Laem Sing, which is home to several low-rise resorts, is a slightly more upbeat but still a relaxing place to chill.
While idling on the beach and swimming in the safe, clean waters are relaxing enough for some visitors, those who need a little more adventure can choose to cycle along the famous Chalerm Burapha Chonlathit Road or sign up for a night squid fishing trip. Fishing trips are available at and managed by each resort.
There are many viewpoints and rest areas along the coastal road from which to choose, with Noen Nangphaya in Na Yai Am District among the more popular spots to behold the Chalerm Burapha Chonlathit Road and the turquoise sea. The best time to come here is late afternoon to catch the most spectacular sunset on the eastern coast and enjoy the mild sea breeze.
For a more educational excursion, a visit to Kung Krabaen Bay Royal Development Study Centre is as educative as it is fulfilling.
The centre was founded in late 1981 in Tha Mai District as a field research facility to battle against the saline soil and the deterioration of the mangrove forest, which were having a disastrous impact on the lives and fishing activities of local villagers.
A series of development and conservation projects conducted within the centre over the last four decades have helped bring back the ecological balance enabling the farmers to increase their productivity for self-sufficiency in the long run.
For your pleasure and education, take a walk along the 1,600-metre wooden bridge nature trail to embrace the mangroves at the heart of the fishing ground that feeds hundreds of local households. This is place to find solace in a truly the natural setting while walking past different stations along the well-maintained mangrove forest. At one point, you reach the area where the open sea stretches out like a blue carpet as far as the eye can see. More adventurous souls can climb into kayak and enjoy paddling along the water where dugongs once used to swim. Hopefully, once the ecological balance is fully restored, the lovely marine creatures will return for good.
By Yoteyord Klangsombut