Located in Amphur Muang, Petchaburi province, about a 1.5 to 2 hour drive from Bangkok, Had Chao Samran and Had Puek Tian are often overshadowed by the more popular beach beaches of Cha-am and Hua Hin. Granted, they are not the most stunning beaches in Thailand. If you’re looking for a short, low key beach break, however, these may be good options to explore.
Haad Chao Samran
Driving out of Bangkok, get on the southern highway leading to Petchaburi province. Just south of Khlong Kra Saeng, take the turnoff heading east to Hat Chao Samran. This turnoff leads to a long road that takes you directly to the beach.
A long and tranquil stretch of sand, Had Chao Samran exudes an easy-going vibe. The sand runs up to a rocky beach break; the waters are warm with gentle waves, making it ideal for kids. There are convenience stores, restaurants and shops nearby, as well as a bunch of local no-frills hotels and a sleepy fishing village.
For lunch, you can opt to eat right on the beach. Next to the beach’s car park, a cluster of food vendors have set up shop, offering a good variety of local seafood and other dishes. They’ll happily deliver the food and drinks to your beach mat. They will even provide a low table that will make it easier to eat lunch.
If you have extra time, drive five kilometres north from the beach to Laem Phak Bia Environmental Research and Development Project; there, you’ll find a mangrove forest and lots of wildlife, especially birds, to see.
Haad Puk Tian
Eighteen kilometres north of Cha-Am, Haad Puk Tian is also long and quiet, with a multitude of good seafood places in the area. Lined by a retaining wall, the beach has a rustic feel, as well as the added quirkiness of a six-metre tall ogress statue in the water (possibly scary for younger children) from the Thai epic of Phra Aphai Mani. There are also other statues of characters from the same story around the beach, including the flute-playing hero, mermaids and more.
With warm, placid waters, the casuarina tree-fringed beach retains a calm atmosphere. You can relax under the trees, swim and go horse riding on the beach.