North Cha Am - Busy and Lively
North Cha Am, along beach road, there are so many ranges of accommodation from the cheapest ( I can see 200 B/night ) to five star hotels, they are just situated accross the road from front beach. There are many restaurants with different styles. On weekend, it is crowded with local visitors and groups of teenager so it can be bother for you sometime, noisy but lively. Anyway the beach is very long so you can find some other relaxing areas too, I saw it at around the end part near fisherman pier. For first visit I think you should stay around here, convenience and be part of all local visitors, all most in action here. It may looks too crowded at front beach but take a walk along beach road is always a pleasant time for me, day and night.
The Palace Of Love And Hope
The Beautiful palace, Maruk Khatayawan Palace, located in the King Rama 6 Military Camp. It is the King Rama Sixth's summer residence in the mid 1920s., golden teak palace with a long corridor leading to the sea and some buildings. The palace is elegant with two-storey pavilion facing to the sea, with series of halls linking each other. In the area around, It is a nice area with some gardens with beautiful flower surround.
Open everyday, Mon to Fri 8 a.m.-4 p.m. ;
Sat, Sun and public holdays 8 a.m.-5 p.m.
See more photos on my travelogue page (link below).
- Castles and Palaces
Activities on beach
In the public area of Cha Am Beach is the place where you can see many kind of activities such as Jet Ski , Banana boat (favorite for teenager groups) etc. Sometime I can feel it’s too crowded on weekend as it is a popular place for Thais spending family time together on beach, mostly parents sit and enjoy food at beach chairs and watching the kids enjoy in the water.
Beach at South Cha Am
We stayed at northern part but make a bike ride in the morning to visit this quiter area, southern part of Cha Am beach. The feature of the area is the peaceful, quieter than the northern part. In the beginning of the part can look crowded as the same but if you keep walking further, it's getting more relaxing. I think some parts at the end is a private beaches and living places. Still I see there is some ranges of accommodations there. The beach is more slope, some rocks but still can swim.
Cha Am View Point
The area provide a good view of Cha Am and it is a relax place. Many people go there in the late afternoon, too sunny by day. I saw locals come for exercise, enjoy aerobic dance and some relax activities…
By night at View point, it is a very romantic place ;-). A lot people come to enjoy the view and keep wating for the sun go down, admire sunset View point also is a place where they arrange any Festival of Cha Am.
Bike ride - My favorite activity at Cha Am
It's sometimes too crowded for me to get to swimming in the sea so I instead enjoy the atmosphere on long beach road. Apart from taking a walk, enjoy the food, I get a rental bike, ride it along to the end northern and southern part. There are so many shops set up by day along the foot path, provide rental bike and motorbike. (Average is 20B / hour for bike and 120B / hour for motorbike) Very popular activity…. Many kinds of bike…
A pleasant little bar.
This tip refers to a place called the T&T Bar.
This place is nothing special in terms of facilities but the friendliness of the staff more than makes up for this. As the photo shows, it is just a smal lock-up type bar with comfortable chairs outside, and seems to be patronised about equally by expats and Thai. Although they do not serve food themselves, the staff will go to a nearby roadside stall (see seperate tip) and get you some very tasty food for a few baht.
The only slight disadvantage is that the place does not have a toilet, so you have to go to another premises around the corner. A small price to pay for what is a wonderful little place.
The picture may surprise you a little. I was sure I heard a strange noise and the next thing an elephant came into the bar. Well, I say came in, actually and not surprisingly, the beast could not fit through the small door. Well, it was an elephant after all. It's mahout walks it along the street and for a few baht you can buy titbits to feed it. There is something slightly odd aobut sitting over an evening beer feeding an elephant without leaving your seat but a great experience nonetheless.
- Budget Travel
- Food and Dining
- Beer Tasting
Visit Hua Hin night markets
From Cha Am it is only about 15 to 20 minutes by taxi or hotel shuttle from Cha Am to Hua hin, there is a busy night market in the center of Hua hin and also a weekend night market just south of the center of Hua hin at the Hua hin Grand Plaza. This night market has lots of cheap clothing, foodstalls and interesting items to buy.
- Family Travel
Visit the Market.
People who have read my other pages will know that I am an absolute sucker for markets, and the one in Cha am certainly does not disappoint. A large covered affair, it is seperated into sections for various types of products and has the obligatory numerous food outlets. Understandably, being on the sea, the largest section is reserved for fish and seafood and there is a huge variety.
If you like colourful markets, you will love this place.
- Food and Dining
- Budget Travel
Get on the net.
In Cha am, some of the upper range hotels and their associated eateries will have wifi. I did not use any of them so I cannot comment on connection speed. Unusually for Thailand I did not see a lot of internet cafes in town. However, if you are missing your VT or just need to check your email, I can recommend this place. If you come into Th. Narathip, which is the main road leading from the beach to the Highway fro the Highway end, it is about 200 yards on the right. It does not appear to have a name other than "Internet and Game" but you can't miss it. The connection is pretty fast, it is open from 0900 - 2200 daily and costs a very reasonable 15B per hour.
Learn the history.
Most people, when they think about the Second World War in Southeast Asia will think of the Phillipines, Malaya and Burma. Indeed, I had an uncle who died whilst a Japanese prisoner of war in the region, but few people consider Thailand in the context of this terrible conflict. I must admit I was one of those. As you walk along the seafront a little North of the Suksant Hotel, you may notice the billboard pictured. It describes, in slightly jingoistic terms, what happened when the Japanese invaded here on 8th December 1941, the same day as the bombing of Pearl Harbour. The Thais had been steadfastly neutral prior to this violation. After a brief resistance lasting only about a day, and faced with a much superior force, the Thais capitulated and allowed the Japanes to use the country as a staging post to ferry their troops elsewhere in the region.
It is only a small thing but it is worth pausing for a moment to think of all who perished in this region in that awful war.
- Historical Travel
Ge tthe sand between your toes.
The principle attraction for tourists and even moreso for weekending Bangkok Thais is the beach, and it is indeed lovely. It stretches quite a distance (I never got to the end of it) and is kept in very good condition. It makes a perfect place for a walk or a sunbathe and the sea is safe for bathing should the heat of the Thai sun start getting to you.
If you sohuld tire of this beach, there are several others nearby and the tuk tuks will take you there for a few baht.
- Budget Travel
A slightly eccentric bar.
In Cha am one evening, I wandered into a little bar just round the corner from my hotel called the Gunners Bar. Cue another of the strange and surreal things that seem to follow me on my travels.
When I walked in, the place looked like a jumble sale that someone had thrown a hand grenade into. There were about ten Thai ladies of varying ages and two young Thai blokes who obviously harboured ambitions to be Thai ladies! On the floor were about four huge bin liners stuffed full of ladies clothes, with more items of female apparel strewn abvout everywhere, and some sort of impromptu fashion show taking place amidst gales of that infectious Thai laughter.
Apparently, one of the ladies was either moving shop or opening one for the season (which is just starting) and this was her stock. Seems like she had invited all her friends round to have a look. It really was an odd spectacle, yet another wierd thing to add to my already considerable collection.
Amidst this maelstrom of high-pitched hilarity, there was apparently some work going on. One young lady (pictured) was busily preparing a papaya salad for the others at a table beside the bar, and it was here that I had my first Thai cooking lesson. Firstly, I learned how to julienne papaya nearly as finely as dental floss using nothing but a cleaver. Real Gordon Ramsay stuff from a teenage girl.
Next, the actual preperation. In a vessel that looked like nothing so much as a large flowerpot and using an implement about the size of a rolling pin, she set about her task. It really was the biggest mortar and pestle I have ever seen. Firstly, in went the garlic and a good handful of those fiery red chillis, which was it pounded into a pulp with some lime juice. Next the nam pla. If you don't know what nam pla is, it is a staple of Thai cuisine, basically fermented semi rotted fish / shrimp. I always have a bottle of it at home, it is essential.
Next she produced a jar of something I did not recognise. It was a light brownish paste, and led to another great Thai concept, sanuk. Sanuk is hard to define in Western terms, but as best I understand it it is a generic term meaning something like having fun. Virtually anything can be sanuk, and it often involves poking gentle fun at farang, although it is never malicious, that is not the Thai way. When I enquired what it was, she handed me the jar and mimed that I smell it, obviously expecting me to recoil as I did so. It subsequently transpired that it was a half way stage to nam pla which is a liquid. When I indicated that it was not too bad, she went a step further and offered me a spoon. Well, I have eaten all sorts of strange things and this wasn't going to put me off so, watched by an interested crowd temporarily ignoring the sartorial delights on offer, I took a decent spoonful. In fairness, whilst it was strong, it wasn't that bad, and I earned a little bit of kudos amongst my new found friends.
I sampled the resulting dish, which was excellent, and then she started all over again, well I suppose all that catwalking makes you hungry. This time, presumably because I had shown an interest, she invited me to make a batch, although she stopped short of giving me the cleaver, which was probably a good idea. Under her instruction as to quantities, I pounded and squeezed and mxed and produced my first truly authentic Thai dish. It was sampled and pronounced edible, although they might just have been being nice.
As a bar it is OK, but all the staff sem a little eccentric and it really is a spectacle more than anything. I suggest you go and see for yourself.
- Beer Tasting
- Food and Dining
For people spending a couple of days in Cha-am besides the beach area there are several sights to see such as Muruk Khatayawan Palace (King Vajiravudh’s golden teak summer residence), Kaeng Krachan National Park & Dam (Thailand’s largest national park at 2,915sq.km), Khao Luang Cave (home to many Buddha images very strangely showered in sunlight from 2pm-3pm), Phra Nakhon Khiri Palace & Park ( King Mongkut’s summer palace), Phraram Rachanivet Palace (King Chulalongkorn’s rainy season palace) and Springfield Village Golf Spa
- Castles and Palaces
At the beach, the usual array of water sports are available, with all vendors offering the same hire prices; Jet skiing 700Bht/30mins, Banana Boat 200Bht/per person and so on., but note that rates can change whether the beach is crowded or not, depending upon the day of the week. If you’re tired of lazing by the sea and prefer something a little less energetic than water sports, then for 20Baht/1hr you can always hire a bicycle (seating 1, 2,3 even 4 people!) or a motorcycle 100Baht/1hr and tour along the beach road and beyond or even take an idyllic pony trip along the beach as the sun sets.
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