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el2995 Cha-am - A travel report by USC
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Cha-am,  Thailand - flag Thailand -  Phetchaburi
13374 readers

el2995's travel reports

Cha-am/Hua Hin

  15 votes
Page: 1 2 3
report of the month contest
Jan 2004

Cha-am travelogue picture
South of Phetchaburi along the western seaboard are the beach towns of Cha-am and Hua Hin. Once a low-key fishing and market village, Cha-am has grown in popularity, particularly with local Thais who yearn for a weekend escape from the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. To the south is Hua Hin, which was Thailand's first beach resort. Its success was in part due to 118-mile rail line, completed in 1911, which connected it with Bangkok and made it a popular destination for minor Thai royalty, affluent foreigners and those of sufficient financial means. The Klai Khlangwon summer palace, built in 1926 and whose name means "free from worries", is still used by the Royal Family, though not open to the public. Hua Hin's Railway Hotel (Hotel Sofitel Central) and its environs were used in the making of the film The Killing Fields.

Favourite spots:
Cha-am travelogue picture
Cha-am is mainly know for its fresh seafood, and eating and drinking in a relaxing seaside environment is the main draw for the locals. The local fare can be enjoyed at both open-air eateries with umbrella-shaded tables out on the beach, and more traditional restaurants near the north end of the beach or cantilevered out over the water on stilts at the edge of the harbor. The beaches are quite nice; though not picture postcard-perfect tropical paradises per se, they are not crowded and fairly clean, with warm gentle waters perfect for swimming. There are a variety of wandering vendors selling silk and cotton fabric, scarves and hand-carved wooden statues, in addition to horses for hire. Besides its beaches and seafood, Hua Hin is noted for its Night Bazaar, which features food and fruit stalls in addition to handicrafts. Also interesting is Golden Place, a convenience store that's actually owned by the Royal Family.

What's really great:
Cha-am travelogue picture
Most enjoyable was partaking in Cha-am's seafood. An extended family member who lives in Bangkok and is familiar with the area chose the restaurant for us (the name was displayed in Thai characters and I never got the name of it), which sat out over the water adjacent to one the harbor's docks. As we dined on steamed jumbo shrimp, fried fish, chili crab, and crab fried rice washed down with a cold Singha Beer, we were able to watch colorfully painted fishing boats dock and unload their catches for the day. After the meal, we found a quiet stretch of beach and stretched out to watch the waves and enjoy a cool breeze coming off the gulf. Also enjoyable was the time spent at the festive Hua Hin Night Bazaar, and the young rice cookies bought at Golden Place, the recipe for which was said to be authorized by the Queen Herself and uses young green rice kernels (very tasty and highly recommended).

Cha-am travelogue picture
We stayed at the Regent Cha-am (t: 032.520009), which offers both a luxurious hotel tower and a collection of bungalow-styled cottages on nearly 300 acres with a private beach, in addition to squash and tennis courts, and a large pool right next to the beach.

Cha-am travelogue picture
There were numerous seafood restaurants in both Cha-am and Hua Hin, in addition to several food stalls at the Hua Hin Night Bazaar. We never got a chance to try the beachside seafood restaurants, but that is said to be the best way to experience Cha-am.

Other recommendations:
Cha-am travelogue picture
Other sights to see along the way are the Phra Nakhon Khiri summer palace and the Tham Khao Luang cave temple near Phetchaburi; there is also a retail outlet center midway between Bangkok and Phetchaburi. Hitting all of the aforementioned sights at a moderate pace by car from Bangkok required about two days. We were there in early October (during the end of the monsoons) and did encounter a warm rain late in the afternoon on the first day, which became quite heavy at times that evening but was gone by the next day, leaving us with sunshine. Chances of having rain in that region should decrease by late November/early December, which also means the chances for encountering crowds should increase.

Published on Wednesday January 7th, 2004

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Tue, Jan 18 2005 - 01:11 PM rating by monica2

Excellent Reort. I visit the area often for weekend trips. There is a great deal to see in the area, one of the best secrets is past Hua Hin town itself, past the Hyatt Regency you find Khao Takiab ( Chopstick Hill ) and just behind is Khao Takiab Beach and Takiab Bay. This is certainly the best beach with lovely clear water and miles of undeveloped beach. There are countless temples many dating back many years. If you find Hua hin town busy and want a quiet beach I would highly recommend Khao Takiab beach and the Bay.

Wed, Dec 08 2004 - 06:16 AM rating by ravinderkumarsi

hii usc
nice report indeed.

Sat, Nov 13 2004 - 04:03 PM rating by shsmrsb

Having just returned from Hua Hin, I agree the area is great. I was so busy looking round Hua Hin I didn't have time for Cha Am but will try next time I go to Thailand.

Tue, Feb 17 2004 - 04:32 PM rating by christianj.

Congratulation, this report makes incredible appetite - not only on the food you describe!!

Regards, Christian

Thu, Jan 08 2004 - 11:10 AM rating by willow

Excellent report made better with the perfect pics. Sounds like you had a great time!

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