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01 August 2014
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Cha Am

A quiet alternative to Hua Hin, where many Thais enjoy succulent seafood and visitors have a range of accommodation options including luxurious golf resorts and small boutique beach hotels.

Located less than 200 km south of Bangkok and just 20 km north of Hua Hin, Cha-am is a quiet beach retreat in Petchaburi Province; a long stretch of silvery sand that is far quieter than nearby Hua Hin. Cha-am is popular with couples looking for a romantic retreat, seniors who like peace and quiet, and families with young children who are looking for an area that is both safe and free from the hassle of beach vendors. It’s also a popular weekend destination for Bangkok residents who enjoy the sea, even if the sand is not as fine as at nearby Hua Hin. While it is relatively quiet, Cha-am still offers visitors a number of beach activities, such as jet skiing and banana boat riding, and the seafood is as readily available and inexpensive as any beach town in Thailand. Cha-am’s beach areas are separated by Naranthip Road, which leads from the unassuming Cha-am town down to Ruamjit Road, which runs parallel to the beach. This intersection is where the closest thing to a beach “town” exists: an area where local festivities are held at the town’s main pier and many fine seafood restaurants are located. North of this intersection is a concentration of businesses catering to European tourists; south of it, the beach becomes gradually quieter and a predominately Thai crowd chills out at relaxing beach resorts, most of which are located on the opposite side Ruamjit Road and along roads leading away from the beach. At the farthest southern end of the road are the most luxurious resorts and golf courses. For a little local character, visitors can travel north to a quaint fishing village that includes a harbor full of fishing boats and a number of seafood restaurants.

The mellow beach town of Cha-am is located less than 200km south of Bangkok. Thanks to its proximity to Hua Hin, Cha-am slowly developed into a tourist destination, though a far quieter one than its popular neighbor to the south. Cha-am is primarily a weekend getaway from those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of Bangkok. Featuring Thailand's longest stretch of beach, Cha-am has a small but quiet beach “town” where there are some charming seafood restaurants and plenty of open-air eateries, not least of which are the rows of beach umbrellas where hawkers sell barbequed shrimp. Accommodation ranges from backpacker friendly European owned hotels to boutique spa retreats, ideal for a romantic rendezvous. The sea at Cha-am is generally calm, making it safe for families with children, while rental jet skis and banana boats are available for those looking for a little more fun. Generally speaking however, Cha-am is for those looking for a quiet and relaxing retreat, particularly on the week days, when the weekend warriors have returned to nearby Bangkok.

Key Tips
  • Cha-am hospital is located on the east side of Sri Sakul Thai Road. It provides 24-hour emergency care.
  • There is medical clinic on Naranthip Road, one block south of Petchakasem Road. While the doctor speaks English, the clinic is for non-emergencies only. Mon-Fri: 17:30-20:00, Sat: 08:00-11:30, 17:30-20:00, Sun: 17:00-20:00.
  • There are a number of Tourist Police substations along Cha-am beach, the largest of which is located at the intersection of Naranthip Road and Ruamjit Road. The main police station is on the north side of Naranthip Road, between Petchakasem Road and the train station.
  • There is a small post office on Ruamjit Road, just south of The Methavali (closed Sundays and holidays). The main post office is near the main police station on the north side of Naranthip Rd, between Petchakasem Rd and the train station.
  • There are a number of Internet cafes along the beach road as well as at the CAT Telecom office on Naranthip Rd.
  • Although Cha-am is a relatively quiet beach town, ride motorbikes with extreme caution, especially at night. Always wear a helmet and closed toe shoes.