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One more idyllic tropical Paradise in Thailand, Sai Noi Beach!

Wednesday, February 17th, 2010

© Frank P. Schneidewind

 

 

An estimated 250 KM South of Bangkok on Phetkasem Road is another true beach-gem to be found. A nice bay for bathing and swimming with fine sand, hardly any tourists and virtually none of the side-effects, as found in the tourist magnets and hot spots. Developments are typically Thai style ad so are the prices asked here. Less than a handful of food vendors tend to the needs of the guests and provide basic Thai dishes, cold drinks and a bit of beach furniture, such as relaxing beach chairs, tables and umbrellas. Turn left, when coming from the North about 20 minutes after you passed Hua Hin. Just the same approach as to Suan Son Pradhipat, only a bit further South.

 

Even the TAT could give this treasured area no less than 4 stars in order not to loose their face entirely in public, despite the total lack of tourist developments. Accommodations are indeed difficult to locate, but first signs of tourism can be spotted. It will not gain Hua Hin’s fame, but the world famous seaside resort town makes a great stepping stone and for those staying in Hua Hin, these fabulous beaches are surely worth a day trip. On a rented scooter, moped or car, one can cover the distance on the sunny side of half an hour. Beachlovers just need to follow road number 4 towards Pranburi.

An idyllic beach for those with kids or seeking to chill out.

Sai Noi stretches from Khao Tao, the bold mountain with it’s rocky surface in the South to large boulders in the North. We were surprised by it’s cleanliness and found it in the same condition on subsequent visits.

No brochures can be had about Sai Noi, nobody needed to photoshop away sharp rocks or dirt here! Undiscovered yet by beachchair-blockers, umbrella-mafias or full moon DJ’s, great for us since 2001!

The back row under the shady trees is ideal for those, who wish to dine by the seaside or just enjoying the breezes. Beachwalks reveal a busy beachlife, predominantly in the northern section, where crabs have their homes and can be watched from a distance.

The waters are shallow and very suitable for children of all ages and water fun, good swimmers need to wade a distance before depth is sufficient. Even on a perfect day in High season, Sai Noi doesn’t count many visitors. This location seems to be near perfect for those, hunting for alternatives to overcrowded beaches elsewhere. Prices were found to be extremely moderate with drinks and snacks only slightly over main street market rural Thai charges. Use of the provided beach furniture was free for customers or charged a minimal daily rate for all day occupation.

The water quality was at all  times good enough for water activity, no questionable debris or trash was spotted here. Nature in general appeared widely undisturbed and the lush forests in the backdrop plus the near National Parks offer a variety. Sarm Roi Yod with it’s caves is worth a trip, so is the fishing village nearby.

Shells and occasional seaweed line the water’s edge, the tide and all features like waves and currents etc. seem to be much less dangerous and milder in the Gulf. A cow or water buffalo can at times be spotted, with the later one being a welcomed extra attraction to the guests here. Pastures border the northern part of Sai Noi and the farming never stopped existing here.

For all those, that enjoy lenghthy beach walks, the Sai Yai beach to the North stretches far and offers a similar environment. Minus the food establishments, beach furniture providers and drink vendors, I should add.

Sai Noi can be reached by train or public bus (from Sai Mai Terminal Bangkok) to Hua Hin (around 200 Baht). A taxi or Tuktuk to Sai Noi may cost you 300 to 500 Baht. Any southbound bus can take you for 20 Baht to the kilometer marker 244, from there it is only about 1800 meter to you beach chair. Southbound buses leave Hua Hin several times per hour.

 

 

Sea Pine Garden – Hua Hin, less known Jewel for Beachfun

Friday, December 4th, 2009

© Frank P. Schneidewind

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This prime piece of beach is to be found easily just south of my beloved City of Hua Hin, the Royal Seaside Resortcity on the western Gulfshore. Sea Pine Garden is the English term for the Suan Son Pradhipat, a retreat open to the public and run by the Royal Thai Army as a recreational facility. The distance from Hua Hin Town is a mere 9 KM or just over 5 miles. A songtheauw (public transport) runs to Khao Takiab, the mountain flanking Suan Son Pradipat to the north. The beach features great bathing opportunities in unpolluted waters and a well kept sandy area, shaded by huge Casuarinas or Sea Pines. http://www.tripadvisor.com  ranks it presently under the Top 5 of Hua Hin’s attractions!

Just follow Phetchkasem Road (Route 4) in southerly direction, until you see this sign:

A few Meters past it, you will arrive at a security gate and a PTT gas station, here you need to turn left. Unless during situations of heightened security, a friendly greeting by the guards is all you have to do here. Oh yes, almost forgot. A small nominal fee for the vehicle parking is sometimes charged. I forgot the exact sum, because it was under 1 $ in value and only charged occasionally. From here you follow the blacktop road eastbound to a parking area for cars and mopeds right next to their beachside Cafeteria and Snackeria.

The business is operated and run under the Command of the Military by civilian contractors, which are friendly and offer drinks of all kinds and some assorted Thai snacks.


It is sparkling clean here and their “Sai Lek Moo”, a noodle soup for only 30 Baht is a delicacy. Drinks are served in bottles or cans, chilled and at very reasonable prices. They also have a well maintained toilet facility here with freshwater showers. Toilet use is 3 Baht, they don’t charge extra for a shower. The early morning breezes here and their excellent and inexpensive foods made this a “must-stop” on all my Bangkok to Kuala Lumpur drives in the years past. It also is a great location to spend all day in the water, on the beach or on the terrace. For Bangkokians only a 3 to 3 1/2 hour drive away, it makes a perfect weekend get-away or a destination for a fun filled day trip. Untainted by much trash or annoying and intoxicated mass tourists, it is also highly recommendable to those with children. I have seen seniors playing chess all day on the terrace, but it never really appeared crowded like those dreadful public beaches in selected tourist areas.

The entire beach appears spotlessly clean, reason for that being is a 5 people cleanup-crew, which combs the beach daily in the early A.M. at first sunlight. Every forgotten straw, all small trash is being removed to have this pristine piece of land again ready for its daily bunch of guests.

The clean-up crew has been watched by me and observed over many years now, high season or not, Suan Son Pradipat keeps its great reputation. Several times over they sweep the grounds in their routines. Broken pieces of glass, commonly found on less maintained beaches have never been spotted by me here. Seating opportunities for families on tree stumps are provided near the Snackeria, you are allowed to bring your own food and drinks. Leave nothing, but footprints in the sand later and everyone will be happy.

At lunchtime it gets a little busier under the mighty Casuarinas or Sea Pines, when folks gather here for their family picnics. Bring a hammock or rent a beachchair for a low daily fee. Its chillout time here.

The terrace cafeteria is an ideal spot to start hourlong beachwalks, indulge in beachgames or submerge in the refreshing waters of the gulf. No noisy jetskis endanger your life or disturb the tranquility. There is room for plenty of people here.

The clear water is shallow, ideal for kids and seniors. Waves aren’t of threatening heights and my 3-year old niece always loved it here. Khao Takiab, the Chopstick Mountain with it’s temples and hordes of monkeys looms to the north. During the King’s presence in his Klai Klangwol Palace in Hua Hin, the silhouettes of three Royal Thai Navy vessels are on the distant horizon.

Lifeguards aren’t on permanent duty, but on public holidays this harmless beach boast extra safety for the swimmers. No strong currents were detectable, no sharp rocks or reefs pose any danger here.

Tarrifs and fees for the necessary rentals are signposted in Thai script, but helpful attendants will collect your coins or small bills for this great and inexpensive service.

The rental of inner tubes is also handled here, they add fun and safety to many and are very popular with Thai folks. The young soldiers manning this look a bit “Rambo-like” in their fatigues, but I can assure you they are as friendly as can be and keep a certain unwanted group of youngsters with a deficit in behavior and beach-bums away here.

Many stay until the late hours, as breezes amplify and the thirst for a cold beer when the lights grow dim pops up in young fellows. The spontaneous parties here in the evening are something special.

Portable grills are allowed, quite a few guests fix their lunches or dinners themself.

The Southern Railway Line has a Stop here too, I could not figure out the exact timetable, but inquire at Hua Hin Station if you want to travel here cheaply and efficient by rail. Hua Hin hotel guests and holiday folks might like this feature a lot.

The southern overview shows another hill in the distance, several Kilometers away. The beach is wide enough even at high tide and the sand appears to be fine sand all the way.


Suan Son Pradipat isn’t run by profiteers or greedy folks, you can spend a wonderful time here and add memorable impressions to your lot. No masses of beach vendors, no elephant beggars or annoying timeshare-touts – this has quickly become my favorite hidden jewel for most beachfun action within easy reach from Bangkok. A rental car, moped or bicycle gets you here from Hua Hin in a whisk of time. Public transport in Hua Hin offers songtheauw rides to the other side of Chopstick mountain as seen in above picture, it still leaves a good walking distance to be covered by you. Taxis in Hua Hin are famous for overpricing foreigners. You may want to inquire with the train station or your hotel’s concierge for a possibe rail transport, if you don’t like to get your own set of wheels for a great day out.

For those living in Bangkok, there is a multitude of transport options wth the slowest being the train (6h). Bus Terminal Sai Mai has plenty of departures to southern destinations with scheduled stops in Hua Hin hourly (4 h). The quickest option may be the DeLuxe minivan from Victory Monument to Cha-Am and Hua Hin. It costs roughly 200 Baht one way and gets you there as quick as any Taxi would for a fraction of the fare.

My apologies to those of you, that feel double-served by this article – we at SIAMPEDIA have indeed published a similar one in German language before. It was originally being produced for a German magazine, called “Der Farang”. I have updated this and rewritten it for our English speaking friends on request by dear friends, which were looking for an uncontaminated beach to go with their children to play.