Located only a few kilometres south of Pattaya, Bang Saray is full of natural charms which the built-up Pattaya just can’t offer.
Uncrowded beaches dot the coast from the Jomtien district down to the end tip of “Ao Tua Gor Bay,” the u-shaped bay running from Prachuap Khiri Khan down to Chonburi province.
Thanks to much of the region being under the care of the Royal Thai Navy, beaches like Hat Nang Rum and Hat Nam Sai have remained free from development, with the latter only recently opening to the public.
True to its name (which means clear water), beachgoers will discover a flat beach stretching about one kilometer towards the sea, while small reefs on the southern end are perfect for snorkeling (B200 per person for a 30-minute diving trip with navy staff).
Just off the coast, you’ll also discover the uninhabited islands of Koh Samae Sarn and Koh Kham, which have the kind of perfect white sands and crystal waters usually associated with much further south. The navy only allows day trips to these islands which charge an entrance fee of B200 for Koh Kham (best for snorkeling) and B300 (B600 for foreigners) for Koh Samae Sarn. At the navy’s inland Sea Turtle Conservation Center (038-431-477, www.fb.com/SeaTurtleSattahip) you can feed turtles and, if you’re lucky, release young turtles into the sea.
Where to stay:
The only accommodation at Hat Nam Sai is the new collection of navy-run rainbow-colored bungalows, which cost B1,400 on weekdays and B2,000 on weekends. If you’re after a resort, check out U Pattaya (033-046-100, www.uhotelsresorts.com/upattaya), which sits on Bangsaray Beach, just north of Sattahip’s navy beaches. Room rates start from B3,824.
The newly opened Costa Village Bang Saray (092-019-9555, www.costavillagebangsaray.com) is a Santorini-themed hotel around the same location at B2,500 per night.