International travel has resumed and restriction free borders have become a reality, so it’s time for us all to start planning, booking and getting excited about our next travel adventures. For some, that will be returning to a favourite destination, to re-live and re-kindle those holiday vibes, for others that may be looking for a ‘new’ destination to explore, enjoy and add to that list of favourite places.
As you’re reading this you will probably be thinking Pattaya certainly isn’t a ‘new’ destination, whilst at the same time questioning where to find peace and tranquility in a city that is renowned for partying, entertainment and the night time economy. Well, we’ve got a suggestion for all of you Thailand lovers out there, somewhere that doesn’t get the attention of the much lauded islands and beach resorts that we’ve all heard of, but can deliver everything that luxury travel lovers desire.
The local villages and deserted beaches of Sattahip, Jomtien and Bang Saray to the east of Pattaya can be reached in around two hours from Bangkok on a brand new highway making it easily accessible for anyone based in the capital, or for international travellers that wish to jump in a taxi at the airport, and be on the beach in less than two hours. Sound good? Following our recent (and first) trip to the somewhat sleepy, but most certainly beautiful slice of Thailand, let us tell you just some of the reasons that are going to make us return in the not too distant future…
Easily accessible from Bangkok
Being just two hours taxi ride from Bangkok is a big plus for us. We took an inexpensive taxi direct from the airport, and loved the ease and simplicity of this option. There are buses from the city and the airport too, and for those who have a little extra time and enjoy an adventure, you can check out the train, arriving at the picture postcard Yansangvararam Station, less than three hours after leaving Bangkok would be the perfect travel experience.
Enjoy the beautiful and quiet beaches
If beaches with rows of sun beds and masses of people are not your thing, then Bang Saray has got you covered. Enjoy your time on this beautiful and quiet beach where escaping from the crowds is easy, as quite simply, there are no crowds. At weekends, expect to see Thai families enjoying their own special place, with a handful of expat locals and tourists, meaning that Bang Saray beach is the perfect place to relax and recover from the strains of every day life. During the week, it may well just be you, a traditional fishing boat and a trio of local dogs on the expansive and rustic beach.
Check into a luxury resort
During our time exploring the area, our first stop was the wonderful Sea Sand Sun Resort and Villas and we were suitably impressed. Not only did the staff team welcome us as part of their extended family, but they went above and beyond to make our stay memorable. Our Pool Villa Suite was simply stunning and made leaving very difficult, in fact, even getting out of bed was difficult as it was oh so comfortable. And as for the private pool, well that provided the cherry on top of our delicious cake. When you combine the super friendly staff team with the delightful luxury villa, it’s not hard to understand why we thoroughly enjoyed our stay.
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Check into another luxury resort
We also stayed at the sublime MASON who offer guests a selection of ultra-modern luxury villas, all with their own private pool. This design led resort is located on the coast between Bang Saray and nearby Pattaya, but trust us when we say that guests staying at MASON can expect peace, tranquility and a refined luxury experience during their stay, without the crowds and nightlife that ‘vibrant’ Pattaya is famed for. We loved our Beachfront Grand Pool Villa which boasted panoramic ocean views from the expansive poolside sundeck. It was beautifully appointed, with stylish furnishings and a delightfully comfortable bed, whilst the in villa tech included a 49″ Smart TV, personal wine chiller and a Marshall Bluetooth speaker which we certainly made the most of.
Rent a modern and stylish condo
For those who wish to extend their stay, or prefer the privacy and flexibility of a condo on their next vacation, there are a number of excellent options available. From those that we visited, our favourite would have to be the modern and stylish ‘Mirage Condominium’ where the sunset views from the rooftop pool were simply stunning. Contact the professional team at Bang Saray Property, the leading agency in the region, and they will help you find your dream vacation home away from home. And if you start to fall for this serene slice of coastal Thailand, they can also guide you through the process of buying your very own dream home.
Visit Buddha Mountain
If you can drag yourself away from the beach, your luxury resort or your condo, Buddha Mountain (locally known as Khao Chi Chan) is an iconic attraction with both locals and tourists. The 100m tall depiction of Buddha carved into the side of a limestone cliff, is most certainly impressive and well worth a visit.
Visit Nong Nooch Gardens
Located just a few km away from Khao Chi Chan is where you will find the beautifully manicured Nong Nooch Gardens, a privately owned botanical garden of over 600 acres that opened to the public in 1980. The award winning gardens are supposedly impressive, but sadly we saw that they still offer an ‘elephant show’ which is something we would never choose to support so we didn’t visit. Let’s hope in the not too distant future, the only elephants that call Nong Nooch home, are the statues that guard the entrance…
Explore the old town and fishing village
Considering that the urban sprawl of Pattaya is just 15km away, you will be suitably surprised that the old town and fishing village at the heart of Bang Saray offer a generous slice of Thai tranquility. Expect to see colourful fishing boats, shophouses, pagodas, shrines and noodle stalls as you wander the peaceful streets. Enjoy soaking up the atmosphere of a traditional Thai fishing village whilst you decide where to stop for a coffee, a beer or a local snack. Quite simply, Bang Saray is a million miles from what Pattaya has to offer, despite being just along the coast, and therefore offers the perfect destination for those who enjoy a relaxed and chilled vacation.
We loved our maiden voyage to this beautiful area of coastal Thailand and will return for sure. It’s the perfect option for those who wish to escape the busy city for a long weekend, whilst it also makes for an excellent holiday destination when you want to enjoy your next luxury travel adventure without the crowds. And for those who are considering retirement to this part of the world, it may well have everything that you’ve ever dreamed of.
Paul Eyers is Founder of Vegan Food Quest. Vegan Food Quest have become luxury vegan travel specialists as they continue to find, eat and write about the best vegan food in the world.