Thailand: Cha Am & Ko Phangan
We left Chiang Mai by plane to reach Cha Am on the Eastern coast of Gulf of Thailand to relax a few days before my family needed to get back to cold Switzerland.
Cha Am is a typical beach resort location for thai people, not a lot of Westerners do visit this town, there is no specific sightseeing to do around Cha Am and the beach was not exactly what we expected but the resort we stayed at was great and the large swimming pool surrounded by palm trees was a dream!
The weather did just fine for two days before it started raining for the rest of our stay. We said goodbye to Catherine, Aurelio, Marco & Fabio on 27th October and we continued our trip further South to Chumphon.
After almost 6 hours of train, we discovered Chumphon. We didn’t have much time to go around as we just planned an overnight before taking a ferry for Ko Phangan. Nevertheless, Chumphon had a nice and large main street where food stalls satisfied us of skewers and noodles for a few thai bahts. This time we stayed in a “box” hotel made of boat containers. It was very much fun and quite comfortable! The hotel had even a swimming pool where some of the containers had small stairs to access it directly. Great design and great concept, without mentioning the price which was more than reasonable.
The next day , we took a ferryboat to Ko Phangan, one of the famous thai island, close to Ko Samui. Very touristic but with a very relax feel. You can meet any style of visitor here, from the hard backpackers to the yogi gurus, from the families with very young kids to the poshy couples. We rented a little wooden cabana on the shore of the Hin Kong beach, 10 min. drive from the main port where we disembarked. The AirBnB owner, a french expat, was super friendly and gave us a lot of information about what to visit, the snorkelling spots and of course the best/most convenient restaurants around. He arranged a scooter for us which was immediately available at the pier. He loaded our two backpacks on his and we followed him on another engine. So great!
Unfortunately the wet season just started when we arrived on the island, we knew about that, and it rained a lot (when we say a lot it means like 10 hours per day & the entire night). We didn’t have much luck but we still liked exploring the island on our two wheelers. We took some advantage of the bad weather to start planning our next trips.
we did specifically enjoy
- Cha Am: the whirlpool and the swimming pool of the Bann Pantai resort!
- Ko Phangan: the Hin Kong Bay, beautiful view and great for a stroll at sunset!
- Cha Am: the Bann Pantai Resort our peaceful retreat for 4 days.
- Chumphon: the Retro Box Hotel, as explained above we liked the concept very much!
- Koh Phangan: our little AirBnB located in the Hin Kong Bay.
- Cha Am: we didn’t find any good restaurant in this town, however the Bann Pantai’s restaurant “Coco Buono” was excellent, with a specific mention about their pineapple and banana fritters!
- Ko Phangan: we mostly ate at the night market and found very good and cheap food.
Best Kept Secret Tip
More of an advice this week. We were a bit disappointed by the beach in Cha Am. It is ultra crowded with local restaurants leaving only a very tiny strip of sand. All travel guides we read were quite enthusiastic about this town but frankly it is nothing to rave about. Better to take a plane to one island or drive further South to have a dreamy beach vacation (we heard very good things about Prachuap Khiri Khan).