Hua Hin’s cheaper twin, Cha-Am is a cheerful and relaxing beach spot loved by Thais. With over 10 trains departing from Bangkok to Cha-Am on weekends, the former fishing village has flourished into a laidback beach getaway with plenty of activities and sites to discover. The only foreigners you’ll find here are older tourists who choose to winter here, making Cha-Am one of the few remaining beaches in Thailand that has been able to maintain its authenticity and serenity.
Of course, the main reason travelers flock to this coastal town is its incredible beach. Stretching for over 7km, the white sandy coast offers plenty for beach bums to do from simply sunbathing on the shores to getting active on the water or refueling with some delicious Thai food by the sea. Be mindful that, because Cha-Am is overwhelmingly visited by locals, bathing suits are few here as the most common Thai beach attire involves a t-shirt and shorts.
Statue of King Naresuan and Neranchararam Temple
During the Ayutthaya period, King Naresuan the Great (1590-1605) used Cha-Am as a meeting place before going to war with the Burmese. For that reason, a statue was built in his honor in the city. Just a few meters away, on the other side of the road, you’ll find Neranchararam Temple where you’ll be able to admire a six-arm Buddha figure.
Cha-Am’s fresh market runs daily by the local train station, selling all kinds of fresh produce. On Wednesday nights, however, the market stalls sprawl onto the vast square just next to it and the city comes alive. Hundreds of stalls start setting up at around 5pm and you will be able to find everything here from delicious Thai treats to clothes, household products and even pets.
Originally built in the 1920s, this Thai-Victorian seaside palace was built as a summer home for King Rama VI. Today, it sits on a vast and perfectly groomed green landscape just off Hat Cha-Am and it is open as a walk-through museum for interested visitors.
Considered by many as one of Southeast Asia’s finest golf destinations, Cha-Am has some of the best golf courses in all of Thailand. Simply drive some 20 minutes out of Cha-Am and you’ll be able to combine your relaxing holiday with your favorite sport at world-class golfing facilities. Plus, if you happen to be visiting in August or September, you’ll likely be able to participate in the annual Cha-Am and Hua Hin Golf Festival.
Cha-Am Fishing Park
Whether you’re a keen angler or a first-timer, Cha-Am Fishing Park offers a great opportunity for those wanting to do some fishing during their stay. Its waters boast over 5,000 fish from 15 different species, meaning even the most inexperienced angler can usually catch anywhere from 5 to 10 decent sized fish in one day. Just head 15 minutes out of town, and you’ll find the exquisite grounds that make a day at Cha-Am Fishing Park flash by.
Related: Best Places Thailand