This is a little piece of paradise hidden away from the tourist spotlight. Only one and a half hours from Bangkok at that! Bangsaen, or Ban Bang Saen, has a population of less than 10,000 and is part of Saensuk Municipality, which in turn belongs to Chonburi Province. Pattaya is less than an hour away and while it seems to attract vast numbers of international visitors, Bangsaen is a local haunt.
Bang Saen Beach, 100 km southeast of Bangkok and about 10 km from the provincial capital of Chonburi, is a day trip for residents of Bangkok, and is visited mostly on weekends by Thai tourists looking for a relaxing day on the sand. Eclipsed in recent decades by Pattaya, it was once the favorite getaway for Bangkok's elite. Now it attracts mostly Thai families and teenagers looking for a brief, low budget holiday weekend.
One of the best things about Bangsaen was the large number of local restaurants and bars and the relaxed atmosphere everywhere one goes. Local vendors sell fruit, seafood and snacks, such as squid, mussels and spicy steamed fish cakes, and rent chairs, multicolored umbrellas and other beach paraphernalia. Shower facilities are available. Inexpensive guesthouses, bungalows and a small resort cater to those who choose to stay more than one day.
A marine aquarium and museum on the campus of Srinakharinwirot University, on the road between the highway and the beach, has exhibits on the marine environment and the aquatic species native to the waters of the Gulf of Thailand.
The nightlife in Bang Saen is completely different to that of beach towns in Thailand. Virtually all of our fellow diners and drinkers were locals and the live bands that played from time to time were singing Thai pop or Thai versions of western classics. Pretty good too! Enjoyed checking out all the different bars.
You can hop in a taxi bus and move from bar to bar. There are plenty of places to see and it's easy to get around. The only 'adult' night life in town was far away from the beach area. It's present, that's for sure - just not not as obvious as in Pattaya or Phuket.