We arrived safely in Bang Saphan mid-afternoon on Saturday, tired from the drive but glad it didn’t take longer. We found the resort easily enough; Bang Saphan is really not much more than a fishing village so it didn’t take much searching to find it!
Sailom Resort appears to be maybe a year old. The facilities are in very good condition but the trees and bushes haven’t really filled in. In a few years, it will be much nicer and the landscaping will be more lush and there will be a little more shade. Right now, the direct sun is very… direct.
There are very beautiful flowers throughout the grounds, though, such as the one pictured to the right. It is hard to believe that this is real, the colors are so vivid!
The resort is composed of individual cottages, actually very reasonably sized so that a couple has plenty of room inside the cottage as well as a nice porch out front. Half the cottages face the pool and the others are around the corner with a view of the Gulf of Thailand.
Below: Looking across the pool towards the Gulf.
A road separates the resort from the beach, and that stretch of beach is not really public. There is a fence although there are so many gaps you could easily access it. Also, like many of the beaches on this side of the Gulf, it is not really pretty. Plus, unlike Hua Hin or Cha-Am, there are no services provided: no umbrellas, no vendors, etc.
The upside is that you can really enjoy you beach undisturbed. There was another stretch nearby that we drove to, probably about 4 km long with white sand, scattered driftwood, and not a single person anywhere. Except for Tawn, of course!
Tawn spent much of the two days sleeping and I spent much of it reading. There is only so much sleeping I can do. We also did a lot of eating.
Tawn’s friend Tui recommended a restaurant on the beach. “It doesn’t look like much,” he said, “but the food is quite good.”
He wasn’t kidding. The shack really looked pretty run-down (above) and the the girls working were listless. But we enjoyed some lovely crab friend rice and gang som plaa, fried fish with greens in a tamarind paste broth, below.
We did some exploring and encountered the local Songkhran celebrations. I shot a good amount of video footage and have been editing it together to share with you, but am receiving video card errors when using Adobe Premiere Elements. If anyone knows anything about video cards on laptops and what I can do about these errors, please send me a message!
I’ll wait another day or so to share the pictures and (hopefully) video footage.
Along the way we passed a lot of beaches where the fishing fleets drop off their catches. There are rows and rows of tarpaulin across the street on which thousands of sardines are dried in the sun. We stopped so I could take a picture. I asked the workers, in Thai, if I could take a picture and they just stared at me like I had landed from the moon. Either they weren’t Thai or a farang asking to take a picture of their work is just the strangest thing they have ever encountered.
We had dinner at a second restaurant nearby the first. This one looked a little nicer, prices were a bit higher, and so were our expectations. Sadly, they were not met. The grilled prawns arrived looking a little small but tasting fresh… until we got past the few on the top of the plate only to discover that the ones at the bottom had been frozen previously. Tawn complained to the waitress and she claimed no knowledge of that. “Oh, they were delivered from our vendor this morning.” she said. Yeah, straight from his deep freezer.
Just from the color in the picture below you can tell they aren’t the same!
The grilled squid, which the waitress especially recommended, was not very fresh, either. When squid is really fresh, it is quite tender and is really a pleasure to eat. After chewing one piece for a minute without it getting any closer to being ready to swallow, I gave up.
After two nights at the resort, we packed our bags and got an early start back to Khrungthep. There really wasn’t much else to do in Bang Saphan and as Songkhran isn’t a recognized holiday for my US employer, I had to get back to work. Thankfully, since there were still two days left in the holiday, traffic was really light on the road. We made it back to Khrungthep in very reasonable time.
Along the way we made a number of interesting stops. There was one point where all alongside the highway there were fruit vendors, kind of a nonstop line several hundred meters long. Everyone was selling watermelon. We bought two, one red and one yellow. Can you imagine the carnage if a vehicle lost control and smashed into the stands?
One of the prides of Thailand are the clean, modern petrol stations. We pulled into one that looked quite new, had several restaurants, a nice coffee shop that could give Starbucks a run for its money, vendors, a children’s play area, etc.
They also had an antique pump on display, everything written in Thai except for the manufacturer’s name: Avery Hardoll. If you need a vintage petrol pump, there is a company in the UK that will sell you one, completely restored. Just what you need for your birthday, right?
As we approached Samut Songkhram, site of the big construction on the roadway, we heeded the advice of a sign and opted for a detour that took us on a wide circle to the west of Khrungthep and then in on surface streets. It added about 50 km to the route, but we were able to explore some unfamiliar territory and traffic was light so it was okay.
Along the way, we discovered a new location for the Cabbages and Condoms resort/restaurant chain. Operated by the non-profit Population and Community Development Association (PDA), these restaurants and resorts not only provide employment to local communities, they serve as the source of much of the funding for the PDA’s programs in population control, HIV/AIDS education, poverty reduction, microcredit, etc. Tawn’s father is one of the executives of the organization, so we like to support them.
The restaurant in Ratchaburi province has been open only four months and when we arrived we were the only guests there. Of course, we did stop quite early for lunch.
The food was really tasty: asparagus stir-fried with shrimp, Northeaster style larb salad made with tofu instead of pork, and a fish curry that has thin strips of fragrant kaffir lime leaves sprinkled on top. Aroy maak!
Afterwards, we performed the traditional Songkhran ritual of bathing the Buddha images (conveniently placed outside the front door) with lustral water and a fragrant powder.
The most amazing thing about the entire trip is that Tawn didn’t use hair products the whole time! And he still looked so handsome!
We were back home by mid-afternoon, leaving us plenty of time to rest and then try and watch a movie. Sadly, the showtimes on the internet were incorrect so all we were able to do was visit the cinema lobby and talk with a friendly cashier. Not quite as much fun as watching a movie, really.