Then pack your picnic basket, backpack, bicycle bag and a few Thai baht for fresh, local food; open the windows and immerse yourself in the fresh air and pristine scenery of Thailand’s Central Gulf Coast.
Depending on accommodation chosen, travellers to the area can expect:
Environment and natural beauty: 5+ stars.
Recreation: 5 stars.
Family-friendly room options: 5 stars.
Authentic cultural experiences: 5 stars.
Privacy and value for money: 3 to 5 stars.
In an age of mass tourism and dramatic shifts in Southeast Asia’s travel scene, those interested in nature, beautiful beaches and healthful food and recreation can strike tourism gold in this relatively undiscovered, authentic coastal area of Thailand.
Whether by vehicle on road-trip or as a destination location by jet, visitors to this region can enjoy rare world-class cultural experiences and lodging options tailored to meet their specific needs. First-hand interaction with local people who directly benefit from, and truly appreciate, your visit defines the visitor experience in this untouched region.
Road-trippers, cyclists, runners, beach trekkers, stand-up paddleboarders, kitesurfers and kayakers, beachgoers, amateur and semi-professional photographers, family and solo travellers and anyone interested in ditching the congestion and pollution of daily life can all find accommodation and wellness packages to meet their desires.
This trip to a less-travelled, somewhat isolated area presents some challenges, but these can be easily addressed with a little planning and by using the information in the following sections to your advantage. For those willing to take on the adventure, the reward of a once-in-a lifetime experience awaits.
The local government responsible for this wide-open coastline, along with the Department of Rural Roads, have done a commendable job in creating safe, rubbish-free, world-class scenic routes that are suitable for driving, cycling and even walking.
The more adventurous free and independent traveller can enjoy unmatched natural vistas rich in cultural sites – temples, monuments, fishing villages, caves – and even visit local ladies growing peanuts on a tranquil beach. The laid-back vibe, combined with kilometre after kilometre of well-marked and nicely maintained roads with little vehicular traffic, make it ideal for exploration by car, bicycle or on foot.
Where to stay
Tusita Wellness Resort, Chumphon
The Tusita Wellness Resort was chosen based on its excellent location, immediate proximity to the expansive coastal scenic road network and the wide range of lodging options, including a beachfront bungalow that sleeps four adults and one child, with promotional pricing of under B3,000 (excluding breakfast).
The forest location is situated less than a kilometre from the beach, with room options for two also starting at under B3,000 including breakfast. Check the details thoroughly on the resort website for the full range currently on offer. At the time of writing, there are a few budget hotels and hostels in the area, but most were closed and not bookable.
Interior air-conditioned dining is available inside the resort for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Food quality and selection is adequate. Seafood served is ocean-caught locally (not farmed) and no MSG is used.
Contact: General Manager Prarop Chanpoltho (+66 7763 0920, email@example.com)
Price range: B2,500-3,700 per night (special low season pricing good through October 2019).
How to get there: Five- to six-hour self-drive from Phuket International Airport or 80-minute ground transfer from Surat Thani Airport. For best results, arrange ground transfers through the resort.
Best way to book: Direct via their website (tusitawellness.com). The resort will price-match all third party offers.
Pros: Clean, well-designed and beautifully crafted rooms; multiple rooms, including forest and oceanfront locations; and free bicycle use and local tuk-tuk transfers on request.
Cons: No nightlife; and breakfast and in-house food is basic, but healthy.
Where to eat
Just outside the resort, open-air lunch and dinner are available at the Paktako Seafood restaurant. Serving fish ocean-caught nearby and local vegetables, Paktako is highly recommended for its wide range of selections, great tasting food and very reasonable prices.