Cha Am hotels
The immense prosperity and urban orbit of Bangkok has led to a number of transmutative developments in the rest of the Kingdom of Thailand. For proof, look no farther than the Gulf of Siam coast, where once-sleepy townships have become go-to middle class holiday hubs, ostensibly overnight. Cha-Am, one of the first such resort junkets and now a poster child weekend escape, is a banner exemplar.
Practically inseparable from Hua Hin, the famous resort town a hop, skip and a jump down the coast, Cha-Am was first a summer sanctuary of the royal family more than a century ago. After the palaces and lush gardens came a whirlwind build-up of hotels and other telltale symbols of tourist infrastructure. Today the Cha-Am, Hua Hin and Phetchaburi coast is a haven for beach and water sports devotees and serves as a fine gateway to other remarkable points of interest in the province, from national parks and ancient temples to indigenous villages and wildlife reserves. That the area is relatively close to Bangkok makes it that much more desirable for domestic and international tourists alike.
Cha-Am's Top 10
10. Wat Khao Takhrao, in Ban Laem district, contains exquisite Buddhist iconography.
5. Wat Neran Chararam is a place of deep spiritual import in Phetchaburi province.
9. Wat Mahathat Worawihan is the heart of the town of Phetchaburi.
4. Maruk Khatayawan Temple deserves a visit while in Cha-Am.
8. Huai Sai Wildlife Breeding Centre is a world class sanctuary for a wide variety of animals, from deer to primates, raptors to bears.
3. Rat Charoen Tham Temple is a venerable shrine.
7. Thai Song Dam Tribal Villages unfurl singular impressions of inative life in Cha-Am and Phetchaburi province.
2. Huai Sai Tai Temple is a prominent refuge for Buddhist monks in Cha-Am.
6. Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park combines natural beauty with ancient ruins.
1. Mrigadayavan Palace is the number one tourist landmark in Cha-Am. The former summer villa of King Rama VI was built in 1924.
- Wat Yai Suwannaram – This temple flaunts ancient Asian architecture prevalent during the Ayutthaya era that accounts for most of the neoclassic structures in Cha-Am.
- Wat Ko Keo Suttharam – This temple has survived since the 17th century.
- Wat Kamphaeng Laeng – Built during the rule of King Jayavaraman VII, the interesting thing about this temple is that it was made to be a Hindu shrine.
- Palace of Love and Hope (Mrigadayavan Palace) – This glorious palace was built in 1922 and was King Rama VI’s haven.
- Khao Luang Cave – The oldest cave in Cha-Am showcasing Buddha’s images.
Cha-Am Art & Culture
- Phra Nakhorn Khiri – This palace exudes a unique style, which happens to be a blend of European, Chinese and Thai architecture.
- Petchaburi – Besides the reputation of being one of the oldest towns in Thailand, this place has an array of amazing ancient temples.
- King Naresuan the Great – The statue of this famous ruler who ruled from 1590 to 1605 is built in a small park near the sea.
- Neranchararam Temple – Unique six-limbed statue of Buddha in this temple.
- San Chao Por Khao Yai – A highly revered shrine of the guardian spirit in Cha-Am, which is not missed by any passerby.
- Cha-Am Market – This market is dominated by food shops.
- Talat nad (Cha-Am night market) – Market opens up every day of the week except Wednesday and Monday.
- Tesco Lotus Express – It will provide you all the necessary supplies that you need.
- Marts – There is a 7-Eleven, OK supermarket and a few other family markets to cater to all your basic needs.
- Factory Outlet – Products of big brands can be bagged in this factory outlet at a discounted price.
Gay & Lesbian Cha-Am
- Baan Bayan Beachfront Hotel – It is gay friendly and facilitates socializing.
- Red Indian Bar – It is a small bar with three tables, but a popular hangout for gays since it is on the way to the beach.
- Chico Bar – It is owned and run by gays, hence a gay-friendly environment.
- Travel Services – If you are more comfortable with a gay guide, then you can hire one from travel services like Image Golf and World Wide Travel.
- Chicken Coop – Cha-Am's bar area at Narathip Road. This is the only go-go bar in Cha-Am.
- Fishing Pier – Take a walk along the seafood joints on the pier.
- Saphan Hin – People sit on this long pier to soak in the sunset and sunrise.
- Khao Nang Phanthurat National Park – You can go trekking on the limestone mountain, which has a good number of caves.
- Wednesday Night Market – Visit the market that comes together every Wednesday night.
- Eurasia Lagoon – Sip beer and calm your senses away from the main beach.
- Go trekking and watch exotic birds at Kaeng Krachan National Park.
- Chao Samran Beach offers quaint and pristine stretches of sand.
- Click photographs of the fictional characters created by Sunthorn Phoo, Thailand’s famous poet, at Puek Tian Beach.
- You can indulge in water sports and upstream trekking at Pala-U waterfalls.
- Play football or go for a picnic at Cha-Am Forest Park.
Cha-Am is a district in the Gulf of Thailand, located in the Phetchaburi Province in central Thailand. It is principally a resort town with nearby beaches to swim and nature reserves to tour, including the Kaeng Krachan National Park, home to elephants, tigers and leopards. The nearby Mrigadayavan Palace was a former royal residence and is now open to tourists.
- Mrigadayavan Palace
- Railway Station Market
- Kaeng Krachan National Park
- Swimming at the local beach
- Taking guided tours of Cham-Am Forest Park
- Golfing at the Springfield Royal Country Club
The Cha-Am climate is tropical throughout the year, typical of much of the central region of Thailand. The average high temperature reaches a highpoint of 35°C in April and stays above 30°C throughout the rest of the year. From July to October is the rainy season, when you can expect heavy and extended periods of rain; it is best to visit from December to May, when the weather is drier.
Getting There & Around
Cha-Am is around 193 km from Bangkok. The nearest international airport, Suvarnabhumi Airport, is situated 30 km from the capital. There are good road connections from the airport to the Phetchaburi Province. There is also a bus and railway connection to the area.
There are songthaews and tuk-tuks available to transport tourists around the area. Songthaews are modified pickup trucks with benches inside. There are also buses which go between the various nearby towns as well.
Kaeng Krachan Forest Complex, the foremost national park in Thailand, is on the tentative UNESCO World Heritage Site list.
Cha-Am Forest Park is a haven of recreation in the province.
Phra Nakhon Khiri Fair is the top tourist festival in Phetchaburi. The historic cultural fair combines a hodgepodge of events, from food stalls to musical concerts.
Thai Song Dam Festival, held in April, is a traditional New Year celebration for a distinctive Lao ethnic group in Phetchaburi province.
Springfield Village Golf and Spa lets duffers tee it up in beautiful Hua Hin.
When To Go
Cha-Am has a tropical climate typical for Thailand. Moderate to monsoon-like rains fall from May to November and can make basic access and transport next to impossible. The best bet, then, is to time your visit with the dry season or at the tail end of the wet season.
Temperatures predictably hover between 68°F (20°C) and 90°F (32°C) for the year. Thankfully, however, conditions on the coast of the Gulf of Siam tend to be much less humid than Bangkok, on the whole.
As Bangkok prospers and swells, numerous coastal areas in relative proximity to the massive capital metropolis have undergone sea change development, mostly for the benefit of middle-class domestic tourists. Soon after wealthy investors cherry-pick choice spots, beach-hungry hordes usually follow suit. The formula works well, most notably in Cha Am, one of the first and most famous weekend escapes from Bangkok.
Together with nearby Hua Hin, about 25 km down the Gulf of Thailand coast, Cha Am first drew the attention of the Thai Royal Family in the early 20th century. A flurry of summer palaces and colonial-style hotels soon hit the shoreline and indeed, high tea at the old Railway Hotel (now Sofitel Centara Grand Resort and Villas Hua Hin) is a genteel and venerable custom. While beach resorts, water sports and tropical nightlife do a fine day make in Cha Am, visitors may well want to devote some time to the Mrigadayavan Palace, Huai Sai Tai Temple, Rat Charoen Tham Temple and Maruk Khatayawan Temple. The fine ensemble of landmarks provides a good counter-balance for Cha Am’s heady mix of sand and sun. In the end however, the beach resort is a remarkable and often necessary refuge from the incessant congestion of busy Bangkok.
More Attractions & Activities
- Mrigadayavan Palace
- Huai Sai Tai Temple
- Rat Charoen Tham Temple
- Maruk Khatayawan Temple
- Wat Neran Chararam
- Cha Am Forest Park
- Springfield Village Golf and Spa
- Phra Nakhon Khiri Fair
- Thai Song Dam Festival
- Kaeng Krachan National Park
Restaurants & Nightlife
- I Sea Bar and Restaurant
- Krua Medsai
- Poom Restaurant
- Rang Yen Garden
- Da Vinci’s
- Valentine Bar
- Rung Bar
- Free Time Bar
- Ae’s Place 2B
More Info On Climate
Cha Am has a tropical climate with moderate to heavy rainfall from May to November and temperatures between 20°C and 32°C for the year. Overall, the weather on the Gulf of Thailand coast is much less humid and oppressive than the urban confines of the Thai capital.
More Info On Getting Around
Cha-Am is a short 25 mi (40 km) drive from Hua Hin. Low-cost airlines provide service between Bangkok and tiny Hua Hin Airport (30 minutes).
For most visitors, however, transport to Cha-Am from the capital is by train, bus or fast ferry. Each has relative pros and cons with affordability the common attribute. For a bit more, some hire a private car to make the trip to Phetchaburi province.
Within Cha-Am proper, tuk-tuks, motorcycle taxis and songthaew offer a reliable transport mix.