Hua Hin to Bangsaphan

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Big Boy
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Hua Hin to Bangsaphan

Post by Big Boy » 20 Sep 2008 01:27

ROAD TRIP HUA HIN TO BANGSAPHAN

Having spent most of the previous month chilling out, enjoying my grandchildren, we decided that we had do something different before we returned to the UK. We had a family conference, and decided to pay a visit to Bangsaphan. I had read many interesting reports about the area on HHAD, and thought it would be nice to have a look.

First job was to hire a suitable vehicle for the trip (4 adults + 2 children). Took a walk to Budget, and arranged for them to deliver a Honda CRV to our home for 8 the following morning. As usual, my son-in-law was the main driver, with me named as another driver just in case – but no real desire to drive.

We then had to work out an itinerary. We looked at several sites on the Internet, and came to the conclusion that we would be hard pressed to pay more than 500 – 600 Baht per room per night :oops: – what a mistake that was. We planned our route to take in several points of interest, and saw that when we arrived in the area (Ban Krut to Bangsaphan Noi), there were only 2 main roads, with Beach Huts scattered along their route – this would be easy.

On the first day we left our house in the centre of Hua Hin and drove to the first point of interest – a giant Buddha about a mile off the main highway.

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The grounds of this temple were still under construction, although the main Buddha was fairly well established. We spent a fair while here while the family received a blessing, and purchased a few good luck bits and bobs for my wife’s car back in the UK. You will see from the following photo that things have moved on considerably from when we visited last year.

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Next stop was the market at Dan Singkhon on the Burmese Border.

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This was the highlight of the trip for my son-in-law. He has a thing for unusual orchids, and I think every type of orchid that you could imagine was on sale here. However, it is the price that was the main attraction. Apparently the orchids are smuggled across the border by the Burmese – they are sold at about 10% of the price that you pay anywhere else in Thailand. It wasn’t just orchids on sale, but teak furniture was in abundance and all of the little trinkets you see in tourist markets all over the country. Everything was very cheap.

We then moved on to Ao Manao for lunch. To me, this is one of the prettiest beaches in this part of Thailand.

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There is an excellent variety of food on sale at the food centre, and the prices are Thai ie not much sign of the usual Farang mark up.

Everybody fuelled up, we then drove to the Huai Yang Waterfall

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This was one of the friendlier waterfalls that I have visited in Thailand. It was easy even for me with great bulk to climb to the various levels. The ponds at the bottom of the waterfalls were full of fish

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And the waterfalls ……………… well, they were just waterfalls.

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Now it was on Ban Krut to visit what was the highlight of my trip, Wat Maha Chedi.

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What a fantastic building – it deserves a place in Disneyland rather than Thailand.

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After climbing that huge hill, followed by all of those steps, I was ready to drop. However, once inside the building it was so cool, with a refreshing breeze blowing through. Although I would never dream of taking photos when I’ve been told that I can’t, this was the first place that I’ve ever seen guards strategically placed to ensure that you didn’t. The views from the terraces were just as stunning, and really show the mile upon mile of deserted golden beaches in this area of Thailand.

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It was now about 4:30 in the afternoon, and the adventure was just about to begin. After a long, full day, we needed to find somewhere to rest our heads for the night. We’d studied the maps that we had found on the Internet, and all that we had to do was drive the coast road towards Bangsaphan Noi, and there would be an abundance of holiday resorts wanting to give us accommodation for the night, and the cost was going to be negligible.

We decided that we needed the road nearest the sea. We found ourselves driving past coconut plantation after coconut plantation – where were the holiday resorts? Every now and then the road would disappear, and we’d find ourselves driving off road. We just couldn’t understand it as the Internet had made this look like such an easy task. Eventually we stopped at a Thai’s home and asked for directions. Well, the reaction was great – it seemed we were well lost (this totally baffled me after reading all of the maps). We had to double back upon ourselves for a few miles, turn left and drive inland quite a way :?

Eventually, we came to semi civilisation, and another Thai chap said we were on the right road, and holiday resorts were just over a hill. My youngest granddaughter was starting to cry because she was hungry. Fortunately, we then came across a market in the middle of nowhere. A few things on sticks satisfied the hunger pangs, and we were on our way again. Then a familiar sign Daeng Bungalows, so we followed it.

As we approached the huts, I remember commenting that it was a good job we had hired a 4 x 4 because I wouldn’t have fancied driving this terrain with a normal car.

When we got there, I didn’t fancy it at all. The huts looked grubby, and the Thaïs looking after the place didn’t look like your average hotel receptionists/management – was I being too fussy? My wife and daughter went with the woman to view one of the huts. The door opened, the woman walked in, and immediately ran out screaming. She’d been jumped upon by quite a few lizards – time to look elsewhere. Shouldn’t be too difficult, when reading the Internet literature, the impression was that if you found one resort, you would easily find the rest.

We knew there was nothing behind us, so we continued forwards across the rough terrain – best part of the journey. My son-in-law was driving really well, and then we saw about a dozen people ahead of us, each armed with what looked like a machine gun and wearing a ski-mask. We continued forward, and were relieved to find that we were crossing a paint balling area. A quick word, and they directed us back to a road, and a series of holiday resorts.

We now found ourselves amongst an abundance of resorts. Unfortunately, they were either full, uninhabitable (according to my wife and daughter) or asking stupid money (2,500 Baht for a basic room). As light was fading fast, I was prepared to pay the money, but my wife wouldn’t hear of it. Our search continued, with the same results. My wife and daughter actually went in to quite a few rooms, and left very quickly because they were either dirty or smelt badly.

It seemed that with every group of resorts we had to go off road for a while, and the maps we had studied were worthless – didn’t match reality at all.

I was beginning to get worried when we drove in to another resort – the Had Son Resort

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The rooms were spotless, well appointed (bed, a/c, fridge, shower etc). We took 2 rooms at 800 baht each per night.

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The resort also did reasonable full board snorkelling/diving packages.

Both rooms had nice views of the sea through the trees.

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The resort had a fairly captive audience for dinner. We daren’t go off looking elsewhere, it had taken over 2 hours to find this resort in the first place – we might not find it again in the dark. The main dining area was taken up by the full board guests who had a set menu – looked very nice, and plenty of it.

We sat right beside the beach, and ordered off the menu. Our table was overloaded with food, which included a couple of large fish. Loads of food and plenty to drink cost just over 1,000 Baht.

The next morning we took a stroll along the beach before breakfast. The beach was quite clean – obviously had the usual polystyrene etc along the tide line. The early morning view to Koh Talu was very pleasant.

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The beach itself was not for me, as a diabetic, to walk on. It was made up of very fine shale, which was like walking on razor blades when it got inside my sandals. I was afraid that I was going to cut the soles of my feet. It was a shame, but I had to make a rapid exit from that sand.

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The one downside of the resort was breakfast. Only the full board residents were allowed to use the restaurant we had used the previous evening. We were directed to a rather shabby looking wooden hut across the road. I ordered a coffee – unfortunately this shack was trying to be sophisticated. I had to choose what kind of coffee – I made my choice, and then behind a screen I could hear it being made. I’ll be honest, I had visions of Baldric making coffee for Blackadder in the World War 1 trenches going through my mind. When it came I couldn’t put the cup to my lips. Thankfully, when my son-in-law emerged I told him that I had bought him a coffee and passed it to him. He took a mouthful and spit it straight out – maybe my imagination was not running wild.

Breakfast was basic ie sausage, bacon, eggs and toast; but it was edible and the price was very reasonable.

My overall impression of Bangsaphan was that it was a little quiet for me, but a fantastic place to get away from the troubles of the world

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Post by migrant » 20 Sep 2008 07:08

Thanks for the report and pictures!!

Sounds like quite the interesting trip!

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Big Boy
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Post by Big Boy » 20 Sep 2008 13:36

It was a good trip. If we did it again, we wouldn't have rushed it so much. It would have been nice to save either Huai Yang Waterfall or Wat Maha Chedi until either the next day or on the way back. It would have been nice to jump into one of those waterfall pools after getting so hot with the climb, but our packed itinerary wouldn't allow it.

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Post by buksida » 22 Sep 2008 13:47

Great report, though you do seem to put a lot of the blame for your misfortunes on the trip on "the Internet". The beauty of a forum such as this one (and HHAD) is that you can ask before you go. I have had similar problems when we have taken trips south, there is too little info out there for off the beaten track places and what is there is patchy and out dated.

The ban krud section here needs updating but the accommodation stuff is all pretty accurate.

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Post by guess » 22 Sep 2008 21:59

Many thanks for the comprehensive report. It sounds like it was quite an adventure. Maybe more than you had bargained for. I can't remember when you said you made the trip but anyway a few things have changed very recently.

I still have not visited Dang Bungalows myself and only found out its precise location on Saturday. It is quite well hidden at the moment and the sign where you turn off the "main" road has gone.

In addition to Dang there are four similar bungalow resorts between Dang and Why Not Restaurant, Bar and Bungalows. There is little detail published mainly because the current management of all of them with the exception of Why Not, don't seem interested in promoting their businesses. May they are just waiting for the right gullible tourist to come along and pay 2,500 baht. Your wife was right not to pay IMO. You could have got a top of the range 4 bed suite in the Coral for less. These five bungalow resorts are the bottom end of the beachside accommodation inn BS. I recently took some friends down to the one next to Montri's bar and they got two bungalows that were right on the beach front for 550 Baht each. My guess is that the resorts are managed by people other than the owners.

The second resort that you named does not ring any bells with me but I know that are are many between BS and the next village down, Bang Burd.

All these will be detailed in time but Ban Krut which is the largest is taking priority.

Maps have been a problem. I have seen only the most basic diagrams and very high level area survey style maps. However things are looking up. One of our members on this forum has very kindly supplied some GPS generated maps of the BS and BK areas. These are very accurate and can be zoomed into whatever scale you wish. All that is then required is for the hotels, bungalows, places of interest and restaurants to be pinned on to the map. This is being done now.

One fairly major change that has happened recently is that the potholed tracks that lead to the bungalow area and other potholed roads in the immediate area have now been metaled tarmacked. We have had some fairly heavy rain so far and the roads have stood up to it well.

I certainly would not go so far as to advise against staying in the bungalows completely but I would advise that the rate is quoted exactly and to check the rooms out first. They can vary considerably on one resort alone.

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Post by Big Boy » 23 Sep 2008 03:40

buksida wrote:Great report, though you do seem to put a lot of the blame for your misfortunes on the trip on "the Internet". The beauty of a forum such as this one (and HHAD) is that you can ask before you go. I have had similar problems when we have taken trips south, there is too little info out there for off the beaten track places and what is there is patchy and out dated.

The ban krud section here needs updating but the accommodation stuff is all pretty accurate.
Sorry if it sounds like blame - the only persons to blame are my son-in-law and me. We should have done more research. However, having said that, I wouldn't have had it any other way. I thoroughly enjoyed the experience of being totally lost in a foreign land. Taking the car across country was fantastic - the times I've had 4 x 4s on hire in the UK, and only used them up and down the motorways. No complaints, no blame - just fond memories.

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Post by Big Boy » 23 Sep 2008 03:52

guess wrote:Many thanks for the comprehensive report. It sounds like it was quite an adventure. Maybe more than you had bargained for. I can't remember when you said you made the trip but anyway a few things have changed very recently.

I still have not visited Dang Bungalows myself and only found out its precise location on Saturday. It is quite well hidden at the moment and the sign where you turn off the "main" road has gone.

In addition to Dang there are four similar bungalow resorts between Dang and Why Not Restaurant, Bar and Bungalows. There is little detail published mainly because the current management of all of them with the exception of Why Not, don't seem interested in promoting their businesses. May they are just waiting for the right gullible tourist to come along and pay 2,500 baht. Your wife was right not to pay IMO. You could have got a top of the range 4 bed suite in the Coral for less. These five bungalow resorts are the bottom end of the beachside accommodation inn BS. I recently took some friends down to the one next to Montri's bar and they got two bungalows that were right on the beach front for 550 Baht each. My guess is that the resorts are managed by people other than the owners.

The second resort that you named does not ring any bells with me but I know that are are many between BS and the next village down, Bang Burd.

All these will be detailed in time but Ban Krut which is the largest is taking priority.

Maps have been a problem. I have seen only the most basic diagrams and very high level area survey style maps. However things are looking up. One of our members on this forum has very kindly supplied some GPS generated maps of the BS and BK areas. These are very accurate and can be zoomed into whatever scale you wish. All that is then required is for the hotels, bungalows, places of interest and restaurants to be pinned on to the map. This is being done now.

One fairly major change that has happened recently is that the potholed tracks that lead to the bungalow area and other potholed roads in the immediate area have now been metaled tarmacked. We have had some fairly heavy rain so far and the roads have stood up to it well.

I certainly would not go so far as to advise against staying in the bungalows completely but I would advise that the rate is quoted exactly and to check the rooms out first. They can vary considerably on one resort alone.
We made the trip at the end of May.

The sign for Daeng Bungalows back then wasn't up to much - roughly painted, very small and hard to spot.

I'm sure the other bungalows at Daengs were fine, but after the lady running from the first one, we weren't prepared to try a second :P

Decent maps with clearer landmarks and resorts clearly marked has to go a long way towards making the area more attractive. My son-in-law is an experienced driver, and I felt quite safe with him in control. Had I been alone ......................... well, I don't know how I would have fared.

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