Cha-Am Beach South has advantages over Cha-Am main beach

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See more about Cha-Am, Hua Hin and the greater region in these pages:

Cha-Am Beach South is far enough away from the crowded, noisy public beach to offer tranquillity

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Cha-Am Beach South can be called the resort zone, or the quiet end of Cha-Am. Here we find a scattering of beachfront hotels – several kilometres south of Cha-Am’s main, public beach that gets crowded and noisy each weekend. A road runs tight along Cha-Am’s main public beach , allowing hundreds of pick-ups full of boisterous families to pull right up to the sand for their Saturday-Sunday picnics. But at Cha-Am South there is no such beach road, and no weekend influx. While there’s a number of high-rise holiday condos on this part of the coast, surprisingly few are filled during the weekends, and on weekdays they strike the pose of forlorn, ghost buildings.
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Visitors to Cha-Am South are not likely to be disturbed by either the weekend crowds nor the condo owners. However, foreign visitors who would like to see a little of modern Thai family life – the time when they relax and have fun with their children and friends while ingesting quantities of food and booze – should indeed make a visit to Cha-Am’s congested main beach on Saturday-Sundays.
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The major attractions of Cha-Am South are its proximity to Bangkok, which supplies the majority of resorts guests, easy access to Hua Hin and its many attractions , plus the spaciousness and relatively good prices of its accommodations. Additionally, many foreign guests appreciate Cha-Am for its distinctly ‘Thai’, rather than ‘foreign tourist’ ambience. Beach beauty is not a major factor anywhere in this northern part of the Gulf of Thailand, for all of Thailand’s beaches that display postcard perfection and figure in international advertising are far to the south, not up here. Potential visitors seeking a natural tropical beach or great place to swim should check each hotel carefully, for the beach conditions vary in front of each, from sandy and entirely delightful to rocky with little or no beach at all.
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Cha-Am South; budget & boutique beach hotels, family resorts & 4-star luxury

Cha-Am Beach South – the hotel zone seven kilometres south of Cha-Am’s busy public beach, and 17 kilometres north of Hua Hin Town – offers a good choice of family resorts with huge swimming pools, romantic hideaways in boutique style and budget beachfront rooms.
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This area is distinctly more peaceful than Cha-Am’s main public beach, and quieter than Hua Hin’s central beaches. It has a small traffic advantage over Hua Hin if coming or going during the busy times, Friday or Sunday, when thousands of Bangkok families descend on this popular coastal strip, with most crowding into Hua Hin.
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However, th beach is often eroded in this area, with little or no sand at high tide. If the quality of the beach is important to you, check carefully before booking, And remember that the strange tides of the Gulf of Thailand mean that high or low tide can last all day. Most hotels compensate by providing large swimming pools.
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Our beach map shows nine beachfront hotels and resorts, ranging from the tiny family-run rooms of Cha-Am Little Shop that look like part of the family home, to the 560 rooms of the sprawling Regent Cha-Am Beach Resort, which has a both a large hotel block and expansive gardens with comfortable bungalows among the trees. The international Novotel Hua Hin Cha-Am Beaach Resort is the only one here in a high-rise tower, though a number of high-rise condo towers thrown shadows over this stretch of beach. Two of Cha-Am South’s resorts are boutique and beautiful in style, Veranda Resort & Spa Hua Hin Cha-Am at the top of the map and the very stylish Cher Resort at the opposite end.
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There are thus plenty of accommodation choices across quality, style and price. However, the biggest difference between the resorts here is the quality of their beach. A couple that have built big walls have seen their beach eroded away completely, with others that have treated their beach better have been rewarded with more sand than ever. The hotel with the widest, most beautiful beach is surely Beach Garden Hotel. Wise developers built this well back from the ocean, and critically, did not construct a wall. As a result they have been rewarded by nature; much of the sand eroded from nearby resorts with big walls appears to have been deposited here, giving Beach Garden the widest, prettiest sandy beach in the area.
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Cha-Am Beach South – checklist of beach conditions & services

shade on the beach:
Shade is sadly lacking all along this coast due to the removal of native trees when the walls were built. When it gets hot guests have to retreat to a cool place with their resort. Some have shady trees in resort gardens.
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density of use:
Very, very few people use this beach. Thais condo residents rarely emerge onto the beach when it is hot and sunny, fearing the darkening of skin caused. Over the weekends some families will come out onto the beach at sunset. However, since most of the condos are little-used, this still results in few people on the beach.
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beach length, width:
It’s so long the beach appears virtually unending in both directions. In its natural state, the beach here is not very wide. However, due to the walls and erosion, some sectors have no beach at high tide, just waves slurping up against concrete or rock. The lowest tides may leave one or two hundred metres of sand exposed. This make a good play place for kids, and of course those who want to swim can just walk a little further out.
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noise & tranquillity:
Noise is one thing that is not likely to disturb anyone in this area. Jet-skis are rarely seen here.
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sharks, jellyfish & stingers:
The only shark any tourist will come across in Cha-Am is likely to be a baby one, offered in a seafood display. But jellyfish need some consideration. Several resorts have put up warnings against them. And Cha-Am recorded one non-fatal string from a deadly box jellyfish in November 2010, when a Swedish woman was hospitalized. It is reported that a few others suffered lesser stings at the time. Box jellyfish are a danger in the Gulf of Thailand, if not a major one. See the details of deadly box jellyfish attacks on Thai beaches.
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jet-skis & water sports:
There are usually no jet-skis in this area, though they are not forbidden. There is a small Sailing Club between the Beach Garden Hotel and Regent Chalet that has sailing dingies and beach catamarans for hire.
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beach hawkers:
There are a few hawkers in front of the bigger resorts selling fruit, tropical clothing and beach snacks. They are not aggressive, and are generally quite polite.
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sunset & sunrise:
Since this beach faces directly east, all resorts enjoy good sunrises. But only a few guests get to enjoy them. Sunset can still be pretty on days when the whole sky lights up.
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Services and facilities behind the beach

roads
There is no road following the beach in this area, and the only roads are the small access tracks coming into the back of the resorts from the highway, set about a kilometre back. Only some roads give public access to the beach.
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beach restaurants & bars:
Outside the resorts, there are very few independent dining options here. The Sailing Club is one pleasant exception. Cha-Am Little Shop has a casual, fun beach-side restaurant.
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local community:
There is little local community in the dry, barren strip of land between the resorts and the main highway, which is progressively being cut up into smaller blacks and concreted over for condos and houses.
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shops, markets, ATMs:
There are few or no shops, markets and ATMs close to any of these resorts, though out on the main highway you can find regular commercial areas with plenty of all – but getting to those will require transport.
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car & bike rentals:
If your hotel does not provide rentals, look around the surrounding area. If no locals have then on offer, head towards either Cha-Am or Hua Hin, where there are plenty of each. Bicycles can also be hired in Hua Hin.
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Cha-Am Beach South; problems on the beach that might, or might not affect you

Cha-Am has Just mediocre beaches:
The quality of the beach along the Cha-Am coast varies greatly, from quite nice (at best) to rocky and ugly or even non-existent. It varies from season to season, depending the amount of erosion caused by storms. Generally speaking, beaches high in the Gulf of Thailand are not particularly beautiful, and look nothing like the coconut-fringed tropical beauties seen in Thailand’s ‘paradise beaches’ advertising. Those star stretches of sand are all far south in more open, deeper seas. The upper Gulf is a shallow, enclosed body of water that lacks the big waves that create the best beaches.
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The biggest nemesis of Cha-Am beaches,
This is not geography but man – and specifically, man’s building of walls too close to the ocean. This foolish, anti-nature activity is mostly motivated by greed – to grab some of the public beach and wall it into private land. But along this coast government ignorance is also to blame for building roads and other structures far too close to the ocean. Then, when storm waves begin eroding these structures, more cement and rocks are poured on top to fight off the elements. Evidence of poor beach development is seen all up and down this coastline.
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the sand:
The sand along this beach is quite fine and soft, and fairly white. The problem with the sand is finding a patch of beach with some of it still in its natural location, in the form of a beach. In places where too many beach walls have been built the sand is often eroded by waves and deposited offshore, creating shallow banks that will often dry out as sandbacks up to 200 metres wide at the lowest tides.
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water quality:
The water quality in this area is generally just OK, but never really clean or clear. The entire top portion of the Gulf of Thailand, an area 100 kilometres square, is the cesspit of tens of millions of people living all the way to Chiang Mai. Pollution caused by the disposal of virtually anything into drains, streams and rivers across the country is carried into this enclosed, shallow basin.
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snorkelling, kayaking:
Due to the problems already mentioned, water visibility is not good enough for snorkelling, and there is little below but a flat sandy or muddy bottom. Kayaks are not used along this straight, flat and geographically boring coast line.
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suitability for children:
Again, due to the pollution problems, parents should check the water for clarity and cleanness before allowing children to swim in the ocean here. All of the major hotels here offer large swimming pools, a natural result of the doubtful water quality. The Novotel, for example, does not have much beach, but has a huge swimming pool, a water slide and excellent facilities for children; likewise with both of the Regent resort.
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Also, in places where the beach has been badly eroded the coast will probably be unsuited for children who need sand to play in. Check the hotel photos carefully. However, since the sand can come and go with the seasons, it’s never quite sure what you’ll find in front of the hotel. The photo in our gallery showing a couple staring in surprise at the water crashing against the hotel wall, with no beach, is no longer valid. The hotel trucked in huge quantities of beach sand, then employed sandbags to stop this from being washed away. For now.
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cleanliness, pollution:
It’s just OK here. The beach is generally quite clean because the hotels take care of the areas near their properties. Sadly, there are occasional open drains emptying smelly black water into the sea. Back-of-the-beach has lots of plastic rubbish blowing around.
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by John Everingham
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need advice about Thai beaches, beachfront hotels etc? try this for free.
Ask John E, the author here. He has photographed 1,100+ hotels on virtually every beach in Thailand with beachfront accommodation (and more in regional countries) over the past 30 years. JE is a resident of nearby Hua Hin. E-mail: john@beachf.com