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Ban Krut & Bang Saphan Yai/Thailand

Introducing Ban Krut & Bang Saphan Yai

What a nice surprise to find these lovely low-key beaches (80km to 100km south of Prachuap Khiri Khan, respectively) so close to civilization but so bucolic. Dusk falls softly through the coconut trees and the sea is a crystalline blue lapping at a long sandy coastline. No high-rises, no late-night discos, and no speeding traffic to distract you from a serious regimen of reading, swimming, eating and biking.

Though both beaches are pleasantly subdued, they are also well known by Thais and Ban Krut, in particular, hosts bus tours as well as weekending families. During the week you’ll have the beaches largely to yourself and a few long-tail boats.

Check out the websites Ban Krut Info and Bang Saphan Guide for local information on the area.

Ban Krut is a divided into two beaches by a temple-topped headland. To the north is Hat Sai Kaew, which is remote and private with only a few resorts in between a lot of jungle. To the south is Hat Ban Krut, with a beachfront road and a string of bungalow-style resorts and restaurants on the interior side of the road. Both are golden-sand beaches with clear, calm water but Hat Ban Krut is slightly more social and easier to get around without private transport.

Bang Saphan Yai, 20km south of Ban Krut, fits that most famous beach cliché: It is Thailand 15 years ago before pool villas and package tourists pushed out all the beach bums. Once you settle into a simple beachfront hut, you probably won’t need shoes and the days will just melt away. Islands off the coast, including Ko Thalu and Ko Sing, offer good snorkelling and diving from the end of January to mid-May.