Bangkok Day Trips: 7 Beaches Less Than A 3 Hour Drive From The Thai Capital

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We love Bangkok. We love the cut and thrust, the to and fro, the hustle and bustle of one of the world’s most exhilarating cities. We love how it’s always on, there’s always something going on, and it’s almost impossible to get bored here. “When you’re tired of Bangkok, you’re tired of life”, as someone so sagely once said.

But sometimes, you do get tired of gallivanting around, of taking a two hour journey in search of Bangkok’s best phad Thai or bouncing from shopping mall to shopping mall hoping for a spark. When that feeling hits, rest assured there are some fantastic getaways only a couple of hours away that promise sand, serenity and Singha. 

With that in mind, here are 7 must-visit beaches where you can unwind and experience the natural beauty of Thailand only a couple of hours from Bangkok.

Hua Hin Beach

Distance/Time from Bangkok: Approximately 3 hours by car.

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Hua Hin, a renowned retreat for the Thai Royal Family, is about a three-hour drive from Bangkok. This beach is celebrated for its excellent tourist infrastructure, making it a top choice for families. The pristine sand and clear waters, coupled with a range of activities such as water sports and pony rides, cater to visitors of all ages. An excursion to Khao Takiab, a temple with a towering golden Buddha statue, enhances the experience, providing a blend of relaxation and cultural exploration.

Our Favourite Restaurant in Hua Hin: Chao Lay Seafood – Situated on a pier overlooking the sea, Chao Lay Seafood offers a fantastic selection of fresh seafood dishes. The steamed crab and fried fish with garlic are highly recommended, but best of all is the stirfied squid with salted duck egg yolk; just superb. There is plenty of outdoor seating overlooking the sea.

Or do as the Thais do an enjoy oysters on the beach which in our humble opinion, is one of the best ways to enjoy oysters. Thai style beach oysters involves shucked oysters, piled high and enjoyed raw with a nahm jim seafood and crispy shallots. A few grains from sandy hands isn’t compulsory, but inevitable.

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Our Favourite Resort in Hua Hin: Thailand has long been celebrated for its holistic approach to health and wellness, integrating ancient healing traditions with modern luxury. Among the most renowned wellness retreats in Thailand is Chiva-Som, a sanctuary located in Hua Hin that’s been doing its thing with subtle sophistication for three decades.

Insider’s Top Tip: For a unique experience, visit the Hua Hin Railway Station, one of Thailand’s oldest and most beautiful train stations. It’s a great spot for photos and a glimpse into the town’s history. Don’t miss the colourful town, either, which is laid back and local in flavour.


Cha-Am Beach

Distance/Time from Bangkok: Approximately 2 hours by car.

Twinned with Hua Hin and just 20 minutes up the road, Cha-Am Beach is known for its tranquil atmosphere, a haven for those seeking peace and relaxation. The beach is less crowded than Hua Hin, allowing for uninterrupted sunbathing and swimming. 

A notable attraction is the Mrigadayavan Palace, the summer residence of King Vajiravudh, which adds a historical dimension to your beach outing. This charming town offers affordable accommodations and delicious local fare, making it a delightful escape.

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Our Favourite Restaurant in Cha-Am: Krua Garn Wela – Just north of the main stretch of sand in Cha-Am’s fishing village, Krua Garn Wela’s seafood dishes do the catch justice, with the tom yum here particularly invigorating, but when the produce is this fresh, you can’t really go wrong with just about anything on the menu. Be warned; the default is spicy here.

Our Favourite Resort in Cha-Am: SO Sofitel Hua Hin – This stylish 5 star resort offers a blend of modern design and luxurious comfort, with a beautiful beachfront location and excellent amenities.

Insider’s Top Tip: Rent a bicycle and explore the scenic bike paths along the beach. It’s a great way to see more of Cha-Am and enjoy the coastal views, and Hua Hin is also within reach on two wheels!


Bang Saen Beach

Distance/Time from Bangkok: Approximately 2 hours by car.

Located just two hours from Bangkok and an hour from Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bang Saen Beach is the closest beach to the city and a favourite among locals. This charming seaside destination offers a quieter alternative to the more tourist-heavy beaches. The soft sands and gentle waves create an ideal spot for sunbathing, swimming, and beachside picnics.

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Our Favourite Restaurant in Bang Saen: Pagarang – The focal point for dining in Bang Saen and massively popular with the locals (always a good sign) Pagarang is known for its fresh seafood and assertively spiced Thai dishes. The terrace that juts out into the sea is the perfect place to dine whilst soaking up the sea breeze.

Our Favourite Resort in Bang Saen: The Tide Resort – This huge beachfront resort offers modern amenities, a relaxing spa, and a beautiful pool area. It’s perfect for a comfortable and convenient stay near the beach, and is large enough that privacy is all but guaranteed.

Insider’s Top Tip: Visit Bang Saen Beach on weekdays to avoid the weekend crowds. Also, check out the nearby Ang Sila village for its famous stone mortars and fresh seafood market.


Koh Samet

Distance/Time from Bangkok: Approximately 2.5 to 3 hours by car, followed by a 15-minute ferry ride.

A bit further, but well worth the extra travel time, Koh Samet is about a 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Bangkok, followed by a 15-minute ferry ride. This picturesque island is home to 16 beautiful beaches, each with its own unique flair, all with powdery white sand. Whether you prefer the lively atmosphere of Diamond Beach, with its water sports and live music, or the serene vibe of Laem Yai, Koh Samet has something for everyone. Despite being a popular destination, the beaches remain well-maintained and inviting.

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Our Favourite Restaurant in Koh Samet: Koh Samet Food Market – Whilst the island’s beaches boast plenty of decent seafood restaurants complete with fire shows, the town’s central ‘streetfood’ market, on the main drag between the Nathon Pier and the beaches, does some genuinely delicious Thai food. Order the catfish laap; it’s a banger!

Our Favourite Resort in Koh Samet: Ao Prao Resort – This luxurious resort offers stunning beachfront views, private villas, and exceptional service, making it a perfect choice for a relaxing getaway.

Insider’s Top Tip: Ao Phrao Beach – aside from the resort – offers a quieter and more secluded experience. It’s one of the less crowded beaches on the island, perfect for a peaceful day by the sea.

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Koh Larn

Distance/Time from Bangkok: Approximately 2 hours by car to Pattaya, followed by a short ferry ride.

Situated off the coast of Pattaya (which you’ll want to avoid – a thoroughly depressing place), Koh Larn, also known as Koh Lan or Coral Island, is another fantastic option for a quick beach escape. A short ferry ride from Pattaya brings you to this serene island, where you can enjoy crystal-clear waters and vibrant coral reefs. The island is perfect for snorkelling, diving, and a variety of other water-based activities.

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Our Favourite Restaurant in Koh Larn: Chalianglom – With dining on a pebble beach (no danger of getting sand in your food!) that encourages the sea to lap at your feet in the evening, Chalianglom is a decent option for dinner in Koh Larn. To be totally honest, we’ve never had a truly great meal on the island, but Chalianglom does a decent som tam and fried chicken combo.

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Our Favourite Resort in Koh Larn: SIRAVA – This stylish resort with its distinctive terracotta colour scheme offers a blend of comfort and convenience, with cosy bungalows nestled amidst lush greenery, many of which have their own private pool (not much bigger than a bathtub, admittedly). The resort – just a year old and therefore brand new and beautiful – boasts a relaxing spa, and a restaurant serving delicious local and international cuisine.

Insider’s Top Tip: Rent a motorbike to explore the island at your own pace. It’s an affordable and fun way to visit the different beaches and viewpoints on Koh Larn.


Pranburi Beach

Distance/Time from Bangkok: Approximately 3.5 hours by car.

Pranburi Beach, located about half an hour further south of Hua Hin, offers a more secluded and authentic Thai beach experience. This beach – a proper, white sandy one – is not as frequented by tourists as the others on our list, making it a hidden gem for those looking to escape the crowds.

The gentle waves are perfect for swimming, and the surrounding Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park provides stunning scenery and lush greenery. Local vendors offer delicious Thai cuisine, adding to the charm of this lesser-known paradise.

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Our Favourite Restaurant in Pranburi: Very Good Restaurant – True to its name, Very Good Restaurant serves up excellent Thai dishes with a focus on fresh seafood. The green curry and steamed fish with lime and garlic are standout dishes.

Our Favourite Resort in Pranburi: Aleenta Hua Hin – Pranburi Resort & Spa – This boutique resort offers luxurious villas, a serene atmosphere, and stunning ocean views, making it a perfect retreat for relaxation.

Insider’s Top Tip: Visit the Pranburi Forest Park for a peaceful walk through the mangroves. The park features a scenic boardwalk and is a great spot for bird watching and enjoying nature.


Koh Si Chang

Distance/Time from Bangkok: Approximately 2 hours by car to Si Racha, followed by a quick ferry ride.

The nearest island to Bangkok, Koh Si Chang, or Sichang, lies a short distance off the coast and is accessible via a quick ferry ride from Si Racha (where the famous sauce originates). This island offers a more local and authentic atmosphere, free from the typical tourist trappings. The island’s beaches are perfect for relaxation and exploration, with several historical sites and temples adding a cultural element to your visit. It’s an ideal destination for a day trip, offering scenic beauty and tranquillity.

The wooden pavilions on Koh Si Chang are famous. These charming structures offer serene spots for relaxation and reflection, providing visitors with stunning views of the turquoise waters and lush surroundings.

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Our Favourite Restaurant in Koh Si Chang: Pan & David Restaurant – This charming restaurant offers a mix of Thai and Western dishes, with a focus on fresh, local ingredients. The salt-crusted grilled fish with nahm jim seafood is particularly delicious.

Our Favourite Resort in Koh Si Chang: Somewhere Koh Sichang – This charming resort offers affordable nightly prices, a relaxing communal pool area, and easy access to the island’s attractions.

Insider’s Top Tip: Rent a tuk-tuk for a tour around the island. The drivers are knowledgeable locals who can take you to hidden spots and provide interesting insights about Koh Si Chang.

The Bottom Line

Thailand’s beaches are renowned for their beauty, and the proximity of these stunning beaches to Bangkok makes them perfect for day trips (just about!) or short weekend getaways. Whether you seek quiet relaxation or a vibrant beachside atmosphere, these seven beaches offer something for everyone. 

And now that you’re well rested and hungry for the big city again, why not check out these 22 best places for street food in Bangkok? We can’t wait to get back there.

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