Lying just 18km east of Phetburi, Hat Chao Samran is one of Thailand's oldest beach resorts, dating back to Rama VI (r 1910-1925). While the Thailand of today certainly has nicer beaches, it's a pleasant enough place to laze your way through a day or two, punctuating your naps with cheap seafood binges. The area has seen a recent resurgence in popularity that has brought with it new 'boutique'-style bungalow accommodation. Typical of the lot, lue Sky (g 0 32441399; www.blueskyresort.com; 5 Moo 2, Hat Chao Samran; bungalows 1800-5000B; §)) offers ridiculously cute bungalows and rooms overlooking the garden or the sea. When you can relax no more, stumble next door to la Pi; (§ 0 3247 8496; dishes 50-280B; S 9am-9pm), which serves up all your shelled favourites, including a mean horseshoe crab egg salad (yam khai maengdaa thdleh).
To reach Hat Chao Samran, hop on a sawngthaew (35 minutes; 20B) across from the clock tower near Wat Thaw.
S 5-11 pm), and the night market (Th Rot Fai; dishes 20-60B; S 5-11pm) near the Bangkok-bound bus stop.
Baan Muang Petch (0 0 816945031; 20/2-3 Soi Sapsin 4;dishes 25-60B; S 10.30am-8pm) This well-situated coffee shop is an excellent place to refill on caffeine and sweets between temple visits. Simple dishes and a great sunset view of Khao Wang are also available.
Khaao Chae Naang Ram (g 0 84801 8395; Th Dam-noen Kasem; dishes 15-20B; S 8am-5pm) Khaao chae (camphor-scented chilled rice served with sweet/savoury titbits) is a dish associated with Phetburi, and a good place to sample it is at this renowned roadside stall in front of a noodle restaurant.
Mondee (g 0 81697 1768; Saphaan Lamyai; dishes 25-100B; S 10.30am-4.30pm &5.30-midnight) During the day, this cosy wooden shack serves khanom jeen (fresh rice noodles served with a variety of curries). At night Mondee takes full advantage of the breezes and river view and serves decent central Thai fare with an emphasis on seafood.
Phen Phrik Phet (g 0 3241 2990; 173/1 Th Phongsuriya; dishes 25B; S 9am-3pm Wed-Mon) Located directly across from Wat Yai Suwannaram, this local noodle legend makes tasty kiiay tlaw mini ndam daeng (pork noodles in a fragrant dark broth).
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