Bang Saen (Saen Suk): beaches, mountains and monkeys between Bangkok and Pattaya
March 11, 2023
Table of contents
The closest beaches to Bangkok are in Bang Saen (Saen Suk).
Bang Saen is located between Bangkok and Pattaya. From Bangkok to Bang Saen about 100 kilometers. From Pattaya to Bang Saen about 50 kilometers.
In Bang Sen, in addition to beaches, there are mountains with viewpoints and impressive views, the Institute of Marine Science with an exhibition of living marine inhabitants and their fossils, wild monkeys and unusual temples. And there are a lot of students here!
That is, Bang Saen is a very interesting place. At the same time, it is not at the hearing of tourists and, in my opinion, is a little deprived of their attention. I saw only a few foreigners on the beach. And some students and schoolchildren looked at me as some kind of curiosity – I have already lost the habit of such views in the resort and tourist cities of Thailand, where there are many foreigners.
We went there from Pattaya on a motorbike, and I want to share my impressions and talk about the beaches and attractions of Bang Saen and Saen Suk.
Bang Saen is the name of a beach located in the tambon (sub-district) of Saen Suk. But with these names, not everything is so simple.
Bang Saen cannot be found on the map as a separate geographical unit, but this name is found in the names of the beach, streets, hotels, temples, markets and other places located approximately in the same area as Saen Suk, that is, far beyond the beach.
For simplicity, we can stop on the fact that Saen Suk is a city, and Bang Saen is a beach inside this city.
Bang Saen is also sometimes spelled as Bangsaen, in Thai it is หาดบางแสน (i.e. Hat Bang Saen).
As for Saen Suk, on the official website this administrative unit is called a city, not a subdistrict: https://www.saensukcity.go.th/en/component/content/category/8-about.html
The symbol of the city of Saen Suk is an image in the form of a steering wheel with a ship and Mount Sammuk in the background. At the top of the symbol is written “Saen Suk City” and at the bottom is written “Chonburi Province”.
Mount Sam Muk is the famous mountain of the city. The ship represents the fishing that most of the inhabitants do. In addition, Bang Saen Beach is also popular with tourists for relaxing.
The name Bang Saen comes from the folklore of two young lovers Saen (แสน) and Sam Muk (สามมุก). Unrequited lovers threw themselves off a cliff and drowned together. Their names became the names of many places of Chonburi, such as Khao Sam Muk, a low hill near the beach. It has a shrine for Sam Muk at the foot of the hill.
- Institute of Marine Science located at Burapha University, which has a museum that exhibits various marine creatures and also conducts research on these marine animals. It is open every day.
- Bangsaen Beach: One of the most popular among tourists, it is located 13 km from Chonburi, and the distance to the coast of the beach is 5 km. There are beautiful roads and walking paths, as well as hotels, restrooms, restaurants, and places where you can rent water sports equipment. At present, Bangsaen Beach has been landscaped in such a way that it is now more beautiful and cleaner than before, and it is one of the places where you can completely relax in nature.
- Laemtaen: This is one of the places where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of nature, located north of Bangsaen Beach. In Laemtaen you can see the sculpture that won the competition and the unique site located there. There is also a memorial hall, stretched towards the ocean.
- Sam Muk Mountain: Located north of Bangsaen Beach, on the cliff of this mountain is a shrine that the locals respect. This place is the story of a young couple where they vowed to die together. Many monkeys live in the area and many tourists like to come and feed them. Most of the time, tourists come to pay their respects to the shrine and enjoy a meal at a restaurant located on the mountain before leaving.
- Nongmon Market: Located on Sukhumvit Road, next to the junction leading to Bangsaen Beach. In this market, you can buy a souvenir for your friends and relatives, as well as popular products like sticky rice, seafood, desserts, etc.
- Temples: Also of interest to locals and tourists, and the reason is that various temples house the art and sculpture of Thai culture, and most of the temples built here are over 100 years old, and the most famous of them is Tal Aom temple, Rasadon Sadta temple, Jaeng Jaroen Don temple, Trai Muk Chayaram temple.
As a guide, we will use Bangsaen Beach Roundabout.
There is an impressive sculpture with greetings in Thai and English.
From here you can walk or drive to the main beaches of Bang Saen. There are also parking lots for cars and motorbikes, if you wish, you can leave your vehicles and move on on foot.
The beaches of Bang Saen have a developed infrastructure for tourists:
- sunbeds and umbrellas for a comfortable stay
- a huge number of restaurants and food stalls
- banana boat and other water activities
It is also necessary to highlight the pedestrian zone, which is about 4 km long! It is forbidden to travel on motorcycles and even bicycles. You can walk, jog along the sea or just sit here for a picnic.
This sign refers to the pedestrian zone, and it does not mean no parking of motorcycles (as I first thought).
This sign means that it is forbidden to ride motorcycles, bicycles, skateboards, scooters and roller skates in the pedestrian zone. But you can park your bike.
On the Internet they write that:
The sea on Bang Saen Beach is usually not transparent. But from October to February of each year, the sea on Bang Saen Beach is as clear as in the Maldives, this is a natural phenomenon.
I was on Bang Saen beach at the very beginning of March, the sea was opaque.
If you move towards the sea from Bangsaen Beach Roundabout, then Bang Saen Beach will be located on the right side (marked in yellow on the map). Paved and sandy paths under palm trees run along the beach, which are great for walking. They are also allowed to ride bicycles.
Throughout the beach you will see a huge number of sunbeds and umbrellas. The rental price is 50 baht for the entire period of your stay.
- Monday to Thursday: 06.00-21.00
- Friday to Sunday: 06.00-24.00
Bangsaen Beach is the widest and most suitable beach for swimming in the sea. If you are going to swim, then there will be better conditions.
Of the water activities, banana boat and catamarans are the most represented.
There are also platforms overlooking the sea, from which you can take photos of the coast and selfies against its background.
The number of sun loungers and umbrellas is huge – and they stretch for several kilometers!
You can find a place free from sunbeds and sit on the rug you brought with you.
The sand and the beach are not ideal – there are better ones. But this place has the best beaches that Saen Suk has to offer.
This is a sandy road along an endless row of sunbeds, umbrellas and food and drink stalls.
Paved road, it runs parallel to the sandy one.
The occupancy of sunbeds by people is far from complete. I can't imagine the number of people it would take to occupy each sunbed. That is, you will definitely find a place for yourself here on any day and on any holiday.
The sandy beach extends to the north for more than 2 km.
The sand ends and a paved shore comes to replace it, but this does not stop the owners of umbrellas and sunbeds – for many hundreds of meters you can find places to relax. By the way, if you are not going to swim, and you are annoyed by the sand in your shoes, then you can choose this place to relax near the sea.
If you move from Bangsaen Beach Roundabout towards the sea and turn left, then you will move along Bang Saen Lang Beach (marked in blue on the map).
The beginning and end of the beach are marked with such inscriptions.
The beach here is narrower and less clean. That is, Bang Saen Lang Beach is less suitable for swimming.
But Bang Saen Lang Beach also has its advantages – there are much fewer sun loungers and generally fewer people. That is, if you want a more secluded holiday and are not going to swim, then I would recommend Bang Saen Lang Beach.
The cost of renting sunbeds is also 50 baht for the entire period of your stay.
- Monday to Thursday: 06.00-21.00
- Friday to Sunday: 06.00-24.00
In this video, I start my journey from the opposite end of Bang Saen Lang Beach and you can see that the beach is very narrow and not very clean. But this is only the beginning, closer to Bang Saen Beach the beach gets better.
There are not everywhere sunbeds and umbrellas, but the pedestrian zone stretches throughout the entire beach.
Toward its end, the beach becomes predominantly rocky.
At the very end of the beach you will see Bangsaen Lang Beach Public Park.
This is an open space with views of the sea and the promenade.
There is enough space for leisurely walks.
There is a small garden and several gazebos.
There are also exercise machines and a small playground.
But first of all, it is an open space.
A new pier is being built nearby.
Wonnapha Beach is mentioned on the map, but this beach is not marked on the ground.
Perhaps Wonnapha Beach is the name of the part of the beach that goes before the start of Bang Saen Lang Beach at the location of this inscription.
Bangsaen has The Institute of Marine Science of Burapha University.
It houses the Marine Aquaculture Center and the Museum of Marine Science.
The Bangsaen Aquarium and Museum is open daily from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm, seven days a week.
Here you will see the remains of ancient marine life.
As well as living representatives of the seas.
University website: www.bims.buu.ac.th
For Thais the price is 80 baht, for children 40 baht. For children up to 90 cm tall, admission is free.
For foreigners the price is 220, for children 120 baht. A child is considered to be under 15 years of age.
The exhibition can be divided into 2 parts:
1. Marine aquaculture facilities
- Coastal life
- Colors of the sea (colorful marine life)
- Cuisine of the world (about the economic value of marine inhabitants)
- Poison beauty
- Fish and other animals
- Giants underwater
2. Marine Science Museum
- Exhibition about the kingdom of marine life
- Marine ecosystems
- The value of the sea for a person
- Hall of shells and mollusk evolution
Underwater fish feeding show:
- Monday to Friday: 2.30 P.M.
- Saturday and Sunday: 10:30 A.M. and 2.30 P.M.
Please note that this is a university (not a mall) so you cannot simply park in front of the building entrance or in the underground car park. I marked three parking lots on the map near the university.
Also remember that the exhibition may be closed due to university events, such as awarding a bachelor's degree.
Also near the university you can visit the small park Burapha Garden.
Khao Sam Muk, that is, the mountain “Sam Muk”. Here you will find a temple, several observation platforms and breathtaking views, as well as a lot of monkeys.
Viewpoint on the city of Saen Suk. Marked on the map as “Khao Sam Muk Viewpoint”.
In fact, this is not the highest place and there are quite tall trees around, so the views from this viewpoint are not the most important thing.
The most important thing is the monkeys.
Monkeys can be fed. Food for them is sold right there.
One should not be too frivolous about monkeys, and even more so try to touch or catch them. Monkeys can be aggressive and can cause serious injury. In this video, the monkey didn’t like me for some reason and it decided to scare me.
By the way, everything that you have in your hands, a monkey, if it wants, can grab it, so be careful and do not hold food in your hands that you are not going to give to the monkeys.
Monkeys can also steal any things from a motorcycle. For example, already quite familiar with the habits of monkeys, I put the handle of the bag under the motorcycle seat and locked it. The monkeys could not get into the bag, but they made a hole in the bag with their finger (!) and tried to pull out the wife's hoody through it. If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it.
A little further down the road there is another viewpoint, which is also marked on the map as “Khao Sam Muk Viewpoint”.
The most interesting thing about this place is a little higher: there is a temple on the top of the mountain and much more impressive views from the top of the mountain. On the map, this place is marked as “Temple”.
When driving on the road, it is not very easy to recognize the entrance to this temple, so I marked it on the map as “Entrance to the temple”.
It's not far to go – only 50 meters. Which direction? Up…
Immediately after the stairs we are met by a sculpture of a family of monkeys.
View of Saen Suk, somewhere in the direction of Bang Saen.
There are several temples here. Some of them are closed, but because of the glass doors you can look at the statues placed inside.
Stone. Perhaps a small shrine was built right around it.
Statues next to the temple.
Made very nice!
A short video showing me walking along the temple on Khao Sam Muk mountain.
These are the panoramas from here. A little to the right, Bangsaenkaosammuk viewpoint is slightly visible, and in the middle is the same mountain that is visible from Bangsaenkaosammuk viewpoint.
View of the city towards Sukhumvit Road.
View of the city towards the sea and Bangkok.
Pay attention to the pink building in the center of the frame – this is a crematorium. A little later I will pass there and take a closer photo.
Video from the top of Khao Sam Muk.
Another staircase leads to this place, along which you can climb here from the opposite part of the mountain.
Wat Sansuk Wisutthiwararam is sometimes simply called “Wat Saen Suk” temple, the name in Thai is วัดแสนสุขวิสุทธิวราราม.
This temple complex includes several squares: Heavenly City, Hell. Particularly interesting are the sculptures depicting scenes from hell.
A recently built temple.
Very picturesque both outside and inside.
There is a large statue, a temple with sculptures, and a viewpoint.
You could see this statue from Khao Sam Muk, although it is hidden quite heavily by trees.
Very close to the temple and sculptures on a religious theme, as well as literary characters.
This building can be seen from Khao Sam Muk, it stands out for its bright color, it is marked on the map as “Crematorium”. You do not need to come here, and this place is not intended for visits. This is a crematorium where, according to Buddhist tradition, the bodies of the dead are burned.
From here you can see the temple at Khao Sam Muk.
Laemtaen: this is another place where you can enjoy the beautiful scenery of nature
Next to the inscriptions you can see the coat of arms of the city.
Laemtaen is located north of Bangsaen Beach.
In Laemtaen you can see the sculpture that won the competition and there is a unique site located there.
A bridge extending into the sea with several buildings for rest and photography. Nearby area for walking and recreation. The sea is visible from everywhere.
This is what the place looks like at sunset.
This is the place during the day.
There is space for walking and taking pictures.
Between Laem Taen and Ratchanawee Bridge there is a food fair called Bang Saen Walking Street. But it works not every day.
Bang Saen Walking Street opening hours:
- Monday to Thursday: closed
- Friday to Saturday: 5:30-11PM
Walking route along the sea 400 meters long, with picturesque views, ascents and descents, as well as a lot of monkeys!
It says “Bangsaenkaosammuk”, but while there, I could neither read nor photograph the entire inscription.
Throughout the route, the views of the sea and the coast change, at the very end the road turns sharply and views of other areas of the sea and coast open up.
On one side is the sea, on the other side is the mountain.
There are fewer monkeys towards the end of the route. If you get hungry, you will see food stalls almost at the very end, and after the turn you will find restaurants overlooking the sea.
First of all, a day was not enough for me to visit all the interesting places of Bang Saen and Saen Suk. Therefore, I am going to continue to explore these places and neighboring areas.
There are many students in the city. It would be interesting to stay here for a couple of weeks to feel the atmosphere of this place. To see how it is early in the morning or late in the evening.
A lot of things have been built and renovated in recent years! This city continues to grow rapidly.
Even after visiting a lot of Thai temples, the temples in Saen Suk interested me with their sculptures.
I was a little puzzled by the organization of a beach holiday, namely, too many sunbeds and umbrellas. If they are not completely filled, it would be nice to make room on the sand. IMHO, this would improve both the impression of the beaches, and the rest of the customers.
If you are a fan of hiking along the sea, then you will like it here. In this regard, Bang Saen is better than Pattaya and is not so crowded.
If you are a fan of swimming in the sea, then the water is not very clean in both Pattaya and Bang Saen, except that the sand in Pattaya is better. In addition, you can cross on a barge from Pattaya to Ko Lan – these are the closest good beaches to Pattaya.
But both on the island of Ko Lan and in Pattaya itself, overcrowding and overtourism crushes. In Saen Suk, I didn't feel that way. Yes, there are many tourists, but I did not have the feeling of crampedness that you experience in Pattaya.
In terms of a place to ride a motorcycle for a weekend getaway, Bang Saen is the place to be.
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