It's great to hang around the islands of Thailand and swim in turquoise bays, but it's also great to get off the backpacker trail and enjoy peace and quietness for a while.
We loved Thung Wua Laen Beach so much that we ended up extending our stay here by a couple of days. It was great to have the beach almost for ourselves.
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Thung Wua Laen Beach
Thung Wua Laen Beach (aka Running Bull Beach) is a 2 km beautiful unspoilt white sand stretch studded with restaurants and resorts.
At the time of our stay (February), it was so peaceful and quiet that it felt like we had the beach for ourselves. Exactly what we were looking for after visiting Koh Tao Island.
The beach is clean and the sand is nice. The water was turquoise green, calm and great for swimming. Although when it was stormy for a couple of days, it was pretty rough and wavy.
We still went for a dip one morning and had fun slamming into the waves, but it's probably best to stay safe and out of the water on the rough days.
Accommodation on Thung Wua Laen Beach
There are plenty of resorts along the beach, some better than others. If you are after a luxury accommodation, have a look at the Nana Beach resort.
The food at their restaurant which is open to the public, although not the cheapest, was some of the best we had in Thailand. They must have a very talented chef.
If you are on a budget like us, check out Tawan Resort. The bungalows are very close to the beach, comfortable, with AC and outdoor terrace with a couple of chairs and a table.
The staff are very friendly and helpful. There is a restaurant at the front of the resort, but it was closed during our stay. Apparently it opens during busier times on weekends.
Best time to visit Thung Wua Laen Beach
If you want peace and quite, book a bungalow during the week days. It's the quietest time, the beach is practically empty.
We really enjoyed trotting down to the beach from our bungalow or riding a scooter along the beach with only a few cars passing by.
We can't really vouch for how busy the beach is during the weekends because we left on a Friday morning. It's a popular destination amongst local Thais who come to enjoy their weekends here.
One more thing to note is that the resorts seemed more popular with the older crowd, so no wild parties here. But if you don't mind chatting to more experienced people then you'll love it here.
We met a Swedish guy there who shared his wild travel stories from his youth with us over a cold Leo beer.
Food and Drink
We can't recommend enough the Nana Beach Resort restaurant. The Thai food here is 5* and the restaurant is right on the beach.
There are lots of other nice places to eat and drink along the beach, look out for BBQ chicken in one of the bamboo huts near the Running Bull statue.
But once we discovered how good the food at the Nana Beach Resort restaurant is, we kept coming back.
We were also impressed with the whole set up. The kitchen of the restaurant is actually located in the resort which is a few minutes away from the beach.
Each time anyone orders food, the staff calls the restaurant and your food arrives efficiently on a scooter once it's ready.
The prices ranged from 60 THB - 200 THB per dish, but it was totally worth it. On average we spent around 200-300 THB on a dinner (including 2 large bottles of Chang or Leo) and around 140-200 THB for lunch.
The coconut soup was 120 THB and it was absolutely delicious, Charlie also enjoyed the Massaman Curry for 130 THB. The watermelon shakes at 60 THB each were absolutely delicious too and very refreshing.
Around 5 min drive south on a scooter from Tawan resort, there is a little Thai/Italian restaurant Take a Seat which serves fresh homemade pasta and freshly ground coffee.
We haven't had food here, but my coffee was great. The coffee beans were freshly ground just for me, which made the hot drink taste even better. My Latte was only 40 THB and I enjoyed it on a few occasions.
Also there are a couple of small shops along the beach where you can purchase extra water, crisps or other western snacks.
The best way to explore the beach is to rent a bike. You can rent a scooter for 200THB per day.
It was very easy to rent a bike, we just asked at our resort and the staff arranged everything for us, we didn't even need to leave our passports with them and there was no silly business about mysterious scratches appearing.
We saw a local bus coming through once in a while, but for the sake of freedom, we think it's bet to rent a bike. The roads are not too busy and flat so it's pretty safe.
If you are in need of cash, you will have to make your way to the local town, about 1.6 km north of the beach. You can walk there, but the main road can get busy so best to rent a scooter.
The town has ATM, 7/11 and lots of local food stalls. The food there is good, plenty of fruit and various snacks at a very reasonable price.
We bought a portion of grilled pork balls (for Charlie) with a spicy sauce and salad, sweet mango rice and Foythong Cake (Gold Egg Yolks Thread Cake) made from egg placed on Pandan cake - absolutely yummy. All for just 90 THB.
Getting to Thung Wua Laen Beach
Thung Wua Laen Beach is about 12 kilometres from Chumphon Railway Station.
The easiest way to get there is to catch a Tuk tuk and you will see a row of these as soon as you walk out of the station. The journey shouldn't cost you more than 300 THB regardless on the number of passengers.
When we arrived to Chumphon ferry terminal from Koh Tao Island at around 11.30pm, we got a little bit stuck as we missed the shuttle bus going to the station.
There are only 2 shuttle busses per day going between the ferry terminal and the train station, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, which coincide with the ferry arrivals and departures.
If you find yourselves stuck like us, there's a spacious restaurant at the M.T.Resort right on the beach, just by the Ferry Terminal. We thought it was quite a nice spot, the restaurant was on a pricier side, but we could think of worse places to be stuck.
It was quiet and peaceful, we walked around the beach, read a book and did a bit of planning. The staff were very friendly and offered to arrange transport for us to get to the train station, which is around 16 km away.
We were picked up by a lovely Burmese man in his pick up truck for a 100 THB each, the same price as the shuttle bus but much more personal, he even gave us some water when he stopped for fuel.
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