by Harriet Bond
(San Francisco, CA, USA)
The sunny, tropical beaches of the Eastern Seaboard are a hedonistic escape from the daily grind. Popular with both foreign visitors and locals due to their proximity to Bangkok, they are both a hub of activity and a place to lie back and relax, with all the concomitant pleasures of the sun, sand, and watersports.
Visitors can choose between basic backpacker haunts and luxurious, romantic getaways; deserted beaches or bustling commercial spots with a vibrant nightlife.
The clear aquamarine waters provide good diving and snorkeling oppurtunities offering a wealth of marine life. Other attractions such as seafood, beach parties, traditional massages, and souvenir shopscomplete the perfect holiday.
Sunbathing is a favorite occupation with travelers and most of the popular beaches have deck chairs and umbrellas to lounge under. However, it is easy to get serious sunburn and a good sunscreen is a must.
Beach games such as soccer, netball, and volleyball are extremely popular. Nets strung up on the beach with youngsters playing impromptu matches are a common sight.
The beach nightlife includes cabarets, full moon parties, fire shows, and live bands. Apart from this, groups of revelers are often seen singing around a bonfire.
Thai foot massages use traditional techniques to relieve tension. Many beaches have expert masseurs who charge very reasonable rates.
Thai beach vendors tend to be friendly rather than pushy or impolite and sell everything from fresh seafood snacks to trinkets.
Beach shacks are simple thatched structures serving iced drinks and delicious local snacks. They provide shade from the sun as well as the perfect vantage point to enjoy the sea.
Watersports of all kinds are available at Pattaya and other developed beaches. These range from kayaking – available on even the smaller beaches – to more extreme sports such as parasailing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding.