Friday, December 7, 2007

Beaching and Moaning

Despite Thailand being known as a tropical paradise, Bangkok residents
have it tough when wanting a beach break.

The nearest decent beach is not less than two hours away. Yes, there
are closer stretches of sand, but none with water you'd want to dip
your toe into.

But for us Mahanakon dwellers, getting to the beautiful beaches of
Samet just got a whole lot easier.

This is one of those things you think twice about publicizing. It's
something that might be ruined if too many people know about it.

It's a road.

Not even a new road. But a road that is sufficiently underused to
allow you to get to Ban Phe, the jumping off point for Samet,
comfortably in under two hours.

From Bangkok, get on the motorway, then get off at the road to
Klaeng. Follow the road all the way to Klaeng, turn right, drive
another 25 kilometres and suddenly, shockingly, you're in Ban Phe
while everyone else who left Bangkok at the same time as you is still
battling roadworks and crazed truck drivers somewhere outside Laem
Chabang Freight Terminal.

The road looks like a much longer route on the map. But looks can be
deceiving. It's a good hour faster than the next best option, and half
the time of the Rayong route on a bad day.

I didn't go to Samet for years because whatever relaxed state of mind
that could be achieved on the island was guaranteed to be erased on
the tortuous drive back.

Now with this new discovery, I think I'll be there at least once a

Long live the Thai Highways Department.

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