It’s a weekend, and even though the beach in Bankrut is busy, it seems that the long line of white sand has room for everyone. Children play, large families grill seafood and banana boats float in the sea. Bankrut is a real Thai beach resort, quiet during the week, busy on weekends and very charming.
Most people are working in tourism here and are proud of their city. Most people who come here are Thai, some go on a 40 miles long journey from Bangkok, some come from Hua Hin over the weekend.
Further up the mountain you can find plenty of pineapples which the province is most famous for. From the top of the mountain you can can see the scenery all the way down to Bangsaphan, which despite its equally beautiful beaches, does not have the same charm as Bankrut. There are no glued smiles towards westerners here, many locals are rather hesitant and puzzled towards rare western tourists. The fact is that most of the locals do not speak English at all or know just a few words. This low-key friendliness feels real and genuine, Thailand is “for real ” here at Bankrut.
Take one hour journey north and you will find Prachuap Khiri Khan, or Meuang Sam Ao – the city with three bays – as locals call it. It’s a typical small town with a maze of concrete buildings and power cables everywhere, and despite some well-preserved Chinese houses in teak and fantastic location by the bay of Prachuap, you can hardly call it picturesque.
Fishing is the main industry here and it is no coincidence that it’s known as Thailand’s unofficial capital of seafood with the most fresh and cheap seafood in the country. The price level is sometimes only a third of what you pay in Bangkok or the islands of the south.
Given that Meuang Sam Ao is so close to Burma, many Burmese are working here. Workers at fishing factories require visa but those working on fishing boats are usually illegal guest workers. Nowadays the problem of slave-like conditions in the fishing industry in South East Asia has drawn international attention and many fishermen are very careful when interacting with foreigners.
This part of Thailand is still untouched by tourism and has a lot to offer: clean and turquoise beaches with white sand, the best seafood in the country and an atmosphere where locals are enjoying their country and are not focused on business towards tourists. Discover Thailand off the beaten track and head south west to escape tourist crowds and to experience true Thai culture.