Pattaya is an exciting place but if you want to change up the pace of your holiday and slow down even more, there is a place you should visit. The name 'Sattahip' rolls right off your tongue and stays stuck in your head like a little mantra, beckoning you until you visit, promising you an unforgettable adventure.
Only a 40 minute drive away from Pattaya and within the Thai province of Chonburi, the vibrant town of Sattahip will more than wow you when you arrive.
With its stunning beaches, a beautiful island, naval histories and concerted efforts to preserve the rich, lush wildlife all around it, it's likely you'll leave after a weekend thinking you stepped into a paradise.
Ready to explore this natural and spiritual oasis? Here are 6 memorable experiences you simply cannot miss in Sattahip.
1) Koh Samae SanOf course, there is no dearth of islands in Chonburi nor, indeed, in Thailand at large. Also known as the Samae San Island, Koh Samae San is the beach for you if you prefer quiet solitude, warm waters as far as the eye can see, clean, pure beaches and a delicate but thriving coral reef within diving distance of the shore. There are a couple of rules, however, even on a beach mostly deserted, in order to keep the peace and serenity alive:
- For visitors, the price of a ticket is 600 THB and you'll need a passport to book
- Visitors cannot buy tickets by themselves — they must go with Thai nationals
- If you plan to scuba dive, you'll need to shell out another 50 THB for rental equipment
- Tickets are for one-day travel and you cannot stay overnight on the island
- Make sure to bring a swimsuit, water suit or tanks and t-shirts because there are no bikinis allowed on the island. There's also no alcohol permitted
2) Nang Ram Beach or Sattahip beachThe next destination on your Sattahip adventure should be Nang Ram Beach. If you haven't yet had your fill of lounging around, take heart. You can rent a deck chair here for 40 THB, experience excellent food in open air restaurants, head on a banana boat ride, surf the reasonable waves, relax on clean beaches and head for a view of the corals up close with some snorkelling in the later afternoon.
3) Sea Turtle Conservation CenterFlanked by a statue of a saluting turtle in uniform, the Sea Turtle Conservation Center in Sattahip doesn't take itself too seriously — although it definitely takes its efforts with a sense of responsibility and creativity. The centre was started by the Royal Thai Navy, which still hosts the 36-staff strong operation. It acts as a point of education for visitors and locals alike, while also engaging in the captive rearing, protection and eventual release of sea turtles into the wilds.
It's a truly celebratory circle of life that touches everyone — from you, the visitor, to the people of Sattahip. There is one day in the year where, you'll get to witness the Rear Admiral of the Air and Coastal Defence Command releasing the turtles in public, with day-long ceremonies to mark the occasion. Love and admiration for these sweet creatures runs deep in all, from the officers working on the naval base to the conservationists themselves. Come and see for yourself!
4) Khao Laem Pu ChaoCommit to making the climb and come to the peak of Khao Laem Pu Chao, either right at sunrise or directly at sunset. If you come an hour or two before, you'll get to visit the 'Prince of Chumporn Shrine', a commemoration for the Prince's contribution to the modern Royal Thai Navy.
Once you've visited the shrine, take in the stunning view of all of Toei Ngam Bay, Koh Phra and Koh Tao Mo islands, and beyond on a sunny day to the whole of the Gulf of Thailand.
This is a lesser known viewpoint so you may end up being all alone. And though you may be tempted to commit the moment to film, you should know that, for national security purposes, photography and writing are not allowed. The area is still part of the Sattahip Naval Base.
5) Koh Kham Underwater National ParkYes, you read that right: At Koh Kham island, you can visit an underwater national park. But this is one you'll want to plan for. It's only open on Saturday and Sunday or during public holidays and there are only 300-400 people allowed on the island each day.
A maze-like pathway, covered completely with glass, allows you to walk through on the sea floor and view the incredible reefs, fishes and sea creatures up close. When you're done with this special underwater tour, there are plenty of other things to engage you, including diving to see fishes and coral, riding on a glass bottom boat (free of charge), kayaking, heading up the mountain for a scenic view or sitting back and relaxing (you can also rent a canvas bed for 20 TBH).
If you’re planning to stay in Pattaya for the long-term, choose your accommodation from Rental For The Holidays. You can get to Sattahip in no time from Pattaya, so make the best of both places at your long-term rental.