We left Mae Phim and went west along the coast, our destination is a beach called Mae Rhumphung. This beach is 12 kms of golden sand and another popular Thai holiday spot. It’s on the way back to Pattaya and near a little town called Ban Phe, in Rayong province.
Our lovely hosts from Mae Phim offered to give us a lift to Ban Phe, so Mr, the dog and I gratefully climbed into Gunter and Noi’s car. Driving west along the coast, we passed the big resorts, Marriot, Novotel etc. These high rise monsters seemed too big for this quaint location to me, and oddly placed next door to cute little beach bar resorts like cocacola beach and kens.
The road continues round forested hills with sea glimpses, and after 25 minutes we found ourselves on a wide tree-lined avenue which ran parallel to a sweeping bay. This is Suan son (pine garden) beach, just east of Ban Phe. This beach is quieter to the east and as you get closer to Ban Phe, you start to see restaurants and stalls. The road eventually gives way to the edge of town and ferry piers smothered with colourful boats.
Why am I mentioning ferry piers? Because this little port town is best known as the ferry point to a few islands, the biggest being Koh Samet. You can see Koh Samet clearly from the mainland, being only 7 km offshore. We visited a few years ago, and this Island has a flatter, more rugged landscape than Islands down the in the south west. Ban Phe is a very active Thai port, with fishing boats everywhere. The streets nearest the harbor are lined with little stalls, each seemingly selling one of two things: dried fish, dried fish, dried fish or durian chips (for those who are interested, durian chips don’t taste anything like the fresh fruit)!
Unlike Mae Phim, I’d say Ban phe is a regular sized town, so has branches of most banks, supermarkets and a bus station. Due to the ferry terminals it also has travel agents where you can buy a/c minibus tickets direct to Bangkok, Pattaya and other places. Ban-phe.com has lots of useful info on transport, shops, ferrys and the like! We didn’t stop in Ban Phe but stayed on Mae Ramphueng beach, just 10 minutes further away.