Bang Saray – tranquil, with quiet, comfortable beach resorts
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Bang Saray - tranquil, pretty, but changing
A generation ago Bang Saray was a quaint little wooden fishing village lost in a cultural backwater. The men went fishing, the women tended their houses, kids and gardens as they have done for a thousand years. Then tourists arrived. But these early visitors were mainly wealthy Thais from Bangkok who could afford a car to drive down the narrow road to Pattaya and the beaches beyond. Thai city folk came seeking a connection with their roots, and fresh seafood – especially the fresh seafood, served on rickety jetties out over the water. When the wealthy visitors kept coming back, those rickety jetties grew into sturdy restaurants on thin wooden stilts.
Today's Bang Saray is a modern version of the old. The wooden planks are now slabs of concrete, and the restaurants are bigger, but they are still right where they began, reaching out over the bay. Unfortunately there is not as much seafood as there was a generation ago. But most of the families who owned the fishing boats and little restaurants then still own them today. The children of the old owners now serve the children of the old customers.
Some foreigners find their way here, but this is still essentially Thai, a quaint blend of traditional fishing village morphed modern with touches of Thai-style urbanization. The ubiquitous 7-Eleven and other convenience stores are there, but it's still a distinctly Thai food and drink destination. There are only a few places quite like it in this part of the country.
Bang Saray village is built right across the sand, so there is no longer a beach in town. Just outside, however, it is relatively undisturbed and quite attractive by the lesser standards of upper Gulf beaches. The sand is generally narrow but quite clean, and lush tickets of trees hang over the beach in many places. The water appears better than that in Pattaya, and logic tells us that Bang Saray's 20 kilometres closer to the open sea should mitigate the pollution problem a little. But this is still the upper Gulf and we should not expect pristine conditions nor a lot of wild-caught seafood. Even here much of it comes from fish and prawn farms.
A little north of the village is an area along the beach where food vendors place mets below the trees and serve Thai dishes in the simplest of manners. Thai families and groups of friends come here for relaxing, cheap, picnic-style eating. It's basic, but it's popularity with the locals tells us that the food is quite good.