Beaches, islands, temples and waterfalls
The main attraction has to be the endless sandy beach that stretches as far as the eye can see. It is fringed with coconut palms and dotted with the occasional bungalow.
Koh Talu (also spelt Koh Thalu or Ko Taloo) is a private island in the Gulf of Thailand, 30 minutes boat ride from Bangsaphan. It has two beautiful resorts, unspoiled beaches and coconut palms encircling the pristine evergreen tropical rainforest covering the most of it. The shallow clear blue sea with rich marine life is the perfect choice of nature lovers for fishing, snorkeling, diving, kayaking, sailing, trekking or just for relaxing. You can book accommodation on the island here: Koh Talu Island
Half day trips to Koh Talu cost around 350 baht per person and depart from the pier towards the south of the bay at 9am, returning at 1pm. You can book them at a small ticket office the day before. The tours are very popular with locals who travel down from Bangkok at the weekends, they can get very busy.
Coral and marine life around Koh Talu is very impressive with schools of seargent major fish, moon wrasse, parrotfish and all kinds of hard coral. Take a look at our Koh Talu marine life guide. Scuba diving is possible here but the reef is quite shallow with a maximum depth of 12 meters and visibility can be murky (3 to 10 meters). Click here for more information on Koh Talu dive sites.
Koh Talu Boat Tours
You can also charter your own boat trip to Koh Talu, the advantage being that you can get away from the crowds, go around the island, stop off at the beach and seek out your own snorkeling spots. The vessel can comfortably sit 8 to 10 people and life jackets and snorkeling equipment is provided. Food is available also and you can take your own esky of beverages. You can charter the boat and can decide when you want to leave and return though it may be weather dependent. Contact Suchart Boat Tour on 081-7594997 to make a booking.
You can also book boat yours with Kig Tour who are affiliated with the Marine Resource Conservation Group that carry out a lot of work preserving the local coral reef ecosystem. You can contact them on 081-9953787.
Bang Saphan Beaches
There are several good beaches further south and the beach town of Ban Krut to the north which are also worth visiting. Bo Thong Lang (pictured left) cove really is a little hidden away gem of a place, it is set in a cove on a headland in temple grounds. To reach the bay cross the small bridge as you are leaving Bangsaphan for Ban Krut. There is a local temple at the same spot and 4 or 5 small beach restaurants where the food is good. Keep asking directions until you find this one.
There are a number of waterfalls in the area these two (Sai Ku and Ka-On) are both a short drive south of Bangsaphan. There is another waterfall and swimming hole called Chai Rat just after the Khao Po service station. More info and photos here: Sai Ku waterfall, Chai Rat waterfall (aka Tarzan World).
Bangsaphan Lakes and Fishing
There are many lakes and reservoirs around Bangsaphan to fish in, and two small tackle shops in town will supply all of your gear.
There is a small driving range in Bangsaphan where you can practise your golf swing. It is near the Sailom Hotel on the Mae Rampheung beach road, trays of balls are 30 baht. The nearest golf courses to Bangsaphan are both military 9 holes, one at Ao Manao an hour north in Prachuab and the other is an hour south in Chumphon, just off the highway after you turn right to Ranong. Costs to play are a couple of hundred baht.
Temples and Caves
Wat Tum Marong has an impressive deep cave system with hundreds of Buddha images and a resident bat colony. More photos: Wat Tum Marong Caves
Bang Saphan has a great daytime market which is in the center of town opposite the traffic lights. Bustling, friendly and busy. Tuesday night market – go over the railway lines as though you are leaving town for the main highway and you will find the market on the right hand side after a few hundred meters. Thursday night market – this is the bigger of the two night markets where you will find just about anything and it really is fun looking for it. Located just past all the banks in the town’s main road after you have come into town over the railway lines and past 7 Eleven.
There is a concrete air craft carrier on the beach at Lang Suan which is 65 kilometers further south of Chumphon. Not many people are aware of it, the vessel was constructed in celebration of a high ranking military official who was very close to His Majesty the King. It is about a third of the size of a full scale one and a must to see.
More photos of the area can be found here: http://ontheroadasia.com/thailand-bangsaphan-base/