Cha-Am is the most northerly of Thailand’s resort towns. This one is close enough for Bangkok residents to come down for a day-trip (maybe not so much by train).
The Thai resort town is a winning recipe. The main ingredient: a beach. Add banana boats, reclining chairs under umbrellas, restaurants with decent Thai food, and coconut and other fresh fruit vendors during the day. At night, add fresh seafood, beach parties with cheap drinks and fire twirlers.
For the billions of us that are working a 9 tot 5 in a colder climate, this annual vacation is both affordable and only a few clicks away. This has pushed Thailand into the top 10 most visited places on earth. Consider this: For every metre of coastline in Thailand, there are 10 visitors per year. 3 of them will be Chinese. 3 more will come from other ASEAN countries. 1 will be either Japanese or Korean. 1 will be European. And the remaining two will be divided between India, Russia, North America, Australasia, or the rest.
For better or worse, 1 in 7 people in Thailand are working either directly or indirectly in tourism, and it contributes around 20% of Thailand’s total economic output. Thats about twice as much as the average country, and its contribution to Thailand’s economy is expected to rise.