Keeping with my 2012 quest to escape the concrete confines of Bangkok, I made a journey south of the city to Ao Manao Bay. I hadn't been to this beach location in more than 5 years and, considering how much I had loved it the last time, I was filled with trepidation at he thought of the inevitable changes that had probably occurred.
I've never been happier to be wrong. Ao Manao Bay is only 4 hours out of Bangkok by car, but its just the burier needed to stave off the big investors from speculating and ruining the value of this little sea side gem of a vacation spot. Imagine a vast beach of white sand, where in the 3 days I spent there I shared it with only about 15 to 20 people a day. My hotel room, looking out over the beach, was only $25 US dollars a night.
What about cleanliness of the beach? To put it simply, the beach is on a military base where soldiers--probably connected ones--exercise by jogging on the sand and carrying brooms instead of riffles so they can sweep up any debris. I jogged and walked barefoot on the beach and felt as though I'd fallen into a different time.