Nestled on the Eastern Seaboard, the district of Ban Chang lies between the well-known coastal resort of Pattaya and the popular island of Koh Samet. As a traveler, passing through Ban Chang town centre situated on Sukumvit road, you'd be forgiven for thinking that Ban Chang was just another bustling Thai working town. However, just a few Kilometers from the main town you will find everything from quiet beaches and great seafood restaurants, to Vineyards, Fruit Farms and even Water Parks. Its proximity (yet relative tranquility) to Pattaya and Rayong along with its excellent transport links to other areas of Thailand and SE Asia, has made Ban Chang a popular destination for western ex-pats, retiree's and Thai tourists alike.
Living in Ban Chang, Rayong
Ban Chang is a great place to live for retirees and families, you're never far from a beach and a cooling sea breeze. There is a fairly large community of western ex-pats from various parts of Europe and North America. Because of this there are quite a few restaurants and bars catering to various European cuisines in the area.
Whilst Ban Chang doesn't have all the amenities that a city such as Pattaya has, it has plenty of Markets and a small Tesco Lotus. Ban Chang has a good balance between local amenities and and not being overdeveloped and crowded.
Getting Around Ban Chang
Unlike Pattaya, it is very hard to get around Ban Chang if you don't drive or ride a motorcycle. Whilst there are Songthaews and Motorbike Taxis, they usually stick to the Sukumvit Road where there is a lot of traffic.
Once you get off Sukumvit Road, the roads are usually quiet and relatively safe to travel on a motorcycle or cycle. The only exception being the morning and afternoon rush hour when there is quite a bit of traffic heading in and out of the near by Map Ta Phut industrial estate. Even then the traffic is no where on par with Rayong or Pattaya at quiet times.
Ban Chang Hotels
There are plenty of hotels and places to stay in the area and neighboring areas of Pattaya and Rayong, some great, others not so good. Never the less, there are places to suit all budgets.
The Lord Nelson Hotel - Newly opened at the end of 2016, The Lord Nelson Hotel and Victory Bar is a wonderful boutique hotel right on the beach. In addition to accommodation The Lord Nelson Ban Chang serves great food and is a popular choice with local expats.
Beaches In Ban Chang
There are four main beaches in Ban Chang, with several other good beaches slightly further afield in Chonburi. All of the beaches are relatively quiet most of the time, except for Phala Beach, which can get busy at weekends and public holidays. All of the beaches in the area have ample parking and have numerous restaurants lining them, the staff of which will happily bring food and drink to where you are sitting.
Phala Beach - Of the four local beaches, Phala Beach is the busiest and as a result is cleaned more often. Shade provided by the tropical pine trees that sit atop the sea defenses along the beach make it the perfect place to enjoy food and drink with friends.
Pahyun Beach - Situated at the end of Phayun road, Phayun Beach is much quieter than Phala. There are several restaurants along the beach, from which you can watch the local fishermen go about their business.
Nam Rin Beach - Further east heading out of town toward Map Ta Phut, Hat Nam Rin is another quiet beach with many small restaurants. At the eastern end are a bunch of large concrete manatees sitting on top of a natural rock formation. The western end of the beach is home to Romson's Restaurant (great seafood).
Sai Thong Beach - More of a working beach than somewhere tourists would go. Much less developed than the other beaches in the area, with just a small natural harbour and a single restaurant at the eastern end. The long untouched beach is good for early morning walks in the winter months though.
Ban Chang Restaurants & Bars
The significant number of western ex-pats living in Ban Chang means there are plenty of restaurants offering western cuisine. There are also many great Thai and Seafood restaurants, too many to mention. On top of this there is plenty of great street food on offer just about everywhere.
Homemade Pizza & Steak - Situated close to the main strip of bars just off Sukumvit Road. Homemade Pizza & Steak does the best pizza in town. They also serve up a range of great pasta dishes.
Romson Restaurant - Situated on Nam Rin Beach, Romson Restaurant offers amazing seafood, in a casual yet romantic atmosphere.
Phala Pier Cafe - Phala Pier Cafe serves up western favourites such as burgers as well as Thai food, right on the beach front. Friday night is fire show night!
Attractions Near Ban Chang
Ban Chang is conveniently located between the Cities of Pattaya and Rayong so there is plenty to do. Just 20 minutes drive, the area surrounding the Silverlake vineyard provides plenty to do. Just 45 minutes to the east, the town of Ban Phe has plenty to see and do, in addition to being the gateway to the tiny island of Koh Samet.
Ramayana Water Park - Just a 20 minute drive from Ban Chang, Ramayana bills itself as the best water park in Thailand. It's great for younger and older kids as well as adults.
Tamananpar Resort Ban Phe - Smaller water park on an eco resort just outside Ban Phe. At just 600 baht for a family of four, it's great value. Perfect for younger kids.
Rayong Adventure Park - Total wipeout style water park with blow up slides and assault courses, situated opposite Central Mall, Rayong. Great fun but more suited to older kids.
Sheep Farms & Petting Zoo's
The area surrounding Ban Chang has its fair share of children's petting zoo's. They can vary massively in their offering so it's good to check out the reviews online before hand.
Ban Chang Sheep Farm - Nice little farm with sheep, rabbits, a couple of horses and a few ostrich. It's free to look around and the food at the restaurant is good quality and cheap.
Mountain Coffee and Zoo - This coffee shop in hills just outside Rayong as a small zoo attached to it. While most of the animals are what you'd expect at a kids petting zoo, they do have some more exotic creatures. Zebra and Giraffes being a couple of examples.
Swiss Sheep Farm - Just 20 minutes from Ban Chang, Swiss sheep farm is probably the largest sheep farm in the area. There's plenty to do here for younger kids.
Wonder Farm - Just around the corner from Swiss Sheep Farm on Silverlake, Wonder Farm is another sheep farm that is free to look around.
Thailand is famed for its rich cultural heritage, and beautiful Buddhist temples known as Wat's. Ban Chang has several and there are some noteworthy temples a little further afield in Rayong and Chon Buri. Ban Chang's main temples double as community hubs, where local fairs and special occasions can be celebrated. Some even have a school on the ground where the monks provide education to disadvantaged children.
Wat Ban Chang - Situated just south of the Sukumvit on Phayun Road, Wat Ban Chang serves as the centre of the community. The grounds of the temple often host large markets and travelling fairs. The temple itself is fairly large and has a community school situated on its grounds.
Wat Phala - Situated right on Phala beach, Wat Phala is a small but beautiful temple, with a small school within the temple walls. The temple often plays host to local food markets, and is the perfect place to celebrate the Thai tradition of Loy Kratong.