Lamai Beach (Hat Lamai)

Lamai Lamai beach was the first to be developed for tourism. Actually, it was once more developed than Chaweng. Before that it was an authentic and peaceful fishing village. Its infrastructure has changed considerably within the past two decades. The entire village nowadays has completely turned into a tourist-oriented town. Over the last decade Lamai has lagged behind in development compared to Chaweng. Lamai is a linear village running the length of the beach. On the eastern coast, the beach stretches for around four km. Most of the resorts are on the east of the main road, running down the beach. Usually the beach is far less crowded and disturbed than Chaweng. The sea is also deeper and clearer due to being well maintained by the community.

Sunset at Lamai BeachThe town is smaller and more compact than its neighbor, with a stronger village feeling as most restaurant bars, cafes shops and even the main nightclub are all concentrated in the small but lively center known as "Lamai Gulch". Internet providers, supermarkets, shops, travel agents, and a caravan of bars and restaurants are all crammed together along the roadside and down the dusty side lanes. But for food lovers, your appetite may not be satisfied here. Although there are a few good restaurants, there is certainly not as much choice when it comes to eating and drinking. All imaginable tourist facilities can be found: post office, e-mail, banks, money exchanges, travel agencies, clothing shops, trailers, gyms and body piercing.

Central Lamai has a broad selection of bungalow type accommodation, ranging from the budget end of the scale to the magnificent, the latter with landscaped gardens, swimming pool and seclusion. There are just a few luxurious hotels along with a number of guesthouses for a wide range of budgets.

Party time comes at night and Lamai is pretty lively. Most of the action happensLamai around "Lamai Gulch". You can find some real home-style outdoor restaurants serving Thai and western food, the beach bars offer live bands, music clubs with old rock and reggae along with trendy new techno music, video features and a variety of restaurants. There are few discos which start swinging at about midnight. This area is pretty cheap and is home to dozens of girlie bars.

Yet, amid the touristy ambiance, there remains a village character. Ride or walk to the back of the beach road and you're in the heart of banana groves and coconut plantations. You can take a mountain bike ride up the hill tracks and into the rocky interior. Or follow the road down past the cape at the southern end where many large rocks make rather weird formations and you will find the pools where the famed Grandfather and Grandmother rocks attract most tourists with the bizarre scenery.

Hat LamaiShopping in Lamai is not nearly so varied as in Chaweng. There are of course plenty of supermarkets and minimarts and tailor shops every 100 m or so. There are also a string of souvenir shops on the road running down to Hin-ta, Hin-tai and another set on the ring road at the northern entrance to Lamai beach.

There is a charming old monastery with a tiny museum. There are even a couple of meditation centers, and a number of local gyms where you can take Thai boxing lessons.

There is also a choice of dive shops offering trips to Lamai reef. Most are dead coral reefs which can be accessed by a beach dive from Lamai beach. There are jet skis costing 1,400 baht per hour or 500 baht for 15 minutes and paragliding for 800 baht per trip.

Within the last few years Lamai has become an attraction for health and healing resorts. A number of healing centers and spas have risen up around the northern stretch and this area is known as 'longevity beach'. To get to the beach, it is very easy to take a songtaew running around the island for the cost of 150-200 baht.

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