Bangsaen: Nearby Shopping and Traveling

There is sooooo little information in English about the gem which is Bangsean on the internet!  I have lived here almost two years and I have nothing but good things to say about Bangsean and am amazed about the lack of information about Bangsean in English.  Some expats have suggested that perhaps this lack of information is for the best since this keeps the expat riff raff out and perhaps they are right.  Regardless, I plan to write at least three posts about Bangsean to enlighten the world about this incredible place!  The audience of this post is new foreign students or new foreign faculty at Burapha University but other foreigners in Bangsean may find the information useful.  You have just arrived in Bangsean and need to work or study at Burapha University!  Now what?

First, you can get just about anything you need shopping wise in Bangsean or nearby Bangsean!  Some hard earned, cash wise anyway, shopping advice is also included! Second, Bangsean may be the single best location in Thailand period!

There is a lot of stuff about Bangsean Beach on the internet so I will skip this subject.  If this is your first visit to Thailand then you will need to shop for basics.  The Central Plaza Mall in Chonburi is the largest mall right next to Bangsean and is north of Bangsean on Sukhumvit road (Highway 3 on the map above).  Below is a picture of the Central Plaza Mall in Chonburi:

Central Plaza Mall Chonburi

You take a red songthaew to get there.  Below is a picture of a songthaew:


The songthaew traveling north will go past the mall and then a Tesco Lotus, a hypermart, to the left and then into Chonburi city, not to be mixed up with Chonburi province.  Before arriving to the Central Plaza Mall you will pass not one but two Big C’s!  Big C is the largest hypermart in Thailand.  Big C recently bought out Carrefour and now there are Big Cs everywhere!  Your best bet if you have just arrived in Bangsaen is to skip those Big C’s and go to the Big C, previously Carrefour, attached to the Central Plaza Mall since they basically all have the same stuff.  If you go to the Big C in the mall then you get a mall and a Big C versus just a Big C.  You will also pass a Makro hypermarket but unless you want to buy twelve rolls of toilet paper instead of four then this hypermart should not be your first stop.  However, Makro often has really good prices for stuff like TVs and fridges etc and you might want to compare Makro and the other hypermarts before buying those types of big ticket items.  The four big places to buy electronics and white goods in the Bangsaen area are Tesco Lotus, Power Buy, Big C and Makro.  Big C and Makro have better in-store warranties than Power Buy.  Makro has the widest selection and best prices for white goods.  Power Buy has more specialized computer and electronics equipment.  There is a Power Buy in the Central Plaza Mall, Sriracha Robinson and Lamthong Mall.  Interestingly, while different Power Buy stores carry similar inventory, the price of electronic items will vary from store to store.  This is not the case with Tesco Lotus, Big C or Makro.  More and more taxis are starting to do business in Bangsean, a welcome trend, and you can use them to transport stuff like “32” inch TVs from the store to your apartment.  Also, if you buy “X” baht worth of stuff then you get free delivery from the store!  How much you need to buy varies from store to store.  Delivery is generally not very expensive anyway.

Below are pictures of the Big C, Makro and Power Buy logos:

Big C Logo


This songthaew route is used by many to commute back and forth from Chonburi to Bangsaen.  The songthaew is around 20 baht.  The songthaew may be a baht or two more or less depending on the distance you have traveled and the time of day.  Late night songthaews cost the full 20 baht.  An easy way to figure out the fare is to give a 20 baht bill and wait for change if you get change the fare was less if you do not get change then the fare was 20 baht!  I am sorry to say there is very little of interest in Chonburi for most tourists but a first timer that has just arrived in Thailand might find the city interesting.

If you travel on Sukhumvit road further to the North then you can go to Bangkok.  The easiest way to go to Bangkok is to take a van from Lamthong Mall in Bangsean.  Below is a picture of the bus station.


The bus and/or van will drop you off at Ekkamai BTS Station .  Actually you are dropped off in the parking lot of the Eastern Bus Station but you can see the Ekkamai BTS Station and its a five minute walk.  The cost is 90 baht!  Can’t beat the price.  The van then goes on to the Bang Na BTS Station.  Bang Na is kind of a suburb of Bangkok and not a lot out there for a tourist but some Burapha students live in this part of Bangkok.  You probably want to get of at Ekkamai.

If you have arrived in Bangsaen and do not know where Lamthong Mall is then that is your first step in exploring Bangsaen.  Lamthong Mall is within walking distance of Burapha University.  Lamthong Mall has a Tops Supermarket which does carry most of the foods and expat would need to survive.  There is also a KFC, a Pizza Hut and the Pizza Company.  You may argue that you are in Thailand and will only eat Thai food but after a couple of weeks this will get old.

As mentioned, there is a Power Buy in Lamthong Mall that will serve most of your electronic needs but I have had trouble returning stuff after a week unlike Big C and Makro.  There is a third floor filled with small mom and pop electronic/computer shops but they employ the “Asian small store warranty system” better known as “Caveat Emptor”.  You buy and the item is yours.  If the item you bought breaks down even an hour later from the time of purchase then that is your problem not theirs.  However, most of the major electronic brands do have a store in Central Plaza and they honor the company warranty without even blinking!  So maybe the store warranty is not that important in Thailand.   Lamthong Mall is probably the social center of Bangsean.  Lamthong Mall is better than nothing but sooner rather than later you will want to check out Central Plaza or one of the hypermarts mentioned.  Scooter for hire drivers in Bangsean will understand “Lamthong Mall”.  In Bangsean, the scooter for hire drivers wear blue cargo vests with a number on the back.  Stand to the side of the road and wave to get their attention.  I would not take the Sukhumvit road bus to Bangkok which is 40 baht and only marginally cheaper.

There is an excellent e-guide to Bangkok that can be downloaded for free as a pdf file at:

In order to visit places south of Bangsean you will need to take the Sukhumvit road busThe Bangsean bus stop is not marked with a sign but is on Sukhumvit road across from Nong Mon MarketIf you say Nong Mon Market then a scooter for hire driver will probably understand you.  Some scooter for hire driver’s may or may not understand “bus stop”.  The same red songthaew that takes you to Central Plaza Mall will take you by Nong Mon Market before going to the Central Plaza mall.  You can flag down the songthaew anywhere on the main road of Bangsean but the best place is probably in front of Lamthong and the songthaews generally stop there for a few minutes to pick up passengers.  Below is a picture of Nong Mon Market:

Nong Mom Market

From Nong Mong Market you take an overhead pedestrian bridge and cross the street.  Generally, you will see several people milling around a convenience store waiting for the bus.  There is a snooker parlor down the street from the convenience store that is visible from the bus stop.

Most buses go all the way to Rayong but some make their final stop at Pattaya.  A good tactic is to sit at the front of the bus near the bus driver and occasionally say where you want to go in a questioning tone.  For example, if you want to stop at Pattaya then say “Pattaya?” now and then.  If they forget about you then you may end up taking a trip all the way to the end of the line which is generally Rayong.  The first stop south from Bangsean is Sriracha and the bus ride is around 20 minutes from the Bangsean bus stop and costs 30(?) baht.  Sriracha offers the Robinson Mall in Sriracha.  The Robinson Mall is slightly larger than the Central Plaza Mall in Chonburi.  You will have to cross the street to get to the mall.  Below is a picture of the Robinson Mall in Sriracha:

Robinson Department Store Sriracha

Behind the mall is a small “Little Tokyo” where Japanese executives from the surrounding Japanese auto factories hang out.  There are various Japanese style restaurants, some Japanese stores and Izakayas (Japanese style pubs).  The mall and Japanese section provide a nice afternoon of entertainment for a tourist with one day to explore areas around Bangsean.  There are also several giant electronic stores within walking distance of the mall, south of the mall, on Sukhumvit road that have good prices and a large selection of electronic goods compared to the Bangsean area.

If you take the Sukhumvit road bus further south from Sriracha then you will arrive in Pattaya.  The ride will be about an hour, or more due to constant pickups of passengers along the way from, Bangsean and costs 40 baht.  From the bus stop on Sukhumvit road, you will need to take a scooter to Pattaya city.  The scooter drivers in Pattaya generally have good English and know the names of most major hotels and venues in Pattaya and can take you to where you want to go directly.

There are any number of students and faculty of Burapha University that live in Pattaya and commute by car back and forth.  The trip from Bangsean to Pattaya by car from Burapha can be as short as 30 minutes!  You might want to make friends with one of those commuters!

There is an excellent e-guide to Pattaya that can be downloaded for free as a pdf file at:

The location of Bangsean means that you can spend a weekend in Bangkok or Pattaya any time you want!  This is one of the great advantages of Bangsean.  Bangsean is not bad.  Bangsean has an ok beach, Lamthong Mall, Central Plaza Mall nearby and more bars and restaurants than you can check out in a year.  Plus, Bangsean has a pretty educated populace due to Bangsean basically being a college town.  Pattaya has farang pressures I will not go into except to say that the touts do get really old really fast!  Bangkok has the pollution and grid lock of any big city.  Pattaya and Bangkok are great places to visit but maybe not great places to live in.  Bangsean may not be a tourist mecca but Bangsean is not a bad place to live in even if Bangsean can get a little boring.  I would mention that Bangsean is cheaper than Bangkok or Pattaya by a pretty wider margin.  I would say the cost of living in Bangsean is 25% less than the cost of living in Bangkok.  The cost of living in Bangsean is about 20% less than in Pattaya.  So maybe Bangsean is a little boring but a lot cheaper!  However, if you get bored in Bangsean then you can go north or south and have some fun!  There is a plan to build a high speed rail along Sukhumvit road from Bangkok to Rayong and this will make Bangsean and even better deal.  Bangsean will then be a commuter haven for those trying to escape the costs and pressures of  both Bangkok and Pattaya!

If you continue on the same Sukhumvit road bus further south then you will arrive in Rayong bus station in the city center of Rayong.  The Rayong city center does not offer much to tourists.  On the other hand, Rayong has a beach with some bars and pubs and a bit of an expat scene that might be worth an overnight stay but the expat scene on Rayong beach cannot compare with Pattaya.   You will need to take a taxi or songthaew from the Rayong bus station to the Rayong beach.  A better bet is to go from Rayong to Koh Samet.  From the Rayong bus station you will need to take a taxi or songthaew to Ban Phe.  From Ban Phe you can take a ferry to Koh Samet.  In Ban Phe there will be various touts trying to sell you a speedboat ticket to the island but the public ferry is much cheaper.  Do not buy a round trip speedboat ticket!  The round trip ticket will invariably be more expensive than if you take the ferry or buy two one-way speedboat tickets separately.  A determined tourist could do Koh Samet on a weekend.  Leave Friday afternoon, spend Saturday on the island, and return Sunday night.  However, a three day weekend would be a better choice.  This gives you at least two nights in Koh Samet and you can really relax rather than hurrying to and fro from Bangsean to Koh Samet and back.  Information about Koh Samet at:

Further south of Rayong on Sukhumvit road there is Koh Chang.  Most Sukhumvit road buses go from Bangkok to Rayong and you will probably have to transfer in the Rayong bus station to go to Koh Chang.  This is a four day trip, at least, and therefore Koh Chang goes beyond the goal of this post to provide a guide to places “near” Bangsean.

Taxi service in Bangsaen to other cities:

Airport Taxi – 086-785-3719

Bangkok Taxi – 086-048-6218

Pattaya Taxi – 081-002-7091

Minivan from Bangsaen to Suvarnabhumi Airport

The minivan straight to the international airport in Bangkok from Bangsean is across the street from Lamthong Mall.  Walk towards the beach and the bus station is next to the Islamic Bank of Thailand which is the only one in Bangsaen.

Islamic Bank of Thailand

This minivan service more or less runs hourly from 8 am to 8 pm but I would recommend checking what the next day’s schedule will be the day before since the schedule seems to vary a bit from time to time.

I want to recommend Haji Solehin Jewang as a guide and driver in Bangsean especially if you are Muslim.  Haji is a Muslim and knows where all the halal eateries are.  Haji knows English, Thai and Malay.  His telephone is 02-9887704.  His mobile is 081-3756393.

I did two more posts in a series about Bangsean:

Bangsean: Burapha University Tour

Bangsaen: United Place Apartments

WereVerse Universe Baby!

31 responses to “Bangsaen: Nearby Shopping and Traveling

  1. Thailand Newbie

    Hello! This is very useful article! I just arrived in Chon Buri this monday, I work in AIS (beside Tesco Lotus) and I got an apartment in Bangsean, very near Burapha University! I was trying to figure out how to get from Bangkok to here because I plan to go on a weekend. Thanks for this!

    By the way, the red Songtheaw you mentioned has only one route? It passes Tesco Lotus and Burapha University? So I can ride any Songhteaw that passes by?

    Thanks so much for the help!

  2. Thailand Newbie

    Thank you very much! You’re such a big big help!

  3. Thailand Newbie

    Btw, this article is better than wikipedia or any travel document I read! Keep it up! 🙂

  4. Wish I knew this stuff when I visited my uncles in Bangsean back in July! Good stuff!

  5. Thank you so much for all the helpful information. My wife and I are interested in retiring in Thailand in a few years, however we won’t be over 50 so we were hoping to study Thai language and possibly some other things such as Thai Cooking, muy thai, buddhism, and eastern medicines. Are you aware if Burapha University or any other place in Bangsean offers a year long Thai language class that would qualify for an education visa? Again, thanks for putting this blog together and I look forward to reading any future posts.

  6. Burapha does offer a Thai as a second language program geared towards degree seeking Chinese exchange students but that doesn’t really fit your needs at all. Pattaya and Bangkok offer any number of classes in Thai culture and more especially Thai language especially geared towards someone in your situation. Chiang Mai would be another alternative destination. Pattaya is close enough that if you had a car then you could very easily live in Bangsean and commute to Pattaya for a class lets say twice a week. The Pattaya English newspapers regularily run ads for people who want to study Thai and meet Thai visa requirements. Make sure they are approved for such an arrangement with the Thai ministy of education ahead of time. Chiang Mai is much smaller and quieter than Bangkok but not necessarily cheaper as many think. The following link takes you to one of the language schools in Pattaya that has been around for awhile and longevity is something I would pay attention to:

  7. Thank you for the timely and informative response to my post. How feasible do you think it would be to take a bus a couple times a week to Pattaya (I’d much prefer to put behind the hassle of owning a car). We are hoping to figure out a way to make it work living Bangsean as it seems to meet our criteria the best of any place in Thailand. They are as follows:

    quiet, relaxed everyday living
    easy access to the excitement and entertainment of a big city
    clean air
    low cost of living
    beach is a plus
    modern amenities
    not a hotspot for sex tourists or expats
    access to a Thai language school that meets Ed. visa requirements

    With that in mind, I think traveling to Pattaya a couple times a week would be worth it. Can you think of any other places in Thailand that fit our criteria? Again, thank you so much for all this inside info as it can be difficult to find on the internet.

    • Thanks for the kudos! Bangsean does get a little boring! However, I rather be in a place that is placid and go to the big cities North and South for some weekend excitement than the other way around. I just spent a week in Bangkok and my blood pressure went straight up. I lived there for a couple of months and Bangsean just looks good in comparison. When ever you get bored with Bangsean just spend some time in Bangkok or Pattaya and you will get over it fast! You can actually walk around Bangsean without having to worry about getting run over! I get so tired of the endless touts in both Bangkok and Pattaya but especially in Pattaya. Why are total strangers invading my personal space as I walk around the city? This never happens in Bangsean! Thats worth something right there! I see Bangsean as almost being a suburb of Bangkok and especially Pattaya. If and when a high speed rail gets built connecting all three cities then I have no doubt you will see many from both Bangkok and Pattaya move to Bangsean!

  8. Going to Pattaya from Bangsean is not a problem in my opinion. There are students at Burapah that live in Pattaya and take the bus everyday! The longer you live in Bangsean, the less you will go to Pattaya. In most cases there comes a point were you are going to Pattaya maybe less than once a month. There isn’t really anything in Pattaya you don’t have in Bangsean except more of it! YOu got 20 places to get a massage in Bangsean. Do you really need the choice of a 1,000 places in Pattaya. Sure Pattaya has a hundred plus Japanese places and Bangsean probably has around ten but you probably only need ten! You got everything on the list in Bangsean except a Thai language school that meets Ed. visa requirements. The fact Bangsean is not a hot spot for sex tourists or expat means you don’t have the number for that sort of Thai language school! The expats in Bangsean mostly use the retirement visa not the ed visa.

    Frankly the ed visa kind of has a rep for being dodgy and often used by dodgy people. If you have a real income coming in and are 50 or older then why wouldn’t you go with the retirement visa? The ed. visa has an expiration date and sad to say a lot of expats well..lets just say after 2 years sometimes they only know five words in Thai! However, if you don’t have the financial resources for the retirement visa then the ed visa is the way to go in the short run but again it has an expiration date!

    You can study Thai at a language school in Lamthong that is quite humble in terms of size but does the job. However those little mall schools just don’t have the resources to mess with the ministry of education.
    The beach is so-so in Bangsean! But a beach is a beach. Cost of living in Bangsean is lower than Bangkok or Pattaya. Bangsean has Lamthong right in the center of the city and any number of hypermarts easily accessed.

  9. We will meet the retirement financial requirements, but I will only be 40 years old when we plan making the move. Assuming we fall in love with Thailand, our plan would be to legitimately take classes for 5 years and then apply for a retirement visa (she is 5 years older than me and it is my understanding only 1 member of a marriage is required to be 50). Again, thank you so much for all the effort you have put in your blog and in responding to my posts. It’s been a big help and has help solidify my opinion that Bangsean would be the perfect place for us (of course we will plan on doing a test vacation for around 3 months before deciding to move).

  10. Thailand has regions and the regions are very different! You might check out South Thailand. You have places like Phuket in the South but that place is expensive! More expensive than Pattaya! However, there are all sorts of little towns along the coast the are super cheap and relatively off the beaten path in terms of expats. The best beaches are in the South overall anyway. The problem is you are really in another world! Its a good world in my opinion but not everyone can adapt! Bangkok is very far away! I go to Bangkok maybe one every three months but when I go then I really need to go. I need my giant English Kinokuniya bookstore in Siam Paragon which compares with the best bookstores in Taipei, Seoul and even Tokyo yes Tokyo! Well getting to that bookstore from Bangsean is a weekend trip and a 90 minute bus ride one way. The ticket is less than five bucks. From the South its a plane ticket and at least a hundred bucks. You will do the 20 hour bus ride once from the South to Bangkok to save money and never do it again! Its kind of like another country compared to central Thailand. If you are trying to escape globalization then great but otherwise think twice. I would travel around the South a bit before doing anything too permanent.

  11. Thanks for the tip. We will definitely need to check out the south before making a decision. However, for us, being in relatively close proximity to Bangkok is a huge plus as we envision ourselves spending plenty of weekends their and exploring what the city has to offer.

  12. After doing more internet research my top 2 potential destinations are Bangsean and Cha Am. Obviously, I wouldn’t make a decision till I’ve had a chance to spend time in each place, but they both seem to offer what I’m looking for in a place. I was wondering if you had spent any time in Cha am or knew enough about it to compare the 2 towns. My general impression is that Cha am might have better beaches, but Bangsean is closer to Bankok. Another big difference is the neighboring big towns, Hua Hin vs. Pattaya. Both seem to be Thai weekend destinations that are quiet during the week and both seem to have relatively easy access to modern amenities. Any further insight you could provide in comparing the two towns would be greatly appreciated. Have a great day!

    • I have never been to Cham Am period! I did some quick research and now I am little curious about the place. Based on my research the big difference is distance from Bangkok and Pattaya. Chan Am is 2-2.5 hours away from Bangkok by car or minibus vs. 1.5 hours to Bangkok. Getting to Pattaya is a bit of a pain from Chan Am and you are going to have to rent something for 350 baht. Further research would probably yield more efficient travel options between Chan Am and Pattaya. I do know that getting to Pattaya from Bangsean is 40 baht and a bus shows up maybe every ten minutes like clock work. Students at Burapaha do commute from Pattaya to Burapha University in Bangsean on a daily level no problem using the bus. Teachers drive from Bangkok to Bangsean and vice versa on a daily basis but it does get old. There is a high speed rail in the works and Bangsean will be right in the middle of the action while Chan Am will not. Bangsean might have one of the best if not the best location in Thailand! But… I am definetly going to visit Cha Am. No university in Cha Am so no job so no way I live there but I am kind of curious. I have been to Hua Hin. Phuket prices so why not just go to Phuket? If you are rich enough to live in Phuket or Hua Hin then you are talking air travel anyway and not mere minibuses like plebs like me! I would say Phuket is actually marginally more expensive than Bangkok or Pattaya while Bangsean is much cheaper than Bangkok, actually much, much cheaper! I am curious about Cham Am prices but no university job there so no way for me anyway. Hua Hin is a kind of up scale beach experience similar to Phuket but you can work in Bangkok and use Hua Hin as a second home unlike Phuket and thats what rich Thais do and that makes sense. However, for someone not working in Bangkok, Phuket makes more sense than Hua Hin. Also all in all I would say Phuket does the beach resort thing better than Hua Hin!

  13. Thanks for weighing in. I think I’ll just need to spend some time in both places (among others) before making a decision.

    • Please share your experiences at my blog! There is a real need for this sort of information! There is so much information about Bangkok, Pattaya, Chiang Mai and Phuket but so little about other places!

  14. Hello i am kavin, its my first occasion to commenting anywhere, when i read this piece of writing i thought i could also make comment due to this
    sensible piece of writing.

    • Man looking at and reading about your breakfast in Hua Hin makes me hungry. You can get a good Western breakfast way over at the Tide Resort but its not convenient for anyone living in Bangsean. There is no good Western breakfast to be found near Burapah which is were I live!

  15. Hey Mate,

    Hello, interesting and useful information here.

    However, we are a couple of English teachers who are going to be in Bangkok in the next week and would like to know which is better for young lads looking for a good time: Soi Cowboy or Nana Plaza? Our heads are done in reading the various reviews, and so we cannot decide.

    Also, any recommendations for hotels in those areas? Would like to know from someone with boots on the ground, as it were.


    • Oh the answer is clear, you do both! Why wouldn’t you? They are about 15 city blocks away from each other. It would take about 25 minutes to walk from one to another and people do it and its a straight easy shot from one to another. A tuk tuk can take you from one to the other in five minutes. Nana is bigger than Soi Cowoby but also has a lot more lady boys than Soi Cowboy as a ratio to the total number of girls and “accidents” can happen so that might influence your decision. I like hotels under the 1,000 mark and that means the Honey House Hotel on Soi 22 for Soi Cowboy. There used to be tons and tons of budget hotels in the Soi Cowboy area but are slowly and surely disappearing. S Sukhumvit Suite Hotel is a lot closer to Soi Cowboy but a little more money. I would recommend the Nana City Inn in Nana and its a good value, not a budget hotel but in the 1,000 range and pretty nice. Noise level can be a problem with hotels in both Nana and Soi Cowboy. Listening to the blare of bar at 3am is not fun when you want to sleep. Soi 22 is next to Soi Cowboy not in Soi Cowboy and might be a good home base. Soi 22 is more laid back than Soi Cowboy and Nana but has a nice neighborhood feel and things to do.

  16. Cheers, mate! If they’re that close, then we must visit both, of course we do not want any accidents, either! Thanks for the hotel suggestions. We’ll have a look.

    Any recommendations for pubs in Nana so as to avoid such “accidents”?

  17. hello! when you take the bus from suk road (nong mon) to pattaya/ranong,. do you just wait in the road and flag the bus down then pay the driver? Or do you get a ticket – is there a booth there? thanks!

    • There is van that goes up and down the route. There is an actual bus that does the same. There are even songthaews that will only take you to Sriracha so don’t take the songthaew. There is generally a lady or two that will approach you and ask you where you want to go and try to herd you to the van versus the bus versus the songthaew depending who she works for. Very few farang around so you stick out like a sore thumb and they want your business. There is no booth. You buy the ticket and get into the bus or van on the spot. I always take the van and its around 50 baht. The vans pretty much all go to Pattaya. I don’t think I ever had to wait more than twenty minutes for van or bus to show up.

  18. thanks a lot! And would you recommend getting the big bus to ekkamai from nong mon on the way back? Is it a similar deal – find a lady to help, and do you buy a ticket before? I have taken the minivan to victory monument before but prefer the big bus. In your opinion is it worth waiting on the road for? Many Thanks 🙂

    • I generally take the minivan so I cant answer your questions and….very recently there has been some change as to the minivan to Victory Monument. I will be going to Bangkok in December and will update this article based on my experience. You don’t buy any tickets ahead of time at Nogmon. Actually they collect the money once you are on the bus and/or minivan. The lady doesn’t collect money. She just herds people to her bus and/or mini van i.e. she collects customers.

  19. thanks so much Hugh!

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