It’s a unique experience: How to visit Phetchaburi’s salt farms

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Phetchaburi is renowned for its sweet delicacies, a highlight so prominent that it’s celebrated in the province’s motto alongside its temples, exquisite art, and beautiful seas, or so the motto goes.

For some, the mention of Phetchaburi might bring to mind its status as a UNESCO City of Gastronomy or the picturesque Cha-am Beach. Yet, for others, their only association might be the Big C store on Phetkasem Road that they see en route to Hua Hin. If that’s all you know of Phetchaburi, it’s time to broaden your horizons.

Among the myriad attractions Phetchaburi boasts, its salt farms are an absolute gem waiting to be explored.

Contrary to what some might assume, with Samut Sakhon or Samut Prakan often coming to mind at the mention of salt, Phetchaburi is Thailand’s leading producer of salt.

The heart of this salt-making activity lies in the Ban Laem District, along what is known colloquially as ‘Salt Farm Road,’ stretching from Khlong Khon-Bang Tabun-Ban Laem to the coastal road, which offers routes to Cha Am to the south and Samut Songkhram to the north.

Traditionally, most salt farming takes place during March and April, the hottest months of the year, but it is increasingly becoming a year round endeavor, with some farms operating continuously throughout the year. As an example, the photos used in this article were taken in early February and the morning after a heavy downpour.

Despite the changes, the essence of salt farming remains intact, requiring patience and resilience and a strong work ethic from the local farmers. From soil preparation to the careful evaporation process, each step is a testament to the dedication and hard work involved in this industry.

The recent surge in community-based tourism seen throughout the region has increasingly brought the salt farms of Ban Laem into the spotlight, offering visitors an authentic experience of the local lifestyle.

Travelling to Ban Laem from Hua Hin, visitors can drive along the coastal road from Cha-am to Phetchaburi and on to Ban Laem Salt Farm Road.

This road reveals the expansive salt pans that have become a magnet for tourists and photographers alike, captivated by the orderly salt piles and their reflections on the water.
And as the name suggests, the Ban Laem Salt Farm Road is where you find the majority of the salt farms in the area, with salt farms located on either side of the road.

Salt farming at Ban Laem Salt Barn Café

The focal point of the road is the Ban Laem Salt Barn Café, which is a place worth visiting in its own right.

Converted from an old salt barn, this café and restaurant offers a variety of local dishes and refreshments, with the added benefit of panoramic views of the surrounding salt farms. It serves as a perfect spot for those looking to unwind and enjoy the picturesque setting, complete with Instagram-worthy spots like a giant windmill, a bamboo bridge, and a swing.

For those interested in delving deeper into the world of salt farming, the café’s “Salt Farm University” corner provides insightful information on the different types of salt and their production processes. Though a brief stop, it enriches visitors’ understanding of the significance and intricacies of salt farming in Ban Laem.

Our tip would be to get to the Ban Laem Salt Farm Road early in the morning and watch the sunrise above the salt farms. You can then head to the Ban Laem Salt Barn Café for coffee and breakfast.

Remember to check opening times before your visit, especially since the café is closed every Wednesday. And also check the cafe’s Facebook page beforehand so you can be sure when the salt farming is taking place.

The tradition of salt farming in Phetchaburi is a cultural heritage that speaks volumes about the local community’s connection to the land and the sea.

Previously the practice of salt farming has been recognised by Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) Phetchaburi organizing events like the Art of Salt, which helps to draw attention to the beauty and importance of sustaining traditional livelihoods.

Much of the salt farmed in Petchaburi is used in food, but some is used to create beauty products and traditional Thai herbal remedies.

This gem in Phetchaburi not only offers a peek into the province’s rich cultural fabric but also serves as a reminder of the hard working nature of its people.

Visiting the salt farms in Phetchaburi is a trip well worth making, particularly for people in Hua Hin and Cha-am.

ยุ้งเกลือ – บ้านแหลม [Ban Laem Salt Barn Café]
Open daily from 7:30 AM except Wednesdays.

facebook.com/yunggleuabanleam/

Travel time from Hua Hin: 1hr 20 mins
Distance: 85km
📍 https://maps.app.goo.gl/NKRDHvDAxXFytkJ66

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Hua Hin Today’s Let’s Go series highlights locations in Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi, catering to both residents of Hua Hin and Cha Am, as well as visitors to the region.

The aim is for “Let’s Go” to become a useful guide for those keen on exploring the diverse districts spanning from Khao Yoi in Phetchaburi to Bang Saphan Noi in Prachuap Khiri Khan.

The series aims to inspire and motivate people to take trips to these provinces, and along Thailand’s Royal Coast, uncovering a plethora of attractions along the way.

We have over 80 locations to highlight, information about which will be shared weekly on our website and Facebook page, so join us for the ride and follow along via the hashtag: #letsgohuahin

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