Graced with a tranquil, 5km sweep of white sand, pale-blue sea and swaying casuarinas, BAN KRUD, 70km south of Prachuap, supports a dozen or so fairly upmarket bungalow outfits and seafood restaurants along the central stretch of its shorefront road. About 1km inland from the main T-junction at the beach, the small, traditional village, which now includes several ATMs, clusters around the train station. At the beach’s northern end are a colourful fishing village, which hosts a Thursday afternoon market, and a panoramic headland beyond, Khao Thongchai, that’s dominated by the 14m-high Phra Phut Kitti Sirichai Buddha image and its sparkling modern temple, Wat Phra Mahathat Phraphat. Crowned with nine golden chedis, the temple displays an impressive fusion of traditional and contemporary features, including a series of charming modern stained-glass windows depicting Buddhist stories; reach it via a 1.5km-long road that spirals up from the beachfront. Other than a visit to the temple and possibly a snorkelling trip to Ko Thalu (B350/person through, for example, Sala Thai Resort), the main pastime in Ban Krud is sitting under the trees and enjoying a long seafood lunch or dinner.