Kung Wiman - a beach called heaven
11:05pm, Sunday 17 December 2023
When we first came to Kung Wiman beach in Chanthaburi 21 years ago it was a beautiful unspoiled bay with only a few thatched beachside eating places. Now it is much busier. There are a few beachside hotels and many day trippers come to eat seafood by the sea and enjoy picnicking, playing, swimming or fishing from the rocks. Beach souvenirs can be bought from the local vendors that line the road and in the evenings roadside stalls are set up along the small boulevard, and people snack beside them or enjoy barbecues further along the beach. Since it is a west-facing coast, on a clear evening, the golden sun lights up the waves as it slides into the sea.
Kung Wiman received its name long before tourism was even thought of in this area. Wiman is a Pali word for heaven and it was named by the survivors of a Chinese shipwreck who thought they were in heaven when they swam to shore. These sailors were among the earliest inhabitants of the area along with sea gypsies from the South and the local Chong people like our gardener Uncle It.
Despite the many changes over the past 20 or so years Kung Wiman still maintains its strong local character. Unlike many beaches in Thailand it is a public beach not a tourist enclave and so is predominantly used by local people. It is also part of the Kung Kraben protected area so there is a restriction on the height of buildings and the surrounding hills must keep their forest protection, they can't be built upon. Our resort Faasai Resort and Spa backs onto the lower slopes of Springwater Hill a small forested area which runs down to the sea, Since we can climb over the hill and walk down from there to the sea we call it where the forest meets the sea.
Our little local area is on a small peninsula which runs about two kilometres from the beginning of the forest to the tip of the bay - so its development is naturally restricted by geography. The quiet tree-lined roads and scenic views make it a great place for walking and cycling. At the end of the peninsula is an old fishing village where descendants of the sea gypsies still live and at night they head out to sea in their boats lining the horizon with their twinkling lights.