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cheap, quiet beach in SE Asia, easy to reach from Bangkok?

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I've scoured the forums and must admit I'm still a bit lost looking at the beach options for Thailand. My family of 2 adults and 2 ten year olds will be arriving in Bangkok in late June. I think we'll do a few days in Bangkok to acclimatize a bit and see the city. Then I'd like to go to a beach which is good for swimming, sand castles, snorkeling, reading, doing as little as possible. Cheap is important. Off the beaten path is fine. Walking distance to beach is okay, doesn't have to be *on* the beach.

I'm assuming we want Gulf of Thailand for June/July dates? But do we want an island or mainland beach? Are there any cheap quiet places still out there? Quiet as in not-party and get drunk, also quiet as in not-a-lot-of-people.

The $20/day- for room and -meals beach "resort" seems like the stuff of urban legends -- can we get something close to that??
TIA !

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