Rayong located on Eastern board of Thailand, is about 180km by
road from Bangkok. It consists of close on 3,600 square km of
land area and 100 km of beach in the gulf of Thailand. Offshore
there are many islands abundant with marine life and the largest
of these Koh Samet is well known in South East Asia.
Rayong province is bordered by the provinces of Chonburi,
Chachoengsao and Chantaburi. Well known for its quality beaches
and fine islands, it is proving a popular destination for
travellers from around the globe as well as the local Thai
The province produces tropical fruit such as durians and
pineapples as well as other fresh produce. It is renowned for
Nam Pla (fish sauce) used in many Thai dishes other than that
there is little to attract the visitor other than being a
transit point from one destination to another or somewhere to go
to escape the bright lights and action of more tourist
The Eastern Gulf of Thailand is rich in both gems and island
beaches. To know more, make use of the local tourism office in
the busy market town of Rayong. It is well stocked with
information on the East Coast as well as distant towns as far as
the Cambodian borders.
While visiting Rayong, kill two birds with one stone. Utilize
the tourism office and visit the old (but industrious) fishing
village that occupies the land between the beach and the
estuary. Rayong is famed for its nam pla, or fish sauce, which
is the source of salt in Thai diets and the sine qua non of Thai
condiments. Nam pla is made from a small silver fish that fills
the Gulf. It is decomposed for about seven months to produce a
ruddy liquid, which is filtered and bottled on the spot.
Twenty km past Rayong is a turn-off to Ban Phe on the coast.
This busy fishing port is sheltered on the west by a rocky
outcrop and by the 6-km-long island of Koh Samet to the south.
Ban Phe introduces women dressed in their weathered black
shirts, straw hats and sarongs drying shrimp in the sun.
Koh Samet, on the other hand, is an island that is a real beauty
with some of the finest sands in Thailand. The island has gained
popularity as a superb resort for its pristine waters and
picturesque coves. Development in recent times (as is so often
the case) has slightly destroyed the original beauty of the
A popular picnic spot with Thai's and tourists Ban Phe Phrae
National Park is a refreshing change in scenery from the
scrubland preceding it. While the 10 km stretch between Wang
Kaew to the peninsula of Laem Mae Phim offers attractive
resorts. Suan Wang Kaew is a landscaped garden on a hill
stretching into the sea and a favourite picnic spot as well.
Accommodation is available and there are a few good restaurants
on the beach itself providing views of the long beach in front.
This stretch of coast deserves special mention, as it remains
almost untouched by development that seems to engulf most Thai
resorts these days. There are no vendors offering cheap goods
and no traditional massages. Visitors can have the whole beach
to themselves when weekend vacationers from Bangkok depart. It
would be perfect if the beach was a little cleaner, but if its
tranquility you are after, then this is the spot.
Close to Laern Mae Phim are popular Thai seafood restaurants
lining the top end of the beach. Go a little further and enjoy
the charming, non-touristy fishing village of Ao Khai - a calm
and restful place where one can watch the loading and unloading
of all sorts of fish from old, gaily coloured wooden fishing
Just offshore are a number of islands where you can spend the
day. There is also one especially reserved for turtles and it is
requested that visitors DO NOT GO THERE. Thailand is trying to
protect its endangered species, turtles are one of these, and
your curiosity and presence only adds to their desperate
struggle for survival.in other words KEEP OFF!!!!
The journey on to Chanthaburi introduces the village of Ban Krum
which presents a small park dedicated to the poet Sunthorn Phu.
It is filled with statues of the poet and some of his most
There is also a quiet yet busy town called Klaeng, its streets
lined with many attractive old-style Thai wooden houses. The
majestic Wat Saranat Thammaran is located at the market.
The new double-lane highway will lead to Chonburi and Bangkok
while the Khao Charnao National Park is located approximately 12
km to the north of Klaeng off Route 3. Here an eight-tiered
waterfall will steal your breath away. Special bridges and
walkways make the ascent easier while Soro brook carp cluster in
the pools by the hundreds to further embellish the stream.
The Khao Wong caves are located nearby. There is a total of 60
caves in which most are occupied by Buddhist monks. One of the
caves has been turned into a shrine with a replica of Buddha's
Further down the coast is the Wat Khao Sukim, a large meditation
temple high up in the mountains where one can savour the
stunning views and enjoy the tranquility. There are lifelike wax
figures of Buddhist monks as well as displays of fine jade,
furniture and antiques. For the energetic walking up the
hundreds of steps on stairs lined with two colourfully decorated
stone-and-ceramic serpents can be a challenge or alternatively,
there is always the funicular!
Rayong province has a lot to offer on a 'quieter' scale than
most other provinces in Thailand, offering a total escape from
things commercial and a chance to experience yet another side of
Thai life, its fauna and flora and of course its beaches.