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Rayong city is the capital of Rayong Province and situated on the eastern coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Just two hours drive from Bangkok, it is often used as a gateway by tourists to pass through on the way to Koh Samet rather than a destination worth exploring in its own right.
Rayong is blessed with endless coastlines but the Thai island-style idyllic tropical beach will not be found here. Instead, the Rayong beaches are great for exercising, water sports and enjoying the sea views and breeze while dining beachfront, rather than sunbathing in a hammock under the shade of a coconut palm while the water gently laps nearby. Visitors can enjoy fresh fish and mouthwatering seafood in the myriad of restaurants lining the coastline.y
Some decent beaches in Rayong include Haad Mae Ramphueng with its mellow vibe and Laem Mae Phim or the pine tree-lined Phala Beach and Suan Son beach. Leam Charoen beach is located nearest to Rayong city and further away there is PMY and Seang Chan Beaches, all with good seafood dining options available as the primary industry in Rayong is fishing.
Rayong province is home to Koh Samet. The island is a lovely beach escape from the mainland, being only a three hour trip from Bangkok then a short ferry ride. It remains a favourite getaway for Bangkok dwellers with many lovely beaches to enjoy and is popular for water sports, open water and night-time diving. Koh Samet beaches all sit within the national park so access them you will need to pay an entrance fee of 200 baht that is valid for one week. The best way to get around to see what the island has to offer is to take a boat tour, where you can sightsee hopping on and off at all the beaches.
Another island to see ff the Rayong coastline is Koh Mannork which can easily be reached from Koh Samet or Rayong city by boat. Part of the Man islands, along with Koh Manklang and Koh Mannai, Koh Munnork is the largest and private island owned by the Thai Navy. People come to enjoy its peaceful natural scenery and see the colourful resident peacocks. There is one beachfront resort on the island with an outdoor pool and restaurant. Nearby, Koh Mannai is home to a Sea Turtle Conservation Project and well worth a visit too.
In terms of Rayong’s other tourist attractions, bird enthusiasts ill enjoy visiting the Golden Meadow or Tung Prong Thong in Thai, towards the east edge of Rayong Province. A wooden boardwalk winds through fields of mangroves and the canopy radiates golden glow on sunny days. For those wanting to learn more about the local flora, the Mangrove Research Center is only 15 minutes from Rayong city and there you can climb the 11-story tower to discover spectacular aerial views of the nature reserve.
Khao Chamao – Khao Wong National Park is a popular Rayong destination for visiting waterfalls, caves, mountains, limestone cliffs and hiking nature trials. The entrance fee costs 200 baht. Some mountains within the national park reach an elevation of about 1,000 metres above the sea level, covered with evergreen vegetation. Animal sightings are rare on low elevations but deeper inside the park animals such as elephants, Indochinese serows, bears, leopard cats, pileated gibbons, banded langur sand boars have been spotted. One of the main attractions in the park is the 8-tiered Khao Chamao waterfall but only the first 7 tiers are accessible to the public by a moderate 1.7 km trail and the rock pools are swimmable.
About 5 kilometres south-east of Khao Chamao are the Khao Wong caves. There is around 80 caves in this region that trekkers can access through a series of impressive limestone cliffs, forests, and sub-caves. Hiking through the caves during the rainy season requires a park ranger to accompany you as the trail becomes slippery and at times obstructed by muddy ponds.
The Yomjinda Road strip is an old town Chinese-style area in Rayong city with traditional wooden teak buildings that runs parallel to the river. Yomjinda Road begins at the King Taksin Shrine, which was built to pay homage to Taksin the Great (1734-1782) who helped build Siamese forces after the Burmese attacked and destroyed the former capital of Ayutthaya. He fought the Burmese invaders, reclaimed Ayutthaya, and established the new capital city which today is now Bangkok. Along the strip, you will find a handful of cafes, mini-museums that present the history of the region, and art galleries. You can also include a visit to the Rayong City Pillar shrine and nearby Wat Pa Pradu with its revered reclining Buddha. Or another great place to visit for families travelling with children, especially if it’s raining is the Rayong Aquarium where they can learn about the local marine life.
The Ban Phe Market is a haven for tourists who enjoy munching on seafood snacks while walking down a busy street. This market is known for offering fresh seafood from the region’s local fishermen as well as selling the best shrimp paste and dried squid available anywhere in Rayong.
This place is also a gem for travellers on a budget as their seafood supply are all sold at reasonable prices.
The Rayong Aquarium is perhaps one of the most famous tourist attractions in the Rayong Province. The aquarium is nearby the peaceful beach of Ban Phe and is home to local species. This gives travellers a great idea of what they would likely see when diving locally.
The aquarium is located at the Mueang Rayong District and is open from Tuesdays to Sundays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
About a 10 -minute drive away from Tung Prong Thong sits the HTMS Prasae, a retired Royal Thai Navy warship originally commissioned to serve in World War II and the Korean War. Today, it serves as a historical display where visitors can experience being the captain of their own ship from the bridge. It also gives guests an insight into the prestigious ship that served three navies.
The Ban Phe Pier is a small fishing town located in Rayong, Thailand. The village is surrounded by popular beaches, such as “Suan Son” and “Hat Maerampung.”
It’s also known as the gateway to the island of Koh Samet and other Koh Islands where travellers can experience the local culture and other attractions offered by Thailand.
The Phra Chedi Klang Nam is a chedi (Buddhist monument or pagoda) located in the middle of the mouth of the Rayong River. To this day, the origin of the famous 10-metre floating pagoda remains a mystery. However, many speculate that it once served as a sign that sailors have arrived in Rayong, Thailand.
It is best to visit the Phra Chedi Klang Nam during the twelfth lunar month when locals are holding annual celebrations to pay respect to the Phra Mae Kong Ka.
Khao Laem Ya is a Thai marine national park housing many exotic fish species, including Parrot fish, blue damselfish, and Cuttlefish. The park is also home to unique mammals, such as the crab-eating macaque, Asian barred owlet, and flying foxes.
Travellers visiting this park can expect to see turquoise water overlapping and fine tan sand. The peaceful atmosphere and lack of crowds at the park also allow visitors to invest a few hours in swimming and lounging.
Yomjida Road, located on the other side of the Sukhumvit Road, is famous for its numerous cafes and art galleries where you can learn all about Thai culture and Thai history. During the weekends, the street will be dotted by Thai families whom you can interact with to know more about their unique way of life.
Ao Phai beach is a sandy beach located on the neighbouring island Koh Samet. The beach serves as an extension of the Sai Kaew Beach (Haad Sai Kaew) that provides much-needed shade and activities for visitors.
The beach’s wooden walkway is also dotted by many canteens and accommodations that attract young urbanites looking for easily accessible nightlife.
Rayong is relatively safe but you must operate caution as you would in any foreign destination and use your common sense.
Rayong City is a popular getaway destination for Bangkok holidaymakers who want peaceful seachange and who want to avoid the bustling Pattaya area. In only two hours by car from Bangkok, visitors can be on a Rayong beach enjoying the view and feasting fresh local seafood. Koh Samet is only a quick 45-minute ferry ride from the mainland.
By road, the distance between Rayong and Bangkok is approximately 182 kilometres and takes up to two hours to drive by car.
Rayong is approximately 58 kilometres by road from Pattaya. From Pattaya international airport its only around 35-40 km to Rayong. You can opt for a taxi from the airport or a go by public bus.
By bus, the journey takes three hours or two hours by private taxi or car.
Rayong hotels are budget-friendly and there is a good array all along the coastline. If heading to Koh Samet on a public holiday long weekend, accommodation tends to be fully booked so its advised you book in advance.
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