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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.
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.
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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