Exploring the South Eastern Coast

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The best way to explore the southeastern coast, is just get on the car, map on hand, and just go ..and enjoy the trip!. Going along Sukhumvit Road, in the background, Pattaya city. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

From  north to south, from Sri Racha  to Rayong; from south up to east  to Trat and Koh Chang islands, we will explore Thailand’s South Eastern Coast, just  going along  Sukhumvit Road…

 

Going North of Pattaya city…

Around Sri Racha Area

Located some 30 kilometers north of Pattaya city,  Sri Racha is a coastal city with a whimsical balance between modern and traditional Thailand. Although couldn’t say that Si Racha is  a tourist destination, close  to and around  it there are  interesting places very well worth visiting, some of them with historical importance.  As for golf, you couldn’t have it better as the town lies within close vicinity of several top-rated golf courses.

So, lets start touring Is Racha beautiful surroundings .  Parting from Pattaya city, heading north along Sukhumvit Road, we could turn right to take Highway 36 towards  Bangkok- Pattaya  Motorway up to Khao Kheo Open Zoo, one of the main attractions around Si Racha.
But if we keep heading north along Sukhumvit Road at that bifurcation, we will pass Laem Chabang port on the left, some small towns up to Si Racha city. Once there and before the Si Racha government office, there is a sign indicating that Koh Loi is on your left side.  Just follow this road, get on the bridge, until you will find yourself on the island.

Koh Loi Srimaharaja

Known as Koh Loi, this small island located on the water front of Si Racha city and connected  to it by a bridge, has some interesting attractions, apart from being the pier  from which one can board a boat to Koh Si Chang ( do not confuse it with Koh Chang, which is located near the border with Cambodia)
There is a beautifully landscaped public park and a Sea Turtle garden which  are very popular among locals as a relaxation place, fishing on the bridge while enjoying the sunset, or just strolling along the  market where food and souvenirs are sold, while enjoying the scenic view.

This small island used to be a meditation spot for monks who crossed the channel in paddle boats until King Chulalongkorn’s consort ordered the construction of a temple to protect the town and for easing the  access to it,  a rock causeway was built, now  replaced by a paved bridge.
The temple,  was built at the top of this rocky island where many people, especially locals, go to pay respect to  Luong Phor Phiw at his Shrine,  who was an ex-Abbot of Wat Srimaharacha.

From the viewpoint on the Island, the sight is just great. One  can see Koh Si Chang on the left side while looking in the other direction, the coast up north and , of course, Sri Racha city.
On the other side of the island, one can find the pier, where the boats are ready to go to Koh Si Chang, surrounded by food and souvenir shops. Next to it, on a small rocky formation,  is the shrine of  Guan Yin, Goddess of compassion. It is easily recognizable because its brightly colored reds, greens and yellows traditional Chinese decoration-and ornate dragons on every column,  so it is hard to miss and easily seen from the boat on the way to Koh Si Chang.

You could find  more information  visiting these websites:  

After touring the small island of Koh Loi, just head towards the pier. Boats to Koh Si Chang leave hourly (or every two hours in low season) and the trip takes around 40 minutes.At your arrival, the counter at the pier in Koh Si Chang provides necessary information and a brochure carrying the information of five important locations of the island written in Thai and English. Please, have in mind that this counter may not be open in low season.

 

Koh Si Chang

Koh Si Chang is a  surprising option for a day out, full of history, stories and beautiful, charming  views and landscapes. It is a small island  located to the west of Sri Racha city. Its  proximity to shipping lanes has made it a convenient anchorage for dozens of barges which transfer ship’s cargoes to lighter barges for the trip up the Chao Phraya river to Bangkok.

Getting around Koh Si Chang is not a problem at all and at any time, a transport for touring  around the island  can be arranged at the pier. The are plenty tuk- tuks  which can accommodate 5 people each,  or if the group is  larger, the option might be a pick-up truck, which can accommodate 10 persons, or just take more than one tuk- tuk, which is more fun.

 

If only  I’d known…

  • The good part of  the round trip is that visitors  can spend their own time at each location, and the pick-up time to the next location has to be discussed beforehand (as you get off the tuk-tuk at each location) or you can call the driver’s mobile phone when finished at a spot.
  • Ko Si Chang, while the beaches are not as enjoyable as those on islands further south, has many attractions  and places of historical and religious interest and value to offer, making a  nice weekend outing for locals, and visitors as well.

 

Rama V’s Palace

Judhadhut Palace , or Rama V’s palace as it is known among locals, was built as the summer residence for King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1890, then abandoned in 1894 after the death of Crown Prince Vajirunhis. Hostilities with France in 1893 had already shown how vulnerable the summer capital on Ko Si Chang was,considered so when king Rama V stayed at the island,  so it was around 1900 when the main building was taken to Bangkok, where it is now  known as  VimarnMek palace, ubicated in Dusit area.

Several of the remaining structures  in Koh Si Chang have been restored. A walk through the gardens and up the hill under century-old frangipani trees can be a delightful way to spend an hour or two, especially in the late afternoon.

Chao Pho Khao Ya ( Chinese Temple)

Dominating the town to the north of the harbor, very eye-catching as you approach on the ferry, is the Chinese temple known as Saan Chao Pho Khao Yai, or “Shrine of the Father Spirit of the Great Hill”. This place predates Rama V’s palace by centuries, going back to the days when junks from Ming China anchored in the sheltered water on the east side of the island.
Founded around a cave from which seafarers saw a magic light shining into the night, during the Chinese New Year the shrine draws tens of thousands of ,mainly, Chinese supplicants from as far away as Djakarta and Beijing.

Apart from the Father Spirit himself, revered by almost  everyone on the island , there are shrines to the famous Monkey who accompanied Hsuan Tsang in his 7th-century pilgrimage from China to India, Kuan Yin, King Chulalongkorn, and others.

It is very much worthwhile to climb the stairs to the monks’ cells above the main temple, and if you’re  fit enough, to the Buddha’s Footprint. Once there, it is possible  to light the required number of incense sticks in the main shrine, and if you want to be sure of good luck, light a few hundred firecrackers, too.

The Buddha’s Footprint, located inside a little gazebo,  doesn’t pretend to be the actual mark of Gautama’s foot but it is a shrine reproducing the 32 marks on the sole of the foot of a great soul, copied from a Sri Lankan original under the supervision of Thailand’s greatest historian and scholar, Prince Damrong Rajanuparb, about 1891.

Wat Tham Yai Prik Meditation Center

This Buddhist community offers a pleasant walk through shady gardens, sweeping views of both sides of the island, chapel caves, meditation cells in the rock, and a chance to talk to some of the monks and nuns. It is advisable to take your shoes off in any covered area, and not to disturb those meditating.

 

If only I’d known…

  • If you take the complete tour with one of the monks or nuns, you will get just a short and clear explanation of Buddhism and the abbot’s innovative approach to the monastic life. Those with a serious interest in Buddhism can arrange a multi-day meditation course, with accommodation on the grounds. A donation may be suggested to visitors, but the decision is entirely yours.
  • Along the road down to the Thaa Laang pier and the waterfront just south of it, is the oldest settled area of the island where tiny lanes will lead you past Chinese shrines, hideaway hotels, fishermen’s modest houses and boats that seem to have made their way into impossible places.

 

Taam Pang Beach

The only real beach on the island offers nice swimming and good snacks. Ideal for have a relaxing time after touring the island , enjoy  the sunset, while savoring refreshing drinks.

 

If only I’d known…

  • When leaving the island be careful. The ferry may leave from a different pier than you came on. It’s best to ask a local motorbike taxi driver when you are close to the piers. He/she will direct you.
  • It is advisable not to wait until the last ferry to leave the island, especially if you are not used or do not feel secure navigating in the dark

Koh Si Chang, a lovely, surprising island not so far from Pattaya city, an ideal option for a day outing.

You could find more information visiting these websites:  

 
 

Khao Kheo Open Zoo

A rough 20 minutes or half an hour from Pattaya, depending on the traffic, heading north along Pattaya- Bangkok motorway,  brings you to Khao Kheow and Khao Chompou wildlife sanctuary. Khao Kheow forest and wildlife reserve spreads over an area of 144.7 sq km comprising mountainous terrain covered by dense rain forest, inhabited by various indigenous wildlife species.

Since the  forest is abundant in varieties of plants, vegetation and water, Khao Kheow is inhabited by a relatively dense population of wild animals. Notable species include deer, langur, rabbit, squirrel, boar, guinea fowl, palm civet, mouse deer, civet, porcupine and wild birds. Plus reptiles, such snakes, lizards; as well as amphibians, such as frogs, turtles. In the marsh areas, there are various types of fresh water fishes.

  • Khao Kheow Open Zoo occupies an area of about 8 sq km and is inhabited by some 8,000 animals from 300 different species from various parts of the world,  but most from Thailand and Asia . A more than interesting detail to have in mind , is that  Khao Kheow Open Zoo specializes in wildlife conservation and research, with success in the area of breeding and returning animals to the wild.Therefore, the open zoo offers different activities for visitors, including  what is called “Animal Safari” and “After Dark Safari“, conservation education, enrichment and feeding programs, trekking on foot and elephant-back, zip line , and more.
  • Animal Safari is the  best way to tour  the zoo’s huge  grounds. Just take a  tram-ride accompanied by a zoo narrator or rent a golf cart (for four people) and journey through the various zones of Khao Kheow Open Zoo, comprising African, Asian, South American areas  to see animals native to these respective regions.
  • After Dark Safari, which starts  at 7,00 pm, is a family-friendly, exciting night -time demonstration, featuring more than 20 nocturnal creatures that move through trees, dart across the man-made forest and also appear in places that you least expect them. Really funny and an excellent option for families with children  during school holidays, or at any given time.
  • Journey to the Jungle is a conservation presentation, designed to educate the visitor on how animals interact in the wild respecting the natural order of ecological hierarchy and food chain. This program enables visitors to appreciate some rare animals living in a stress-free environment, enjoying highly specialized diet and veterinary care. Website: www.journeytothejungle.com
  • Adventure on Zip Line: Flight of the Gibbon a leading global eco-adventure tour operator with rainforest zip-lines that are the longest, highest and fastest in the world. Website: www.flightOfthegibbon.com

Khao Kheo Zoo is highly worth going, a especial treat for the whole family, and not so far from Pattaya. You could find more information visiting this website: www.journeytothejungle.com/

 

Now,we would like to invite you to explore to the north of Pattaya, through images this time. Enjoy the trip…

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Siracha city, seen from the boat going towards Ko Si Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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View of  Luong Phor Phiw temple, built at the top of this rocky island where many people, especially locals, go to pay respect to the ex-Abbot of Wat Srimaharacha. Ko Loi Srimaharaja.Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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The last view of Ko Loi Srimaharaja from the boat, on your way to Ko Si Chang, the beautiful Gua Yin shrine sitting on a rocky formation. Ko Loi . Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Getting around Ko Si Chang is not a problem at all .At any time, a transport for going around the island can be arranged at the pier. The are plenty tuk- tuks  which can accommodate 5 people each,  or if the group is larger, the option might be a pick-up truck, which can accommodate 10 persons, or just take more than one tuk- tuk, which is more fun. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Dominating the town to the north of the harbor of Ko Si Chang, is the Chinese temple known as Saan Chao Pho Khao Yai, or “Shrine of the Father Spirit of the Great Hill”. Just be prepared to climb all the stairs to get up there. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Once you get the top of the stairs, and you find yourself in the temple, you can have a whole view of the harbour. A detail of the temple roofs. Baan Chao Pho Khao Yai Temple. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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View of the  ample hall of Saan Chao Pho Khao Yai, the Chinese temple on Ko Si Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Saan Chao Pho Khao Yai temple was founded around a cave from which seafarers saw a magic light shining into the night. Since then, during the Chinese New Year the shrine draws tens of thousands of ,mainly, Chinese supplicants who leave small pieces of red clothes while asking for their wishes to be granted. , Ko Si Chang.Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Koh Si Chang is home to a Royal Palace built by King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) in 1892. During its heyday the Palace boasted 4 mansions, 14 halls and a magnificent pavilion surrounded by ornamental gardens, ponds, walkways and a private beach. The main royal residence (Phratinang Manthatratanarot) was a 3 story high octagonal teakwood mansion which sat by the beach near the Asadang Pier, which is seen on the picture. In 1900, after Koh Si chang was invaded by the French , the main royal residence was pulled down and re-assembled at the Dusit Palace in Bangkok – where it remains today as the Vimanmek Mansion – the largest teakwood building in the world. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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King rama Vs statue located on the gardens of where once stood his Summer Palace. Ko  Si Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

 

Going South of Pattaya city…

Ban Amphur or Ban Amphoe

Ban Amphur ( Ban means village in Thai language)  is a small, friendly fishing village located south of Pattaya, just  at the first traffic lights passing Ocean Marina Yacht club.  It has its own local market, a temple and  it boasts fantastic fish  and seafood restaurants on the beach making it a dinner destination for Thais, especially from Bangkok, during weekends and holidays.

Ban Amphur  is a short walk to the beach where chairs and umbrellas are  at your disposal, food and drinks are provided as well a rejuvenating massage  or just participate in aerobics or yoga overlooking the sea, if you choose to do so.
Beautiful beaches, delicious food, quiet ambience, not so far from the city, make Ban Amphur a perfect day outing for the whole family or a perfect choice to live.

You could find more information visiting these  websites:  

Bang Saray

Going further south from Ban Amphur, we find Bang Saray, a special  blend of traditional fishing village with some “face lifts” done through the years, with touches of Thai-style urbanization, the ever-present 7-Eleven and other convenience stores but it’s still a distinctly Thai food  destination. Today’s Bang Saray is a modern version of the old  one, where slabs of concrete replace the traditional  wooden planks, the restaurants are bigger, but they are still right where they  were, on stilts just along the water front, what is exactly the charm of Ban Saray .

Going early in the morning, one could stand at the pier and get a glimpse of the traditional Thai fishing village  life watching the fishing boats coming in with the night’s catch.The village is built right across the  beach which is a narrow sandy area  with  quite cleaner and clearer waters than the ones we could find  in any of  Pattaya’s beaches.

Due to all these reasons, and because it become economically convenient,  the real estate market which has been moving south from Pattaya city area, is reaching Ban Saray with several developments including  condominiums enjoying an enviable view of the coast and Pattaya city in the distance. Talking among ex-pats, every day you realise that more and more are choosing the tranquility and ,why not, the prices of Ban Saray, coming to Pattaya city only for important shopping or going to hospitals.

You could find more information visiting this website: www.thebeachfrontclub.com/guide/bang-saray-a-quiet-beach-village-south-of-pattaya-thailand

 

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Long, calm beach, toward  north, not so far, Pattaya city. Bang Saray started to be a choice for foreigns moving into Thailand. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Sattahip District

Further towards south, after  Bang Saray, we enter Sattahip District,  where locals lead an easy-going lifestyle but it is also the home of the Royal Thai Navy.

Natural beauty, plus careful maintenance, make  the trademark of Sattahip, which is also rich in underwater resources, thanks to the supervision of the Thai Royal Navy.
You could find more information visiting the Tourism of Thailand Authority website: www.tourismthailand.org/Sattahip

Sattahip Beaches

Sattahip’s beaches  are clean, well maintained, extremely superior to Pattaya’s, considered the  best in the area, without  all they trouble that means getting on any ferry or boat heading for the islands. The  crystalline  sea water presents an endless gradient of blue, from light  to deep indigo, this added to the cleanness of the beaches, make them a wonderful place for enjoying a beach day.

So, if one wishes to enjoy a day on a beautiful beach, crystal-clear sea water and don’t want to take any ferry, boat, or speed boat to go to any of the islands, just head south toward Sattahip.

If only I’d known….   

  • As the beaches are situated in Navy territory, it is expected to find security barriers and tickets tolls to reach them, but is it nothing extremely hard and it is worth doing.
  • Because these beaches are favourite among locals who really crowd them on weekends  or holidays, if you are looking for a more relaxing, peaceful stay, it would be better going during the week.

 

 

How to get to Sathahip beaches

We are listing these beaches from north to south, in the same order that one find them when driving along Sukhumvit Road. So, after passing Nong Nooch Gardens, and Bang Saray Junction, at km 167,  you will see  a pedestrian bridge and traffic lights. Turning right when lights allow, cross the other lane of Sukhumvit Rd, and  you will  find yourself  directly in front of   the entrance to Sai Kaew beach , just go through it.

Sai Kaew Beach (Hat Sai Kaew)

Sai Kaew Beach, is the first  of these wonderful beaches that you find coming from Pattaya and one of the most popular beaches of Sattahip  area among expats living in Pattaya who prefer traveling some kilometers only for enjoying  clean beaches, clear and transparent waters and on the top,  with shallow coral reefs. There are a few restaurants and small shops available at the beachfront and also, some rooms for  staying a night or two.

Coming down to Sai Kaew Beach it is as  being on any of the surrounding islands, without boarding any boat. Ideal for a day outing , especially families with children.

 

If only I’d know…

  • When at the traffic lights, be aware that the entrance is on the right side, so when the lights allows, just turn right, cross Sukhumvit Rd and get into the Chumpol Sattahip Naval School .
  • As soon as you pass the entrance, you are required to leave your driving license at a office window on your left, and then follow the road toward the sea, then turn left to the barrier. After paying the ticket, follow the road up and down through a beautiful landscape high on the hills, down again, until reaching Sai Kaew Beach. There is a parking lot before the beach, so If you are not allowed to go down the beach by car, just eave it parked and take a bath-bus that will be waiting for you.
  • There  are bungalows on the beach, perfect for staying some days, but have in mind that  during weekends and holidays, Thais have  priority, so it is easier to get vacancy during week days.

 

You could find more information visiting this website: www.pattayaconcierge.com/specified-place/sai-kaew-beach/200800000132/attraction/

 

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After leaving your driving license at the office at the entrance, you just follow this shady road, which is particularly beautiful in early mornings. Sai Kaew Beach. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Sai Kaew Beach has everything for making your day a great one at the beach. It is spacious, relaxed, and cool. You won’t see many umbrellas here because there is so much shade offered by the trees you simply do not need them, or if you prefer, you might choose one of the small huts. Sai Kaew Beach. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Sai Kaew, also known as “the Navy Beach” a little paradise with soft, white sand and clear waters, and not so far from Pattaya. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Back on  Sukhumvit Road just head south-east following the U Tapao International Airport signs, all the way  up to km 185  at  the  traffic lights. When the lights allow, turn right, taking the route to go to U Tapao International Airport. Follow that road, pass the entrance to the  airport  on your left,  keep going until you see the next  road  also on your left . Turn onto it and follow this road, some kilometers, until you reach Samae San Village. Once there, park your car, and start enjoying this traditional Thai village and its temple. It is really worth trying.

 

Samae San Village and Islands

Before entering Samae San, a fishing village located in  Sattahip area  for decades, to your left up on small hill, is Wat Khao Weeharn Luang Pawdam or Wat Chong Samae San
The story says that in 1958 Luang Pho Dunrong Kunasapho, a monk highly respected among the locals  because  was their comforter in difficult times, arrived at Ban Chong Samaesan village.He was certain that  he had foreseen that this was the place to built  an image of Lord Buddha.

With that in mind, he asked help to the local people to donate materials for the construction of a Buddha image, which took two years to be finished. This 5 meters high Buddha image in the subduing Mara posture  was painted with black lacquer and placed  outdoors without  a protecting roof.  Fishermen and passers-by called this  Buddha image Luang Pho Dum what means Black Buddha Image.

Luang Pho Dum was left outside  for decades until a seafarer from Samut Prakan asked it   to be granted the wish of  gaining money during his trip and that he, in return, would have a roof built to protect the Buddha image. As the wish were granted, a roof was built over the image. After a while, another seafarer also asked to the Buddha to be granted a wish in return for the walls which were  built around the image. A decade later, villagers and seafarers collaborated  to finalize the construction of the viharn. The  building has the traditional four gabled ends and  it is decorated with murals and relief- stuccos depicting  the stories of Lord Buddha, as we can see today.

Wat  Chong Samae San is really worth visiting.The viharn is surrounded by a beautifully landscaped  garden  from which one has a superb view across the sea, Samae San Islands and the fleet of fishing boats moored at the piers jutting out the village. It is an active temple, where locals go for praying on daily basis, and  during public or religious holidays and weekends, the whole compound of the temple is teeming with worshipers paying respects to Luang Pho Dum, especially fishermen who also seek blessings and protection  before going out to the sea.

Worshipers of all ages get into the small Virharn covering the Buddha image with hundreds of those small goldleaf papers, lighting incense  sticks, ringing  each one of the  lined bells situated in the gardens surrounding the Viharn, asking for more wishes to be granted… Going there  is an extraordinary  experience .

 

If only I’d known…

  • If you wish to  enjoy a peaceful time  in this temple,  while relishing the stunning views, just do not go during Thai holidays or weekends, because this temple is very  popular among locals, so it could get a little bit crowded, especially the car parking area. But on other hand, if you don’t mind having scores of people around you and you really wish to have a pulse of Thai ways, well, just go those days…You won’t regret it.
  • Going down from the temple  walking along the narrow streets through  Samae San village, is a lovely way to observe, to get in touch with Thai life.
  • Samae San pier is quite busy in early morning because  boats arrive after a night fishing , making this a wonderful opportunity to buy fresh seafood. Also for those interested, there is rental Fishing Equipment so anyone could enjoy a day fishing along the small channel, Chong Samae San, located between the seashore and the islands that is very popular among fishermen.

 

Just in front of Samae San village we can see  Samae San islands  which are also overseen by the Royal Thai Navy in order to preserve and maintain natural resources. This group of islands block undercurrents from the depth sea, so it is a great place for marine animals to live, and it is therefore suitable for fishing. Nobody is allowed to live on the islands, but  visitors are allowed to land at some specific areas in the day time.

You could get more information visiting these websites:

 

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First sight of Wat Chong Samae San and the stupa, from the road, going up the hill. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Worshipers before getting into the viharn, spent a short time striking  each one of the  lined bells situated in the gardens surrounding the Viharn, asking for wishes to be granted. Wat Khao Weehan Luang. Samae San Village. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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In the gardens surrounding the vihran, there is a platform where this spirit house is located and that people also worship leaving small figurines. Wat Khao Weehan Luang. Samae San Village. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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View of Samae San village and the moored boats and Samae islands, from the platform where the spirit house is.Wat Khao Weehan Luang, same Village. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Worshipers covering Luang Pho Dum image with golden papers , while asking for their wishes to be granted. Wat Khao Weehan Luang, Samae San village. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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You can’t leave Samae San Village without tasting its seafood. It is just delicious and very easy to find..just walk along its streets, there will be several, if not many, food street stalls. Same San Village. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Back on  the main road, if instead of turning left  to Samae Village, you keep going ,eventually, you will have to stop at a toll box, pay  the  fee, and then, keep going a little bit, turn left before the navy barrier that blocks the way into Jook Samet port.

Once on the narrower road, just follow it until you will find yourself trying to find park at any empty lot on both sides of the road. Nang Ram beach is at your right side.

Nang Ram Beach (Hat Nang Ram)

Nang Ram Beach, a 300 meters- long beach, is  the most popular  in Sattahip area among locals, because not only there are enough facilities and restaurants  but  the well kept  sand area  and  clear swimming pool-like sea water, are just wonderful.
There are  also, some additional attractions, as several statutes of characters of a Thai literature and a giant war ship moored just next to it, named Chakkri Naruebet, which can be visited only by Thai visitors, which is a real pity.
In front of Nang Ram beach, and not so far, is Nang Ram Island. Tourists can rent  kayaks to row around the island , but  where landing is not allowed. This is because the small island  is a coral reef preservation area and a main habitat of sea urchins which could be dangerous to tourists.

You could find more information visiting this website:
www.pattayaconcierge.com/specified-place/nang-ram-beach/200800000133/attraction/

 

If only I’d known...

  • Be aware that all signs are written in Thai, so, follow the ones which say:  Hat Nang Ram (Nang Ram Beach)
  • Those who plan to go to this beach without a private vehicle should know that there are no support transfer vehicles getting there, including no motorcycle taxi there. It would  advisable  to hire a vehicle for this trip.
  • There are no beach chairs, umbrellas or beach tables on the beach. So, it would be wise to take them when planning a day outing.
  • There is a beautiful refreshing  line of pines following the line of the beach, between the road and the sand, excellent for having a good peaceful day in the shade of those trees.
  • If you wish to have that peaceful stay, just do not go during Thai holidays or weekends, because this beach , being the most popular among locals, it could get a little bit crowded, although there is enough space for everybody. On the other hand, if you don’t mind having scores of people around you and you really wish to have a pulse of Thai ways, well, just go on those days.

 

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The  crystalline  sea water presents an endless gradient of blue, from light  to deep indigo, this added to the cleanness of the beaches, make the Sathahip Beaches a wonderful place for enjoying an outing day. Nang Ram Beach. Credit: Silvia Muda

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Because the Sathahip area beaches are favourite among locals who really crowd them on weekends or holidays, if you are looking for a more relaxing, peaceful stay, it would be better going during the week. This picture was taken on Mother’s day, August, 12th. Nang Ram Beach. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Nang Ram beach has a refreshing  line of pines following the line of the beach, what makes the favourite place for Thai families for expending the day. Nang Ram beach, Sathahip area.Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Walking along the refreshing line of pines, you will get the whole view of the beach . In the background Chakkri Naruebet, the giant war ship moored just next to Nag Ram Beach, which can be visited only by Thai visitors, which is a real pity. Nang Ram Beach, Sathahip area. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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On the rock formations that are on one of the extremes of the bay, there are beautiful statues of characters of the Thai literature, making this beach much more special for locals. Nang Ram Beach, Sathahip area. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Going  East …

Back  at the traffics lights on Sukhunvit road, turn right and you will find yourself heading east.

 

Around Rayong

Heading east,  Sukhumvit Road will take us to  Rayong province, one of Thailand’s most known touristic attractions, due to  its  natural beauty, fruit farms, museums, national parks, beaches and several islands including  the world famous Koh Samet, or Samet Island ( being Koh : island in Thai).

You could find more information visiting this website: www.pattayaconcierge.com/rayong/rayong-attractions.php

Regardless of the complete information that could be found on this web site, we would like to suggest some places really worth visiting, in and around  Rayong city, and  that we often  fail to notice, for some strange reason, at the time of planning a day out.

 

If only I’d known…  

  • It is always better whether you can travel with a Thai speaker. There are not so many signs , and if there is any, it is written in Thai.
  • Once in Rayong city,  still on Sukhumvit Rd, turn right at the traffic lights at the junction with Tha Bantook Road until Thanon Riepchaifang, which is  easy to be recognized because is the coastal road. Turn left  and follow  Thanon Riepchaifang, just before the fishing village, turn left, get on  a bridge then , turn left again until you find   the road toward Phra Chedi Klang Nam and mangrove forest, on your left.

 

 

 

Phra Chedi Klang Nam and mangrove forest

Phra Chedi Klang Nam, now an iconic symbol of Rayong, is a white bell-shaped 10 meters high pagoda, located  near the mouth the  Rayong river, which feeds the  mangrove forest. It is highly respected by locals, and  is the center of different celebrations such as Loy Krathong festival and traditional boat racing . Around mid December of every year, when is a flood season, here  is held  a Presenting Robes to Monks Ceremony and a Covering Ceremony according to the pagoda tradition which requires  that  its  top  is covered, by two men, using a  6 meters long  red cloth.

Next to Phra Chedi Klang Nam, is easy to find the  Mangrove Research Center, where one can enjoy a relaxing walk  along a raised wooden path that winds  between mangroves through this muddy ecosystem  populated by crabs and birds, until finding  the  Sky View towre . It’s really worth visiting and entrance is free. It is a paradise for photographers.

 

If only I’d known…

  • Early morning is the best time for visiting this beautiful and surprising place, it could  get too hot and humid after mid morning to enjoy

 

 

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In the middle of the Rayong river , two kilometres south downtown near the mouth of the river, there is a pagoda an island. It is a landmark for the crews sailing in the river to indicate that they are reaching Rayong Province. On the full moon day of the twelfth lunar month, a celebration is held to change the robe covering the pagoda. Chedi Klan Nam, Rayong. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Located about 15km from the town centre, the Ngao Mangrove Forest has been declared a World Biosphere Reserve Zone by Unesco owing to the essential role this mangrove plays in maintaining the region’s ecological integrity. Many species of marine life come to the mangrove to mate, incubate their eggs and care for their young until the offspring are strong enough to face the perils of the open sea. The centre offers guided forest walks. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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It is only recently that the importance of preserving mangrove forest was truly appreciated and so, here at Rayong Mangrove Research Centre, many communities , including school and college students have taken on mangrove replanting projects as part of their eco-studies. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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The Mangrove Research Centre has a public Information Centre, which is sadly in Thai, highlighting the importance of mangrove forests to maintaining a healthy foreshore, including as a breeding ground for young fish , crabs and other seafood, as wells being home to a wide variety of birds. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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This is a place that everyone even remotely interested in ecology and conservation of the planet, should, well, must see. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Thanon Riepchaifang,  View point

Thanon Riepchaifang ,the coastal road of Rayong city, where one can enjoy the view  of hundreds of  stalls selling dried seafood or fish along with the locally produced – nation wide known – Nam Pla or fish sauce. The production of fish sauce is not only Rayong’s pride, but one of its main resources…

We would like to share with you an article published by Bangkok Post:  

A very Fishy Tale by  Suthon Sukphisit
‘..There is probably no way to determine how much nam pla Thais consume in the course of a year, but we can probably assume that all Thais eat at least a teaspoonful per meal, and every day. It is an ingredient in almost every Thai dish…

When people eat noodles, they season them with chillies pickled in vinegar, sugar and nam pla. Nam pla with sliced chillies is also a standard fixture on the table in curry restaurants as well as restaurants that offer khao moo daeng (rice with Chinese red pork) or khao kha moo (rice with stewed pork leg), or that prepare food to order.
There are more brands and varieties of the salty sauce available than of almost any other condiment, and at prices that can range from 25 baht to 45 baht and more. The labels all state that the sauce is made from the fish known as pla sai tan in Thai or from the sprat called pla kratak, with the fish making up 60% to 70% of the product, salt 20% to 30% and sugar 1% to 5%. Careful buyers will check and compare brands, ingredients and prices before making a purchase.’..

If you are interested in reading the full note, please visit the Bangkok Post’s website: http://www.bangkokpost.com/print/400062/

 

Thanon Riepchaifang ends at  the mouth of Rayong river, at Laem Charoen beach a favorite among locals who come here not only for  enjoying  the clear, shallow seawater and smooth sands but also to take a sample at one of the many seafood restaurants or just have it barbecued in the beach, under the  refreshing shade of pines.
At the very end of it, there is a view point from where one can see the fishing boats going to the sea and coming back, early in the morning, with the night catch. There is  also a Chinese shrine, which is believed to protect the fishermen.

 

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If you want to see how would have been a traditional Thai fishing port, well, just go to the old historic fishing port of Paknam, situated on the Rayong river, just where it goes into the sea . there is a promenade built so you can walk while observing ships coming in and going into the Golf of Thailand. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Going to Paknam port is a great opportunity to see dozens of colourful painted Thai fishing boats, still being built in the same way as they were a century ago, moored You will see dozens of colourfully painted Thai fishing smacks moored on the river. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Departure time. Where the Rayong River empties into the sea, a small fishing boat goes for the daily catch. Paknam fishing Port. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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A local attraction.A family watching the fishing boats going and coming into Paknam Fishing boat. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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At the end of the promenade, facing the place where the fishing boats get into the sea, is Chaomae Ramphuen Shrine, a small, lovely Chinese shrine. Paknam , Rayong. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Old Town of Rayong, Yomjinda Rd.

Yomjinda Walking Street is one of most Interesting places  that  one can  explore   while imagining how was life in  Rayong of the old days . But it  is not just the architecture, all those recently restored  Sino-European- style  buildings dating from the reign of King Rama V in the late 19th century, what  call your attention: this old street is also set up to present activities by locals, such as traditional foods, fair trade crafts, music, dance, and shadow puppets.

In the days when virtually all long-distance transport was done by boat, Yomjinda Rd would have been the center of a small but bustling village beside the Rayong River where travelers and traders stopped to rest and replenish. So, still now, as it was in those times,  many shops, a few banks, a cinema and a market could be found on both sides of the street. But then, when boats were replaced by vehicles in the 20th century, people and freight began to pass through Rayong via Sukhumvit and so, the once busy Yomjinda Road became a little lane of forgotten old buildings….

Fortunately, with the collaboration between the  town preserving club and the Municipality  of Rayong, Yomjinda Street has been brought back to  life preserving its antique atmosphere so that either residents as visitors could enjoy and feel how this community looked a century ago.
Yomjinda Rd now is a normal street in Rayong… but with its own regulations. Every evening or weekend the street is organized as a walking street, so visitors are able to find several  antique galleries and  cafes  that seem to be in a close competition to see  which has the largest collection of vintage artifacts.

Modest lifestyles unfold within Yomjinda’s historic buildings, ornamented by red silk lanterns, potted plants and where one can buy anything, from any food chosen from  an array of classic Thai dishes  to cloths, fabrics, traditional kitchen ware in between, as it was in the old days.
Next to Yomjinda Road is the fresh food market, another extraordinary experience.
Old Town of Rayong, Yomjinda Road, the Fresh market, where the old Thai way of life is still alive, is really worth visiting. You could find  this and more information visiting these websites: 

 

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Yomjinda Walking Street is one of most Interesting places  that  one can  explore  while imagining how was life in  Rayong of the old days . You will find original teak wood houses, with still their wooden shutters instead of glass windows, that that open to the public to different purposes. Yomjinda street, Old Rayong. Rayong city. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Some of them are open to the public as house shops, and which still have the old furniture, serving lunch and dinner or just a strong coffee or any other beverage. Delicious, refreshing after a  walking day. Yomjinda Street, Old Rayong. Rayong City. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Going to the Old Town of Rayong means going to Yomjinda street, where you will be really surprised and fascinated not only for the architecture seeing all those recently restored  Sino-European- style  buildings dating from the reign of King Rama V in the late 19th century, but for the atmosphere , the way in which people still live. This street is a walking street in limited times, not along all day, so if you go in the morning, you must pay attention to the traffic . Yomjinda street, Old Rayong. Rayong city. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Several houses are adorned with red lanterns and plant pots, as a remembrance of their Chinese ancestors who settled in this costal villages of Rayong, as early as 14th century , developing their community, that has grown to be Rayong City in these days. Yomjinda Street, Old town of Rayong. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Some of the houses along Yomjinda Street are open as museum, for the public to get conscience of the city past, when Thailand were Siam. Yomchinda House Museum. Old Town rayon. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Have you ever imagined to be witness of old fashioned -mattress making? Well, just go to Yomjinda street, and you will see it. Old Town Rayong. Rayong City. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Other house open for the public to see. In this opportunity, a dress maker and a mechanic, sharing the same room. Old traditions, Old Town Rayong. Rayong City. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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At the end of Yomjinda Street, is the fresh market, where you can buy, as in any Thai fresh market, nearly everything, and taste the specialities of Rayong, where locals still buy as in the old times. Old Town Rayong. Rayong City. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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A good idea would be to go in the morning to Yomjinda Street, just to end your tour at the Fresh market and try Rayong’s culinary specialities, as these fish with lemon grass.Fresh Market, Old Town Rayong. Rayong City. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Rayong Fresh Market is very well known among locals for its supply of fresh fish and seafood, as it couldn’t be in other way, having Paknam Fishing Port just next to it. but you not only can buy fish , you can taste it. Fresh Market , Old Town Rayong. Rayong City. photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Back on Sukhumvit road some 19 kilometres east you will see notice signs indicating that Ban Phe  Local market and pier are on your right.

 

Ban Phe local market

Located  on the southeast side of the city, Ban Phe is famed for being Rayong’s major fishing community that offers a wide range of fresh and preserved seafood along with other OTOP products to bring back home. This charming white sandy beach is a place to enjoy a nice seafood meal and also it is the  gateway to Koh Samet at Ban Phe pier.

Once  at Ban Phe Pier, one can leave the car in the roofed parking lots especially designed for that, and then, buy the ticket for  boarding  the boat to Koh Samet.

 You could find more information visiting this website:
www.tourismthailand.org/See-and-Do/Sights-and-Attractions-Detail/Ban-Phe–1079

 

Koh Samet

Named after the ‘Samet’ trees (Thai for cajaput trees), which grow on the island in abundance, Koh Samet offers everything you need to  making up a fun-filled holiday escape : an incredible turquoise blue sea, crescent bays with fine white sand, lots of quiet spots while at the same time, lots of water sports and a throbbing nightlife. There are everything for all tastes.
Koh Samet, about 45 minutes by ferry from Ban Phe Pier on the mainland, is part of the Khao Laem Ya–Mu Koh Samet National Park,  so all visitors will be charged an entry fee once on the island.

 

If Only I’d known…

  • em>Being very popular among locals and foreigners as well, this island is usually packed with visitors at weekends and long holidays. A whole range of accommodations, from beachfront bungalows to cliff-top luxury resorts provide a response that will suit any request and budget.  It is advisable to book in advance when planning  a long weekend on the island.
  • Ferries depart from Ban Phe Pier on an hourly basis and drop tourists off at major beaches. Also, most high-end resorts offer boat transfer services, which leave from a private pier, but it is advisable to check beforehand.
  • Once on the island, your transport options are limited to either songtaews (baht buses), or if you are experienced enough, rented motorbikes. Also, there are speedboat rides between major beaches

 

You could find more information visiting this website: www.thailand-guide.com/koh-samet/information.htm

But if you were interested in any of the several Festivals held in the province, you could find more  visiting this website: www.en.tat-rayong.com/viewproducts.php?categoryID=82

 

Things to do Around Rayong

We are taking you  off Sukhumvit Road for visiting three places, favourite among ex-pat women: Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herbal Garden, Lotus crystal factory and  Supatra Land .

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herbal Garden

Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herbal Garden  comprises  mainly of 2 parts: the Herb Garden  and the Exhibition Hall.
The Herb Garden  features  more than 260 medicinal herbs divided into 20 groups according to their medical properties. There are organized tours every  fifteen or twenty minutes on kind of golf cars along the different sections of this impressive garden.

In the Exhibition Hall visitors can enjoy interesting knowledge about Thai herbs and its important role in traditional Thai medicine. There is also a shop where one can buy not only medicinal herbs but also natural creams, soaps, etc.
In the grounds, there is also a Spa, where you could be pampered after the tour though the herbal Garden.

You could find more information including  directions for getting there visiting this website:
www.tourismthailand.org/See-and-Do/Sights-and-Attractions-Detail/Princess-Maha-Chakri-Sirindhon-Herbal-Garden–2802

 

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The HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden was initiated by The Petroleum Authority of Thailand ( PTT), and officially opened in 1984. The Herb Garden was designed to preserve natural resources , promote the use of Thai herbs and to offer an educational and recreational space to the public. The herbs are divided into different categories based upon their medicinal uses, which are perfectly identified in the garden. Some Some plants are used for treating fevers, while there are others used to treat skin diseases, cough, and colds, inflammation and even leprosy and some kind of cancer.HRH princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden , Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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There is a sightseeing bus service with takes visitors along the winding lanes that runs through the garden. While you are sitting aboard the bus, a guide provides information about the 20 categories of herbal plants on display, divided into around 260 medicinal herbs, and accounting for 20,000 trees , shrubs and herbs that are being taking cared in the garden area. HRH princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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After the tour through the Herbal garden, you are guided to a herbal shop, where you would be able to acquire medicinal herbs , according to your needs. Just ask the staff at the shop. HRH princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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It is advisable to ask guidance to the staff before buying any medicinal herb, especially whether you are not used to their intake. The variety and the presentation of herbs is really tempting. HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herb Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Lotus crystal factory

Since 1993 Lotus crystal company has been producing a full range of handmade crystal glasses, tableware, bowls, vases, trophies, decorative items and etc. Each piece is mouth-blown, handmade and accomplished through unique craftsmanship of Thai artisans. It starts by  the master blower who creates the product shape based on his skill and  years of experience.

After  the forming process a master engraver decorates the piece.  Because all these products are hand made, it is not so uncommon to find little differences between the pieces  having as result individually crafted items, that very easily could be called  object d’art. Website: www.lotuscrystal.co.th/

 

If only I’d known…

  • There are organized factory tours which are free of charge, but it  is advisable to contact the factory in advance.
  • Also, there is an outlet store just in front of the factory where one can buy lovely crystal glasses, vases or any other item which are  perfect for gifts or just for taking home, at a very affordable price. Close to Holiday season  there are special promotions what makes it  really worth visiting.   

 

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Lotus Crystal Factory offers a guided tour inside the factory, so you can have  at first hand an idea of the whole process for making hand-made blown crystal items. Just from the beginning. Amazing. Then, after observing the painstakingly effort that it is involved, you understand its price. Lotus Crystal factory, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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During the guided tour of the factory you will begin to understand the many intensive labour steps required to produce even a simple crystal water glass. Each piece is hand made, what means that is blown, cut and polished. There is a master in each one of the steps. Craving a glass of wine, following the marks. Lotus Crystal factory, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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This carving master from time to time, compares her work with the stablished design on this glass. Lotus Crystal factory, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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The designs for the carvings on the crystal ware range from simple lines to complex patterns. Lotus Crystal factory, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Crystal wine glasses already polished and checked one by one whether they satisfy international standards , are ready for packaging. The Lotus Crystal factory, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Supatra Land – Fruit and Flower Garden.

Supatra Land is located in Bankhai district (north east from Rayong city) and is a paradise for fruit lovers. The orchard is open to the public and it grows all the fruit that you could imagine, and those which you just have no idea that existed, such as durian, rambutan, mangosteen, starfruit, dragon fruit, among many more.

If only I’d known…

  • There are tours that take groups  of visitors through all sections of this amazing orchard  stopping for the visitors not only  to learn about health qualities of each fruit  but also to see, small, touch and, after picking them from the trees, taste  them.
  • After the tour, you could enjoy  an “All you can eat” fruit buffet, where you will be taught some ‘tips’ about the besttime for buying and eating Thai fruits. It is a perfect option when planning a family day outing. 

 

You could find more information including directions for getting there visiting these websites:

 

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Located only 18 km from Rayong city, Supatra Land is a delight for fruit lovers. There is a transport with includes a guide, that will tour the garden and you can stop to observe , and try, if the fruit are ripe enough, the huge variety of tropical fruits. The guide will explain you at each stop , the characteristics and healthy benefits of the fruits, and respond all your questions. Stop at Rose Apple area, Sumatra Land Fruits Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Half of the total area of the fruits garden is used for growing tropical fruits. There are around 20 different types of fruit bearing tress , organised in separated areas which are very well marked. Stop at Star fruit area, Supatra Land Fruits Gardens, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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The second half of the land is destined for rubber trees, grapes and oranges gardens. In this stop, which is very interesting, you will be shown how the rubber is collecting from the trees. Stop at rubber trees, Supatra Land fruits Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Though the principal reason for setting up this place is to supply fresh fruit to shops and markets, the idea of giving visitors an opportunity to learn about Thailand’s rich wealth of fruits is very innovative. Stop at Mango trees area, Supatra Land Fruits Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Duriang, the king of fruits, as Thai people like to say, has an especial station where you explained about the better way to eat ..and of course, to taste it. Stop at During station, Sumatra Land Fruits gardens, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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You will enjoy, at the end of the tour, the main fasting buffet, where tables are laden with a huge variety of freshly cut fruits, and where you can eat unlimitedly whatever you want. A feast. But if you with to take home fresh fruits, well, there is a shop nearby, so do not worry about it. Stop at Fresh Fruits Buffet, Supatra Land Fruits Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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You also will be able to attend a demonstration explaining how bees make honey, and , on the top of it, buy some absolutely pure honey. Supatra Land Fruits Garden, Rayong province. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

Going to Trat province

Back on Sukhumvit Road, always heading east, we will enter Trat province, looking for the piers on the way toKoh Chang islands. You could by-pass  Trat city, with going directly to the ferry departure, just turn right onto the well-signposted Laem Ngop road, keep following the sign and you will get to the Ferry Departure points.

Ferry from Laem Ngop to Koh Chang takes from 45 minutes to two hours, depending of the boats used. The daily ferryboats are available from 7 am–5 pm every hour.

There are three points from where boats leave for Koh Chang: At Ao Thammachat ( Ao, being pier in Thai) there is one ferry pier for visitors taking their cars to the island and a second one is just a passenger ferry pier with wooden boats. Some 5 km away is  Koh Chang Centre Pier, also for visitors taking their car to the island. The third departure point is Natural Bay pier, located about 15 km from the others, also for visitors taking their car to Koh Chang.

Another way to get to Laem Ngop is by bus, that leaves from the North Pattaya Road Bus Station (The Roong Reung  Company).

Once on Koh Chang, getting to the beaches is very easy, if you don’t go with your car, you just take a traditional songtaew, or you could rent a motorbike.

Visiting and travelling Trat Province

Trat, a major fruit-growing, fishing, and gem mining region, is Thailand’s eastern-most province bordering Cambodia along the Khao Banthat mountain range. The city of Trat serves as a launching point for visitors to the province’s 52 large and small islands, including those of Koh Chang Marine National Park, whose long, white, sandy beaches have made Koh Chang one of Thailand’s top “get away from it all” island destinations. Neighboring islands, such as Koh Mak and Koh Kood, feature unspoiled coral reefs.

” Traditionally home to a mix of Thai, Lao, Chinese and Khmer people,Trat was briefly annexed into the French Empire after the Siamese traded it for Chanthaburi in 1904. It proved difficult for the colonialists to govern, and in 1907 was handed back to Siam in exchange for parts of what’s now western Cambodia. If the whims of early 20th century French and Siamese leaders had been different, Koh Chang may have ended up as part of Cambodia, while Thailand might be promoting Angkor Wat as its must-see attraction…” *

*You could read  the full story visiting this website: www.tourismthailand.org/Where-to-Go/Trat

For further information, please, go to:

Trat’s major attractions are the islands of the Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park, which range in size from the monumental Ko Chang itself, Thailand’s second largest island, to islets barely large enough to supply anchorage to the traditional fishing boats. The islands generally lack commercial development, and there lay their attraction. Probably, Koh Chang  could be an exception because it  has been  the focus of a heavy process of  commercial and real estate development during  the last few years, but  it still gives a sense of a little town, especially in comparison  with Pattaya city.

 You could find further information about Kho Chang national Park visiting this website: www.trailsofasia.com/country/thai/central/trat_a.htm

Koh Chang

Sometimes called the “Beast of the East” thanks to its sheer mass and location in the eastern Gulf of Thailand near Cambodia, Koh Chang might just be the quintessential Thai island destination. From breathtaking mountains to idyllic beaches, hippy hangouts to salubrious resorts, and traditional fishing villages to neon nightlife, “Elephant Island” truly has something for everyone.
Once you have exited the pier in your car or on a songtaew, there are two ways of touring Koh Chang, going west or east..turning right or left, and you will find two different experiences…

Turning right, toward West

Generally, the finest palm-fringed beaches, and resorts, are on the western shore facing open Gulf waters. At the pier,  turn right, and just follow the road  where you will find on your right side the entrance to each beach, small  picturesque ‘ little towns’ with restaurants, chic bars, souvenirs shops, resorts, guest houses  everything for all tastes and budgets.
Not far from White Sand Beach (Haad Sai Khao ) , the first one, offering fine and soft sand perfect for relaxing is Klong Prao Beach, one of the best places for water activities because it is such a long beach without a slope or strong waves. This is also a viewpoint for watching the beautiful sunsets.

There are other beaches and bays which are quite popular such as Kai Bae Beach, Klong Son Bay and Sapparod Bay (Pineapple Bay).
Always following the road, you will get to Bang Bao, a photogenic  fishing village built on stilts on the southern point of the island. The pier pride itself on  many popular restaurants known for their excellent fresh seafood, several guest houses over the water, bars  and souvenirs shops, and again, for all tastes and budgets.

Turning left, toward East

You may have visited Koh Chang before and might have always turned right, toward the west, toward the beaches, after disembarking the ferry. Or if you still haven’t been, the probability of being  told to do so, is extremely high.
But what if you, after disembarking the ferry, turn left, toward the east side of the island, which has a quieter reputation?

This side of the island does not have  white sanded beaches, or so many resorts, pubs, bars, restaurants. Instead, you will find  local communities, traditional Thai life , mangrove forest`, a tiered water fall, Klong Nonsi,  a temple, and fishing villages…
So, starting at Koh Chang pier, going along the road around 20 km, you will get to Salak Khok community, where you could cruise along a waterway, bordered on both sides by a mangrove forest.
Salak Khok Community Tour Club offers oar boats and kayaks for tourists. As well as  a paddler for each boat which seats a maximum of four passengers. The boat normally takes passengers to the mouth of Salak Khok bay. During the one-hour tour you will be slowly paddling along, enjoying the view of fishing villages, birds and endless green leaves of mangroves trees.

Wat Salak Phet, built during the reign of  King Rama V, is located in Salak Phet community. It houses a museum dedicated to Rama V, the highlight of which is his scepter , which he personally gave to Luang Salak Phet as a token of gratitude for their friendship. Buddha images found in the temple and old porcelain dating back to the early Rattanakosin period, could be seen in exhibition in this museum.

There is a trail about one kilometer  away from the temple which leads to a mangrove forest ending at the sea, another option for those who love adventures and photo – hunters.
A different Koh Chang, which is more than white and-clear water beaches, but also traditional communities and nature perfect for a relaxed weekend..

You could find more information about ‘both sides’ of Koh Chang visiting these websites:  

 

‘” Some say that Ko Chang’s name derives from its shape on a map that somewhat resembles the head of an elephant. Others claim it’s due to the vast inland mountains that, apparently, resemble an elephant lying down. But the moniker most likely comes from a local legend that tells of a certain rebellious domesticated elephant (the animals are not indigenous to Ko Chang) whose three baby elephants drowned while trying to accompany her on a long swim to the mainland. As the legend has it, the babies transformed into three rocks off the northern coast that can still be seen today…”

You could read the the full article visiting this website: www.travelfish.org/location/thailand/eastern_thailand/trat/ko_chang

 

 

If only I’d known…

  • Koh Chang is really  a worthy alternative for a family holiday. Not only for its beautiful beaches, so different from those of Pattaya, but also because there is a wide range of activities that could be done, ranging from water sports, to elephant trekking, jungle and waterfalls trekking, touring along the beach road  stopping at each one of  its beaches  while touring their  little towns, fishing villages..there for all tastes and budgets.
  • Bang Bao  the fishing village in the southwest point of Koh Chang, is really worth visiting, so it is advisable to have this in mind at the time of planning your holiday in the island.
  • Originally t
  • The island was a temporary refuge for fishing boats and pirates during the monsoon. Tourism started during the1970s , limited to local families who built small bungalows on Klong Phrao beach. It was not until the 1990’s that resorts started to being built on a non -stop manner until these days. Although even today facilities look basic compared with those of Koh Samui or Phuket, Koh Chang attracts more and more tourist each year, spoiling in some way that idyllic peaceful atmosphere that it used to have. But still is very well worth going.
  • It is advisable to have in mind at the time of planning your holidays that the peak season starts in late October and lasts until the end of April, with heavy monsoon rains and storms during the rest of the year.

 

 

You could find more information visiting these websites:

 

Koh Kood

Although Koh Kood, or Koh Kut, is  Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park ‘s  second largest island, it is much less developed that Koh Chang, with about three quarters of the island still covered by  still unspoiled rainforest. The most popular beach  is Klong Chao, with its white sand,  clear water and a enjoyable absence of shops and persistent souvenirs vendors. Heading inland, hikers will be  thrilled to the sight of Klong Chao  waterfall, a perfect spot for swimming.
Although this place is perfect escape for people who love peace and relaxation surrounded by an idyllic scenery, the island also offers several attractions well worth having a look, such as Chak Bay, a small peaceful cove with shady rows of coconut trees, close to the fishing village, port, and seafood market. A special spot for just enjoying sea and sunsets..

How do we get to kho Kood?

Koh Kood can be reached directly from Laem Son  the same departure point for taking the ferry to Koh Chang, where there are several speed ferry companies that will take you to Koh Kood or Koh Mak.

You could have  a full view of departures schedule,visiting this website: www.kohkood.com/how.html

Also, we could go to Koh Kood from Koh Chang, where again, there are several speed boats companies. In this case, it easily could be arranged at any of Koh Chang’s resorts and hotels.

 

If only I’d known…

  • If you are planning to stay in Koh Kood, it is advisable to make a reservation at any of the resorts, beforehand. The transportation from mainland, is usually as part of the deal, so you just board a speed ferry  which operates with your hotel at Laem Sok.
  • If you are staying in Koh Chang, you just ask at the desk of your resort and they will contact the speed boat that would take you to Koh Kood.
  • Koh Kood, still not spoiled and over commercialized, gives the opportunity to pamper yourself enjoying an  idyllic, peaceful escape in one paradisiac spot not so far from Pattaya, the big, so much alive city. It is really worth going.

 

YouYou could find more information visiting these websites:

 

Koh Mak

This small island, only 16 km2, the biggest privately owned island in Thailand, has a more  friendly-family ambiance .Its palm-fringed ,white sand beaches with shallow, clear blue waters are perfect for holidaying with children.

The island’s  natural beauty is perfect for hiking trips, but  also a diving school where you can book diving and snorkeling trips. The nearby Marine Park has the best selection of marine life Thailand has to offer.
Koh Mak is a relative new island destination and is still a well kept secret for most travelers. You will not find  Pattaya’s atmosphere, as there is virtually no nightlife on Koh Mak, making it a perfect place for people looking for a relaxing holiday.
Definitely, another idyllic destination,  and not so far from our bustling Pattaya.

How do we get to kho Mak?

There are daily boats and speed boats that depart from  Laem Sok (located some 25 kilometers further east from Laem Ngob) and  Krom Luang pier (near Laem Ngob) ,  in Trat.
You could find a full view of the  schedule of this service visiting this website: www.kohmak.com/the-island/how-to-reach-koh-mak/

Also, we could go to Koh Mak from Koh Chang, where again, there are several speed boats companies. In this case, it easily could be arranged at any of Koh Chang’s resorts and hotels.

You could find more information  visiting this website: www.kohmakguide.com/#sthash.wrupmQ05.dpuf

 

Now, we would like now invite you to visit the splendid beaches of That province, through images this time. Enjoy the trip…

Koh Chang 11-02-11 (10)

All piers on Ko Chang are situated on the eastern side of the island . The major piers are the two Dan Kao piers: Tha Dan Kao andTha Ferry Dan Kao, which handle most of the traffic. If you take a boat from Laem Ngop pier, in That province, the trip lasts 45 minutes, but if you travel by car you will have to take the car ferry from Laem Ngop and that will take around one hour, arriving at the Tha Ferry Dan Lao pier, situated some 400 meters southeast from The Dan Lao pier. View of the pier from the car ferry. Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Walking along the beach in early morning is just a delight. Haad Sai Beach, ( White Sands beach), Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Early morning on the western side of Ko Chang, a time where everybody is still sleeping…well, nearly everybody. Haad Sai Khao or just White Sands Beach, Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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The sun has already risen , but behind the hills, so in the western side of island the early mornings get a misty appearance , which has its own charm. Haad Sai Beach, or just White Sands Beach, Ko Chang. photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Going south to visit Bang Bao fishing village, there is a View Point, from where you will see the others islands that belongs to the Mu Ko Chang Marine National Park. The view is just stunning. Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Bang Bao used to be a classic Thai Fishing village with its life centred around a narrow pier with traditional wooden houses on stilts and moored boats ready for going into the sea for their daily catch. On land, along the beautiful small bay there were more houses, some of them with their own jetty, local shops clustered along the little soi that comes down from the road, and on the mountain side, there were a temple and a school. Nowadays, much of that has changed as tourism replaced fishing as the main source income and the village has established itself as the principal point for departures for the myriad of competing trips exploring the archipelago, snorkelling, diving or fishing. View from one of the several restaurants of moored boats waiting for tourists. Bang Bao fishing village, Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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The stilt houses has been converted in the last novelty in Thailand: homestay, where visitors live with the local families sharing in this way, their life as fishermen, getting first hand a taste of Thai life. There are also, several guesthouses ,small resorts, but there are still private dwellings. all of them beautifully adapting and upgrading the old fishing homes. Bang Bro fishing village, Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Some, well many, of the stilts houses have been transformed in souvenirs shops, including this one which invites you with its bohemian air. Bang Bao fishing village, Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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Among the stilts houses converted in shops, you will find a few dive shops, a handful of large seafood restaurants and a plethora of similar, almost identical shops full up to the top with souvenirs.You will find something for anyone, do not worry about that. Bang Bao Fishing village, Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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The variety of seafood restaurants is wide and all of them have a beautiful setting, especial for enjoying a good meal and see the sun setting in the bay. Incredible.Bang Bao fishing village, Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

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All guesthouses, resorts are charmingly upgraded ,and there are for all budgets. As this pier is the departure point for heading to Ko Kood, Ko Mak and Ko Wai, may be it would be a great idea to stay in one of these resorts. Bang Bao fishing village, Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

 

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We wanted to end this page with this image because regardless of where you are enjoying the sun setting in the golf of Thailand, you will get this image. Ko Chang. Photo Credit: Silvia Muda

There might be much more to tell, this is just the beginning. We wanted to give you a basic idea of what awaits you. We just hope that you had enjoyed reading  this page, and that we had been of help. If you have some comment, please, lets know. In this way, we could keep linking Pattaya together.

 

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