If you travel around the east coast of Thailand, many people think of Chonburi province and the city of Pattaya, but if you carry on further you will find the beautiful province of Rayong. Rayong is situated along the South West coast and covers area inland and many Islands. Many of the popular tourist islands in the province are Koh Samed, Koh Kod and Koh Mun but there are equally beautiful, interesting and far less traveled attractions inland, here are a few.
Khao Laem Ya National Park
Khao Laem Ya actually covers areas inland and on the island of Koh Samed. On the island it is known as Khao Laem Ya Mu Koh Samed. People visit the island for the marine biology and diverse ecosystem including the amazing coral that surrounds the island. On the Mainland the national park is on Laem Ya Hill where you can see views of Mae Ram Phung Beach on the Mainland and as it is the closest point to Koh Samed, you get a fabulous view of the island. There is a walkway up the hill approximately 1km long with several stops along the way. It is ideal for a picnic or relaxing in the afternoon while you wait for the sunset.
Tung Prong Thong
Keep heading towards Chantaburi and you will see directions for Tung Prong Thong. This has developed into a popular ecotourism hotspot recently and is well worth a visit. The 2,400 acre mangrove field supports the local economy as people sell crabs and seashells from the fields. There is a wooden walkway through the forest that you can walk right along. You will see the beautiful fields all around you and underneath the abundant wildlife. Crabs, Seashells, Lobsters, Birds, all live in the field, as well as numerous species of mangrove. From the main Golden field, as it is known, you will have a 360 degree view of a brilliant yellow mangrove that in the dry season will give you some spectacular photographs and memories.
Kang Restaurant and Café
When you have enjoyed the beautiful scenery and diverse ecosystem of Rayong province and want a local delicacy then look no further than the Kang Restaurant and Café. Located on the main road along the beach back towards Bangkok, this famous restaurant serves Mantis Shrimp, a popular delicacy of Rayong that is now being exported to nearby Bangkok and Pattaya.
There are noodles and pad thai also on the menu, but if you want a genuine local dish of Rayong province then look no further than the Mantis Shrimp.
All in all Rayong offers a good day out away from the hustle and bustle of the major cities and the usual tourist attractions of Thailand. If you are an ecotourist than Rayong is definitely the place for you and with such a short distance from Bangkok, easily available as a 1 day or 2 day trip.
Pictures courtesy of Nisakorn Seubniam, Photographer and Traveler