Eastern Thailand Travel
(Plateau's And Beaches)

Chonburi Province

Eastern Thailand including the provinces of Chonburi, Trat, and Rayong have several of the nicest places to visit within Thailand.  Situated on the Bay of Bangkok and along the eastern Gulf of Thailand, the seaside town of Chonburi is located only 80 kilometres east of Bangkok and is home to the famous party district of Pattaya.

This picturesque province has a heavily industrialized economy that relies upon manufacturing, shipping, transportation and tourism and covers a geographical area of approximately 4,363 square kilometres. Chonburi is a unique province within the eastern region of Thailand in that it has no major river system and relies predominantly upon the Bang Phra reservoir for its water.

HISTORY

However, Chonburi has a long history which is believed to date back to the Ayutthaya period (i.e. 1350-1767). During this time the region was comprised of three smaller towns (i.e. Bang Pla Soi, Bang Sai and Bang Pra), and during the reign of Rama V (i.e. King Chulalongkorn) these towns were combined to create Chonburi province.

Additionally, Chonburi has been a region utilized for the growing of various crops due to its rich fertile plains. Even today, Chonburi is an important agricultural zone where sugar cane, rice, coconut and tapioca and rubber trees are widely grown.

Despite this, the province is better known for its 156 kilometres of coastline which attracts millions of tourists annually (including numerous Thai's from nearby Bangkok). With its beautiful beaches, fishing villages and modern tourist resorts, the region is also known for having an abundance of fresh local seafood due to its important fishing industry.

However, the main reason millions of tourists come to Chonburi each year is to visit the attractions of Pattaya (which is situated within the centre of the Chonburi metropolitan area). With it's sensational beaches and world renowned nightlife, fabulous restaurants and a variety of other attractions including golf courses (over 20 within the province), zoos and cabaret shows, Pattaya is one of the best places to visit within  eastern Thailand.

GETTING THERE

Being located so close to Bangkok means that Chonburi can be visited as either a day tour or for extended periods as the province is only a 1.5 hour bus journey from Bangkok.

The best way to travel to Chonburi is by an air-conditioned bus or taxi. You can catch a bus at the eastern Ekkamai Bus Terminal. Buses depart every 40 minutes between the hours of 5.30 AM and 9 PM.

Pattaya (Eastern Thailand)

One of the most popular eastern Thailand travel destinations and located only 165 kilometers southeast of Bangkok is the cosmopolitan coastal town of Pattaya (including Pattaya Beach).

Over the past several years Pattaya has become the premier Asian beach destination attracting around 2 million visitors annually.   Indeed, both Thai and foreign tourists flock here due to its close proximity to Bangkok and the anything goes party atmosphere that is associated along it's 15 kilometre coastline.

This is one of the best places to visit in Thailand due to the variety of fun activities available.  A large 'Pattaya City' sign (see image above) erected along the shoreline leaves no doubt that you have reached your destination.

With a population of around 100,000 people (excluding tourists) this town is world renowned for both its nightlife (that include raunchy bars and disco's) and beaches with crystal clear water. Pattaya offers an abundance of pleasure, fun and entertainment. Sun lovers can indulge in a variety of water-sports including swimming, sailing, snorkeling, wind-surfing, para-gliding and jet-skiing along its beaches.

But if sun-baking isn't your thing Pattaya also offers a diverse range of activities and attractions including golf courses, zoos, horse riding, gyms, go-karting, pistol shooting and archery, bowling, tennis, and of course numerous restaurants and shops (including night markets and floating markets).

For those tourists wishing to visit Pattaya for longer periods than just a day trip, there is a good variety of accommodation available within the area. Pattaya hotels range from the budget to the more up market. Hence, with so many affordable places to stay and activities to keep you occupied you will never feel bored when visiting Pattaya.

GETTING THERE

The best way to travel to Pattaya is by taking an air-conditioned bus from the Bangkok Ekkamai Bus Terminal (or Suvarnabhumi International Airport) as there is no airport located in Pattaya (the nearest is the U-Tapao International Airport which is located in the town of Sattahip which is 45 minutes away).

Pattaya Beaches (Eastern Thailand)

Pattaya Beaches are among the most visited in southeast Asia, due in part to their convenient location (being located only 160 kilometres south of Bangkok in eastern Thailand).  This area and beach-side community which was once nothing more than a quiet fishing village lies within the Bang Lamung District which is part of the Chonburi Province. 


Boasting powder white sand and an abundance of sunshine (average yearly temperatures average between 22-32 degrees Celsius), clear blue waters and a variety of fun activities it is little wonder that the main beach and its sister Jomtien Beach are the most popular beaches in Pattaya.  Indeed, Pattaya is the most visited part of Thailand second only to Bangkok.

This is a very busy beach that is covered with banana lounges and large shady umbrella's (which can be rented daily between the hours of 7 AM and 6 PM) along with numbers of tour operators that rent and operate watercraft. Pattaya Beach is also the gateway to the nearby islands of Koh Sak, Koh Krok and Koh Sak making it a hub for day trippers out to these islands (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

Pattaya and Jomtien Beaches are in walking distance to the majority of the beach side hotels and is adjacent to the main Beach Road.

Pattaya Walking Street (Eastern Thailand)

The Pattaya Walking Street is the major tourist attraction for foreigners seeking to experience the famous Pattaya nightlife.  Unlike most walking streets in Thailand which are usually outdoor shopping markets, this walking street is an adult entertainment area that is more about the girls, music, alcohol and food than the shopping.    

Here you will find a selection of seedy go-go bars and disco's, restaurants, souvenir shops, cabaret shows and massage parlors all of which stay open to around 3 AM in the morning.  Indeed, there are over thirty go-go bars and one hundred beer bars crammed into this party focused street which is defined by beautiful women and lady-boys who all seem to be out to have a good time.

When you arrive at this venue there is a large neon lit 'Walking Street' sign at the entrance (or at the intersection of South Pattaya Road, and Pattaya Beach Road) just to let you know you have arrived at the correct place (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

The Walking Street is located at the intersection of South Pattaya Road, and Pattaya Beach Road.  Just follow the crowds or ask reception at your hotel on how to get there.

Pattaya Crocodile Farm And Million Years Stone Park (Eastern Thailand)

The Pattaya Crocodile Farm and Million Years Stone Park which is situated in eastern Thailand or approximately 165 kilometres from Bangkok.  This unusual fun park is conveniently located just 15 minutes from the Pattaya town centre.

Pattaya is much better known for the adults only Walking Street, while the  Pattaya Beaches have become popular among tourists for decades now. 

Hence the Million Years Stone Park and Pattaya Crocodile Farm is a welcomed attraction for families seeking an alternative to the usual activities that you tend to find within a beach-side community. 

This fun park is basically a living museum which contains curious and beautiful objects that are either animal, mineral or plant based. Work on the beautiful site commenced back in 1989 and was laid out over a 70 acre landscaped site which includes stunning gardens and water features (Click here to read more).   

GETTING THERE

The Pattaya Crocodile Farm and Million Years Stone Park is located approximately 15 minutes outside of Pattaya town.  The best way to get there is by tour bus or taxi. 

The park is open daily between the hours of 9 AM and 6 PM and located at 22/1 Moo 1, Nongplalai, Chonburi 20150, Pattaya City Thailand.  Admission to this attraction is 850 Thai baht for adults.

Koh Larn Island (Eastern Thailand)

Koh Larn Island which is situated just 7 kilometres offshore from Pattaya Beach within the Gulf of eastern Thailand is one of  this country's best kept secrets.  This tranquil little island which is located near the islands of Koh Krok and Koh Sak measures only 4.6 kilometres in length by 2 kilometres in width has several stunning beaches and an abundance of colorful coral, is also known for its idyllic atmosphere.

While this is only a small island it still has its own medical centre and police force and is home to approximately 1,000 residents who reside within the local Naban Village.  The island has a variety of resort style accommodation including lower cost bungalows and there are a variety of shops, restaurants and bars.  There are a number of roads which allow you to explore the island and there is motorized transport including motor cycle taxi's and songthaews so its easy to travel around (Click here to read more). 

GETTING THERE

The only way to travel to Koh Larn Island in eastern Thailand is by boat from the Bali Hai Pier at Pattaya. There is a public boat/ferry which departs from Pattaya daily at 10 AM and takes approximately 40 minutes to reach Naban Pier at Koh Larn Island. The service is said to run basically 24 hours a day now.

Private speedboat operators also taxi passengers across to the Island from 7 AM each day and while the journey is faster (i.e. approximately 20 minutes) it is also more expensive. Life jackets are provided and the cost for the journey for a group of people is between 1,500 to 2,500 baht (i.e. total cost) each way.

Alcazar Cabaret (Eastern Thailand)

The Alcazar Cabaret Show in Pattaya eastern Thailand delivers all of the glitz and glamor normally associated with a large Las Vegas stage production.  However, while this cabaret extravaganza is performed in Pattaya Thailand ( a city better known for its adults only walking street and pristine beaches), it still delivers a high class performance which would rival any similar transvestite show from anywhere in the world (Click here to read more).  

GETTING THERE

The Alcazar Cabaret is performed within the Alcazar Theatre which is located on 2nd Road, North Pattaya Naklua, Bangamung Chonburi  Thailand 20150. The show opens daily from 6 PM and the cost is 600 Thai baht for foreigners.

The best way to travel there is by taking a taxi from Pattaya town.

Tiffany Show (Eastern Thailand)

The Tiffany Show in Pattaya eastern Thailand has been dazzling audiences for over 40 years, since its humble beginnings back in 1974 as a one man transvestite show.  These spectacular performances have not gone unnoticed as it is ranked the 4th best transvestite show in the world providing all the glamour and razzamatazz that you would come to expect from a show of this magnitude.    

Hence, if you are seeking an alternative to the cliche Pattaya nightlife of girly bars and discos, then this is a performance that you won't want to miss (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

The Tiffany Show Pattaya is held at the Tiffany Theatre which is located at 464 Moo 9, Pattaya, 2nd Road, Nongprue, Banglamung, Chonburi 20260 Thailand.  The best way to travel there is by taking a taxi from Pattaya town.

Three show are performed daily between the hours of 6 PM and 11 PM.  Admission is 1,000 Thai baht per person for foreigners. 

Alangkarn Show (Eastern Thailand)

The Alangkarn Show in Pattaya eastern Thailand is a unique cultural show which recounts the history of Thailand through the art of story telling.  Performed by the Alangkarn Theater troupe this Thai company dazzling audiences in a 2 hour stage production which presents Thailand's rich history including their exotic culture and customs all in a state of the art purpose built theater.

The performers use dance, music, aerial acrobatics along with advanced lighting and parading elephants to create a grand performance which the company labels 'The Extravaganza Show' of Asia (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

The Alangkarn Show is performed within the Alangkarn Theater which is located about 20 kilometres south of Pattaya city along Sukhumvit Road Na-Jomtien, Sattahip Chonburi province Thailand.

Shows commence at 7 PM daily except for Wednesdays.  The best way to travel there is by taking a taxi from Pattaya town.

Nong Nooch Gardens and Resort (Eastern Thailand)

The Nong Nooch Garden and Resort in Pattaya eastern Thailand, is a world class botanical gardens and resort which is located approximately 165 kilometres southeast of Bangkok.  Set out over an area of some 500 acres these stunning gardens include the world's largest collection of Palms and Cycad's and the largest variety of Orchids which can be found anywhere in Thailand.  

However, the land upon which Nong Nooch was built was originally acquired back in 1954 by a Mrs Nongnooch Tansacha and Mr Pisit to establish a large fruit orchard (Click here to read more).  

GETTING THERE

The Nong Nooch Garden and Resort is is located approximately 20 kilometres from Pattaya town at 34/1 Moo 7 Na Jomtien, Sattahip, Chonburi, 20150 Thailand. 

The best way to travel there is by taking a taxi from Pattaya town. Gates open daily between 8 AM and 6 PM and admission is 400 Thai baht for adults and 200 Thai baht for children.

Mini Siam Pattaya (Eastern Thailand)

Mini Siam Pattaya is one of the more unique family attractions you will find within eastern Thailand including Pattaya.   This famous miniaturized city which was built back in 1986 was designed to highlight  Thailand's history, culture and achievements along with the wonders of the world via their most recognizable structures; each of which are built to a 1:25 scale.

This extensive attraction is laid out over several acres and is divided basically into two zones, being Mini Siam and Mini World and there are good quality pathways taking you from Mini Siam and the Mini World features.

Mini Siam includes replica's from Thailand's landscape such as the Bridge over the River Kwai, Phanom Rung Historical Park, Wat Arun (Temple of the Dawn), Ayutthaya Historical Park, the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Rama IX Cable-stayed Bridge and Democracy Monument to name but a few (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

Mini Siam is open daily between the hours of 9 AM and 6 PM and  admission costs 400 baht for adults.  Some tour operators in Pattaya actually run half day tours to this attraction costing around 600 Thai baht per person.  Mini Siam is located at 387 Moo 6, Sukhumvit Rd
Pattaya City (opposite the Bangkok Pattaya Hospital) at the northern end of the city.

Trat Province (Eastern Thailand)

Trat is a small quiet province (having a total land area of approximately 2,819 square kilometres) and is located about 315 kilometres east of Bangkok. It is the most southeastern province of eastern Thailand and shares a large eastern border with Cambodia.

As the Gulf of Thailand forms the southern border of Trat (see map below), this province includes a beautiful coastline defined by white sandy beaches and an offshore archipelago with no fewer than 51 Islands (such as Chang, Mak and Kood Islands) with colorful coral reefs. The main water course that flows through this province is the Trat River.

HISTORY

The province was likely established during in the Ayutthaya period (when it was known as Mueang Thung Yai) during the reign of King Prasat Thong. However, Trat has had a turbulent past having been occupied by Cambodia and also French Indochina (between 1904-1906) until being handed back to Thailand on the 23 March 1906. The French attempted to gain possession of Trat again in 1941 (when the Thai and French navies fought each other) around the period of the Indochina war, but were unsuccessful and the Japanese are said to have helped resolve the dispute by diplomacy.

Today Trat is well known within eastern Thailand as an area that has a abundance of gem stones including rubies although it's economy is largely based upon fishing and agriculture. It is also a great holiday destination for people seeking a more relaxed environment within a small Thai city that appears less influenced by modern western culture. The town itself is a little quiet hence the main reason that most people visit Trat is to visit its beaches or surrounding islands or as a resting place before going over the border into Cambodia.

However, the town of Trat does have its share of bars, restaurants, cafes and outdoor markets (including a daily food market and a traditional Sunday market that sells clothing and handbags etc). For these reasons I believe that Trat does contain some of the best places to visit within eastern Thailand.

GETTING THERE

From Bangkok, the best way to Trat is by plane, bus or taxi. The one runway Trat airport with its open-air terminal was built back in 2002 by Bangkok Airways. This company usually has around 4 flights a day to Trat with the flight time being around 45 minutes. The first flight is at 9 AM and the last is at 5.30 PM.

If travelling by bus bus, air-conditioned buses depart from the Bangkok Ekkamai Terminal. Buses almost every hour between the hours of 7 AM and 5.30 PM. The journey to Trat takes approximately six hours.

Return buses travel during similar times except there are night time buses which depart Trat at 11 PM and 11.30 PM. These buses arrive at Bangkok around 5 AM and 6 AM the following morning.

Koh Chang Island (Eastern Thailand)

Koh Chang Island (or Elephant Island as it is also known) is one of Thailand's best holiday destinations that has been described by many as 'paradise'.

This large island which has been designated as a marine national park (due in part to its beautiful coral formations) is located approximately 8 kilometres off the coast from Laem Ngop district, in the Trat province of eastern Thailand.  While the island is situated within an archipelago that includes around 51 other islands (several of which are simply large rock formations), Chang Island is in my view the best (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

The best way to travel to Chang Island is by taking a ferry from Laem Ngop Pier in Trat. You can get a minibus from Trat airport to the pier (approximately 18 kilometres and costs about 450 baht per person) and then transfer to a ferry service (which operate every 30 minutes during peak times) and costs 120 baht for the round trip.

Koh Mak Island (Eastern Thailand)

Koh Mak Island is a great destination for tourists seeking a quiet holiday escape from the stress and problems of the world.  The island which is part of the Koh Chang National Marine Park is blessed with around 27 kilometres of stunning coastline.    

Located approximately 38 kilometres off the eastern Thailand coast, or the Trat province, this small island measures only about 10 kilometres by 5 kilometres in size.  The beauty of this island lies not only in its pristine beaches and tropical landscape but in the fact that it has been able to maintain its original Thai character.  That means the island is devoid of busy streets crammed with girly bars, disco's and rowdy crowds which can be the norm on some other Thai Islands.

About 800 Thai's who live within three villages call Mak Island their home, which is an area with  few paved roads and virtually no traffic.  Over a hundred years ago this privately owned island consisted of a large coconut plantation that was owned by a Chinese official, but the island changed to Thai ownership and rubber trees and fishing were also incorporated on the island.  Today 95% of the island is still owned by the descendants of the original Thai owners (Click here to read more). 

GETTING THERE

The best way to travel to Mak Island is by taking a public ferry, or private speedboat from Laem Ngop Pier in Trat. You can get a minibus from Trat airport to the pier (approximately 18 kilometres and costs about 450 baht per person) and then transfer to a ferry service (which operate every 30 minutes during peak times) and costs 120 baht for the round trip.

Koh Kood Island (Eastern Thailand)

Koh Kood Island (also known as Koh Kut Island) would have to be one of Thailand's best remote island getaway's.  While Thailand attracts around 23 million visitors to its shores annually, this island still remains one of the country's best kept secrets.  The island is actually located approximately 60 kilometres offshore from Trat, in eastern Thailand within the Gulf of Thailand.  It is one of about 52 islands which form part of an offshore archipelago and includes Koh Mak Island and Koh Chang Island.

This remote island has been a tropical refuge to both Thai and Cambodian people for over a hundred years, especially during the period when the French were seeking to extend their territorial influence during the Indochina war around 1904 (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

The best way to travel to Koh Kood Island within eastern Thailand is by taking a public ferry, or private speedboat from Laem Ngop Pier in Trat. The island is about 60 kilometres from Trat.  You can travel on a minibus from Trat airport to the pier (approximately 18 kilometres and costs about 450 baht per person) and then transfer to a ferry service (which operate every 30 minutes during peak times) which costs 120 baht for the round trip.

Rayong Province (Eastern Thailand)

Located approximately 220 kilometres east of Bangkok is the province of Rayong. Situated within eastern Thailand Rayong (which includes 8 sub-districts and shares its other border with the province of Chonburi) has a southeastern coastline that overlooks the Gulf of Thailand. This province is known for its beautiful natural landscape that includes, waterfalls and national parks but is most popular because of its pristine beaches and access to nearby Samet Island (see below for more information).

While Rayong is a relatively small town it nevertheless has a variety of attractions and activities including golf courses, fruit farms and gardens, aquariums, temples, bars, restaurants, night markets/bazaars and shopping malls (including Rayongs largest Laemtong Mall which is located on the western side of town).

Covering an area of approximately 3,552 square kilometres, Rayong is a popular destination for both foreign tourists and Bankokians due to its relatively close proximity to Bangkok and 100 kilometre stretch of coastline (and associated beaches including Hat Mae Ramphueng, Paknam, Nam Rin, Phayun, Laem Tarn and Ban Chang). Rayong also provided easy access to a group of ten islands that lay off the Rayong coast within the Gulf of Thailand, with Samet Island being the largest.

ECONOMY

However, Rayong is also a major agricultural and industrial centre, that grows a variety of tropical fruits including Thai durian, rambutan, mangosteen and pineapple, although oil refineries are also located within this area.

Due to its vast coastline Rayong also has a thriving seafood industry and produces a number of related products including fish sauce and shrimp paste. Rayong province has some of the best places to visit within eastern Thailand.

GETTING THERE

The best way to travel to Rayong within eastern Thailand is by plane or bus. Air-conditioned buses depart daily from the eastern Ekkamai Bus Terminal in Bangkok between the hours of 4.30 AM to 7.30 PM. The journey takes approximately 3 hours. The other option is to take a domestic flight from Bangkok to the U-Tapao International Airport which is located in the town of Sattahip within Rayong province.

Khao Chamao National Park (Eastern Thailand)

The Khao Chamao National Park is one of the most scenic locations to visit within the province of Rayong, which is situated in eastern Thailand.  Set within a cool lush jungle environment this is a great destination for nature lovers, hikers, birdwatchers or for families and couples wishing to escape the Thailand summer heat.     

This was Thailand's 13th national park to be established, and was opened to the public back in 1975.  It is located within the provinces of both Rayong and Chantaburi although many visitors seem to come from Rayong (Click here to read more).

GETTING THERE

Khao Chamao is a district of Rayong province.  The best way to travel to the national park (which is situated near the Nam Sai village) is to get a bus tour or taxi from Rayong.  The official contact details are Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park, P.O. Box 11 Amphur Klaeng Rayong 21110 Thailand. 

The national park is located approximately 70 kilometres from Rayong town and opens daily between the hours of 6 AM and 6 PM. Admission costs 200 Thai baht for adults and 100 Thai baht for children under 14 years.  

Koh Samet Island (Eastern Thailand)

While Koh Samet Island in eastern Thailand was apparently used by the Royal Thai Navy for target practice, this amazingly beautiful  island now resembles a virgin oasis.  Indeed, this T shaped island has become a popular holiday retreat for both Thai and overseas visitors for several years now; being located only 200 kilometres to the southeast of the bustling city of Bangkok.

Being situated just 7 kilometres offshore from the Rayong province coastline (i.e. from the port of Ban Phe) and within the Gulf of Thailand, Samet Island measures approximately 13 square kilometres in size.  

Any remnants left behind by the Thai Navy have since been removed thus Samet Island now resembles an untouched oasis with heavily forested hills and it has some of the best Thai beaches to be found; each with clean white sand. 

These beaches  include Had Sai Kaeo Beach, Had Wong Duan Beach, Vongduen Beach, Saikaew Beach and Ao Phrao Beach.   Indeed, the island is so pretty that in 1981 it was incorporated into the Khao Laem Ya National Park (Click here to read more). 

GETTING THERE

The best way to travel to Samet Island is by taking an air-conditioned bus from Bangkok's Ekkamai Bus Terminal to the Ban Phe bus terminal in Rayong province within eastern Thailand. Buses depart Bangkok daily between the hours of 5 AM and 7 PM. The journey time is approximately 3.5 hours.

Located close to the Ban Phe bus terminal is the Ban Phe Pier and harbour (which are situated approximately 20 kilometres from the Rayong town centre) which are located adjacent to the towns small fishing village.

Public ferries and privately owned speedboats and longboats transfer passengers over to Samet Island. Boats depart daily between the hours of 6 AM to 5 PM and the journey takes between 30-45 minutes.

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