Thailand East Coast offers you a whole host of exciting opportunities and activities for your enjoyment from the palm-fringed beaches around Pattaya to the romantic surroundings on the island of Koh Chang. Your journey begins to unravel from the estuary of the Chao Phraya River and then along the Gulf of Thailand in a southeasterly direction right on through to the Cambodian border.
Chonburi town would be your first port of call as well as it being ideally positioned approximately 75 kilometres or 40 odd miles from Bangkok. Chonburi is also the nearest beach destination along the east coast of Thailand and although there are some excellent beaches here, this town is mostly a weekend getaway for Bangkok’s city dwellers. One of the main attractions other than the wonderful beaches is the Chonburi water buffalo races held during the month of October.
Pattaya is a seaside resort situated approximately 160 kilometres or 100 odd miles from Bangkok. Originally this seaside resort was once just a quiet fishing village before the outbreak of the Vietnam War when US forces started arriving from as early as 1961 for some rest, recuperation and recreation.
From then onwards, Pattaya became an extremely popular beach resort which now attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. Huts once belonging to local fishermen have now been replaced by high-rise resorts and shopping malls. Most of the fishing boats here are now adapted for the tourist industry.
Although an all-out effort to provide a broad spectrum of entertainment for all who venture here, you cannot help but notice the lively atmosphere that prevails from what was once a sleepy village. After spending time on the beach or shopping for curios amongst the many diversified stalls or visiting architectural wonders such as that of the Sanctuary of Truth, a night of pure cabaret extravaganza at world famous Tiffany’s, the best ladyboy show in town.
If you can find the energy to drag yourself away from all the fun and excitement of Pattaya, then there are a few quieter places of interest further along the east coast as you travel further towards the Cambodian border.
Rayong is a coastal town located along the eastern shore of Thailand about 220 kilometres (140 miles) from Bangkok. It’s a busy market town but less developed for tourism than Pattaya. However, the 100 kilometres (60 miles) coastline is famous for its fresh tropical fruits, Sunthon Phu (Thailand’s most respected poet) as well as its pristine beaches and breathtaking waterfalls all set amidst extraordinary surroundings. Rayong also serves as one of Thailand’s agricultural, industrial and fishing regions. Not many tourists but well worth a visit.
Chanthaburi is a quaint and quiet fishing village situated approximately 250 kilometres (150 miles) from Bangkok along the east coast towards Cambodia. A river by the same name runs through the centre of the town. This peaceful village was once occupied by the french due to its close proximity to Cambodia which had been part of a french colony.
Numerous architecture structures here still bear resemblance to this period of history as seen in the largest Catholic cathedral in Thailand. The village is now home to a large Christian population. Chanthaburi was also once famous for its gemstones but now most of the gemstones found here come from neighbouring Cambodia. Although the village has a few quiet beaches and rich verdant forests with scenic waterfalls, few intrepid tourists venture out to this part of Thailand.
Trat is a small town situated approximately 320 kilometres (200 miles) from Bangkok. This town is Thailand’s south-eastern-most province with the sheer beauty of the Khao Banthat mountain range forming a natural boundary between Thailand and Cambodia. Trat offers all visitors the chance to experience true nature through its enchanting scenic beauty.
Offshore there are 52 islands of various sizes, all with pure white sandy beaches and unspoilt coral reefs. Trat is also your gateway to the idyllic island resort of Koh Chang. As with Chanthaburi, Trat is a very important ruby-mining province, with the most famous gem market located in Bo Rai District, some 50 kilometres (30 miles) north of the Cambodian border.
Ko Chang & Ko Samet
Koh Chang Island is another enchanting island situated approximately 300 kilometres (180 miles) miles south-east from Bangkok. This island was also originally a weekend getaway for local travellers as was Koh Samet the island’s near neighbour. Serene beaches, impressive waterfall and lush tropical woodland make this island paradise a true gem.
Koh Chang also offers many superb and luxurious boutique resorts and spas for total relaxation. Discover the popular Klong Prao beach and White Sand beach for their soft white shores and cool crystal clear waters. With their stunning coral reefs, the island has become a popular scuba diving destination.
Koh Samet Island is an enchanting island situated approximately 200 kilometres south-east of Bangkok and just six kilometres (one mile) off the coast of Rayong province. Koh Samet was originally a weekend getaway for local travellers, but as word spread, tourists soon discovered this perfect piece of paradise. With its lush natural beauty, the island became part of the Khao Laem Ya National Park in 1981 and home to a vast diversity of wildlife including monkeys and gibbons.
While Koh Samet is famous for its stunning squeaky white beaches along the more developed northeast coast at Hat Sai Kaeo or Diamond Beach, Ao Pai, and Vong Deuan beach for sailing, snorkelling and windsurfing, it also offers a variety of excellent accommodation including the luxurious Paradee Resort and Spa.
Ko Kood is the fourth largest island in Thailand located south of Ko Chang and close to the Cambodian border off the east coast province of Trat. It forms part of a 52 island archipelago in the Gulf of Thailand. This island is considered one of the perfect places for nature lovers as it retains a somewhat sensual beauty with its natural forested interior which is not overly affected by commercialization.
Ko Maak Island
Ko Maak Island also known as Ko Mak Island is a small piece of tropical paradise situated 20 kilometres (12 miles) south of the same archipelago of 52 islands at Ko Chang Island on the eastern shores of Thailand. There are two stunning white sandy beaches complimented by crystal clear waters, lush virgin rainforests, coconut and rubber tree plantations which make this a real tropical island gem.
Ko Kham Island
Ko Kham Island is a tiny tropical treasure paradise belonging in part to the national marine park archipelago of 52 islands set in the Gulf of Thailand and situated approximately 22 kilometres (13 miles) south-east of Hat Bang Bao Bay at the southernmost end of Ko Chang Island. It is also within reasonably easy reach from Ao Suan Yai Beach on the northern shores of Ko Maak Island.