PATTAYA (150 kilometers south of Bangkok, accessible by bus from Bangkok’s international airport) is beach resort city situated on a wide bay with a hotel- and umbrella-lined beach, where wandering vendors will cater to your every need: from barbequed shrimp to a foot massage. Sometimes touted by tourist brochures as the "Riviera of Thailand," it can be noisy place filled with package-tour families, jet skies, nightclubs and a local population endures all the tourists because of the money it can make from them. Attracting visitors from all over world but increasingly becoming dominated by Chinese tourists, it is a place to enjoy water activities, thrill sports and crowded beaches in the day and party at night. There are discos, tour ferries, elephant shows, a tiger zoo, a cultural village, cabaret floor shows, transvestite shows, motor-powered watersports and cheesy tourist attractions.
The prices for waterskiiing, parasailing and boat fishing are said to be quite reasonable. It’s a convenient place to learn to scuba dive and is famous for its go-karting. For a while there were worries about outbreaks of water-borne diseases as a result of large amounts of raw sewage dumped into the sea water but that problem was largely fixed with a $60 million clean water project and the fining of hotels and other businesses that dumped sewage.
Just so things are clear there is a major beach in Pattaya and and another one at Jomtien Beach, three kilometers from Pattya. There is a wide selection of accommodation and restaurants in both Pattaya City and Jomtien, and elsewhere too. Pattaya has been known for its lively night life and sex trade since the Vietnam War era. The Chinese tourist are particularly fond of Nong Nooch Tropical Garden, where you can have your picture taken with orangutan. The most popular nightclubs feature female impersonators and transvestite revues. The sex shows and bar girls are popular with gang members from Russia, Japan and Britain on holiday.
Pattaya is situated on the Gulf of Thailand, a mere two-hour drive from Bangkok. In recent years it has tried to downplay its seedy side and promote itself as a more family-friendly destination; highlighting the activities offered: windsurfing, water skiing, swimming, bungee jumping, cycling, skydiving, go-karting, Muay Thai (Thai boxing) and paintball. Golfers, both novice and expert, are well catered to as well, with a wide selection of golf courses around Pattaya. Another major draw for visitors to Pattaya is the wide selection of restaurants serving some of Thailand's freshest seafood. Due to the high number of expatriate foreigners in Pattaya there is also an excellent selection of authentic foreign eateries serving French, Italian, Swiss, German, Hungarian, Scandinavian, English, Indian, Arabic, Japanese, and Chinese cuisine.
Tourist Office and Website: Tourism Authority of Thailand , Pattaya Office, 609 Mu 10, Pratamnak Road.Tambon Nong Prue, Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chon Buri 20260, Tel. +66 3842 7667 , +66 3842 8750 , +66 3842 3990, Fax. +66 3842 9113, E-mail Address: email@example.com, Website: tourismthailand.org; .
Accommodation: As one of the most popular tourist destinations in Thailand, Pattaya features a wide spectrum of accommodation options including hotels, resorts, apartments, condominiums, and villas. Rooms are available for as little as 400 baht a night for air-conditioning, cable TV, and hot shower or as much as 30,000 baht a month for three bedroom villas ideal for families. There are international chain hotels, such as the Hard Rock and Marriott, as well as locally owned guesthouses. It should be noted that high season dates vary from hotel to hotel, but prices go up considerably at all Pattaya hotels during the Christmas-New Years period, when guests are typically required to pay for "Compulsory Gala Dinners" on the two celebratory eves. Otherwise, long holiday weekends and Songkran (Thai new years) cause hotels to fill up well in advance, so it is best to reserve early if your visit coincides with a local holiday.
Warnings and Tips: 1) Only fish during the appropriate fishing season. 2) Dress politely and take off your shoes before entering Buddhist temples. 3) Examine rental motorbikes and cars thoroughly before renting. 4) Drive motorbikes and rental cars with extreme caution. 5) Beware of con-artists who prey on new tourists to Thailand. While most Thai people are just being friendly, be careful of those offering to do you too many favors or promising you incredible bargains. 6) Beware of pick pockets, especially on Walking Street when it's crowded. 7) Beware of entertainment venues that have poor signage or are poorly lit inside; some venues offer free admission and then refuse to allow visitors to leave until they have paid exorbitant bar bills. 8) Do not purchase or consume illegal drugs or participate in illegal gambling. 9) Show respect to the local Thai people and the Thai police. Guilty or not, your display of anger will only make things worse. 11) Haggle in a good natured way with small shop vendors. A polite “no thank you” will be more effective than a loud display of emotion. 12) Ask for the price first when ordering food and before getting a massage or manicure on the beach. Do likewise before renting a jet ski or getting in a tuk tuk or taxi. 13) The sun in Pattaya is very strong; apply sunscreen liberally and frequently. 14) Tap water in Thailand is not safe to drink; however, bottled water is cheap and readily available. 15) While illegal, the sex industry is a reality in Pattaya. It is strongly advised to protect yourself accordingly, both from sexually transmitted diseases and from theft.
Getting to Pattaya
Most visitors to Pattaya come directly from Bangkok, either by bus from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport or Ekkamai Bus Terminal, or by minibus, taxi, rental car, or even train. There is an airport at nearby U-Tapao that is serviced by Bangkok airways; however this flight only connects Pattaya with Koh Samui. A third-class train connects Bangkok’s Hua Lumphong Station with Pattaya, a journey that departs Bangkok weekday mornings around 7am and costs less than 40 baht for the three hour trip.
By Bus: It is possible to get a bus directly from Suvarnabhumi Airport to Pattaya or from Bangkok’s Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal. At Suvarnabhumi Airport the direct buses to Pattaya leave from the airport's Transport Center, which is served by a complimentary shuttle bus that circles the airport. These air conditioned buses leave every couple of hours and cost just over 100 baht. They arrive at the North Pattaya Road bus station about 1 ½ hours later. From the Eastern Bus Terminal (next to the BTS Ekkamai station, opposite Sukhumvit Road soi 63) there are bus departures throughout the day, leaving approximately every thirty minutes from around 5 am to nearly midnight. These air-conditioned buses cost just over 100 baht for a one way ticket and complete the journey from Bangkok to Pattaya in around two hours. From Bangkok’s Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal and the Sai Tai Mai Southern Bus Terminal (Sai Tai Mai), buses leave less frequently throughout the day, but at similar cost and travel time as those from Ekkamai.
If your final destination is Jomtien Beach it may be preferable to get a 2nd class bus rather than the 1st class buses mentioned above, as many 2nd class buses continue on to Jomtien thus saving you the time and hassle of arranging a transfer from North Pattaya Road bus station. The bus station for the 2nd class buses is on South Pattaya Road.
From Chiang Mai and Mai Sai there are direct buses to Pattaya. From the Northeast (Isaarn) and the NorthThere are direct air conditioned buses from Nong Khai, Khon Kaen and Nahkorn Ratchasima (Khorat) to Pattaya. From other northeastern towns it’s best to get a bus to Ratchasima (Khorat) and then buy a ticket from there to Pattaya.
By Air: The nearest airport to Pattaya is U-Tapao, which is serviced by Bangkok airways; however, this flight only connects Pattaya with Koh Samui. The other nearest airport is Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, where there is bus, taxi, and limousine service to Pattaya, a 1 ½ to 2 hour drive from the airport.
Getting Around in Pattaya
According to ASIRT: Traffic is often congested. Increasing tourism contributes to traffic congestion. Streets that most often have serious flooding include Second Road, Beach Road, Sukhumvit Road, Soi Buakow, Soi Yensabai, Soi Post Office and Soi Yamato. Free bus service provides transport along a fixed routed from Pattaya City Hall-Dolphin Roundabout-2nd Road-Central Pattaya Road-Beach Road-South Pattaya Road-Pattaya Second Road-Dolphin Roundabout-Pattaya City Hall. Service has helped to reduce congestion. [Source: Association for Safe International Road Travel (ASIRT)]
Taxis, minibuses, and baht buses provide transport. Can be rented by the hour; can be hired for one-way or round trips throughout Pattaya. International car rental agencies are present. Using your passport as a deposit when renting from a local company is not recommended. Public transport system has deteriorated. Bus drivers are under-trained; some are involved in criminal activities. Report infractions to police. Pattaya Airport: Air-conditioned buses provide transport to Pattaya. Taxis and limo services have higher fares.
By songtaew: The work horses of Pattaya's public transportation are the dark blue songtaews, pickup-trucks with benches in the rear. Most songtaews follow established routes and passengers can hop on and off wherever they choose for a fixed rate (typically higher for foreigners). If a songtaew is not parked or is devoid of passengers it may be hired as a private vehicle at considerably higher rates. The most common songtaew route in Pattaya is the beach circuit that follows Second Road to the Dolphin Circle roundabout and then south along the full length of Beach Road, connecting the loop by traveling east along South Pattaya Road. Be sure to tell a songtaew driver where you’re headed so as to be sure he’s headed that way, but also ask how much the fare is so that you aren’t charged for a private hire. Stating the typical fare is usually more effective than asking an open ended question, provided you know what the one way fares currently are.
By local bus: A government sponsored public bus system with established rates of 20 baht/trip, 90 baht/day, 180 baht/3-day, and 900 baht/month provides limited service around Pattaya. Many bus-stop signs indicate bus stops that are no longer in use. Brochures with details of the routes/stops are available from bus drivers.
By motorbike taxi: Less expensive, faster, and far more dangerous than songtaews, motorbike-taxis are located at various intersections throughout Pattaya, although they can be flagged down while they are driving. Motorbike taxi drivers are easily identified by their colored vests. Foreigners can expect to pay around 30-40 baht for trips around Pattaya Beach. By taxi: Meter-taxis from Bangkok are common in and around Pattaya, all of which are looking to make some extra money after dropping off passengers from Bangkok. These are fine for trips around town, but if you are looking for a car and driver for a day trip outside of Pattaya Beach it may be better to charter a private car and driver, a non-metered taxi, or a minibus that operates on an on-call basis. These can be arranged through most travel agencies and many hotels and guesthouses.
Car Rental: There are opportunities to rent cars from both local and international car rental agencies in Pattaya. Be aware however, that for insurance purposes it may be required to have a valid international driver’s license, though most nations’ drivers’ licenses are sufficient to legally drive in Thailand. Car rentals without insurance are possible for as little as 600 baht/day for Suzuki Samurai style jeeps and 800 baht/day for small cars; rental cars that include insurance cost around 1000 baht/day, slightly less in the low season, more in the high season. Commercial First Class Insurance provides full coverage (as opposed to limited personal or third party only insurance). Most international car rental agencies will offer this insurance (some only for those with international driver’s licenses) while local companies may or may not. You can request a copy of their insurance policy and ensure that it states "For Commercial Use". Regardless, inspect rental vehicles prior to rental and drive with caution, particularly as traffic in Pattaya can be quite confusing, including the habit of motorcycles to drive on the wrong side of the road.
Rental Motorbikes: Motorcycle rentals are a very popular, if dangerous way to get around Pattaya. In addition to the risk of injury (a frequent result for foreigners unaccustomed to riding motorbikes or to driving on the left hand side of the road) there are occasionally scams involving rental motorbikes as well as bag snatchings from baskets in the front of rental motorbikes. As you must typically leave your passport as a deposit for a motorbike it is best to look for a reputable motorbike dealer even if the price is slightly higher and inspect bikes carefully prior to rental. Be aware that motorcycle rentals do not include insurance and both motorcycling accidents and motorbike thefts are common. Also note that parking beside a "No Parking" sign will result in a fine of 400 to 500 baht. Finally, while helmets are required by law, closed toes shoes are recommended by common sense.
Sights and Beaches in Pattaya
Sights and Attractions in Pattaya include pineapple-shaped bungalows, a tourist hill tribe village, tourist-oriented museums, Thailand's premier miniature village, and an elephant park. Fishing trips to catch marlin and shark can be arranged; snorkeling is done near some of the nearby islands; kayaks and windsurfers can be rented at Jomtien Beach. Quieter beachers can found at Bang Saaen and the offshore island of Ko Si Chang.
Underwater World Pattaya (200 meters south of Tesco Lotus in South Pattaya) is a relatively new tourist attraction. One of the largest and most modern ocean aquariums in Asia, it boasts a 100-meter-long, 6.4-centimeter-thick acrylic pedestrian tunnel through an underwater environment filled with dozens of marine species. The park covers a total area of 12-rai and is housed in a structure similar to a large circus tent. The aquarium itself houses more than 4,000 marine animals, comprising more than 200 different species found in Thai waters as well as some rare creatures from overseas. One popular fish is the rare shovelnose ray, a hybrid between a shark and a stingray. Location and Contact: Sukhumvit Road, South Pattaya, Chon Buri, Tel. 0 3875 6879. Fax: 0 3875 6875. Hours Open: Open everyday from 9:00am to 6:00pm. Admission: adults: 500 baht and children is 250 baht. Thai adults is 250 baht and children is 150 baht.
Si Racha Tiger Farm (on the outskirts of Pattaya, 97 kilometers from Bangkok. raises a large number of Bengal tigers as well as large crocodiles. The zoo claims a population of 200 tigers and around 10,000 crocodiles, the largest such populations in the world. Visitors can see tigers, pigs and dogs living together in the same quarters. Location: 3 Si Racha District, Chon Buri 20230, Thailand, Tel: +66 38 296 556, Call 530-7412-3 or (038) 296556-8 Hours Open: 9.00am. to 6.00pm. Website: tigerzoo.com
Sanctuary of Truth (situated by the sea at Laem Ratchawet on Na Klua Road, North Pattaya) covers an area of more than two rais. Within the compound is a gigantic temple-like structure entirely made of wood that is 105 meters high. With exquisite architectural features, the sanctuary was conceived out of the vision that human civilization has been achieved and nurtured by religious and philosophical truths. Location and Contact: Laem Ratchawet on Na Klua Road, North Pattaya, Chon Buri, Tel. 0 3822 5407 Tel: 0 3822 5407, Hours Open: Open everyday from 8:00am - 6:00pm. Admission: Admission fee is 500 baht Website: sanctuaryoftruth.com;
Jomtien Beach (4 kilometers south from Pattaya) is where former paddy fields have turned into a thriving beach. Also spelled Chomthian, the six-kilometer long, largely straight beach is popular with windsurfers and watersports enthusiasts. It is a wee bit quieter and more relaxing than Pattaya Beach. Hotels and other accommodation facilities are available along the road that parallels the beach. Pattaya Park (at Jomtien) features a large water park with giant slides and a tower with a revolving restaurant, which offers a panoramic view of Pattaya. Visitors can enjoy many amusements.
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden (15 kilometers south of Pattaya, kilometer 163 on Sukhumvit Road) is a two square kilometer botanical garden and tourist attraction very popular with Chinese tourists. It is also a major scientific center dedicated to cycads, with its own Cycad Gene Bank. The elephant show is very popular. In 2019, there was controversy over images uploaded by a tourist that that suggested mistreatment of the elephants, an accusation the Botanical Gardens denied. Location and Contact: 34 Na Chom Thian, Sattahip District, Chon Buri 20250, Thailand Hours Open: 8:00am-6:00pm Admission: 100 baht; Getting There: It can be reached via bus, taxi or private land transportation. The most convenient & cheapest way to get there is to take a shared transfer service. Website: nongnoochtropicalgarden.com
Nong Nooch began in 1954 when Pisit and Nongnooch Tansacha purchased 3.2 square kilometers of land with the intention of developing the land as a fruit plantation. Later they chnaged their mind and decided to plant tropical flowers and plants as a wildlife conservation project. The garden opened to the public in 1980, and management was transferred to Pisit and Nongnooch's son Kampon Tansacha in 2001.
Tourist can view wildlife, paticipate in religious ceremonies, watch martial arts demonstrations, get a massage, and watch elephant and transvestite shows. There are also two restaurants, a small zoo and a hotel with a swimming pool and Thai style rental houses on the grounds. The main theme and entertainment areas are: 9 civilizations; Nong Nooch Arena. 2 Event Ground; Nong Nooch Boxing Stadium. Pattaya Boxing Stadium; Meeting room Nong Nooch Tradition Hall; Nong Nooch Arena 1 Event Ground; Loy Krathong Festival, Songkran Festival; Elephant riding; orchard train ride; and biological learning center
Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden features a French Garden, European Garden, Stonehenge Garden, Cactus & Succulent Garden, Variegated Plants, Ant Tower, Butterfly Hill, Orchid & Bromeliad Display Garden, Flower valley, Cactus, Echinocactus grusonii (Mexican golden barrel cactus), Echinopsis, Lobivia, Cycads,
The garden focus on Southeast Asian, Tropical American and Central Africa species of Cycads, but a collection of almost every species can also been seen here. In connection with Conservation agencies the gardens cycad collections serves as an important ex situ conservation site for this endangered and ancient plant group. On-going and continuing research at the garden concerning taxonomy and horticultural use has increased the knowledge about this plant group worldwide. The Cycad genebank is managed by Mr. Anders J. Lindstrom, a world-renowned expert in cycads. It includes Palms, Rhapis Palms, Succulents, Blue Agave, Madagascar Euphorbia, Pachypodium, Zingiberales, Heliconia, Ginger, Torch Ginger, Alpinia, Other notable plant groups, Bougainvillea, Hoya, Bromeliads, Marantaceae, Passiflora, Plumeria, New Caledonian Plants,
Valley of the Dinosaurs is part of the French Garden that was redesigned in 2017 in the form of a valley. The first stucco dinosaurs in the garden, a Triceratops, was very popular, Two or three more dinosaurs were added and many tourists had their pictures taken with them.To meet the demand Nong Nooch Garden turned the valley into a dinosaur valley with idea being to make all dinosaurs be as realistic as possible: getting the size, skin color and features just right. There are now more than 40 types of dinosaurs and some of them are the only known recreations of a particularly species.
Pattaya Elephant Shows
Pattaya Elephant Village (on Phonpraphanimit Road, which is off of Highway No.3 at km. 145) showcases daily life of elephants and their masters. It also offers stage shows, which demonstrate how to catch wild elephants, elephants-at-work in the jungle, elephants playing football, a grand war, and elephants' parades. Elephant rides around the village are recommended. The one-hour-long elephant shows are held at 14.30 hrs. Location and Contact: Amphoe Bang Lamung, Chon Buri, Tel. 0 3824 9145-7, 0 3824 9818 Contact the counter in the Tropicana Hotel, Tel: 0 3824 9145-7, 0 3824 9818. Hours Open: Open everyday from 8:00am -5:30pm. Admission: ride: 600 baht Website: elephant-village-pattaya.com
Elephant Shows are also operated in other places. Most of them are located on Sukhumvit Road. These include (some may be closed) Ban Chang Thai Tel: 0 3870 628-91, Utthayan Chang Tel: 0 38 71 6379, Thin Chang Thai Tel: 0 3875 6516, 0 3875 6577, Suan Chang Tel: 0 3875 6517 and Farm Chang Thai Tel: 0 3823 7825.
Nong Nooch Tropical Garden Elephant Show is held at Nong Nooch Tropical Botanical Garden, a 500-hecacre botanical garden and tourist attraction (See Above). Admission: 100 baht. Elephant show starting at 350 baht. Getting There: kilometer 163 on Sukhumvit Road in Chonburi Province, Thailand. It can be reached via bus, taxi or private land transportation.
In April 2000, a 20-year-old British nurse trainee, Andrea Taylor, was killed and her sisters and father were badly injured when a bull elephant ran amok at a show at the Nong Nooch elephant village in Pattaya, Thailand and charged into the audience. The elephant went berserk and threw its train to the ground and trampled and attacked Taylor and her family with its tusks. It was not known why the elephant attacked. It was not in musth. [Source: Reuters, April 25, 2000]
The father, Geoffrey Taylor told the Independent he had seen several performances at the same place before. “There had never been any bother before but this time the elephant just lunged at us. We were sitting in the front row and it started digging its tusks into Andrea’s stomach We tried to help her but it just knocked us out of the way and was really goring into her. There was blood everywhere, it was terrifying. There was total panic.”
Alex Spillius and Nigel Bunyan wrote in The Telegraph, “Taylor, 20, who was sitting with her family in the front row at the show, was gored repeatedly in the stomach by the bull elephant's tusks and was tossed into the air after being impaled on one of the animal's tusks. Miss Taylor's sister, Helen, 23, suffered serious abdominal injuries and their father, Geoffrey, had surgery for leg wounds. Mr Taylor, 51, learned of his daughter's death after his operation at the Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital. His surviving daughter, who is in intensive care, has yet to be told for fear that it slows her recovery. Taylor said: "I did not see the moment the animal attacked as I had turned away. All I recall is being flung to the side. After it was over I saw Andrea and knew she was seriously injured." [Source: Alex Spillius and Nigel Bunyan, The Telegraph, April 26, 2001]
From his hospital bed Mr. Taylor told The Telegraph, "The elephants had done their usual tricks. It was about 4pm and we were sitting in the front row. It suddenly lunged at the three of us. You know the size of them. "It was just digging its tusks into us - into my younger daughter's intestines. We tried to help her but it just knocked us out of the way and just kept really goring into her. There was total panic and blood everywhere. It was terrifying. I knew I'd been hurt but I didn't know to what extent until I saw a gaping wound in my leg." The family were rushed to the nearby Bangkok-Pattaya Hospital by car. Mr Taylor, a regular visitor to Thailand, said: "The girls were screaming and the driver was going through red lights and everything." Dr Pichit Kangwolkij, director of the hospital, said Miss Taylor's injuries put her into shock. "Surgery was performed right away for about three hours. She was given 13 units of blood but we were unable to save her."
Nigel Bunyan wrote in The Telegraph, “The owners of the showground yesterday erected an iron fence around its perimeter. They accepted responsibility for the Taylors' medical costs but had "no idea" why the elephant attacked. A spokesman said: "I think it was confused." The rogue elephant's trainer, or mahout, was later charged with negligence and causing death and injuries. Paveena Hongsakul, Thailand minister of tourism, has ordered security to be tightened at 700 similar venues. North Merseyside coroner, Christopher Sumner, ruled that Miss Taylor's death on April 24 last year was accidental. He told her relatives: "Unfortunately, I cannot be sure there was gross negligence, so I must record a verdict of accidental death." [Source: Nigel Bunyan, The Telegraph, April 26, 2001]
Alex Spillius and Nigel Bunyan wrote in The Telegraph, “Witnesses to the attack at Nong Nooch, near the resort of Pattaya, claimed the dead woman had been teasing the elephant with a banana moments before it lunged over a ledge towards her. Other reports suggested that the elephant, which was later recaptured, had initially attacked another animal's mahout before clambering towards the audience. [Source: Alex Spillius and Nigel Bunyan, The Telegraph, April 26, 2001] Part of the tragedy was captured on an amateur video and later broadcast on Thai television. This showed mahouts, or handlers, standing on the tusks of several elephants as part of a trick. The camera then cut abruptly to the bull elephant stretching over the ledge towards the audience. It was digging at the ground with its tusks. A woman's body could be seen on the ground, with other tourists scrambling away from the elephant in panic.
Sethaphan Buddhani, a Pattaya-based director of the Tourist Authority of Thailand, said the elephant's mahout had claimed that Miss Taylor tried to feed the elephant a banana and then teased it by twice pulling back her hand. He said: "The manager said the elephant tried to grab the banana and hit her. Everybody tried to run away and the elephant thought he was in danger." Such a serious attack was unprecedented in the 30 years that the elephant village had been operating, said Mr Buddhani. The bull elephant involved had grown up there with its mahout.
“Mr Taylor, said he believed the rogue elephant, Phlai Ngoen, had been teased by Chinese tourists seated behind his party. But his theory was dismissed by Nick Ellerton, a warden at Knowsley Safari Park, Merseyside, who said: "We cannot be sure what caused this animal to attack. "The elephant put its head down and persistently attacked. It was not going after food. Elephants can and do target individuals, but it is unlikely they would attack anyone offering bananas as they must have seen this happen thousands of times before." Mr Ellerton added: "All elephants are unpredictable, bull elephants especially. There have been 25 keeper deaths in the last 10 years in Western zoos, and allowing mature bull elephants into contact with people in an enclosed space is an accident waiting to happen." [Ibid]
Helen Taylor, an engineering manager, said: "I saw the two elephants getting nearer and thought they would stop. But I suddenly noticed a change in one elephant's eye and it came towards us and started to attack."
Koh Lan (7.5 kilometers off of Pattaya, reached by 45-minute ferry or 15-minutes speed boat) is an island that measures two kilometers by five kilometers and offers several white sandy beaches, notably Hat Ta Waen, Hat Laem Thian and Hat Thong Long, the latter facing coral reefs. Visitors can choose either snorkeling or viewing the coral from glass bottom boats. Ferries to the island leave South Pattaya pier daily from 10.00am to 6.30pm Cruises by sailing junks, with lunch provided are also available.
How to get there: A ferry service departs Laem Bali Hai Pier to Ko Lan everyday. Departure time is from 7.00am-6.30pm. Return ferries leave Ko Lan from 6.30am-6.00pm. The cost is 20 baht. The boat stops at Na Ban Pier. Long-tailed boats can be rented or a taxi can be hired. Speed boats for 10 persons are available along Pattaya beach. Visitors can stop at Ta Waen Beach and Thong Lang Beach. The rental fee for the speed boat is 2,500-3,000 baht or depending on the agreement. Contact: Ko Lan, South Pattaya, Chon Buri, Tel. 0 3842 7667, 0 3842 8750, 0 3842 3990.
Mini Siam (at km. 143 on Highway No. 3) features miniature replicas of sights in Thailand such as the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, Democracy Monument, the Bridge over the River Kwai and Prasat Hin Phimai. Replicas of well-known sights around the world include the Tower Bridge, Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and Trevi Fountain. Location and Contact: Contact: Sukhumvit Road, North Pattaya, Chon Buri, Tel. 0 3842 1628, 0 3842 4232, 0 2271 1896, 0 2616 1533. Hours Open: open daily from 9:00am until 10:00pm. Admission: 250 baht. Getting There: You can take taxi a taxi or tuk tuk or take a blue baht bus along south, central or north Pattaya roads to Sukhumvit highway, then wave down a white baht bus and get off at Mini Siam, both baht bus rides will cost 10 baht per person
Rayong (east of Pattaya, 220 kilometers south of Bangkok) is located on Thailand’s eastern Gulf coast. Most of Rayong Province is marked by mountains interspersed by flat plains and large tracts of fruit plantations and forests. However, the province is most well known for its pristine beaches stretching along its 100-kilometer coastline and its scenic waterfalls. Aside from these natural attractions, Rayong produces an abundance of seafood products, such as shrimp paste, fish sauce, and dried seafood, and grows a number of tropical fruits of which rambutan, mangosteen and durian are the most famous. The best months to visit Rayong are from November to February.
Tourist Office and Website: Tourism Authority of Thailand , Rayong Office, 153/4 Sukhumvit Road, Tambon Taphong,Amphoe Mueang, Rayong 21000, Tel. +66 3865 5420-1 , +66 3866 4585, Fax. +66 3865 5422, E-mail Address: firstname.lastname@example.org, Accommodation: Both coastal Rayong and the islands offshore, including Koh Samet, have a variety of accommodation for visitors including luxury hotels, guesthouses, and home stays. Website: tourismthailand.org/rayong;
Sights in the Rayong Area: Samet Island is a popular attraction for sea lovers because it is not far from Bangkok and the transportation links are quite easy (See Below). Khao Wong Cave is an amazing maze in a limestone forest of Klaeng District. Talard Nam See Park (4-region water market) is located in Pattaya. In one day, tourists can experience foods from four regions of Thailand since this market combines them all here. Agricultural products, handicrafts products and many kinds of food are sold on both sides of the river. Baan Pae Market in Rayong is a great place to find fresh and dried seafood especially shrimp paste. It is the center for seafood because it is where the fishing boats land their catches. There are also many local items, which make this market a combination of both regional and marine products. Herb Garden of H.R.H Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has more than 260 types of Thai herbs and categorizes them orderly for the visitors to learn. The fascinating thing about this garden is the NGV cable car that will take the visitors all around the garden with a lecturer that will talk about the origin and the facts of each herb at the same time.
Getting to Rayong
Rayong lies along a highly traveled route and is easily reached by private car, public bus, and even air from Samui and Phuket on Bangkok Airways. By Air: Bangkok Airways operates flights from Phuket and Koh Samui to Rayong/U-Tapao. For more information contact Bangkok Airways (www.bangkokair.com) in Bangkok, tel: 66(0)2-265 5555 or travel agencies in Rayong.
By Car: Route No.1) Follow Sukhumvit Road (Highway No. 3) from Bangkok through Bangpu District, Chonburi town, Bangsaen, Sri Racha District, Pattaya, Hat Jomtien, Sattahip District, Ban Chang District before finally arriving in the center of Rayong Province. The total distance is 220 kilometers. Route No.2) The most popular route starts from Bangna-Trat Road (Highway No.34) via Bang Phli and Bang Bo District (Samut Prakan Province) and Highway No.3 at km. 70. The total distance is 220. Route No.3) Drive along Sukhumvit Road (Highway No. 3) to Bang Lamung, then turn off of Highway No.3 at km.140 and continue on Highway No. 36 to Rayong. The total distance is 210 kilometers. Route No.4) Take Highway No. 344 (Ban Bung-Klaeng) at Chonburi town, passing through Ban Bung, Nong Yai, Wang Chan to Klaeng District, Rayong Province. The total distance is 100 kilometers. (Bangkok-Chonburi is 80 kilometers) - This route is suitable for those who like to go sightseeing in Klaeng District and Khao Chamao-Khao Wong National Park or pass through Chanthaburi Province. Route No.5) Use the Motorway, starting from Phatthanakarn Road, Prawet District, Bangkok and drive all the way to Pattaya (120 kilometers), then switch to use Highway No.36 and proceed for another 50 kilometers to Rayong.
By Bus: Rayong is the eastern gateway to the north and northeast of Thailand. As such, there are many regular bus services connecting Rayong and Bangkok and other provinces such as Chiang Mai, Nakhon Ratchasima, and Nong Khai. Buses from Bangkok to Rayong depart regularly from Ekkamai eastern bus terminal (near BTS Ekkamai). There are specific buses for those who wish to go to Koh Samet that terminate at Ban Phe opposite the boat pier.
By Boat: (to Koh Samet): Ferry Timetables (from Ban Phe): Destination: Nadan Pier (Saikaeo / Ao Phai / Ao Thapthim). Departure from Ban Phe: Every hour. Fare/Trip: 50 baht. Destination: Ao Wong Duen (Ao Nuan / Ao Saengthian). Departure from Ban Phe to Samet: 9.00am, 12.00pm, 1.30pm, 5.00pm Fare/Trip: 60 baht. Departure times returning from Samet: 8.30am, 12.00pm, 3.30pm, 4.00pm Destination: Ao Wai . Departure from Ban Phe to Samet: 11.30am, 2.00pm Fare/Trip: 100 baht. Departure times returning from Samet: 2.00pm Destination: Ao Kui . Departure from Ban Phe to Samet:: 10.00am Fare/Trip: 120 baht. Departure times returning from Samet: 10.00am, 12.30pm, 3.00pm, 5.00pm For charters (15-60 persons) from Ban Phe Pier Contact: Nuan Tip Pier Tel: 0 3865 1956, 651 508 or Sri Ban Phe Pier Tel: 0 3865 1902.
Ko Samet (neat Pattaya, 200 kilometers southeast of Bangkok and just over five kilometers off the coast of Rayong province) is an eight-square mile island in the Gulf of Thailand. Protected as national park since 1981 and well-known to Thais because of it place in a famous poem about a lovesick-female giant by Sunthorn Phu, it is a popular weekend getaway for Bangkokians and is less developed than other Thai islands in part because malaria was present here until the late 1990s. Most people stay in bungalow-style huts hidden by palm trees at the beach. Hat Sai Kaew, the northernmost and longest beach, attract large tour groups and offers a lot of activities. Nearby Ao Hin Kok and Aao Phai are quieter and attract mainly budget travelers.
Samet derives its name from the cajeput trees (“samet” in Thai) that grow on the island, In the past however, it was called Koh Kaew Phitsadan, the "Magic Crystal Island". Technically part of Khao Laem Ya - Koh Samet National Park, Koh Samet is a popular weekend getaway for Thais and foreigners living in Bangkok, so there are dozens of beach resorts, bars, and restaurants on nearly every beach, although visitors are allowed to camp if they wish to do so. Quiet and relaxing on the weekdays, raucous and fun on the weekends, Koh Samet is, despite its proximity to Bangkok, a beautiful island with powdery white sand, generally great year round weather. Wildlife species found on the island include monkeys, hornbills, gibbons, and butterflies.
Ko Samet Warning and Tips: 1) Make sure that you wear mosquito repellent around dawn and dusk as it is possible to contract Dengue Fever on the island. 2) The best time of the year to visit Koh Samet is during the cool season between November and February when the weather is cooler and the seas are calmer. 3) Room rates are considerably lower than published the low season (March – October). 4) Koh Samet has no fresh water source; water must be brought in from the mainland or gathered from the rain; please used sparingly. 5) There are three ATMs on Koh Samet: one outside the 7-Eleven at the arrivals pier in Nadan, and two near the 7-Eleven just outside the national park entrance booth by Haad Sai Kaew. 6) Prices for goods such as mosquito repellent and rates for motorcycle rentals are slightly lower in Nadan, where passengers alight from mainland ferries.
Tourist Office and Website: 153/4 Sukhumvit Road, Tambon Taphong,Amphoe Mueang, Rayong 21000, 038-655-420-1 , 038-664-585, 038-655-422. Accommodation: While all 14 of Koh Samet’s beaches feature accommodation, the majority of the island’s hotels, resorts, and bungalows are located on the east coast, which features accommodation for a range of budgets from budget to luxury, while the quieter west coast has fewer resorts, all of which are all more upscale and expensive than those on the east. During peak seasons and over Thai holiday weekends booking in advance is essential and rates are much higher than during the remainder of the year. The northern-most beaches of the east coast, Haad Sai Keaw and Ao Hin Kok, have the most basic, budget bungalows, though there are a few nicer resorts on the far northern end of the east coast. If you have arrived on the island without making a pre-arranged booking, touts at the pier in Nadan will descend upon you to pitch their resorts. Always ask to see the room before agreeing to take it. Many budget rooms will have minimal bedding, and towels and toiletries may not be provided.
Getting to Ko Samet
As it is such a popular island, Koh Samet is easy to get to, with various boat companies providing ferry and speedboat service to the island from the pier at Ban Phe on mainland Ranong. Once at Nadan pier on Koh Samet, songtaews (covered pick-up trucks with seats in the back) provide transportation to the national park entrance 1 kilometers away and then onto Haad Sai Kaew or Ao Pai for 10 or 20 baht. For beaches farther south, the fare increases dramatically, particularly if there are fewer passengers. Once on the island it is possible to get around with your own vehicle, if you brought one, or via songtaew or rental motorbike, both of which are available on most beaches.
By Car: From Bangkok to Rayong: Rayong is roughly 200 kilometers southeast of Bangkok. There are several different routes to drive between Bangkok and Rayong and the boat pier in Ban Phe. By Bus: Buses from Bangkok to the boat pier in Ban Phe, Rayong depart Ekkamai Eastern Bus Terminal. From Ekkamai, the buses, which leave throughout the day, complete the journey in about 3 ½ hours. There are also buses from Bangkok’s Mo Chit Northern Bus Terminal to Rayong town, from where visitors must take a songtaew to Ban Phe. From Pattaya, buses also head to Rayong, from where visitors must also get a songtaew or tuk tuk to the pier at Ban Phe. Minibuses from Pattaya go directly to Ban Phe. By Air: The nearest airport to Koh Samet is U-Tapao, about 45 kilometers from Ban Phe. There are limited flights on Bangkok Airways to and from U-Tapao, namely into and out of Koh Samui and Phuket.
Getting Around in Koh Samet: Unless you have brought your own car, getting around in Koh Samet is possible by walking, hiring a motorbike, or climbing in the back of a songtaew (a pick-up truck with benches in the back). The island is fairly small, so getting around in is not much of a problem. By Foot: Haad Sai Kaew (Diamond Beach), the most developed beach on the northeast coast of Koh Samet, has a sandy path that is fine for walking between guesthouses and restaurants. Diamond Beach is only a 10 minute walk from the ferry port at Nadan and most of the beaches from Diamond Beach to Ao Pai and Ao Cho are accessible by walking along the shoreline or the sandy path that connects the beaches.
By Songtaew: There is only one main road on Koh Samet, which runs north to south and has smaller roads branching off it that lead down to each of the island’s beaches. Some parts of the road are concrete and some parts are dirt. Songtaews will pick up passengers at each destination, as well as passengers along the way. Songtaew journeys between beaches cost around 30 to 40 baht per person per trip, depending on distance and negotiating skills. If there is no one else to join the drive, then expect to pay 200 baht for a private trip. It is also possible to hire a songtaew for the entire day.
By Rental Motorbike: Motorbikes are available for rent for around 300 to 500 baht per day. It is typically required to leave your passport as a deposit. Make sure to inspect motorbikes carefully and drive cautiously so as not to pay exorbitant fees for damage (real or otherwise) in order to get your passport back. 4x4 ATVs are also available for rent at around 1600 baht per day.
HUA HIN (less than 200 kilometers south of Bangkok) is Thailand's oldest sea resort and home to about 60,000 people. Situated on the Gulf of Thailand on the top of kingdom’s southern isthmus, it features a beautiful, powdery sand beach, numerous seaside seafood restaurants, a lively night market and some of Thailand’s most renowned golf courses. Klai Kagwan—the seaside, summer home of the Thai royal family—is located here. It was built in the 1920s by King Rama VI and is used more often by the current Royal Family than the Royal Palace in Bangkok. The resort is popular with young couples, families and Thais. Visitors tend to be less noisy and flashy than those that dominate some parts of Phuket and Pattaya. Before he became too frail, Thailand’s King Bhumibol stayed in Hua Hin when he suffered from health problems.
Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in the New York Times: As the late afternoon sun bathes the horizon in purple and crimson, I wander slowly down the long, curving beach. Though rocks mar part of the five-mile-long stretch, most of the waterfront is covered with white sand. On the southern end, a towering golden Buddha statue peers out over the sea, and I can see small white and yellow shrines cut into the rocks of a nearby mountain fringed with low mist. When I sit in the surf, I notice young Thai men riding black-and-white spotted horses up and down the beach, offering rides to tourists. Thai families dog-paddle near me, luxuriating in the bath-warm water. Not one Jet Ski, tour group or powerboat in sight. There are not many places left in Thailand where travelers can sit in the surf undisturbed. So I was surprised, on a trip in March, to find that Hua Hin, the country's oldest beach resort, just a three-hour train ride from Bangkok, had not yet fallen to the wave of building and water sports. [Source: Joshua Kurlantzick, New York Times, May 4, 2007].
Arriving in Hua Hin, in fact, I quickly notice the mellow atmosphere far different from the blaring beer bars and neon dance shows of other Thai beaches like Pattaya. At the colonial-style train station, all white-and-red columns and mahogany floors, a small group of taxi drivers sleeps in the shade of a jackfruit tree. When I try to rouse them for a ride into town, they nod "no" and then nod off again. Friends say there are several reasons for Hua Hin's slow pace of life. Because it is so close to Bangkok, many foreign tourists skip it for other resorts like Phuket; Hua Hin now attracts mostly Thai families. Because Thailand's revered royal family spends much of its time in Hua Hin - in a palace of marble and teak named, aptly, Far From Worries - developers may be reluctant to overbuild, knowing that the king has made sustainable development a centerpiece of his reign.
From the beginning of the 20th century until the development of other resorts like Phuket, Hua Hin was the place for wealthy Thais to escape Bangkok's heat. The Sofitel's coffee bar, which still serves tea each afternoon, features aging photographs of that era, a time when the king and queen were host to royal parties at the hotel, and people gathered around the radio to hear the latest jazz from America.
Hua Hin is one of the most popular weekend getaway destinations for Bangkok residents. Hua Hin means “Stone Head”, a reference to the rocks at the north end of the powdery sand beach. Hua Hin became Thailand's first beach resort after a train line was laid in the 1920s to provide access from Bangkok and King Rama VII established his summer retreat in the area.
Huan Hin Tourism and Transporation
Tourist Office and Website: 500/51 Phetkasem Rd. Amphoe Cha-am, Phetchburi 76120, 0 3247 1005-6, 0 3247 1502. The office of the Tourist Police is located at the end of Damnoen Kasem Road at the entrance to the beach. The Hua Hin Police Station is located on Damnoen Kasem Road, opposite the CAT offices and Post Office. Their telephone number is 1155.
Accommodation: Hua Hin hotels range from five star to budget backpacker, from modern and luxurious to quaint and rustic. There are international five-star resort-spas located along the powdery sands of Hua Hin beach as well as mid-range options built upon piers extending over the waters of the Gulf of Thailand. Resorts near the city center cater to families with children and those looking for a little nightlife, while those farther from town are ideal for visitors looking to get away from it all or have a romantic rendezvous.
In recent years Hua Hin has become famous for its boutique hotels and spa-retreats. Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in the New York Times: The laid-back, small-scale life has also made Hua Hin Thailand's pioneer in boutique hotels. Thirty minutes south of Hua Hin town, I drive to Aleenta, a boutique hotel in the beach village of Pranburi made up of bungalow-style buildings with thatched roofs. Aleenta's burnt sienna walls, curving outdoor staircases and crimson tiles give it the feel of a Mediterranean or Mexican beach resort. A resort at the end of nowhere: in the lap pool adjacent to a swim-up bar, I paddle around without seeing another guest. Aleenta also quickly coddles me with homey touches. My room, built from natural wood, thatch and smooth tile, looks out onto a lonely long-tail fishing boat bobbing in the surf outside. The hotel staff has programmed an iPod in my room, and when I request coffee at bizarre, late-night hours, they laugh and bring Thai Java. [Source: Joshua Kurlantzick, New York Times, May 4, 2007].
Aleenta has spawned a boutique hotel industry. Along the Pranburi beach road, other developers are building small bungalows and spas with Mediterranean and Moroccan themes, and Hua Hin town now features Let's Sea Hua Hin al Fresco Resort, a cheaper yet still charming 40-room boutique hotel on the water. Near the Aleenta lies the Evason Hideaway, another high-end boutique. And this spring, the Hyatt Regency Hua Hin will open its own boutique, the Barai, eight suites with their own gardens or plunge pools. I wander up to Aleenta's spa, which advertises unusual detox treatments featuring Thai herbs and tamarind juice and massages with kaffir lime, lemon grass and jasmine flavors. On the roof of the hotel restaurant, it commands a stunning panoramic view of the sea, but I decide to head back into town, where massages will be cheaper.
Getting to Hua Hin: Visitors to Hua Hin may arrive by train, bus, car, or even plane from destinations both north and south of Hua Hin. By Train: Most trains headed south from Bangkok stop at the Hua Hin Railway Station, so there are numerous trains leaving throughout the day that provide service to Hua Hin. Generally speaking, the train ride takes between 4 and 6 hours; considerably longer than the 2 to 3 hour car ride. However, train fare is cheaper than taxi fare, seats costing between 40 and 100 baht depending on the class and speed of the train. The Hua Hin Station Office is located on Damnoenkasem Rd. For more information, call Tel:66(0)32-511-073 or visit www.railway.co.th
By Car: The approximately 200 kilometers drive between Bangkok and Hua Hin can be traveled in 2 to 3 hours. The most direct driving route from Bangkok to Hua Hin is to follow Highway 35 south to Highway No. 4. By Bus: Buses between Bangkok and Hua Hin are served by Bangkok’s Sai Tai Mai terminal, and depart every 20 minutes for the 3 ½ hour journey. Fares for first class bus seats cost around 200 baht. There is also bus service that is scheduled to connect Hua Hin with Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport Buses to and from cities in southern Thailand are generally overnight services, departing Hua Hin around 10 pm and arriving early in the morning; such buses cost between 750-1000 baht depending on destination.
By Air: There are several daily flights between Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport and Hua Hin Airport, which is served by SGA Airlines in association with Nok Air, a subsidiary of Thai Airways. The less than one hour flight aboard a Cessna 208 aircraft costs just over 3,000 baht for a one way ticket.
Getting Around in Hua Hin: Within the town center visitors can get around Hua Hin by foot or on rental bicycles and motorbikes, which allow visitors to explore the area more quickly. Within Hua Hin, many hotels and guesthouses are located near the town center; those farther away typically provide shuttle service to and from town. Taxis and tuk-tuks are easily found and are reasonably priced for those who wish to explore the nearby attractions, though visitors may also rent cars, motorbikes, and even bicycles to tour the area on their own.
By Songtaew: For getting from Hua Hin town to nearby beaches, songtaews (covered pick-up trucks with benches in the back) act as local buses for trips between Hua Hin and Khao Takiab, Khao Tam, and Suan Son. Songtaew service runs approximately from 6am to 6pm By Tuk Tuk: To get more quickly between destinations in and around town, tuk tuks are quite prevalent and can be hired for a single journey or a full day, the fares for both of which should be agreed upon before setting out.
By Rental Motorbike: For around 150 to 300 baht per day you can hire your own motorbike, which will typically require you to leave your passport as a deposit. Be sure to inspect bikes prior to rental and drive with extreme caution as rental motorbikes are not normally insured and accidents are frequent. Helmets are required by Thai law. By Local Bus: Local buses from Hua Hin to Pranburi and other destinations within the province are also available for very reasonable prices. By Boat: For boat service to nearby Koh Singtoh, local boat charters are available for around 800 baht a day, either at the Hua Hin Pier or at Hat Takiab, where it is possible to get a slightly cheaper rate.
Sights in Huan Hin
Places of Interest in Hua Hin include the town’s five-kilometer-long beach and one Thailand’s oldest and finest golf courses. The town is also known for its gingerbread-house railway station; a lively bar and transvestite show scene; and a cool, relatively rain-free climate. Germans are among the most numerous foreigners.
Just down the coast at Takiab Bay visitors can take seaside horseback rides and visit a hilltop Buddhist temple with a spectacular view. In central Hua Hin, make sure to check out the Sofitel Central, a renovated version of the town's classic colonial-era Railway Hotel, famed for its topiary gardens full of bushes shaped like elephants and its wide, curved balconies. Kurlantzick wrote: Gardeners obsessively trim the bushes with clippers so small they look like nail scissors.
Spas in Hua Hin: In recent years Hua Hin has became famous internationally for its spas such as the Chiva-Som spa, a $26 millon facility with Thai-style pavilion rooms, the latest exercise equipment, massages included in the basic room rate. The Hua Hin area set the world record for the largest group massage.) See Spas Under Facts
On the smaller street-side massage places, Joshua Kurlantzick wrote in the New York Times: I peek into Hua Hin Thai Massage, a small shop near a beach market selling towels and trinkets. The massage parlor truly feels like a family affair. Local women sit in circles massaging one another's feet and gossiping about their clients. When I interrupt them to ask for a foot rubdown, one reluctantly pulls herself away to bathe my feet in warm water and then prod and poke them for an hour, all for only $10.
Hat Hua Hin is a 5-kilometer white sandy beach lined with a wide range of accommodations, from bungalows to five-star hotels and resorts. Located at the sunrise side of the city, the beach runs from a rocky headland which separates it from a tiny fishing pier, and gently curves for some three kilometers to the south where the Giant Standing Buddha Sculpture is located at the foot of Khao Takiap. While offering a tranquil atmosphere, the beach is also the place for fun-filled activities ranging from jogging, walking, sun bathing, horse riding, kite boarding, and other kinds of water sports.
Khao Takiap (4 kilometers from Hua Hin) is a hill is situated at the southern end of Hua Hin, only from the town. It can be easily reached by local minibus. Visitors can go up the hilltop to enjoy a bird's eye view of Hua Hin, which is one of the delightful views either during the day or night. There is a temple call Wat Khao Takiap situated on top of the hill. The nearby Khao Takiap Beach offers mostly bungalow accommodations. The giant golden Buddha Statue standing against the cliff has become a landmark of Khao Takiap.
Khao Tao ( between kilometers 243 and 244 markers, 13 kilometers south of Hua Hin) is a small beach at the foot of Khao Tao Hill. It is located on a pine-fringed beach and is more secluded than Hua Hin. The signature of the place is a large Buddha image which faces out to the sea. Bungalows are available.
Khao Sam Roi Yot National Park (53 kilometers south of Hua Hin) embraces limestone hills, mangroves and caves and is home to 300 species of bird. Established in 1966 as the first coastal national park of Thailand., it covers 98. square kilometers of which about 21 square kilometers are marine areas. The name Khao Sam Roi Yot means Mountains with 300 peaks, which describes the landscape of the park quite well. The limestone hills are a subrange of the Tenasserim Hills that rises directly at the shore of the Gulf of Thailand, with the highest elevation Khao Krachom 605 meters above sea level. Between the hills are freshwater marshes. However several of these marshes were converted into shrimp farms, as only 36 square kilometers of the total 69 square kilometers of marshes are part of the national park.
Two white sand beaches are located within the park namely Hat Laem Sala and Hat Sam Phraya. Hat Laem Sala is 17 kilometers away from the park's head quarters and can be reached from the village Ban Pu either by boat or by climbing up and down over a hill for nearly 30 minutes. There are also some outstanding caves in the park. Tham Kaew is illuminated by a collapsed sinhole ad reached by a permananet ladder. Some of the stalactites and stalagmites glisten like icicles thanks to calcite crystals in them. Rare animals in the park include serow, dusky langurs and birds such as species black-headed ibis, painted stork and purple swamp hen. In the ocean occasionally Irrawaddy dolphins show up.
Text Sources: Tourist Authority of Thailand, Thailand Foreign Office, The Government Public Relations Department, New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Times of London, Lonely Planet Guides, Library of Congress, Compton’s Encyclopedia, The Guardian, National Geographic, Smithsonian magazine, The New Yorker, Time, Newsweek, Reuters, AP, AFP, Policy, Wikipedia, BBC, CNN, and various books and other publications.
Last updated August 2020