Ranong is the first southern province on the western coast, located 568 kilometres from Bangkok. It is also known for the long rainy period, which lasts for 8 months each year. Ranong occupies an area of 3,298 square kilometres and is bordered by Myanmar and the Indian Ocean to the west. Within its compact area, Ranong contains various natural attractions and is blessed with hot springs and unspoilt mangrove forests
The hot springs rise beside the Klong Hat Sompen River at Wat Tapotaram and are channeled into 3 concrete, round tubs called Father, Mother, and Child at the nearby Raks awarin. Here, the hot springs are surrounded by forest and leisure pavilions and bathing rooms are available. With a constant water temperature of 65 degrees Celsius (150 degrees Fahrenheit), it is too hot for bathing. People believe the water, due to its unusually high sulfur content, is beneficial to the health.
A short walk down the river, people can enjoy the hot springs at a more relaxing temperature and luxurious accommodations at the Jansom Thara Spa Resort. The hotel cooled the hot water to a more bearable temperature of 42 degrees Celsius (110 degrees Fahrenheit).
The Had (beach) Chan Damri located near the Kra Buri River offers a panoramic view of Victoria Point, a Burmese town with reasonably priced local products and souvenirs, and the perfect place to watch picturesque sunsets.
Interested in visiting a pearl farm and a sea gypsy village? Then go to Phayam Island, slightly more than 2 hours boatride from the provincial city. Nearby are Sin Hai Island and Chang Island which are suitable for game-fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
If you want to do some trekking and wildlife viewing, head on to Laem Son National Park which is covered with hilly coastlines of pristine beaches, mangrove swamps, and rainforests. The park also contains roughly 20 offshore islands with remote beaches and coral reefs, including Koh Kam Yai, Koh Kang Kao, and Koh Kam Noi.
Mainland beaches include Prapas and Laem Son. The Bang Baen Beach is famous for its lengthy beach with fine sands and prolific seashells.
Ranong boasts of several scenic waterfalls, spectacular viewpoints of the Andaman Sea and a diversity of wildlife at the 480-sq. km. Khlong Nakha Wildlife Sanctuary. Naturalists will love finding more than 40 bird species and animals such as wild boars and black, giant squirrels.
The narrowest point of the Malay Peninsula is at Ban Tub Lee District at the Kra Bottleneck. The distance between the western coast and the eastern coast is only 44 km. A sign has been erected to denote the point as the narrowest section of the peninsula and is a popular picture spot.
The Ranong Founding Father's Cemetery contains the remains of the city's first ruler and is situated on the side of a small hill facing south. The vast area of land in front of the cemetery is laid out with a stony surface and there are 2 ancient stone guardians on either side of the cemetery. Adjacent to that are 2 huge granite columns. The streetfront of the cemetery contains a granite sign depicting the history and greatness of the first ruler of Rayong, Phraya Dumrong Sucharit Mahisornpakdi.
The Punyaban Waterfalls is a multi-tiered small fall. The lowest level, with a height of 15 meters, is visible from the main road.
Phu Khao Ya (Grass Hill) or Khao Hua Lan (Bald Hill) Known to local residents by a variety of names and endearingly referred to as Thailand's version of a Swiss pasture, this hill is something of an anomaly as it is completely treeless. Instead, it is covered by a thick blanket of grass. Numerous walking trails and good vantagepoints that offer comprehensive views of the countryside make this hill the most popular in Ranong. It is located in Tambon Ngao on Highway No. 4 (Ranong-Phang-nga), about twelve kilometres from downtown Ranong.
Hot Springs and Raksawarin Arboretum Located about 2 kilometres east of the provincial office, the hot springs have been a popular tourist spot ever since King Rama V visited Ranong in 1890, and named the road to the hot springs 'Chon Ra-u', meaning 'hot water'. There are three natural spring pools. The temperature of the water in the pools remains constant at about 65 C. The water is both drinkable and suitable for bathing.
Doctors routinely prescribe bathing in the pools for both medical treatments and as a relaxing way to ease stress and tension. Surrounding the hot springs is a deep shaded forest called 'Raksa Warin', where resting pavilions and wash rooms have been provided for the visitor's comfort. Nearby, Wat Tapo Tharam also provides bathing rooms for visitors who want to enjoy the healthy mineral water from the thermal springs. Namtok Ngao Located in Tambon Ngao in the vicinity of Khlong Phrao National Park, the steep Ngao Waterfall can be seen from a great distance away because of its commanding height. The area is home to a unique species of crab, known to locals for years as 'Pu Chao Fa'. This fresh water crab has just been recently classified by the scientific community and added to the world's list of shellfish. These crabs, easily recognised by their white bodies and dark purple mouths, live in crevices or under dry leaves along the banks of the small creeks that run from the waterfall. Interestingly, the biologist who first classified this species, Professor Phaiboon Naiyanet from Chulalongkorn University, named the crab Phricotelphusa Sirindhorn in reverence to Her Royal Highness, Princess Sirindhorn.
Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Centre Located about 15 kilometres from the town centre, the Ngao Mangrove Forest has been declared a World Biological Sanctuary Zone by UNESCO owing to the essential role this mangrove plays in maintaining the region's ecological integrity. Many species of marine life come to the mangrove to mate, incubate their eggs and care for their young until the offspring are strong enough to face the perils of the open sea. The centre offers guided forest walks.
Arrangements can be made by submitting a written letter at least 3 weeks in advance of the proposed visit to the Chief of Ngao Mangrove Forest Research Centre, Moo 4, Ban Lang, Tambon Ngao, Amphoe Mueang, Changwat Ranong 85000.
Hat Chan Damri Located about nine kilometres from downtown Ranong along Highway No. 4004 (Ranong-Pak Nam), this small beach and pier offer good vantage points from which to witness seafaring life along the mouth of Ranong's principal river. From here, visitors can see across to what is known as Victoria Point of Ko Song in Myanmar or further out to the many other islands dotting the Andaman Sea. The nearby hilltop viewpoint is a particularly good location for watching Ranong's sunsets.
The Jansom Thara Resort, situated above the beach, offers boat trips to some of the islands.Victoria Point of Ko Song As an island in neighbouring Myanmar, Ko Song offers visitors a variety of local products, souvenirs such as wicker baskets, lacquerware, and gems. Long-tailed boats can be hired in Pak Nam Ranong or on the Ranong Pier. The boat ride to Victoria Point takes about 15 minutes each way and costs between 200 and 300 baht. Before embarking on this excursion, visitors must obtain a boarding card issued by the Ranong Immigration Office in Pak Nam Ranong, tel : 0-7782-1216. Jansom Travel also offers tours to Ko Song.
Ko Phayam Two hours by boat from the Ranong Pier, Ko Phayam is famous for both its long, fine, white sandy beaches and for the cashew nuts which are grown on the island. A number of sea gypsies, or Chao Le, live on the island as well. The waters between Ko Phayam and the nearby islands of Ko Hai Hin and Ko Chang often provide excellent game fishing. To get to Ko Phayam, visitors can charter boats from Ranong Pier for about 1,000 baht per trip. Visitors can also charter speedboats from Ko Phayam Resort. Prices range from 2,000 to 4,000 baht, depending on the size of the boat. Reservations can be made by calling 0-7781- 2297, 0-1323-0436.
Ko Chang With an area of 18 square kilometres and 80 homes on the entire island, Ko Chang welcomes visitors with a quiet, unspoiled tropical island ambience. Like Ko Phayam, boats can be chartered from the Ranong Pier. The island can be reached within 1 hour by long-tail boat. There are four beaches on the west of the island, where private bungalows are available.
Kho Khot Kra or Kra Isthmus Located in Ban Thap Li, Tambon Lamu at the 545-km marker on Highway No. 4, 66 kilometres northeast of the town centre, the Kra Isthmus is the narrowest point on the Malay Peninsula, spanning a mere 44 kilometres from the Gulf of Thailand on the east coast to the Andaman Sea on the west coast. There is a large, cement map to help orient visitors. The Kra provides an excellent vantage point from which to see the Kra Buri River forming a natural boundary between Thailand and Myanmar.
Laem Son National Park Declared a national park in 1983, Laem Son is a coastal park that extends out to include a number of islands.
Covering an area of 315 square kilometres, the park offers white sandy beaches, pine trees forests, a seascape of nearby islands and great bird watching. The park office is on Highway No. 4 (Ranong-Phang-nga), 45 kilometres from the provincial capital, six kilometres from Kapoe. Turn right at the 657-km marker and continue for ten kilometres until reaching the office on Bang Ben Beach.
It's easy to see why Bang Ben Beach was chosen to be the location of the Park's headquarter. A coastal breeze and shady pine trees help to keep temperatures pleasant nearly all year round. The long white sandy beach looks out onto a multitude of islands scattered offshore, making every position on the beach a wonderful view. Just four kilometres from Bang Ben is Laem Son Beach where visitors can camp and enjoy bird watching. A number of the islands in the park are worth visiting. From Bang Ben Beach, local fishermen will take visitors out in their long-tailed boats to visit the boulder formations on Ko Khang Khao, a trip that takes about 40 minutes. Slightly 20 minutes further is "Buffalo's Horn" Island, or Ko Ao Khao Khwai, aptly named for its shape. Park's rangers are also stationed here to assist visitors. From Bang Ben Beach, arrangements can also be made to further destinations, such as the fabulous beaches on Ko Kam Yai. Travel to this island takes about 1 hour and a half.
Accommodation and restaurants are available in Laem Son National Park. Further information can be obtained from either National Parks Division, Forestry Department in Bangkok, tel. 0 -2579-7223, 0-2579-5734 or to the Chief of Laem Son National Park, Bang Ben Beach, Tambon Muang Klang, Amphoe Kapoe, Ranong 85120.
Khao Fa Chi So named because of its resemblance to a traditional cover for Thai food, Fa Chi hill is located off of Highway No. 4 in Tambon Bang Kaeo. The hill provides an excellent vantage point from which to see the convergence of two rivers, the Kra Buri and the La-un. The many river islands formed where these two rivers meet makes the scenery fascinating to behold. Sunsets are often breathtaking. To reach Fa Chi hill, turn left at Km. 580 onto the paved road, and continue for three kilometres. Two kilometres further, near the bridge which crosses the La-un River, history buffs will find the remains of a Japanese military base complete with warship wrecks, underground tunnels and the remains of a railway line. Japanese soldiers used this area as a port for sending support to Burma during World War II.
Hiking in Mangrove ForestsThe mangrove forests along the shore, at the mouths of the rivers, and on islands are essential to the region's integrity and continued prosperity. The people of Ranong take pride in having some of the best preserved and protected mangrove forests in the country. Twenty-five of the world's sixty-eight species of mangrove trees can be found in the province. Those who are interested in exploring these fascinating ecosystems can contact the Mangrove Forest Management Unit.
Cruising along the Kra Buri River Visitors can independently hire boats at Ranong Pier or take organized tours arranged by the Jansom Travel. As the Kra Buri forms a natural boundary between Thailand and Myanmar, visitors can witness river life in two countries at the same time. The best time for exploring the river is during the dry season (January - April). Visitors are advised to leave early in the morning so that they can arrive at Kra Buri in time for lunch. The restaurant here features succulent jumbo prawns.
Elephant Riding Near the hot springs in Raksa Warin Arboretum, there is a forest management unit responsible for protecting and maintaining the adjacent forest. From here, visitors can ride on elephants and tour the jungle, viewing many different species of trees, giant ferns, giant vines and other flora. The trip, organized by the Ranong Chamber of Commerce, will take visitors to waterfalls and out towards the Thai Burmese border. Further information and reservations can be made at the office near the hot springs in Raksa Warin Park, tel: 0-7782-3901-2.
Hotels and accommodation
- Andaman Peach Resort : 11/2 Mu 1 Tambon Mungklang, Amphoe Kaper [0 1211 0895] : 600-1,200 baht
- Ao Yai Bungalow : Ko Phayam [0 7782 1753] : 150 baht
- Asia :: 39/9 Ruangrat Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7781 1113, 0 7781 1177] : 240-620 baht
- Bamboo Bungalow : 56/1 Tambon Ko Phayam Amphoe Muang [0 1273 3437] : 100-200 baht
- Hall Bill Hut : Ko Phayam [0 7782 5543] : 150 baht
- Ifel Inn : 160/1-14 Mu 3 Phetkasem Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7784 8368-9, 0 7782 3272] : 650 baht
- J P R Bungalow : 45 Mu 1 Tambon Ko Phayam, Amphoe Muang [0 7782 4077] : 150 baht
- Jansom Beach Resort : 135 Moo 5 Charndamri Beach T.Paknam, A.Muang [(66 77) 811-774-6]
- Jansom Thara : 2/10 Mu 1 Phetkasem Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7782 2516-9] : 700-2312 Baht
- K.R.Mansion Ranong : 999 Mu 3 Phetkasem Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7783 1201-8] : 350-450 baht
- Ko Phayam Resort : 35/1 Tambon Ko Phayam, Amphoe Muang [0 7781 2297] : 200-2500 baht
- Mister Kao Bungalow : Tambon Ko Phayam, Amphoe Muang [0 7782 3995] : 100-200 baht
- PP Ranong : 27/183 Saphanpla, Amphoe Muang [0 7783 3807-9] : 430-490 baht
- Ranong Garden : 6/54 Mu 1 Phetkasem Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7783 2174-81] : 594-660 baht
- Ranong Inn : 29/9 Phetkasem Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7782 2777, 0 7782 2815] : 300-450 baht
- Rattanasin : 822/6 Ruangrat Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7781 1242] : 100 baht
- Rim Than Resort : 29 Mu 2 Tambon Hatsompaen, Amphoe Muang [0 7783 3792, 0 7781 1960] : 250-1,500 baht
- Royal Princess Ranong : 41/144 Tha muang Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7783 5240-4] : 1,000-1,800 baht
- Sam Laem Resort : 170 Mu 5 Tambon Paknam, Amphoe Muang [0 1893 5041, 0 1891 7180] : 720-2,500 baht
- Sin Ranong : 26/23-4 Ruangrat Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7781 1454, 0 7782 3754] : 180-230 baht
- SinTawi : 81 Ruangrat Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7782 2771] : 160-280 baht
- Spa Inn : 1/15 Chonau Road, Amphoe Muang [0 7781 1715, 0 7783 2692] : 430-480 baht
- Vichit : 5/3 Mu 1 Tambon Ko Phayam, Ko Phayam [0 7782 3962] : 150 baht
- Yell & Patchara : 31 Mu 1 Au Yai Tambon Ko Phayam, Amphoe Muang [0 7782 1751] : 100-200 baht
- Krua Ranong : Spa Inn Hotel, Tel: 0-7781-1715 (Thai)
- Khun Nun : Phetkasem Rd., Tel: 0-7782-1910 (Thai)
- Chon Thong : Ruangrat Rd., Tel: 0-7783-4150-1 (European)
- Dokchan Seafood : Soi Rong Kluang, Kitpadung Rd., Tel: 0-7781-1867 (seafood)
- Namtan : Palm Court Room, Chansom Tara Hotel, Tel: 0-7752-1511 (Thai, Chinese, European)
- Bua : Chon La-u Rd., Tel: 0-7781-1086 (Thai)
- Paknam Seafood : Paknam Rd., Tel: 0-7781-2497 (seafood)