Gorgeous Rayong

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Not far from Pattaya is a province known for its gorgeous seafood, delectable durian and fine beaches. Yet despite these attractions, Rayong is unlike Pattaya. It is not as touristy and it even has that sleepy feel to it. Although fine hotels line some of its beaches, the tourists visiting Rayong are mostly locals.

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The few foreign tourists who stray into the province mostly proceed to Ban Phe, a busy fishing port and jump-off point to KohSamet, the island with the whitest and squeakiest sand in the kingdom. The island is a 30-minute ferry ride away. It is a favorite among farangs as it has something for everyone — from funfilled beaches with jet skiing and live music to tranquil, secluded spots where one can enjoy sand, sun and sea in complete privacy. But while foreigners find island beaches more exotic, the locals have their own idea of what constitutes a better beach.

Such place doesn’t need to be isolated or off island. In fact, it is just about five kilometers farther down the highway from Ban Phe. This beach, known as the Suan Son Pine Park, is a popular picnic area among locals. It is squeaky clean and as white and sandy as those of Koh Samet, though not as tranquil and isolated. It is in fact busy on weekends when people from other parts of the province, including those from Bangkok, flock to the beach to frolic. Tall casuarinas trees give Suan Son its unique charm.

These trees line each side of the road, which runs along the one-kilometer beach. Interestingly, the crowns of the trees from each side meet above head, making the whole length of the road look like a green tunnel. The area, quite expectedly, teems with food stalls and food shops. And because it is not a farang haunt, food prices are cheap here. Accommodation is also available for those who want to stay overnight. It comes in the form of bungalows or guesthouses, which are reasonably priced.

The venturesome can rent a boat to explore the smaller islands nearby like Koh Kudi, Koh Kham, Koh Platin and Koh Talu. The climate here is typically tropical– hot from March through May, rainy from June through October, and cool from November through February. Average daily temperature throughout the year is 27 degrees Celsius. During the rainy season, rainfall is usually brief and the rest of the day is normally clear and sunny. Traveling around Suan Son can be relaxing because the traffic here is light and the roads are very smooth. The surrounding areas are mostly quaint fishing villages, too laidback that they offer a perfect escape from the bustle of the city.

A stroll along the beach will give you a first-hand look at life in Thailand’s coastal villages. Only a little over an hour from Pattaya (via Sukhumvit Road towards Sattahip) or two hours from Bangkok, Rayong is a popular getaway destination among urban holidaymakers who prefer a more peaceful beach atmosphere than the nearby touristy Pattaya. Those who are continuing on to Koh Samet will also find Rayong the perfect base, as it’s possible to do a bit of sightseeing and shopping before hopping on a speedboat or a ferry at Baan Pae.

Separated from Koh Samet by a 45-minute ferry ride, the city area feels like a world apart. It retains a pleasantly localized atmosphere, where you are more likely to bump into Thai families or groups of young university students than foreign tourists or backpackers. Young urbanites from Bangkok often drive out here to enjoy a great seafood meal or dig their toes into the soft white sand, before heading back with a lung full of clean fresh air.

Attraction
A launching point for land and sea explorations with long distance bus terminals, ferry piers, food stalls and a lively handicrafts and seafood market, Baan Pae is a hive of activity. Laem Mae Pim, perhaps the second most popular destinations after Baan Pae, is an ideal spot for relaxation, with a lineup of beachside eateries and calm, inviting waters. Other attractions further inland include Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Herbal Park, Sopha Arboretum and the Rayong Aquarium.p3

Activities

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More popular for it is lineup of beachside seafood restaurants and shady beaches than for water sports, Rayong beaches are peaceful and relatively free of large crowds. Marine excursions are limited to fishing, snorkeling and diving at nearby islands such as Koh Kruai, Koh Thalu, Koh Pla Tin and Koh Kham. Island hopping is also an attractive option for those in search of a little adventure. Golfers will find a haven among Rayong’s range of well-designed courses, including the 72-par championship course at St. Andrews 2000 Golf and Country Club and Eastern Star Country Club.

Restaurants
Rayong is never short of mouthwatering seafood. In fact, dining is as much an experience for the eyes and ears as the palate, as many restaurants are situated by the beach, with an outdoor deck that juts right into the water. So, dining p2at these venues almost guarantees a great view. With a bustling seafood market, Baan Pae is one of the best places to go get a serving of freshly caught steamed crab, prawns and the all time favorite sea bass with lime ginger sauce. Finish off a satisfying meal the local style – with a plate of fresh tropical fruits.

Nightlife
Rayong is more famous for its causarina-shaded beaches and translucent blue sea than as a nightlife hotspot. However that’s not to say that there’s none around; a one-km strip Ratbamrung Road, which runs parallel to the main Sukhumvit highway in the city center, houses a large concentration of pubs, bars and nightclubs with stage shows and strip dancers. Getting Around Well connected by an efficient network of buses and songtaews (passenger- carrying trucks), public transport is the best option if you don’t have a car. Within Rayong, several lines of public buses operate between popular tourist destinations. These buses are color-coded and most run from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Ferries to Koh Samet depart from Baan Pae Pier on an hourly basis from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and drop tourists at major beaches, such as Sai Gaew, Ao Thaptim, Ao Phai, Ao Wong Duen and Ao Wai. The trip takes about 45 minutes, but if you take a chartered speedboat, it’s reduced to 15 minutes.

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Pattaya Walking Street

Pattaya Walking Street is the biggest and busiest party hotspot in the whole of Thailand, with only a couple of the top places in Bangkok beating it for sheer volume and variety. A full kilometre from its high-tech gateway at the Beach Road end to the Bali Hai Plaza end, almost every building along its length is a nightclub, go-go bar, beer bar or restaurant. Each of the side streets – which span from Soi 14 to Soi 16, with a couple of uniquely-named streets in between – is more of the same, making the whole southern end of the city into a warren of nightlife entertainments, with something for practically every taste. The remarkable thing about Pattaya Walking Street is that there is so much to see and do, and it is so densely packed that you could spend every night for a whole week there and, aside from having the mother of all hangovers, you would still be finding new places each and every evening. We have endeavoured to survey the main points of interest and even here we are just scratching the surface of the hundreds of venues on and around the neon-drenched strip.

Pattaya – also a place to relax

Although Pattaya is busy by Koh Samui or Phuket standards,
that certainly does not mean that it isn’t relaxing!

There is a wealth of ways to relax in Pattaya, so if you’d prefer to be close to Bangkok on your trip to Thailand, check out the luxury villas in Pattaya, nightlife of the town, and famous Thai massages that have made a name for this Bangkok satellite city.

Relaxation for many simply means not having to pick up after yourself, wash your own towels, make your own beds, cook your own food or worry about the state of the benches and floor! In Pattaya there are many of luxury hotels, service apartment and villa offers you relief from all this drudgery, with the daily maid service.

The Pattaya villa has marble floors, entertainment facilities and the feeling of being in a hotel – without crowds of people that you don’t know! It can sleep up to 8 people, and hanging around at this luxury villa in Pattaya, moseying up and down Jomtien beach, cruising around in the free hire car and sampling new taste sensations at the new Thai restaurant nearby are some of our favourite ways to relax in Pattaya.

Thai massage is another of Pattaya’s ultra-relaxing activities, and some masseuses will even come around to your private villa in Pattaya to give you a head, foot or full body massage at unbelievable prices. There are also hundreds of Thai massage shops in Pattaya, and you can even get one on the beach or in the market! They are designed to relieve stress and pressure over the whole body, with over 70,000 pressure points that the practitioners focus on.

They are an absolute delight! If relaxation to you means letting your hair down and partying hard, then Pattaya has some great relaxation opportunities. Pattaya beach road is where you’ll want to head from your luxury Pattaya villa for all the nightlife opportunities, like the exotic cabaret shows, karaoke bars, discotheques and nightclubs. Marine Disco is a great venue for house music from international artists, with free entry, and another free entry option on Walking Street is Tony’s Entertainment Complex.

The Hard Rock Cafe is a well known name in live music that is just as popular in Pattaya as elsewhere in the world – definitely something that you’ll have to leave the quiet comfort of your Pattaya luxury villa for! Golf is another of the best ways to relax in Pattaya – you can work out the kinks in your body and mind, focusing solely on the ball and where it has to go.

The Pattaya hills are known for good golfing, and there are several international class greens within 40 km of the city. The Siam Country Club has one of the most challenging golf courses in the world, if you want to lose yourself in the task at hand, and you can combine a weekend of golf with several choices of luxury villas in Pattaya that have courses on site.

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