Rayong is mostly seen as a stop-over for those en route to Ko Samet. But if you’re looking for a beach getaway that still makes you feel like you’re in Thailand, Rayong is your best bet. Here, you’re more likely to run into a Thai family or a group of Thai college students than into foreign tourists or backpackers. Since it’s just a 2-hour drive away from Bangkok, Rayong attracts Thailand’s urbanites who are looking for a peaceful beach escape.
This humble aquarium offers an excellent display of the local marine life in the coastal environment around Rayong. Its highlight is undeniably a giant tank with a glass tunnel under it. Visitors can walk through it, admiring all the little underwater creatures around them.
Yomjinda Walking Street
For a slice of real Thailand in Rayong, nothing does it quite like Yomjinda Walking Street. Here, you can admire the city’s old architecture as you browse through local crafts shops, listen to some live music acts and check out Thailand’s traditional shadow puppets.
Mae Ramphueng Beach
The white sand of this pristine beach stretches for 12 long kilometers, meaning you won’t have any trouble picking an isolated spot to put down your towel.
Sky View Tower at Mangrove Research Center
After you’ve figured out your way around Rayong, you’ll definitely want to see if from high up. So, head a few kilometers outside of town to reach Mangrove Research Center. From here, walk along the 400-meter wooden pathway to reach the Sky View Tower. You can climb up its spiral staircase for some 11 levels and then, finally, you’ll have your reward: a breathtaking panoramic view of Rayong, the river and the mangrove forest.
“Saengchan” means “moonlight” in English and the beach’s name derives precisely from its unique physical resemblance to the shape of a moon crest. This is one of the most popular beaches that is still relatively close to Rayong (6km) and you’ll find plenty of luxury beachside hotels, if that’s your style.
Khao Chamao/Khao Wong National Park
This compact national park is filled with incredible limestone mountains, dense forests, high cliffs and beautiful waterfalls. And wildlife roam about here too: you’ll find all kinds of exciting animals from tigers to wild bears and elephants. The Khao Chamao/Khao Wong Waterfall, with its multi-tiered cascade of clear water, definitely steals the show.
Wat Pra Padu
You’re in Thailand, so of course there’s (at least) one temple you need to check out. Wat Pra Padu is Rayong’s oldest Buddhist temple. It dates back to the Ayutthaya era and features a 12 meter long reclining Buddha statue in its interior.
Related: Cities in Thailand