Ranong Tourist Attractions
Ranong, about 450 km (280 mi.) (as the crow flies) south-west of Bangkok, is, if approached from the north, the first Thai town on the Indian Ocean. The town owes its charm to its houses, Chinese-style with Portuguese influence, the nearby mountainous jungle, an interesting island world and its proximity to Myanmar (Burma). On the other side of the inlet, Victoria Point, the most southerly point of the Burmese mainland, can be seen.By car: from Bangkok Highway 4 (570 km (354 mi.)). From Surat Thani Highway 401 to Takua Pa, then Highway 4.By bus: from Surat Thani several times daily.By rail: nearest station Chumphon (120 km (75 mi.)).By air: nearest airport at Surat Thani.
Like many Thai ports, it is worth visiting Ranong's harbor, particularly in the early hours of the morning when the fishing boats return. A stroll through the town along the main street is also interesting. The ground floors of the two-story houses are arcaded passages. The old harbor in the wide mouth of the Ranong river has been replaced so that ships with large draughts can now be unloaded here.
Ranong Hot Springs
Three hot springs lie approximately 2 km (1 mi.) east of Ranong near the Janson Thara Hotel. The most productive spring supplies 500 liters of water, at a temperature of 70°C (158°F), per second. A small wat is dedicated to the spirit of the spring. A suspension bridge leads to a garden with a mineral water pool, in which bathing is permitted.
Nam Tok Bunyaban waterfall lies near Highway 4, 18 km (11 mi.) north of Ranong. A further 31 km (19 mi.) along the deeply indented inlet Menam Kraburi (also called Menam Pak Chan) brings travelers to Tham Phra Kayang grotto, which has many statues of Buddha and is well worth seeing. Kraburi, a town in the mountains, is reached after another 13 km (8 mi.).From Kraburi Highway 4 leads via the narrowest point on the Malay peninsula, the Isthmus of Kra, to Chumphon: the distance here between the Bay of Bengal and the Gulf of Thailand measures only 60 km (37 mi.).There are also a number of attractions to visit within a short distance of Ranong.
Koh Pha Yam
A boat trip to Koh Pha Yam island proves interesting. With the help of Japanese businessmen a large pearl culture farm has been established on natural mussel beds (visits possible). The tour passes crocodile-inhabited mangrove swamps as well as numerous hilly, green islands.
By continuing along the road leading to the hot springs just outside Ranong, a tin mine is reached in the village of Hat Som Paen. Tin is still produced here using conventional methods. An idyllic scene is set by the village temple Wat Hat Som Paen, in whose pond swim sacred carp. Many of the open-cast tin mines passed on a journey south to the villages of Kapoe, Khuraburi and Takua Pa have been closed down.
From Paknam Ranong, the fishing port at the mouth of the Menam Kraburi river, an impressive boat trip takes visitors to Ranong island, where a number of houses on stilts have been built along the bank.