Rayong Tourist Attractions
The lively typical provincial town of Rayong is situated about 140 km (87 mi.) south-east from Bangkok on the Gulf of Thailand; apart from its scenic location there are no sights. The nearby town of Ban Phe is the starting point for trips to the offshore islands such as Koh Samet. Beyond the town there are large areas cultivated with sugar cane, manioc and pineapple.By car: from Bangkok highways 34/3/36 (180 km (112 mi.)).By bus: from Bangkok Eastern Bus Terminal (air-conditioned, about 4 hours).
The fishing port lies in the oldest part of the town on the river estuary and is at its liveliest in the late afternoon. Rayong is famous for its fish sauce "nam pla", a Thai specialty, used instead of salt to spice many dishes. Other products of Rayong are "kapi", a shrimp paste, and dried fish, sold throughout the country.The large wat in the center of the town with a larger than life sized statue of Buddha is not of cultural interest but it is the focus of activity on weekends.
There are beautiful sandy beaches along the coast between Pattaya and Rayong which are being opened up to tourists. These include the resorts of Suan Wang Kaeo to the east of Rayong and the beach at Tha Rua Klaeng.
Koh SametWith its magnificent beaches, crystal clear waters and luxuriant vegetation Koh Samet (also called Koh Kae Phisadan) was one of the first islands to attract tourists from all over the world. Declaring Koh Samet to be a national park in 1981 has done nothing to deter the stream of visitors. Today there are hundreds of bungalows and the beaches are not as clean as they once were. In May 1990 a ban on overnight visits was introduced to check the uncontrolled growth of tourism, but this is disregarded. Although the problems of rubbish, water shortage and built-up beaches have not been solved the ban was lifted two years later. On weekends whole groups of Thais, from as far away as Bangkok, come to have parties and the refuse they leave behind could be the last straw for this island, which until a few years ago, was unspoilt.There is a risk of malaria on Koh Samet. It is necessary to use anti-mosquito cream every evening and sleep under the mosquito nets which are provided in the bungalows.From Rayong (minibuses from the clock tower) Highway 3 to Ban Phe; from there ferry (on request; last return trip daily 5pm). The nearest jetty on the island is near the small fishing village of Samet. In calm weather the boats sail round the western tip to the beaches and moor at temporary landing stages.The island is only 800 m (2625 ft) at its widest, and 5 km (3 mi.) long. From the beaches on the west side the wonderful sunset can be witnessed. There are two rocky beaches on the other side of the island. All beaches can be reached by well-signposted footpaths and pick-ups.