Thailand’s East Coast has undergone a lot of development during the last three decades. While the Eastern Seaboard, which sits on the coastline between Bangkok and the Cambodian border, is proof of the industrial progress, the region still draws visitors as it is a magnet as far as tourism goes.
Situated just a 2-hour drive from Bangkok, Eastern Thailand is half mountain, half ocean. Despite the fact there are only seven provinces altogether on the East Coast, it still has a lot of amazing sights and stunning locations to visit. They include Ko Samet, Ko Chang, Ko Mak, Ko Lan, Ko Si Chang and the bustling and action-packed Pattaya city.
Like a playground in the sun, the East Coast is known for its beautiful beaches, and runs from just east of Bangkok all the way down to Ban Hat Lek in Trat, which borders Cambodia. The region encompasses the coastal provinces of Chonburi, Rayong, and Chanthaburi and Trat, which are further away.
Not the region for those fearful of the sun, Thailand’s East simply eases its way into the heart of domestic and overseas travel planners with beaches and laid-back ambience in a more affordable manner than what the southern islands could offer.
How To Get There
Chonburi and Chachoengsao are short drives from Bangkok, which takes a little over an hour. Travelers wishing to skip BKK can also travel via Suvarnabhumi Airport. Pattaya is less than two hours drive, while Rayong and Prachinburi could be reached by car in less than three hours and Sakaeo just a little longer than that. Chanthaburi is further away, and at about 200 miles from the capital, Trat is within a four-to-five-hour drive of Bangkok.
A popular weekend destination, the province is ideal for a one-day trip for Bangkok residents with Khao Sam Muk, Bang Saen Beach, Nong Mon Market and Sri Racha Tiger Zoo, to name a few.
Located in Chonburi province, Pattaya has grown from a quiet fishing village as recently as the 1960s into the largest city in Eastern Thailand. It now prides itself as an international beach resort city, famed for its nightlife. The resort city has plenty of modern conveniences, with hotels, shopping malls, bars and clubs, family entertainment and activities for all types of holidaymakers.
Offshore islands, including Ko Lan, Ko Phai and Ko Kham, offer a little getaway from the bustling Pattaya
Rayong is home to some famous destinations like the tiny island of Samet, which has grown from a camper’s paradise into a resort island in a national marine park with full scale three to four-star accommodations available. The island attracts visitors all year round. The best time though to visit is during October – April. The island, which is mostly part of the Khao Laem Ya–Mu Ko Samet National Park, has many beaches to explore, from more crowded areas to the less developed ones further south.
Rayong is also a seafood lover’s paradise as when it comes to the best seafood in Thailand, most of the fish, prawns, and clams come from the east.
Home to countless fruit plantations, Trat is better known among tourists for two of its islands: Ko Chang & Ko Kut, the two largest islands with chains of smaller islands scattered around.
Once home to local fishermen and coconut farmers, Ko Chang gets its name from its elephant-shaped formation. A big island with white-sand beaches, waterfalls and jungle, the island boasts an unusual blend of old-school stilted bungalows, boutique resorts, spas, and coconut-swaying beaches.
Ko Kut is much quieter than Ko Chang and remains relatively unknown to tourists, filled with a relaxing sense of isolation, and a laid-back vibe, which draws holidaymakers to bask in the sun, dip in the warm, clear water, watch a sensational sunset, or explore a scenic coastline on a kayak.
Chanthaburi is another gem of the Kingdom, fringing the Gulf of Thailand. Chanthaburi is known for precious stone dealing and tropical fruit. While blessed with dense forests, waterfalls and mountains, as well as beaches and sea, the province is also charming culturally. Its Chanthaboon Waterfront community is appealingly capable of drawing visitors who love to embrace its historic small-town vibe and slow-life ambience. Khung Kraben Bay Royal Development Study Center, the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Laem Sing and Chao Lao beaches, as well as Khao Khitchakut National Park (where an annual local pilgrimage to worship the Buddha Footprint is held), are among top attractions.
Chanthaburi is also the province where chan-noodles were originally made. This type of rice noodle is commonly used for pad Thai.
While in Chanthaburi, be sure to visit Chantaboon Waterfront. This small area in the province really comes alive during the weekend. Famous for dessert vendors and Mantis Shrimp Tom Yum Noodle shops (Geow Tiew Gung) that have been local favorites for generations. Chanthaburi really is a foodie getaway!