Those wanting to escape the crowds of Thailand’s major beaches without travelling too far need look no further than Rayong Province, a tiny hamlet on the coast of the Gulf of Thailand. Rayong Province is an idyllic tropical destination, with countless postcard-perfect beaches studding its coastline. The 84-square-kilometre (32-square-mile) Khao Chamao - Khao Wong National Park has ensured the region’s dramatic coastal cliffs and dense vegetation has remained largely undeveloped. The province’s main town, Rayong City, is surrounded by a landscape renowned for its sweet tropical fruit; it’s not uncommon to find ripe mango and durian hanging delicately from the trees.
Other than its fruit, Rayong Province is best known for its seafood specialties. Sign up for a fishing charter to cruise through the blue waters in search of big game fish, or pull up a chair at a traditional beachside restaurant to try the catch of the day. Barbecue restaurants can be found at many of the larger beaches.
When you’re not eating, spend your days lounging about on the beach or exploring the nearby hamlets. While many beaches are equipped with lounges, umbrellas and all the amenities needed for an indulgent day on the sand, those seeking a more basic experience don’t have to look far. There is plenty of deserted coastline waiting to be explored, including Ao Wai and Ao Thian where large boulders provide excellent shelter from the sun and wind. Here you can swim, snorkel or sunbathe without the distractions of large crowds, while still being just a short walk from the restaurants, markets and temples of Rayong’s villages and towns.
Visit Rayong Province after the October monsoon season to enjoy mild temperatures and long evenings. Arrive in Rayong City by train, bus or plane then take a taxi to your accommodation. Rayong appeals to a wide range of tastes and budgets. Whether it’s a humble bungalow shrouded in tropical plants or a beachfront resort, you’re sure to find your piece of paradise in Rayong.