Chumphon Province showcase remote beaches and islands such as Koh Lang Ka jew island. Kayaking through the Mangrove forest at its Chumphon Marine national Park Nature is also fitting for environment-consious tourist. Do not forget to visit the local food shops and experience the best Pad Thai and Thai seafood dishes.
A gateway town to the south of Thailand, Chumphon is largely underrated by most travelers as just a transit hub to the province’s better known Koh Tao or other internationally famous provinces along the Andaman coast. Indeed, Chumphon has strong potential to exceed traveler expectations in its own right, with long stretches of tranquil and unspoiled white sandy beaches as well as some of the best diving and snorkeling spots on the Gulf coast.
Boasting more than 200 km of coastline, Chumphon offers plenty of beaches and islands that are infrequently visited by tourists. It makes a perfect destination for those seeking relaxation in a natural and quiet atmosphere. The most famous tourist site is Thung Wua Laen Beach, with its white powdery sand and gentle slope which is suitable for both sunbathing and swimming. This crescent moon-shaped beach is also a great place for kitesurfing in days when strong winds whip up some challenging waves. Close to Thung Wua Laen is Tham Thong – Bang Boet Beach, which is 5 km long, highlighted by unusually shaped limestone rocks, seaside villages running parallel to the road and a long line of pine trees. Bicycle is a good way to get to see this beach. A good starting point for any trip to Chumphon due to its proximity to the city centre is Sai Ri Beach, a scenic and elegantly curved beach that is a firm favourite among the locals. Nearby is the monument of Prince Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak, the founder of the Royal Thai Navy, and the off-duty Prince Chumphon warship. Other wonderful beaches nearby include, for example, Sai Ree Sawi Beach, which is, aside from its clear pristine water, also great for exploring the way of life of local fishermen, and Arunothai Beach, which is arguably the best place to appreciate stunning sunrise views – as its name suggests.
Chumphon is second-to-none for its diving and snorkeling sites. Chumphon Archipelago National Park (+66 7755 8144-5) encompasses over 40 islands, with some providing excellent diving and snorkeling opportunities. Among the most attractive places for scuba divers are Ngam Yai Island and Ngam Noi Island, with an amazing variety of fish as well as prolific coral reefs, rock pinnacles and underwater caves. Making Ngam Yai Island even more remarkable is an approximately 100-meter high rock , resembling the shape of a hand. This natural wonder is widely believed by locals to be a hand of the Lord Buddha. Another fascinating place to explore the underwater world is Ran Ped – Ran Kai Island, which is home to various species of fish including butterfly fish, damsel fish, yellow tail barracuda and – on occasion – a harmless whale shark, the largest fish in the ocean. Ideal places for snorkeling include Chorakae Island, which is well-known for its unique crocodile-like structure and marvelous corals and sea flowers, as well as Mattra Island, Thalu Island, Kai Island and Bor Mao Bay.
Environment-conscious visitors can get involved in eco-tourism activities at the Chumphon Marine National Park Nature Education Centre (+66 7755 8191) through outdoor pursuits such as trekking to explore the local plants and wild animals, camping at the park and paddling a small kayak to see the mangrove forests or along the coast. Alternatively, visitors can enjoy a range of eco-tourism activities while discovering the way of life of the local fishing community during a stay at one of numerous homestay accommodations around Phithak Island, which is widely known for its excellent environment conservation initiatives as well as the annual “Lang Suan Mini Marathon”. Taking place during the neap tide every June, the 14-km race requires competitors to cover the final kilometer by running across from the mainland to Phithak Island through seawater of about 30 centimetre depth – not for the faint-hearted .
The town ‘s new landmark Mutsea Mountain Viewpoint simply cannot be missed. Here, visitors will be impressed by the 360-degree panoramic view , overlooking many beaches of Chumphon, the Paknam Chumphon community and far away over the Gulf of Thailand.
It’s not just sun, sea and sand that Chumphon is famed for. The province is also renowned for its top-quality and rich-tasting Robusta coffee . December to January is the perfect season to visit the coffee fields around Tha Sae district to catch a glimpse of the beautiful scenery dotted with the white blooms of the coffee bushes.
Other highlights include Bang Boet sand dune, which is one of a kind in Thailand, Wat Kaew Prasert, Wat Chao Fa Sala Loi, Tham Khao Plu Hot Spring and the Nai Dam orange farm, which is, apart from its fine-quality and tasty ‘shogun’ oranges, also well known for its creatively-designed restrooms in various themes.
Watching the Raptor Migration
Chumphon lures bird-watching enthusiasts to the town between September and October each year. Bird watchers flock to Khao Dinsor, one of the province’s most popular viewpoints, to observe the phenomenal migration of about 200,000 raptors traveling down to southern parts to escape the cold weather in Siberia, China, Korea and Japan for wanner temperatures and abundant food.
Chumphon is conveniently accessible by train and bus. Visitors can take rapid and express trains from Bangkok’s Hua Lampong Railway Station (www.railway.co.th) or air-conditioned buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal (www.transport.co.th) to the city every day.
For more information, contact the TAT, Chumphon office on +66 7750 1831-2, +66 7750 2775-6.