Eastern Thailand

Eastern Thailand is a region of stunning contrasts, combining tranquil beaches, bustling cities, lush jungles, and rich cultural heritage. This guide delves into the best attractions, the ideal times to visit, culinary delights, accommodation options, and transportation tips. We also provide a 14-day travel itinerary and a special focus on attractions for children.

Overview of Eastern Thailand

Eastern Thailand is characterized by its diverse landscapes, from the pristine beaches of Rayong and Trat provinces to the vibrant nightlife of Pattaya in Chonburi. The region also boasts historical towns like Chanthaburi, with charming riverside communities and significant cultural landmarks.

Best Attractions in Eastern Thailand

Natural Parks

  • Khao Yai National Park: A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Khao Yai is the second-largest national park in Thailand. It offers over 80% forest coverage and is home to wildlife such as gibbons, civets, clouded leopards, and numerous bird species. Visitors can enjoy trekking, waterfalls, and bat caves.
  • Nong Nooch Tropical Garden (Chonburi): This expansive botanical garden features beautifully landscaped gardens, cultural shows, and an elephant show.

Museums and Interesting Buildings

  • Sanctuary of Truth (Chonburi): An awe-inspiring wooden structure, the Sanctuary of Truth is an unfinished museum that combines art, culture, and philosophy, all crafted from wood.
  • The Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception (Chanthaburi): This Gothic-style cathedral is the largest and most beautiful church in Thailand, renowned for its stunning architecture and stained glass windows.

Beaches and Islands

  • Ko Samet (Rayong): A popular weekend getaway, Ko Samet offers idyllic beaches like Hat Sai Kaew, crystal-clear waters, and a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Ko Chang Archipelago (Trat): Ko Chang, the second-largest island in Thailand, is famous for its diverse marine life, vibrant coral reefs, and adventurous activities such as diving and snorkeling.

When to Visit Eastern Thailand

The best time to visit Eastern Thailand is during the cool and dry season, from November to early April. This period is ideal for beach activities and outdoor adventures. Alternatively, visiting during the durian season from late April to June allows travelers to enjoy the local fruit and attend the Durian Festival in Chanthaburi.

Culinary Delights

Eastern Thailand offers a variety of dining options, from local seafood markets to high-end restaurants.

  • Ban Phe Pier (Rayong): Renowned for the freshest and most delicious seafood, Ban Phe Pier is a must-visit for seafood lovers.
  • Chanthaboon Waterfront Community (Chanthaburi): This historic area is perfect for sampling local dishes and enjoying the riverside ambiance.

Accommodation

Luxury: 

  • Rayong Marriott Resort & Spa (Rayong): Offers beachfront views and top-notch amenities.
  • Centara Grand Mirage Beach Resort (Pattaya, Chonburi): Ideal for families and luxury seekers.

Mid-Range:

  • Novotel Chumphon Beach Resort (Chonburi): Combines comfort and affordability. 
  • De L’amour Hotel (Chanthaburi): Offers a charming stay with great service.

Budget:

  • Lub d Koh Samet (Rayong): Affordable and clean accommodation on the island.
  • Eastern Grand Palace Hotel (Chonburi): Provides budget-friendly options with all basic amenities.

Transportation

From Bangkok:

  • To Rayong: Buses take about two and a half hours.
  • To Ko Samet: A bus and ferry combo takes about four and a half hours.
  • To Chonburi: A private transfer takes about an hour and a half. Buses take two and a half hours.
  • To Chanthaburi: Minivans take about five hours.

Attractions for Children

  • Cartoon Network Amazone (Chonburi): A water park themed around the popular TV channel, offering numerous rides and attractions.
  • Pattaya Dolphin World (Chonburi): An entertaining and educational venue where kids can watch dolphin shows and interact with these intelligent creatures.

14-Day Travel Itinerary

Day 1-3: Pattaya (Chonburi)

  • Visit Nong Nooch Tropical Garden.
  • Explore the Sanctuary of Truth.
  • Enjoy the nightlife and beaches.

Day 4-6: Ko Samet (Rayong)

  • Relax on Hat Sai Kaew.
  • Explore the island’s beaches and enjoy water activities.

Day 7-9: Chanthaburi

  • Visit the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.
  • Take a stroll through Chanthaboon Waterfront Community.
  • Explore Khung Kraben Bay Royal Development Study Centre.

Day 10-12: Ko Chang (Trat)

  • Snorkeling and diving at Ko Rang.
  • Trek through the jungle and visit waterfalls.

Day 13-14: Khao Yai National Park

  • Spot wildlife and go trekking.
  • Visit waterfalls and explore bat caves.

Tips for Tourists

  • Basic English is widely understood, but learning a few Thai phrases can enhance your experience.
  • Carry Thai Baht; credit cards are widely accepted in urban areas.
  • Stay hydrated and use sunscreen. Carry mosquito repellent, especially when visiting forests or rural areas.
  • Eastern Thailand is generally safe, but always be cautious with your belongings.
    Respect local customs and dress modestly when visiting temples.

Eastern Thailand is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered. Whether you’re a beach bum, a cultural enthusiast, or an adventure seeker, this region promises a memorable and enriching journey.

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