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East Coast Thailand Provinces

East Thailand tourism has become world famous since its origins in the late 1960s. Today, the east side of Thailand is a popular place with sun-drenched island beaches and provincial mountain ranges.

This section contains information for visitors to the east coast resorts, with a list of places to visit and fun things to do around Thailand eastern seaboard.

Importance of 7 Eastern Thailand Provinces

Apart from east coast Pattaya, the eastern seaboard industrial districts definitely lack glamour and glitz.

Nonetheless, the long coastline that stretches from Bangkok to Trat is a vital part of the country.

For example:

There are several busy commercial ports, including Laem Chabang, and the region is also home to an important base for the Royal Thai Navy at Sattahip.

In other words, the coastline is an important gateway to the rest of the world for many of the local industrial estates. Of course, it's also a playground for Thais and tourists who live in, or visit, the eastern resorts and cities.

Being so close and accessible from Bangkok, seven eastern provinces have helped the area develop commercially, along with entertainment and leisure activities.

Here's the thing:

Weekends in particular see throngs of 'Bangkokians' flock to Chonburi Province. The closest beaches from Bangkok provide the ideal getaway for the locals and for backpackers.

So, if you're looking for places to visit on the east coast of Thailand, this section lists all seven provincial regions to the southeast of Bangkok - as shown on the map.

They run from Prachin Buri in the north, through Chachoengsao and Chanthaburi, and down to Trat in the south at the border with Cambodia.

1. Chonburi Province

The coastline in Chonburi is one hundred and sixty (160) kilometres long. Popular scenic beaches run from Bangkok down to the industrialised zones of Rayong Province.

East Coast of Thailand: Provinces in the Eastern SeaboardThe City of Pattaya is a major tourist attraction also on the eastern Gulf coast - with its own administration system.

Along with Bang Saen beach, these two holiday destinations serve as important areas for relaxation and sightseeing.

Island Beaches in Eastern Thailand

There are five easily accessible tropical islands with idyllic white sand beaches and only a short boat trip from the mainland.

  • Koh Chang
  • Koh Samet
  • Koh Larn
  • Koh Si Chang
  • Koh Kood

Even so, take a drive up or down the seashore and you will find many public and private beaches for swimming and sunbathing.

It's true to say the beaches and seawater in the south are a lot "cleaner". Even so, most of the shorelines and islands are suitable for private scuba diving and for snorkeling or free diving activities.

Additional water sports in selected areas (e.g. parasailing, surfing) make it a sought after base for tourists and holidaymakers.

Pro Tip: Thailand's third largest island, Koh Chang, and the smaller islet of Ko Samet, are both deservedly popular. But Koh Larn Coral Island near Pattaya is one of the busiest destinations for daytripper tours and for beginner scuba lessons.

Pattaya City

Pattaya is one of the most famous cities and tourist destinations in Thailand. No wonder... Pattaya holiday resort has everything that a vacationer could possibly want.

2. Rayong Province

In fact, Rayong Province is home to the huge Map ta Phut Industrial Estate - the largest in Southeast Asia, and not without controversy or controls that have been imposed.

There are several beaches in Rayong and the sea fishing industry is thriving, with deep water trawlers and offshore fishing in most areas of the coast.

Rayong has areas as diverse as the natural parks, many historical buildings, and access to and from one of the most popular islands - Ko Samet.

3. Chanthaburi Province

Some call it "Moon City" if you want to be romantic. But, Chanthaburi Province is better known for its fruit production and locally mined gems in equal measure.

The Chanthaburi coastline is picturesque with many good beaches, scenic parks, and a thriving gemstones market.

There's a "resident" Vietnamese population, and the area bristles with historical events and monuments or edifices to commemorate.

It's definitely a laid back and casual area. Moreover, there are many surprises for travelers who venture off the beaten track. Amongst these would be the famous Namtok Phlio National Park, location for one of the best waterfalls on Thailand east coast.

4. Trat Province

So, Trat is the last stop before entering Cambodia. There are some that would unkindly say it's the "escape route" from Thailand! Far from it!

Nevertheless, Trat Province is quiet, with beautiful beaches, countryside, and no shortage of places to visit. Essentially, this is the real Trat.

5. Chachoengsao

The Bang Pakong River is one of the main features running through Chachoengsao province [แปดริ้ว], which also shares its western borders with the eastern districts of Bangkok (e.g. Nong Chok and Lat Krabang).

Most sightseers take a trip to Chachoengsao for the famous Buddha Sothorn statue (Luang Phor Sothorn), and any of the other ancient religious buildings.

But, the annual Fruit Festival is one of the main attractions for foreign visitors, especially during the mango season at the end of March.

6. Prachin Buri

It may be one of the least visited regions in the east of Thailand. However, Prachin Buri Province is a busy commercial area that also has some popular attractions for tourists.

The Prachinburi travel guide explains how to get there from Bangkok, things to do when you get there, and everything else you need to know if you choose to swing by this agricultural hotspot.

7. Sa Kaeo

The eastern Thailand province of Sa Kaeo is best known for its historical remains. Even so, you will need to drive around 250 kilometres to get from Bangkok to the ancient town of Sa Kaeo.

But, the trip is worth it if you are interested in nature sites and soil sculptures, such as Lalu. Other famous examples include Pang Sida National Park and Ta Phraya National Park close to the Cambodian border.

Warning: The land border at Amphoe Aranyaprathet is a busy gateway from eastern Thailand to the north west of Cambodia. As such, it's best to use caution when booking cheap taxi trips to Siem Reap and other regions nearby.

East Coast Beaches of Thailand

The list of good beaches in east Thailand is a long one. Furthermore, there's lots to do after relaxing on the sand for a few hours. As mentioned, they are also close enough to Bangkok for a weekend break, such as by public bus or taxi.

One unique and endearing feature about the east of Thailand is the climate. Most of the eastern seaboard is sheltered in the northeastern Gulf of Thailand bay.

But wait - there's more:

Five star hotels and friendly guest houses are located at most of the beaches. The entire east coast seems to be gearing itself up for the continued and increasing influx of foreign tourists.

Beaches in Chonburi

The Thai province of Chon Buri is near to Bangkok and the beaches in Chonburi get a lot of visitors - especially on the weekends.

Nonetheless, the sandy shorelines are long and expansive so there's plenty of room for all, particularly at:

  • White Sands of Hat Sai Kaew East Coast Province in ThailandHat Nang Ram - Sattahip - near the Sattahip Navy Port. A well cared for beach which is gaining in popularity.
  • Hat Sai Kaew - Naval Beach near Sattahip. As with the other Navy controlled Beach, Hat Sai Kaew can truly be described as 'pristine' with not too much in the way of commercialism.
  • Hat Bang Saen - Bang Saen beach is popular with Thais, but also welcoming for foreigners.

Shelter comes from Cambodia to the east and from Myanmar to the far west. As such, the region escapes much of the extreme weather conditions and monsoons that affect the rest of the Kingdom.

Beaches in Pattaya

There are many hidden sandy beaches in and around Pattaya including the famous beaches frequented by most holidaymakers. Here are some of the most popular.

  • Jomtien Beach - This beach and area is seen as more family friendly than Pattaya Beach - though it has its moments. Plenty of beach, plenty of room and normally quite clean
  • Pattaya Beach Promenade on the Eastern Seaboard Coast of ThailandDongtan Beach - Dongtan beach joins on to Jomtien beach and geographically it is part of that beach. However, it is sufficiently different for it to have its own identity.
  • Pattaya Beach Road - Pattaya Beach is changing, along with the whole tourist scenario - helped along by the city council, who want to broaden the appeal of this superb seaside venue.
  • Wong Amat Beach - This is developing rapidly, as it is fringed with several newly-finished hotels and resorts. Tends to feel a bit of a closed shop to the day tripper. but it is a public, not private beach.

Beaches in Rayong

The best beaches in Rayong are generally away from the tourist maps and radar. That is a good reason for seeking them out to experience Thai beach culture.

  • Ao Khai Beach - A small but captivating beach, with good food and a relaxing atmosphere.
  • Laem Mae Phim - Cape Mae Phim - A typically Thai beach - being well out of the mainstream tourist areas. Well worth a visit - or a stay.
  • Hat Saeng Chan - A series of peaceful bay lagoons the entire length of the beach
  • Hat Laem Charoen - A 'different' beach in many respects. It is largely a working beach with many fishing-oriented businesses along the east end of the beach.
  • Hat Nam Rin - Small and peaceful Thai beach
  • Hat Mae Ramphung - Long, long beach in Rayong province.

Beaches in Chanthaburi

The eastern province of Chanthaburi has some quiet, secluded, and beautiful beaches that many have yet to discover, such as:

  • Hat Khung Wiman Beach
  • Hat Laem Sing Beach
  • Hat Laem Sadet Beach

Beaches in Trat Province

There is some evidence of an awakening to the tourist trade. Many of the passing visitors are making time to explore the province and the delights of Trat beaches, especially:

  • Ao Tan Khu Beach
  • Lan Sai Beach
  • Sai Kaew Beach

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