and Travel Guide
Khao Laem Sing (เขาแหลมสิงห์)
A small hill located 172 metres above sea level, with a pile of rocks that look like a crouching lion at the front and that gave it the name Khao Laem Sing or the hill of a lion cape. On top is the Phairi Phinat Fort (ป้อมไพรีพินาศ) built in the reign of King Rama III but named by King Rama IV on his visit to Chanthaburi prior to his accession to the throne. There is a Chedi nearby which was built by the people of Chanthaburi in 1904 to commemorate the withdrawal of the French troops in Laem Sing from Chanthaburi.
A panoramic view of the seashore and beautiful setting sun is available from the hilltop forest park headquarters. There is a path leading down to Hat Ao Krathing (หาดอ่าวกระทิง), a small serene sandy beach, which is also accessible by renting a boat from Hat Laem Sing for 20 minutes or travelling on the Tha Mai– Bang Kachai route for 25 kilometres to the headquarters, then walking down the hill for approximately 400 metres to the beach. No accommodation is provided but camping is allowed.
In front of Ao Krathing is Ko Nom Sao (เกาะนมสาว), which covers an area of approximately 150 rai of wild and densely growing plants. There are steep cliffs in the south, and beaches and coral reefs of some 500 metres long ideal for diving in the north. To get there, board an 8-10 passenger boat at Laem Sing Pier. The trip will take about 45 minutes and cost 400 baht for a round trip. No accommodation or food shops are available on the island and, hence, not convenient to stay overnight.
Ao Yang (อ่าวยาง)
A small shady beach near Ao Krathing with private accommodation and food shop available. It is accessible by renting a boat from Hat Laem Sing for approximately 30 minutes or travelling along the Tha Mai – Bang Kachai route for some 22 kilometres to the entrance to Ao Yang and walking for another 1 kilometre. The only available accommodation and foodshop is Ao Yang Resort (อ่าวยาง รีสอร์ท), 43/2 Mu 1, Tambon Khlong Khut, Amphoe Tha Mai, Tel. 0 3945 6032, 0 3945 6440, 3 guesthouses, each with a capacity of 5-20 person, available at 900-3,000 baht.
Ko Chula (เกาะจุฬา)
A small island with beautiful corals accessible by rental boat from Hat Laem Sing for 30 minutes. Neither accommodation nor food shop is available.
How to get there: Khao Laem Sing Forest Park is accessible by 2 routes. Route 1, board a ferry from Amphoe Laem Sing to Hat Krathing, the fare is 10 baht each. Then, walk on for another 400 metres. Route 2, a convenient one, travel along the Tha Mai–Bang Kachai route for approximately 25 kilometres via Wat Khao Laem Sing uphill to the forest park headquarters.
Hat Khung Wiman (หาดคุ้งวิมาน)
Located 50 Kilometres from Chanthaburi in Amphoe Na Yai Am, turn left for another 18 Kilometres at Kilometres 301 on Sukhumwit Road. It is a long stretch of sandy beach with seaside accommodation available. The best period for visiting is during November–May.
Laem Sadet–Ao Khung Kraben (แหลมเสด็จ–อ่าวคุ้งกระเบน)
Located 25 Kilometres from Amphoe Tha Mai along the Tha Mai–Ban Mu Dut route. The serene and shady beach lined with pine trees and beach plants is ideal for camping. The Royal Forest Department’s tents for rent for 2 – 4 persons are available at 80 – 120 baht per night. In case of own tent, a campsite fee of 20 baht/person/night will be required. For more details, please call the Forestry Section, Ao Khung Kraben Development Study Centre, Tel. 0 3936 9237. There is also the Chaloem Phra Kiat Aquarium exhibiting marine fish inhabiting Ao Khung Kraben such as grouper, snapper, butterfly-fish, angelfish, etc. It is open during 8.30 a.m.–4.30 p.m. on Tuesday–Friday, and 8.30 a.m.–5.30 p.m. on weekends. Tel. 0 3938 8117 ext. 130.
Ao Khung Kraben also accommodates the royally-suggested Ao Khung Kraben Development Study Centre which won the Thailand Tourism Awards 2002: the Award of Outstanding Performance in the category of Tourism Promotion Organizations. The centre is responsible for research and study for appropriate development guidelines of Chanthaburi’s shoreline.
One of the projects implemented by the centre to educate interested people about mangrove ecology and how to make the supreme benefit of these resources is the Ao Khung Kraben Nature Trail Boardwalk. The trail takes 30–45 minutes, a total distance of 1,600 metres running through the mangrove forest, with nature interpretation signs along the way. Visitors will be informed about mangrove flora and the significance of the mangrove toward the coastal ecological system as well as sustainable shrimp culture, as home to marine life, source of food and herbs for nearby communities.
In addition, visitors will understand how various plants in the mangrove forest depend on each other and are useful to humans. For example Lamphu Thale which grows well in sandy soil will prepare the marine mire for other plants to grow. Samae Khao is not only used as firewood, but its core when boiled with Samae San makes an emmenagogue, mangrove wood makes good quality charcoal, paper pulp and medicines for treatment of sickness and injury. There are many more useful plants in this mangrove forest other than obtainable knowledge and natural beauty. The centre is open daily during 6.30 a.m.–6.00 p.m. Advance contact is recommended for a group visit. Accommodation is available for seminars held by government agencies by making prior contact at Tel. 0 3936 9216-8
Ao Khung Kraben Non-hunting Area (เขตห้ามล่าสัตว์ป่าอ่าวคุ้งกระเบน)
Located 15 Kilometres from Amphoe Tha Mai. The area suffered deforestation 40 years ago and has just recently seen pioneer plants. There are 4 types of forest within the area; namely, dry evergreen forest, mixed deciduous forest, beach forest and mangrove forest. A 1-hour nature trail with scenic viewpoints of Hat Chao Lao and Khaem Nu Estuary is provided.
Hat Chao Lao (หาดเจ้าหลาว)
Located 19 Kilometres from Amphoe Tha Mai next to Hat Laem Sadet. This long serene sandy beach with a shady coconut grove is a favourite attraction among holidaymakers, with medium to standard accommodation and restaurants available. Glass-bottomed and speed boat services are also provided to view the corals in the shallows, only 2 Kilometres off shore, which are rare to be seen as corals are usually formed near islands where there is an appropriate unpolluted current of stream and temperature. Seeing corals near the coastline is convenient and takes roughly one hour only. The recommended period is between November – May. A glass-bottomed boat with a capacity of 5–20 passengers is available at Hat Suai Resort, Tel. 0 3936 9111, 08 1945 6723 at 800–1,800 baht.
How to get there: Hat Khung Wiman, Hat Khung Kraben, Hat Laem Sadet and Hat Chao Lao are accessible by two routes. At Kilometres 301 on Sukhumwit Road 30 Kilometres before reaching Chanthaburi, turn right into Highway No. 3399 and follow the direction signs. Or from the provincial town, drive for 17 Kilometres to Amphoe Tha Mai, turn toward the Wang Tanot Dam and continue to the beaches.
Laem Sadet Arboretum (สวนรุกขชาติชายหาดแหลมเสด็จ)
25 Kilometres from Amphoe Tha Mai, the picturesque small beach is shady with pine trees and several beach plants.
Khao Chamao–Khao Wong National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาชะเมา–เขาวง)
The headwater of Lam Nam Prasae–Rayong’s principal river, covering a total area of approximately 83 square kilometres in Amphoe Khao Chamao, Rayong Province, and Amphoe Kaeng Hang Maeo, Chanthaburi Province.
Places of Interest within the National Park include: *Tham Khao Wong (ถ้ำเขาวง): Located at Ban Khao Wongkot and surrounded by limestone mountains and evergreen forest which is a habitat of Chan Pha (Dracaena loureiri Gagnep.)–a precious economic plant, and serow–an endangered species of wild animal.
More than 80 caves have been discovered in this area with a complex of some 20 connected caves divided into 3 zones being open for tourism. Caving and potholing the caves take only one whole day. Please contact the Park’s Safeguard Unit at Khao Wong for guidance. A torch is recommended during the cave tour.
Some caves do have an astonishing background. To mention just a few, Tham Rong Bon used to be a gambling den, as its name suggests, before the area was proclaimed a national park in 1975. Tham Lot was named after the fact that part of the potholing into the cave would include wading through water of about knee height to get to a small waterfall flowing down a cliff inside. Tham Chum Saeng suggests its beauty in the afternoon sunlight. And there is Tham Lakhon, which is the habitat of a large flock of bats whose droppings have been taken by villagers to fertilize their rambutan and durian orchards. Because of its near distance and easy accessibility, Tham Lakhon has attracted a lot of visitors and is now lying in a deteriorated condition. Sweat or grease from the human skin can halt the growth of, in other words - kill, stalagmites and stalactites in the cave.
A 2-Kilometres and 2-hour nature trail is provided starting from the national park’s headquarters to Namtok Wang Matcha. Please contact the official before trekking.
The rainy season at the national park, which falls during May–October, usually sees heavy rains with average annual rainfall of 3,000 millimetres. The climate is pleasantly cool during November–February and with an average summer temperature of 26–27 degrees Celsius during March–April. The park is accessible by the Rayong–Chanthaburi route, turn left at Kilometres 288 off Sukhumwit Road, 40 kilometres before reaching Chanthaburi, into Highway No. 3344 near Na Yai Am Market and continue for 15 kilometres.
Admission is 200 baht each for adults and 100 baht each for children.
Accommodation, there are 6 guesthouses, each with a capacity of 4–7 persons, available at 800–1,000 baht, a campsite for 30 persons at 3,000 baht and tents for rent for 2–4 persons at 150–500 baht. A camping fee of 30 baht/person/night will be required for own tent. For more details, please contact Khao Chamao–Khao Wong National Park, Tel. 0 3889 4378, or National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Tel. 0 2562 0760 or www.dnp.go.th
Amphoe Mueang Chanthaburi–Namtok Krathing Route
Wat Khao Sukim (วัดเขาสุกิม):
Situated on a hill covering an area of some 1,320 acres, Wat Khao Sukim was built in 1966 by devout Buddhists who had faith in Phra Achan Somchai Thitawiriyo. The objective of the temple is to be used as a meditation venue. The expansive temple compound offers a peaceful haven surrounded by shady orchards. The temple also houses a large collection of religious items and valuable antiques donated by the public. On display are wax sculptures of over twenty Buddhist monks highly revered by the public. In the temple’s newly built Ubosot (ceremonial hall), mural painting created by Chakrabhand Posayakrit, National Thai Artist in Painting of the year 2000, can be appreciated. Open daily during 6.30 a.m.-5.00 p.m. For more information, please contact Tel. 08 9931 5544
How to get there: Wat Khao Sukim is in Tambon Khao Bai Si, Amphoe Tha Mai, about 20 Kilometres from the city. Tourists can travel to the temple by many routes. From Sukhumvit Road, Kilometres 305, near Ban Huai Sathon, turn into Highway 3322 and go on for 13 Kilometres before arriving at Wat Khao Sukim. Otherwise, go to the other entrance at Ban Noen Sung after driving for another 16 Kilometres, or take the route which passes Namtok Krathing by driving along Sukhumvit Road. Turn into the Khao Rai Ya Intersection and drive for about 7 Kilometres Turn left again at the intersection and go on for about 10 Kilometres
Khao Khitchakut National Park (อุทยานแห่งชาติเขาคิชฌกูฏ)
Covering areas in Amphoe Makham and Amphoe Khao Khitchakut, the national park is the main headwater of the Chanthaburi River. Its moist evergreen forests, hill evergreen forest as well as deciduous forest abound in various herbs, wild orchids, and the rare eaglewood. Its mountainous area provides home for copious wild animals such as guar, tiger, bear, deer, barking deer, serow as well as birds. Its creeks are also habitat for soro brook carp, red-tailed snakehead, and Nieuhof’s walking catfish.
Places of interest within the national park include:
Namtok Krathing (น้ำตกกระทิง)
A large 13-tiered waterfall originating from the Khitchakut Range. A return trip to Namtok Krathing takes 3 hours. The distance between each tier is approximately 20 metres, with the 8th and 9th tiers being the most picturesque. There are bamboo forests and various plant species along the way, with a blanket of moss and ferns on both sides. The trail to the waterfall is especially colourful when the trees shed their reddish yellow leaves. There is also a large beach formed by sand washed down by a flash flood in 1999. The first tier of the waterfall is only 100 metres from the national park’s headquarters. Admission is 10 baht for adults and 5 baht for children.
Yot Khao Phrabat (ยอดเขาพระบาท)
A peak of the Khitchakut Range accessible from Wat Phluang along a steep road of 8 Kilometres and some 1.2 Kilometres walk further up the mountain. Interesting spots on top of Khao Phrabat are formed by geological phenomena and related to Buddhist legends such as Sila Chedi, the Buddha’s footprint, stone in the shape of an overturned alms bowl, Tham Ruesi or hermit cave, God Indra’s carriage racing ground, and stones in the shape of a giant turtle and elephant. A panoramic view of Chanthaburi including Khao Sa Bap Range, Khao Sukim and Ko Nom Sao is available from the mountaintop. During the period of the Chinese New Year through to the Magha Puja Day, a lot of people will come to pay homage to the mountaintop Buddha’s footprint during the day and night. For more information, please contact Khao Khitchakut National Park, Tel. 0 3945 2074.
Namtok Khlong Chang Se (น้ำตกคลองช้างเซ)
Located some 10 Kilometres from the national park’s headquarters on the way up the Khao Phrabat. It is a circular nature trail starting from the Safeguard Unit, with signs of natural interpretation along the 4-Kilometres and 3-hour trail.
Namtok Khlong Krasan (น้ำตกคลองกระสัน)
A large waterfall amid shady surroundings located near Safeguard Unit 2 (Khlong Phaibun) 8 Kilometres from the national park’s headquarters. Swimming is allowed here.
Admission to the national park is 200 baht for adults and 100 baht for children.
Accommodation, there is 6 guesthouses for 2-8 persons, available at 600-1,800 baht, tents for 3-6 persons at 250-500 baht and camping ground for own tents at 30 baht/person/night. For more details, please contact Khao Khitchakut National Park, Tel. 0 3945 2074, or National Park, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, Tel. 0 2562 0760, or www.dnp.go.th.
How to get there: take Sukhumwit Road, turn left at Khao Rai Ya Intersection into Highway No. 3249 for 24 Kilometres or take the blue “Song Thaeo” minibus, the Chanthaburi-Chanthakhlem route, at Tha Chalaep Post Office.
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