Eastern Thailand comprises the seven provinces that lie south of Isaan and east of the Central Plains, sandwiched between Bangkok and Cambodia. The Eastern Gulf Coast has the closest beach resorts to Bangkok and is a tourist magnet. The most popular destinations here are Pattaya and Ko Samet, but there are also some undiscovered beaches. The inner eastern area is highlighted by a mountainous region that is off the beaten track and often ventured through by visitors on their way to Cambodia. The area is also often used as a base for Khao Yai National Park. The Ko Chang Archipelago is a popular island destination for beaches, palm trees, and fishing villages.
POINTS OF INTEREST
Aranyaprathet is a border town in Eastern Thailand. Nearby is Cambodia’s busiest land crossing, which is the most popular tourist route for travel between Bangkok and Siem Reap and the Angkor Archaeological Park.
Chantaburi is notable for tropical fruits, particularly durian, and gems. The surrounding hills are rich with verdant forests and scenic waterfalls. Nearby are quiet fishing villages & peaceful beaches.
Pattaya is a seaside resort on the Eastern Gulf Coast of Thailand and mostly famous for its go-go and beer bars, but local authorities have made some efforts to provide more family-friendly attractions and activities. Although the sex industry is still going strong and sex tourism remains the key money earner for Pattaya, the resort also attracts local families and holidaymakers from around the world.
Prachinburi is usually used as the southern gateway to Khao Yai National Park. Once a prosperous town since the Dvaravati until the Lop Buri period, dating back 800 years ago, proven by traces of ancient towns like Mueang Si Mahosot, located at Tambon Khok Pip, Amphoe Si Mahosot, as well as, another ancient community, built around the same period as Mueang Si Mahosot and situated to the east of it, located at Ban Khok Khwang, Amphoe Si Maha Phot. Through these ruins, discoveries of historical sites used for religious purposes and other artifacts such as Buddha images, statues of deities, pottery, and bronze ware were found scattered in these areas.
Si Racha, for which the spicy sauce is named after, is in Eastern Thailand, between Bangkok and Pattaya, and is the gateway city to the island of Ko Si Chang. Si Racha’s port and nearby Laem Chabang, is the largest port in the country serving the eastern seaboard industrial provinces. Many Japanese and Korean ex-pat workers live in the area and work on the nearby industrial estates. The town itself has a newly redone waterfront but doesn’t have much in terms of sandy beaches.
The irresistible allure of this eastern province, bordering Cambodia has a lot to do with its archipelago of 52 (mostly uninhabited) islands in the Mu Ko Chang national park. The quiet provincial capital of Trat, on the other hand, is well known for its gem markets, both in and near the town, as well as boasting several off-the-beaten-path beach resorts nearby.
KHAO YAI NATIONAL PARK
Khao Yai is the second largest national park in Thailand. In 2005 it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the larger Dong Phaya Yen–Khao Yai Forest Complex. Situated on the southwestern boundary of the Khorat Plateau, it occupies the western part of the Sankamphaeng Mountain range. Thick jungle covers the mountainous slopes, interspersed with some scenic waterfalls.