Chumphon On a Budget
SightsThe biggest draw to this region are the natural wonders especially the beaches. The Pathio Coast, also known as the "Royal Gold Coast," is miles of open beaches and limestone surrounded baths. You practically have your pick of spots to lay your towel on.
Thung Wua Laen, better known as Running Bull Beach, is a long beach of white sand and fantastic activities like diving, snorkeling, kayaking and more beach sports. Bang Son Beach is mostly untouched with a few resorts under construction, and Laem Thaen is a sloping peninsula with a breathtaking cliff view. Ao Bo Mao, or Spring Tree Bay, is ideal for the traveler who is seeking peace, quiet and the occasional long walk through nature. This area has several bungalow resorts and restaurants to enjoy. Coral Beach is a giant area with a clam sanctuary, and Ao Thung Makham is one of the most beautiful and untouched in the whole country.
Not only are there gorgeous beaches in Chumphon, there are some magnificent parks to wander. The Khao Phang Forest Park is one of the newest attractions in the province. A wander through this park will give you a variety tropical trees to find shade under. The Mo Ku Chumphon National Park provides a stroll through the mangrove forests and over creeks. And the Khao Chao Mueang is the area's highest observation point. The panoramic views plus the peaceful atmosphere are some of the most marvelous you'll find.
ActivitiesThe range activities on Chumphon are along the same lines as most beach towns. There is snorkeling, canoeing, fishing, kite surfing and the like. In addition, you may want to consider jungle trekking, night fishing, caving, golfing and more.
There are 44 islands in the Chumphon Archipelago. Many of them have coral reefs and friendly underwater animals to meet. This area is a diver's dream.
Rafting can be a unique and fun activity for any traveler in Chumphon. In February of every year many groups enjoy the forest of Phato. The rafting is particularly enjoyable as this is the source of all the fast flowing rivers. Throughout the year, though, there are many adventures to be had in Phato. With forests, fruit farms, wildlife, and canals, Phato makes for a great day trip. Be sure to look out for monkeys and hornbills.
Some more unique activities for Chumphon include firefly sightseeing at sundown over the Thatapao River, or bird watching the numerous species inhabiting the mangrove forest.
If you find yourself in Chumphon during October, check out the Raptor Festival. Held every year, the Raptor Festival celebrates and witnesses the massive migration of thousands of birds. They pass over Chumphon to Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Australia. Activities include raptor watching and counting the birds you see overhead.
Food and DiningThere are plenty of options both European and Thai style restaurants to choose from in Chumphon. If you choose a restaurant near the city, make sure to look at the seafood options. Local fishermen typically catch it fresh so you won't want to miss that opportunity.
For a more cost-effective and local route, try one of the markets in town. The morning market is full of curry stands with local prices. Get there early to get your hands on some locally grown fruit like pineapple, rambutan and durian.
If you're not a morning person, however, the night market is another fantastic option. Browse the stalls of local, fresh foods and take your meal to the back for a table and silverware. Watch the motorcycles go by with tiny pets in the baskets as you enjoy your proper Thai dinner.
TransportationThere are local buses and taxis to take you around the city, but the most convenient and enjoyable way is to rent your own motorbike. It's cost-efficient and gives travelers the independence to wander and explore every nook and cranny of this city.
There are also local songthaews for hire, but you'll need to know the area to know where they're going. Different colored songthaews run different routes.