Oceanside old town

Rayong is one of the few provinces in Thailand where the vast majority of travellers skip the provincial capital while flocking to a nearby destination – in this case Ko Samet. Despite being an hour’s ride east of Pattaya and a mere 20 kilometres west of the Samet ferry piers, Rayong town sees virtually no foreign travellers. If that sounds intriguing, read on.

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We reckon that travellers looking to step off the well-trampled track should at least stop by Rayong town on a day trip, if times allows. Venerable wood houses, Chinese shrines, Thai temples and a few gorgeous French-Indochinese buildings line Yomjinda Road in the old part of town. Hit the nearby coast to explore one of the largest fishing centres found this side of Bangkok.

Old town scenes. : David Luekens.
Old town scenes. Photo: David Luekens

Historically Rayong is best known as a resting point for the general and later king, Taksin, during his quest to rebuild an army that went on to repel Burmese forces from Ayutthaya in the late 1760s. Complete with life-size elephant statues, a shrine is dedicated to King Taksin at Wat Lum Mahachai Chumphon in the old town.

While cars and chemicals are counted among Rayong’s chief industries, fruit and seafood are its most famous local products. Each year during the rainy months, the massive Tapong Fruit Market bursts with durian, rambutan, snakefruit and mangosteen to the east of town off Sukhumvit Road. Small fish sauce factories join dozens of colourful boats and a literally breathtaking array of fresh seafood where the Rayong River meets the Gulf ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 500 words.)

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