Ranong

Ranong

Wave to Burma

Nuzzling up to the wide Kraburi Estuary just south of Burma’s far southern tip, Ranong is attracting growing numbers of travellers thanks in large part to a border crossing with Burma that’s now fully open for overland travel into either country. Markets bustle in the provincial capital while mountains, waterfalls, islands and a scenic coastline beckon you to explore the surrounding province.

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The least populated and wettest of Thailand’s 77 provinces, Ranong receives around 4,200 millimetres of rain annually, with a monsoon that starts earlier and lasts longer than in most of Thailand. The moisture results in mist settling on mountains blanketed in jungle while ensuring that waterfalls like Ngao and Punyaban flow for much of the year. The province also includes several hot springs along with Laem Son National Marine Park, featuring vast coastal beaches and a pristine collection of islands.

At the hot springs. : David Luekens.
At the hot springs. Photo: David Luekens

While not a big draw card in its own right, Ranong town is a fun place to spend a night or two before or after hitting Kawthaung up in Burma or a pair of exceptionally mellow Thai islands: Ko Phayam and Ko Chang Noi. A few diving outfits are based in town, adding an expat presence while offering live-aboard journeys south to Thai sites and north into Burma’s Mergui Archipelago.

Founded as a tin-mining outpost by Chinese migrants in the 19th century, Ranong took its name from the phrase, rae nong, “flooded with minerals.” A large community of ethnic Chinese still lives here along with quite a few Muslim-Thais and migrants from Burma. Built into hillsides in the late 19th century, elaborate Chinese graves entomb the province’s first governor alongside pagodas and detailed statues of horses and guardians on the north side of town. Chinese gates, shrines and lanterns pop up all over ... Travelfish members only (Full text is around 1,400 words.)

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