Northern Andaman Coast
Thailand’s least populated province and its most heavily forested, this mountainous province is lush and green—thanks to being the second rainiest place in Thailand—and is blessed with natural wonders on land and sea alike.
The Andaman Sea is famous for its diving opportunities. Many companies based in Ranong Phuket and Khao Lak offer day trips as well as liveaboard trips to the Similan and Surin Islands offshore. A few companies based in Ranong also offer 3 to 8 days trips to Myanmar/Burma.
Ranong's jungle is home to many species of animals and birds, made accessible to visitors by virtue of a trail system.
The mangrove forests on the coast are alive with wildlife and ideal for a kayak trip.
The city of Ranong has the busy and slightly seedy atmosphere of any border town and benefits, or suffers, from its Chinese heritage coupled with contemporary Burmese accents. The result is colorful markets, golden-cheeked women in sarongs, food stalls selling unfamiliar delicacies, as well as labor abuses and other human exploitation.
There are many first-class hotels and restaurants, catering mainly to those who come to benefit from the medicinal properties of Ranong's hot springs. Visas can be renewed, sometimes within a day, by crossing the border by boat from Ranong.
Ranong Province includes 62 islands with white sand beaches, unspoiled forests, and refreshing waterfalls, many of which are incorporated in national parks or wildlife sanctuaries.
Of the islands, Ko Phayam stands out, with just enough development to make your stay comfortable, while remaining secluded and uncrowded. The local population consists of fishers and cashew nut farmers. You may see some sea gypsy folk living in the area.
Ko Chang, Ko Phayam's neighbour is even quieter, with only 80 homes on the entire island. As with Ko Phayam, you get there by boat in less than an hour from Ranong Pier.