Chumphon (ชุมพร) is a city at the Central Gulf Coast of Southern Thailand. Like Surat Thani, most people only stay here in transit going between Bangkok and the southern parts, including the islands inside the Gulf of Thailand.
Bird's Nest Collectors' Bungalows perched atop Ko Ngam Noi
Chumphon Province is located in the most upper part of Southern Thailand. It is known as the gateway to the southern border towns. Chumphon has been able to maintain plenty of natural resources for tourism which have been untouched by the tourists and unspoiled by the time. Chumphon is an elongated province with 220 kilometers (137 mi) of coastline offering many fine-sand beaches and attractive offshore islands. There are plenty of opportunities for sight-seeing, walking tours, sunbathing, swimming,canoeing, cave exploring, night squid fishing, fishing, yachting, paragliding, diving and snorkeling.
The public bus service operates from two terminals.
The main one is some 10Km out of town, and buses from Bangkok and most other places will stop here.
The other terminal is located inside town, and buses go to and from Ranong/Phuket, and Haat Yai only (and return.). In both directions they stop at the distant terminal both coming and going.
The railway station is in the centre of town.
Various ferry companies operate ferries to, or within reach of Chumphon, and/or a bus service into the center of town. For those who are located in the gulf islands, Chumphon maybe more suitable to transit if you are going to Bangkok as opposed to returning back down to Surat Thani.
From Bangkok, take either Phutthamonthon-Nakhon Pathom-Phetchaburi route or Thonburi-Pak Tho route (Highway 35) then turn onto Highway 4 (Phetkasem) at Amphoe Pak Tho passing through Phetchaburi, Prachuap Khiri Khan Provinces before arriving at Pathom Phon Intersection. Take the left turn to go into Mueang Chumphon by Highway 4001 for another 8 kilometres.
The State Railway of Thailand provides daily rapid and express train services departing from Bangkok’s Hualamphong Railway Station. Further information, please call Tel. 1690, 0 2220 4334, 0 2220 4444 or Chumphon Railway Station at Tel 0 7751 1103. For the Thonburi Railway Station (Bangkok Noi), there are ordinary and rapid trains leaving for Chumphon daily. Further information, please call tel 0 2411 3102, 0 2621 8701 Ext. 8285106 or www.railway.co.th
If coming from Hua Hin (as at May 2011) - the train fare on the basic non aircon train will cost B49 and take about 5 hours. An aircon two carriage train leaves a little earlier and is much quicker but must be booked in advance. Train leaves at 11.30am (there are others though).
The Transport Co.Ltd. provides air conditioned buses from Bangkok’s Southern Bus Terminal, Borom Ratchonni road to Chumphon daily. For detailed information please call Tel. 0 2435 5605, 0 2435 1199. For Chumphon’s Bus Terminal, Tha Taphao Road, please contact Tel. 0 7750 2725, 0 7751 1099 or at www.transport.co.th
Air-Conditioned buses from private sectors provided are :
- Chok Anant Tour Co.,Ltd. Tel. 0 2435 5027, 0 2435 7429 (Bangkok), and Tel. 0 7751 1480, 0 7751 1757 (Chumphon)
- Suwannathi Tour Co.,Ltd. Tel. 0 2435 5021, 02435 5026, 0 2435 5030 (Bangkok), and Tel. 0 7751 1422, 0 7750 1535, 0 7751 1244 (Chumphon)
3. Patchraporn Tour
Air-Con & VIP bus to Bangkok: 5am & 9.30pm + local bus to Lang Suan & Surat Thani. Near clock-tower junction, on Highway 4001 on right.
To get to and from these four bus terminals:
a) The distant one:
This is several Km out of town in the middle of nowhere!
This would be the:Southern Bus Terminal. The buses from Chokeanan Tour and Patchraporn Tour stop off in here,16km from Chumphon city, south along Highway 41.
To get into town from here, wait for a silver coloured minibus to turn up
(ask at the bus station), and you will be taken into town for B50,and dropped off at the place you request (as at June 2012).
To get from town to here - can hire a taxi or -
Turn left from Saladaeng road into Prachauthit Rd and walk about 300m. On the right is a 711 and on the left is the inside town bus station.
Continue another 200m to the intersection of Pinijkadee Rd on the right and walk along this for about 100m. On the other side of the road are white songteows which go regularly and stop at the bus station. Cost B50. The Writer did not find out about the minibuses in the previous paragraph to see how they return to the terminal.
b) The bus terminal inside town:
Walk along Saladaeng Rd, away from the railway station road, with the Fame guesthouse on your left, for about 300 metres. Turn left into Prachauthid Rd and walk some 300 metres and you will see a 711 on your right and a street opposite. In this street, which curves sharply left, there is a Yamaha dealer near the corner, and the bus terminal is immediately next to this.
c)To find '''Patchraporn''' Tour go from City Square/Pillar/Shrine then past a local bus stop,and post office on the main road to Hat Sai Ri, through traffic lights with clock tower, office on right before next lights.
d) The minibus terminal
This is in Krum Liang Rd (the cheap eats road,at the left end of which is the railway station).
Turn right into it off Saladeng Rd and walk about five minutes, looking up to your right. You will eventually see up a laneway a series of minibuses which go regularly to Surat and Hua Hin(every 45 minutes - these stop at Prachuat first). Allow 4 hours to get to Hua Hin as you have to change in Prachuap. Fares are to Prachuap B170,and then on to Hua Hin another B90 as at June 2012.
There are many smaller roads with little traffic north and south of Chumphon. Chumphon has a modern bicycle shop where most parts and repairs can be made. There is water and healthy food within reasonable distances all over Thailand.
Local public buses (Route : Chumphon – Sawi – Lang Suan) park in front of the Chumphon market, Tha Taphao Road from 6AM-6PM.
Motorbike taxi at Railway station
Taxi is available at the taxi stand which is opposite the Chumphon Bus Terminal
This is the terminal inside town.
From Here buses go to Ranong, then Phuket (8am,10am,11.15am) from here. Pay on the bus. To Ranong 2.5 hours, and Phuket 7 hours (although the bus is usually an hour late arriving!) The bus goes first to the distant (10Km out of town) terminal.
For the terminal some 10Km out - you will find yourself in the middle of nowhere!
See earlier how to get to and from.
There are local songteows but you need local knowledge as to where they are going.
White and maybe red ones appear to go at some point to the distant bus terminal (see earlier).
To orient yourself within the town:
The railway station is located in Krum Liang Rd.
If arriving this way, leave via the ticket office into this road and walk past the three old steam locomotives mounted in the nature strip. 200 metres comes the intersection with Saladaeng road.
Directly ahead on this same road is where the cheap eats are.
Turn right into Saladaeng and this appears to be the main hotel strip.
You will soon pass the Fame Guesthouse on your left, followed by Sri Chumpon (right), Suriwong (right) and Paradorn (left some 100 metres along Soi 4) .
- The National Museum of Chumphon (พิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติชุมพร), 0 7750 4105/4246, . Any trip to Chumphon should start at the national museum. Established in 1995 at Khao Samkaew, the museum provides an overview of province, ranging from prehistory through to the present. Even for those who are not overly interested in history, the museum’s attractive displays and media resources will fascinate and inform. The museum is divided into ground floor and the upper floor, and is open to the public from Wednesday to Sunday 9AM–4PM.
- Khao Phang Forest Park (วนอุทยานเขาพาง). About 12 km south of the town, about km. 493 along highway 4. Khao Phang Forest Park is one of the province’s newest attractions. Within the national park, there are a great variety of tropical trees, making the park a shady and restful sojourn for nature lovers and a must for students of forestry. A hill, covering an area of about one square kilometer, is located behind the park providing a commanding view of the entire area.
- Wat Chao Fa Sala Loi (วัดเจ้าฟ้าศาลาลอย). This temple is about 8 km from the town municipal area on the Chumphon–Ao Thung Wua Laen Road. To get there travel along an asphalt road for 6 km. and continue the journey along a brick road for another 2 km. At this temple lived Luang Pho Song Chanthasaro, a famous religious teacher who passed away at the age of nearly 100 years and his body still remains undecayed. This monk is revered by the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces.
- Mo Ku Chumphon National Park (National Park Visitors Centre), towards Hat Sai Ri (Take local bus near PO or see local travel agent), . Take the wooden bus to the fairly new and surprisingly modern Visitors Centre. Walk the boardwalks through the Mangrove Forests and over creeks. 200B entrance fee. Ask at centre for other walks available. The actual national park area of Chumphon Province is huge and takes in islands, reefs, beaches, jungle, mountain, creeks, ocean and mangroves. You can stay overnight here--there's a camping area, and bungalows on the Pong Pang Viewpoint go for 600 THB per night, and accommodate 2 people--add 100 THB for each extra person. Dorm beds, with no bedding for 50 THB. There are also two restaurants. A good place to visit to make the best of your stay in Chumphon. entry: 200B.
- Activities In and Around Chumphon. Self made sight-seeing tours by local bus, train or motorbike,Snorkel at local unspoilt islands, rafting and jungle trekking, night squid fishing, canoeing, fishing,kite surfing, fire fly watching, shooting range,sports at stadium, walks, visit temple caves, lakes, paddle boats, beaches, caves, golf, massage,and festivals.
- Morning Market, Pracha Uthit Road through to Poramin Manka Road. Bustling early morning market, also has curry stalls and local prices are usually asked. There are often light trucks outside on Pracha Uthit Road piled high with seasonal fruits such as pineapple, rambutan, and durian.
- Day and early evening market, Thatapao Road (from Farang Bar turn right, it's maybe 100m). Good selection of lunches, fruit, and other produce. In the evening the locals come here for a snack and for takeaways. Some local desserts available too, look for the durian pieces in soy milk -delicious!
- Night market, Krom Luang Road (walk straight out from rail station, past the vintage rail locomotives, and cross the intersection). The locals flock here in the evening to show off their pet dogs in the front basket of their motorcycles, to eat, and to collect takeaways. Massive selection of foods to choose from in a compact area. More expensive than the other markets but also more fun. Stalls with seasonal Durian (whole or ready-to-eat) are on the right hand side furthest from the rail station.
- Farang Bar, Thatapao Road. Good for Western food and they do a good Shake. Expats come here for comfort food but usually eat elsewhere.
- Local eateries and restaurants. Left and right of the Farang Bar (where coach-loads get dropped in the evening), and on many other streets. Most very good or better.
- Papa's Night Club (Restaurant), (opposite train station on right corner). Starts 9.30pm, does not really get going until about 11pm, good bands, DJ and dancers. No cover charges. Closes at 1.30am, can take your own spirits, 200B opening fee plus purchasing of mixers and ice buckets.
- Farang Bar, 69/36 Thatapao Rd, Chumphon (just ask someone. chumphon is small.), ☎ (077) 501 003. Farang Bar is a basic guest house with 150-200 baht rooms, shared bathroom and free wifi. The bar and restaurant gets a steady stream of local ex-pats as well as plenty of tourists on their way to the islands or other parts of Thailand. The staff speak a fair amount of English. The offerings include 50 baht 330ml beers, excellent western food and thai food . Ivor (The Farang) can also provide advice regarding Koh Tao and arrange bookings for you if needed (ie he calls them and reserves - he does not sell you tickets, unless you want him to) - very handy in high-demand seasons.
- Suda's Guesthouse 8 Thatapao Road +66 77504366 - friendly owners, but might try to sell you something. Twin room with fan 250 baht, with A/C 350 baht.
- Santavee New Rest House, 4 Thatapao Road, next to Suda (second entrance: Saladaeng Soi 3 - The Lane Bangkok Bank), ☎ +66 77 502 147. Run by a very friendly and welcoming family. Clean rooms, lovely garden, bicycle and motorbike hire, helpful with local directions. Most spacious fan room 250 Baht, other rooms cheaper.
- Suriwong Chumphon Hotel, 125/30, Tumbon Thatapao, Amphoe Mueang, Chumphon. Looks clean but had several cockroaches in bathroom. Staff are young, poorly trained and fairly clueless. I was asked 6 times when I was checking out (including a phone call to my room) despite telling the girl on reception first thing in the morning. They also refused to refund my key deposit because I couldnt find a postage stamp sized receipt. They do have a free in-room Wi-Fi, though.
- Suriya Hotel, thanon salandaeng. checkout: 12.00. Cheap hotel. Rooms are big and nice, little dusty. Asian toilet. Get an free bottle of water when check in. 190 for an single room with dbl bed (fan). 280 for an twin room (fan).
- Fame Guest House, 188/20-21 Saladang Rd (front of Saladang Soi 6 200 meters form Chumphon train station), ☎ 077571077, . checkout: 11AM. Clean 10 room fan only guest house. At May 2011 - there are 3 basic rooms, 1 bed, shared outside bathroom B150. One double room outside bathroom B200. Six double rooms with bathroom and hot shower B300. You can book transfer to Koh Tao and anywhere south of Thailand. To Koh Tao will cost you B600 at June 2012.Has a restaurant and bar with Thai and Euro food and fresh bread from oven every day. The Writer ate there and prices were totally reasonable - fried chicken with ginger and fried mixed vegetables at B70 each, seafood will cost B80.Large bottle of Chang beer B100 as at June 2012 Also a comprehensive Western menu. Internet is also available. Car and motorbike rentals available. 150-300 Baht.
- Paradorn Hotel, Soi 4, Saladaeng Rd. checkin: 2pm; checkout: midday. This hotel is aircon.Breakfast (Western if you are Western, and Thai if you are Thai) is included in the price and is good. Rooms are good and clean, there is a lift, and staff speak some English. Is close to both the railway station (some 400M) and the internal bus station(similar distance). B550.
- Salsa Hostel, 25/42 Krommaluang Rd, Tatapao, Muang, Chumphon, ☎ 66 77 505005, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Salsa Hostel was opened last March 2012. The hostel provides hotel standard with the hostel price while their friendly staff are willing to assist their guests to get ferry tickets, providing informations and so. The free tours are origanized occasionally. The hostel offers also the day pass where the transients can spend some time in the hostel for just few hours while waiting for the train or ferries. The hostel also offers all-you-can-eat breakfast which includes bread, fresh milk, butter, cornflakes, marmalade, tea& coffee. While eggs, juice can be provided with extra charge. The breakfast is also available for non-guests at 60Baht (Aug 2012). A free wifi is available to all guests through the whole building. 250. (10.500966949052453,99.18037533760071)
- Ao Thung Makham (อ่าวทุ่งมะขาม) - This place is divided into outer Ao Thung Makham and inner Ao Thung Makham. The bays look like a line of 2 semicircles. Roughly in the middle lies a peninsula. Where rocks, large and small, are scattered surround in a mysterious fashion. This peninsula serves as the bays divider. On the north side lies the inner Ao Thung Makham whose white sand beach stretches for 1 km. lined with coconut trees. The distances of the inner and outer Ao Thung Makham from Chumphon city center are 27 km and 31 km respectively using the same highways as going to Hat Sai Ri with the directions shown along the way.
- Hat Sai Ri (หาดทรายรี) - About 20 km along highway 4119 and 4098 with regular bus services from the town center (take a songthaew from the square by the city pillar shrine), this long smooth white sand and extensive beach is shaded by majestic pine trees and affords some spectacular views of nearby islands. Colourful boats lie berthed by the beach, which is lined with restaurants selling fresh seafood. For historical interest, a monument commemorating the late Admiral Prince of Chumphon is located nearby, complete with a well-preserved WW II warship. A hillside temple at the site offers a panoramic view of the entire area.
- Prince of Chumphon Shrine (ศาลเจ้าพ่อกรมหลวงชุมพร), Mu 7 Tambon Hat Sai Ri. It is 20 km. from Chumphon city center, along the highways 4119 and 4098. This is a sacred place for the people of Chumphon and nearby provinces. At the shrine stands the monument of Admiral Phra Borommawong Thoe Kromluang Chumphon Khet Udomsak. The shrine is at the north site of Hat Sai Ri facing towards the sea. There is a museum with exhibits about the admiral’s biography and things which he used. A large torpedo-ship named the Royal Chumphon is also here. It is 68 meters long and 6.55 meters wide. This ship was decommissioned on November 26, 1975. The Royal Thai Navy turned over the ship to Chumphon province in 1979. After that it was placed near this monument for the commemoration of the admiral.
- Khao Chao Mueang (เขาเจ้าเมือง). About 2.4 km from Hat Sai Ri is Khao Chao Mueang, the district’s highest observation point offering panoramic views of the coast and far out into the distant archipelago are rivaled only by the peace and tranquility offered by the secluded beach located at the base of the mountain. Along with the beautiful coral lagoon fronting Koh Maprao as mentioned in Kae Guesthouse listing.
- Ko Samet (เกาะเสม็ด) - One of the group of islands which belongs to the Chumphon’s National Marine Park.This island is at Mu 1 Tambon Pak Nam, about 8 km from Chumphon city. To get there, first, take a bus along the highway 4119 (Chumphon-Pak Nam) about 17 km. Then from this place, take the boat from the shore for 30 minutes to get there. There are beaches at the head, and the middle of this island. It is the Chumphon’s largest island with the end of it, is the big well. This island is crowned with coconut trees making it a suitable place for spending holidays and relaxation.
- Ko Tao - Well known as the best diving site in the Gulf of Thailand, its turquoise water is crystalline, coconut plantations cover much of the landscape and many beaches are easily accessible by paved road.
There are several transportation options from Chumphon:
- Tha Yang Pier - Boats depart from Tha Yang Pier which is 7 km from town and can be reached by pick-up taxi. The ride takes 20 minutes. Detailed information for the boat arrival and departure can be obtained by tel. 0 7755 3052-4
- Songserm Rung Rueang Co.Ltd. - Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier daily at 7.00PM and arrives Ko Tao at 10.00PM From Ko Tao, the departure time for Chumphon is 2.30PM and arrival is at 5.30PM For detailed information, please contact tel. 0 2280 7897, 0 7745 6274
- Ko Charoen Car Ferry Co.,Ltd. - Boat leaves from Tha Yang Pier on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11.00PM and arrives Ko Tao at 5.00PM From Ko Tao, boat departs for Chumphon on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. It arrives Tha Yang Pier at 5.00PM the fare is 250 baht per person. For more information, please contact tel. 0 7758 0030, 08 1797 0276
- Rua Reo Lom Phraya Co.,Ltd. - Boat leaves from Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 7.00PM 1.00PM and arrives Ko Tao at 8.30PM 2.30PM From Ko Tao boat departs for Ao Thung Makham Noi Pier at 10.00PM and 3.00PM It arrives at 11.30PM 4.30PM