Chumphon, the gateway to the south of Thailand is widely known by tourists as the only passageway to the island world, but because of the few tourists, the pristine, natural beauty of this region is recommended for people seeking a quiet and relaxing holiday. The province lies on the western Gulf and offers 200 kilometre of coastline with many secluded beaches and many other attractions and activities. These include the remote islands of the Chumphon Marine National Park, the many mountains in the west of the province with its magnificent waterfalls, large mangrove forests along the coast and the species-rich national parks. The destination could easily be combined with the fantastic dive sites of Koh Tao and the beautiful beaches of Koh Samui.
The city of Chumphon is located on the western Gulf of Thailand, 470 kilometres from Bangkok and is also the capital of the province. The province is located on the Isthmus of Kra, which connects the Malay Peninsula with the Asian continent. Those who want to travel to southern Thailand by land, have to cross the isthmus. The province of Chumphon itself is again divided into 8 districts and borders the southern Myanmar. The West consists of hilly terrain, dominated by the Phuket mountain range and further north by the Tenasserim mountain range. Further east towards the coast, the land gets flat. The local population lives mainly from agriculture and fisheries, which is reflected in the landscape. A large number of the many islands and part of the mainland coast belongs to the Mu Ko Chumphon National Marine Park.
Chumphon has over 200 miles of coastline with many secluded and beautiful beaches and bays.
Thanks to its location between Central and South Thailand the province has a good connection with several transport options to choose from.
The nearest airport is in Surat Thani, south of Chumphon. The prices are quite expensive, but with just a little over an hour this is also the fastest possible arrival. From the airport it goes by bus into the district capital. From the main station Hua Lamphong in Bangkok runs daily a number of rapid and express trains to Chumphon. The journey time is approximately 8 hours. Another transport possibility is the bus leaving from the southern bus terminal in Bangkok. The journey time is also around 8 hours.
Locally there is a small bus system that transports people from one village to the next. Also local taxis are available that can be hired privately.
Koh Ngam Noi & Koh Ngam Yai
Especially the islands of Koh Ngam Noi and Koh Ngam Yai which are 17 kilometres (an hour drive) away from the mainland are recommended for diving enthusiasts with some interesting underwater caves. The relatively small islands shoot steeply from the sea and are actually inhabitable. However, some fishing families are living on these steep cliffs in their wooden houses and create amazing way to live there. In addition to the fishing, the people living there gather the swallows of the surrounding caves and sell these as a delicacy. The Chumphon Cabana Resort organizes easy and convenient tours to these islands.
Koh Samed, not to be confused with the much larger island in the province of Rayong, is part of the Chumphon Marine National Park. The island is located only 8 kilometres from the city of Chumphon, and is about 20 minutes away by longtailboat. The island is largely mountainous and covered with coconut palms. The beaches on the west side have good swimming conditions. On the west is also the only resort on the island, Chumphon Samet Island Resort.
From Bo Mao Bay it is only 6 kilometres to Koh Khai Islands. By longtailboat, the journey takes just 25 minutes. The white sandy beach and clear waters are ideal for swimming. Here too is the underwater world very diverse and especially in the dry season (December - May) for snorkelling and diving very suitable. Since the island is uninhabited there are no accommodation and food stalls available.
Mu Ko Chumphon National Park
The Mu Ko Chumphon National Park is about 300 square kilometres in size, encompasses more than 70 miles of coastline, has more than 40 limestone islands and several waterfalls, caves and mangrove forests. The National Marine Park is also home to many animal species such as sea birds, lizards and sea cows. The underwater world is home to many colourful fishes and a large number of hard corals.
Tham Khao Plu & hot springs
About 7 kilometres from the city centre are three hot springs at the foot of a mountain. In the area are also four caves with stalactites and stalagmites. Around the area are monkeys and a variety of bird species living and can be observed. An ideal spot to relax under the shade of the trees.
Wat Tham Kwan Muang
The fascinating temple is built on top of a limestone rock with holy Buddha relics in the stupa on the compound. From here you have also a wonderful view over the peaceful countryside.
Khao Chao Muang
The highest viewing point in the region offers a fascinating out look onto the coast and far out to the islands. At the foot of the mountain is the peaceful beach of Hat Sai Ri. The mountain is located about 12 kilometres from the town of Chumphon.
The beach is located about 20 kilometres from the city centre and is popular with locals for its relaxing atmosphere. The beach is long, curved and lined with pine trees. This section offers a beautiful view on some of the islands. Not far away in the south stands the monument of Prince Chumphon, where also the mountain Khao Chao Muang lies. The mountain gives a wonderful view onto Koh Ma Prao, Koh Lak and Koh Raed Mattra. Here are some bungalow accommodations and restaurants along the beach promenade.
Hat Thung Wua Laen
The beach is one of the largest in Chumphon. The beach is about 16 kilometres away from the district of Pathio. The white, seemingly endless and wide sandy beach offers a magnificent sunrise for early risers. At the southern end of the section is the small mountain Pho Khao Bae and the Chumphon Cabana Resort. The swimming conditions are very good and also the underwater world off the coast is a real recommendation with a wide variety of reef fishes and hard corals. The Thung Wua Laen beach is due to its good infrastructure, with some beautiful resort, restaurants, cocktail bars, supermarkets and internet cafes very popular. From this section of the beach you can easily book tours to Koh Ngam Noi and Koh Ngam Yai. There some very nice fishing huts built on large steep rocks to be seen. Also for divers, the islands are very interesting.
The very quiet and natural beach area is located 60 kilometres south of downtown and north of Tako River. The white sand and crystal clear water invite you to relax and swim. Not far from the beach is an interesting fishing village. From here, boats are also leaving to the offshore islands such as Koh Pitak book, Koh Krok and Koh Ma Prao. The beach promenade offers only a few mostly local restaurants.
Ao Thung Makham
The bay is 25 kilometres away from Chumphon and divided by a peninsula of rocks and stones into two sections. The semi-circular bays are known as Ao Thung Makham Noi and Ao Thung Makham Yai. From here, many fishermen are seen leaving the mainland to the sea. There are good swimming conditions in the quiet bays with clear water and white-brown sand. Ao Thung Makham Noi offers speedboats transfers to Koh Tao in only one hour. Overall both bays offer over 4 kilometres of beach whereby Ao Thung Makham Noi is smaller but much better developed. Wat Suwan Khuha Khiri Wong is a temple complex located south of the bay with the back facing a 80 meter high cliff.
The 3 km long beach is located about 12 kilometres from the city centre. It offers in the early morning hours a picturesque sunrise. The island of Koh Samed can easily be seen from here. The white beach is also suitable for swimming at low tide and you can relax afterwards under the shade of palm trees. In the evening it is than time for a romantic walk on the beach.
The best time to visit the region is from December to June, with little rainfall and daily warm weather. Chumphon also has a second high season which runs through the whole of September. Between October and November it can rain sometimes several days in a row combined with some strong winds. The warmest months are April and May with daytime highs up to 40 degrees. The average daily temperature is however at 26 - 29 degree.