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Chiang Mai : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Thailand doesn’t only need to be about beaches and nightlife; Chiang Mai, the cultural centre of the north of the country, is so much more. Situated on the banks of the Ping river, at the foot of the Doi Pui mountain, Chiang Mai is surrounded by hills and mountains covered in dense teakwood forests, where woodcutters will still use working elephants to move and transport heavy tree trunks.

Visit our Hotel Partners in Chiang Mai

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

When approaching the city from the air (there are regular connecting flights from Bangkok at very reasonable rates) the golden roof of the Wat Prathat temple on top of the Doi Suthep holy mountain are among the first things that catch the eye, and a sight that is likely to be remembered for a long time.

Cheap Flights to Chiang Mai

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However, there are ways of approaching Chiang Mai and see even more – much more in fact, as the journey lasts some eight hours – and that is by train. Using the local buses is not recommended; roads are narrow and traffic unruly. Once safely arrived in the city, you can choose to explore it on foot, as the city centre is quite compact, or to go in local style, either in so-called Tuk-Tuks, a kind of motor-powered rickshaw, or by Songthaew, an open pick-up truck with seats. Seasoned travellers advise giving preference to the Tuk-tuks.

This 700-year old city, which is also called ‘The rose of the north’, is still steeped in traditional Thai ways and customs and offers a wealth of experience to the traveller. Inhabited by a colourful mixture of northern mountain tribes and the northern Thais, or kon mueang, which consider themselves to be the ‘true’ Thais; it has retained much of their cultural values and traditions across the centuries. The friendliness in this city is legendary, and as a visitor you could not wish for more gentle and polite hosts.

Although Chiang Mai is the second largest city in Thailand after Bangkok, it only has about 5% of Bangkok’s population, making it an ideal escape from the busy hustle and bustle of the capital. Despite the unavoidable modernisation of recent years, the charming and laidback city provides plenty of tranquil spots and literally hundreds of splendid teakwood temples, a wealth of unspoilt tradition and a multitude of other sights such as a moat and bustling street markets. As a result, Chiang Mai is not only popular among tourists, but also among the Thai themselves, who in summer seek refuge from the sweltering heat of the south. There are also highly recreational hot springs in San Kampaeng, only 45 minutes from Chiang Mai, which offer a unique bathing experience and recreational huts for the perfect relaxation.

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

There is also plenty of excellent shopping to engage in: Chiang Mai lives up to its reputation as the Thai centre of traditional handicraft and art and there are high-class silk, wool, silver and pottery products to buy and to admire.

Even the more adventurous tourist will find plenty to keep you busy, from adventure trips to the national parks, waterfalls and elephant riding to river rafting and trekking in the mountains to the north of the city.

History of Chiang Mai

The origins of Chiang Mai, also called ‘The rose of the north‘, can be traced back more than 700 years. The city had an unusual start – not, as one might imagine, in Thailand, but in Southern China, in the Yunnan province. This province housed a successful Siamese Kingdom named Nanchao, reigning from the middle of the 7th century for 604 years. However, in 1254 the kingdom was invaded by Kublai Khan, whereupon many of its inhabitants fled south towards the northern Thailand of today.

The migrants laid the foundation for several cities, including Chiang Mai, (meaning New Town), at the foot of the Doi Suthep and on the west bank of the Ping river, in 1256. However, at first the founder of Chiang Mai, King Mengrai, had to defeat the Haripoonshais, who been ruling culture, art and religion for 600 years.

Luckily, the many spectacular architectural styles and Buddhist art forms were maintained during King Mengrai’s rule, and can still be admired today, for instance in the small town of Lamphun, about 30 km south of Chiang Mai. King Mengrai settled about 180 km further north in a town called Chiang Rai, where he founded the Lannatai Kingdom, the ‘Kingdom of 1,000 paddy fields’, originally a very small kingdom indeed, which however expanded over the next 30 years to include the entire north of the country.

In 1291 Chiang Mai became the new capital of King Mengrai’s kingdom, and a town wall and a moat were built to protect the new capital. A wise foresight as it turned out, as there was trouble on the horizon: The southern part of Thailand, earlier Kingdom of Sukhothai under King Ramkhamhaeng, had, after initially being supportive of his dwarf neighbour, started attempts to subordinate it. Due to its position between Burma and the areas under Siamese influence, Chiang Mai was subsequently destroyed several times. Today the crumbling town walls, built of red brick, bear witness to a violent past.

Between 1556 and 1774 Chiang Mai was ruled by the Burmese, who imposed many strict and downright cruel restrictions on the population. The population was finally so distraught with the imposed rulers that it abandoned the city altogether, making Chiang Mai a ghost town for the 20 years to follow.

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

In 1799, King Taksin, a Prince from the Lanna dynasty, won a major battle against the Burmese and drove the occupants out of Chiang Mai. The town was reinhabited and for the next 100 years remained the capital of the Lanna kingdom, blissfully ignored by the richer areas to the south of the country. Only when Laos and Burma were invaded by France and the United Kingdom, Chiang Mai was rediscovered by the Thai government which promptly sent a governor to the town to ensure Thai territorial rights and forestall a takeover by the colonial powers.

1921 saw the completion of the railroad line from Bangkok to Chiang Mai, opening up the region to the rest of the country.

Geography

The province of Chiang Mai, known for the friendliness and politeness of its people, is located about 700 km from Bangkok, on the Mae Ping River basin. The ‘Rose of the north’, as the city is also called, sits at 300 metres above sea level and is surrounded by high mountains, amongst others Doi Inthanon, which with 2,565 metres is the highest mountain in Thailand. The area stretches across about 20,000 km², with its widest point being about 130 kilometres, and the longest 320 kilometres.

A stretch of mountains to the north as well as the Kok River in places separate the province from Burma. The mountains are mostly covered by jungle, and some of it lies within the national parks Doi Inthanon, home to the country’s most beautiful waterfall, the Mae Ya, and more than 300 species of birds, Doi Suthep-Pui, popular among botanists, astronomers and bikers, Mae Ping, Sri Lanna, where visitors can stay in houses floating on the river, Huay Nam Dang, Ob Luam, famous for its hot springs and limestone caves, and Chiang Dao, a tranquil resort also ideal for bird watching, all which display an abundance of flora and fauna.

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

Chiang Mai Wallpaper

Many areas here are still home to the hill tribes, which still amount to more than 13% of the population of the Chiang Mai province, including the Hmong, Yao, Lahu, Lisu, Akha and Karen. The river Ping, one of the major tributaries of the Chao Phraya River, also originates in the Chiang Dao Mountains.

The mountains and forests covering most of the province give birth to several streams and tributaries (such as the Mae Jam, Mae Ngud, and Mae Klang) which in turn feed important rivers and irrigation canals (such as the Muang and Faay), proving the water needed by Chiang Mai’s agriculture. Along of the banks of Chain Mai’s largest river, Ping, lies the flat and fertile valley area.

The popularity of Chiang Mai is partly due to its temperate climate. Temperatures from mid-November to January average between 13C and 28C (56F and 83F) in Chiang Mai; the hills are even colder. The temperatures in Chiang Mai begin to climb in February, to range between 17C and 36C in the hottest season, in March to May.

During the monsoon, which begins in May and ends in October, the temperatures drop somewhat, but the nights are much like daytime which makes air conditioning (or the traditional ceiling fans) seem like a very good idea.

During August and September the streets in the city can flood on occasion. Otherwise rainfall is more sporadic and even invigorating.

The cool season, November to February, is ideal for visiting the province as the temperatures range between 15 degrees Celsius and night and 28 degrees during the day. Thai city dwellers also visit Chiang Mai at this time if they can get away, to escape the humid heat of Bangkok. Higher up in the mountains there is even occasional sleet, however no snow ever adorns the mountain peaks of Chiang Mai.

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Former founder of Asiarooms.com and now reporting mainly on the Asia Pacific region and the global Coronavirus crises in countries such as Thailand, Germany & Switzerland. Born near Cologne but lived in Berlin during my early teenage years. A longterm resident of Bangkok, Udon Thani, Sakon Nakhon and Phuket. A great fan of Bali, Rhodes & Corfu.

Central Thailand

Hua Hin Cha-am : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Wolfgang Holzem

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Hua Hin Travel Guide

Hua Hin is a district in the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province of Thailand, 295 kilometers from Bangkok and 90 km from the provincial capital. It is the oldest and most traditional of Thailand’s beach resorts combining the attractions of a modern holiday destination with the charm and fascination of a still active fishing port. Beaches are located in the east of the province, including a 5km stretch of white sand and clear water. Although it has developed to cater for tourists from all over the world, the resort which began its development over 70 years ago, remains popular with Thais too, a good sign for those looking for an authentic experience.

The resort was originally founded in 1830s, when farmers, moving south to escape the results of a severe drought in the agricultural area of Phetchaburi, found a small village beside white sands and rows of rock, and settled in. The tranquil fishing village was turned into a ‘Royal resort’ becoming popular among Siam’s nobility and smart-set.

Accessibility was greatly enhanced by the construction of the railway from Bangkok, which brought visitors from wider social groups, and kick-started the industry which would bring tourists from other countries. The first hotel – The Railway Hotel – was built in 1921 and it still stands today continuing to serve tourists as the Sofitel Central.

Hua Hin was made famous in the early 1920s by King Rama VII, who decided it was an ideal getaway from the steamy metropolis of Bangkok. He built a summer palace and this was echoed when King Rama VII ordered the construction of the Palace of Klaikangwon (“far from worries”). The latter is still much used by the Thai Royal Family today.

The resort continued to develop slowly, protected to some extent by its Royal reputation. Its fishing port grew alongside golf courses and all the big hotel chains are now represented. Many of Bangkok’s rich and famous and a growing number of expats have built their own summer homes along the bay, making the resort more cosmopolitan every year.

Development has taken over much of the prime government land, so the coast road suffers from obstructed views of the sea these days, but Hua Hin is trying hard to retain its beach-side atmosphere. Compared to Pattaya, the resort remains relatively serene and attracts families and older travelers. The beach has a gradual slope, into clear warm water which so far has escaped pollution of any kind.

Further afield, the Prachuap Khiri Khan Province is a charming region, where limestone cliffs and islands, bays and beaches, are home to a national park, and several temples, and travelling through this area will be a welcome experience for those hoping to avoid the tourist traps found further South. Driving from Bangkok through Prachuap Khiri Khan takes around three hours, a journey punctuated by summer palaces, huge temples, beautifully kept gardens and salt flats.

Visitors head to Hua Hin all year round. The area has one of the lowest rainfalls in the country, and there’s usually a gentle sea breeze to punctuate the heat, particularly welcome in the summer season between March and September.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Hua Hin

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Flights to Hua Hin

Things to see and do in Hua Hin

Dive In
As you would expect with a resort boasting a 5km clean white beach, sunbathing, swimming and snorkelling are popular pastimes. Swimming is safe, and with one of the driest climates across Thailand, there’s plenty of opportunity to dry off in the sun afterwards.

Tee Off
Possibly due to its noble history and elegant clientele, Hua Hin has the highest density of world class golf courses anywhere in Thailand, although it has yet to be discovered by the international golf tournament circuit. Green-fees and other costs are surprisingly low, given that course maintenance and services are superb. The Royal Hua Hin course is one of many, but considered to be the best.

Shop till you drop

Chatchai Market is colourful and inexpensive and is one of Hua Hin’s major attractions. Vendors gather nightly in the centre of town, where they cook fresh gulf seafood for hordes of hungry Thais and provide a spectacle for visitors. As well as plentiful food shops, it offers much that will appeal to souvenir hunters too.

Royal Palace

Klai Kangwon (which means ‘Far From Worries’ ) is the Royal Palace built by King Rama VII in 1928. It was designed by Prince Iddhidehsarn Kridakara, an architect and the Director of the Fine Arts Department at the time, and officially opened in 1929. Further structures have been added over time, including a mansion ordered by King Bhumibol (Rama IX) for Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn, and accommodation for the royal entourage, built in the style of the original buildings so as to preserve the harmony of the palace. Although Klai Kangwon is still in regular use by the Royal family, it is also open to the public.

Hop on a train
Or more importantly, visit the railway station. Built in the reign of Rama IV, the brightly painted wooden buildings somehow combine traditional Thai ideas with a Victorian feel, and in 2009 Hua Hin made it onto NewsWeek’s Best Stations list, in great company such as New York’s Grand Central, and London’s St Pancras.

Take off
Although one of the joys of Hua Hin is its serenity and calm, if you’re keen to take in more, its fairly easy to find trips which will take you to many of the other southern beach destinations such as Koh Nangyaun, Koh Toa, Koh Samui, Phuket, Krabi  and Koa Sok. You may find however that some of these legendary destinations have suffered more at the hands of the global tourist industry than Hua Hin has.

Monkey about
Khao Takiab is referred as Monkey Mountain, but as well as the mischievous residents, it also boasts a hilltop temple with sensational views of Hua Hin, a pagoda-style shrine and a giant golden Buddha which faces the sunrise.

Walk in the Park
The region boasts several parks, and natural attractions, such as the Kangajan National Park, and the Koa Sam Roi Yod Marine Park. You’ll find miles of good walking, amongst lakes, caves and waterfalls, and you’ll be in the company of as elephants, tigers, wild dogs and leopards.

Eat, drink and sleep in Hua Hin

As more affluent ex-pats from all over the world gather to weather the winter, or snap up beachfront properties in Hua Hin, the restaurant scene becomes more cosmopolitan. French, Italian, German and Scandinavian restaurants are all here, in case anyone feels homesick. However, there are also rustic seafood restaurants, especially on the pier, and at several of these you can choose your own fish from the fish market right outside and waiters will bring you the finished result.
There are plenty of simpler local restaurants both inside and out on the streets where you can sample authentic Thai food too.

If you want to try to cook your own Thai food in Hua Hin, the very best place to buy your ingredients, not because it’s the cheapest, but because it is a fabulous experience, is the night market. Right in the centre of town, it opens at 18:00. It’s also a terrific place to buy handicrafts, souvenirs and clothing.

The Chatchai market is a great day market and the place to go for the best street food, as vendors grill, fry, boil and dress the fabulous local fish and shellfish, but don’t forget to leave room for a real local speciality. Roti Hua Hin is a delicious dough-based snack filled with strawberries, custard or raisins.

In a side street just off the market is the Hua Hin Thai Show, a pagoda-style restaurant which combines great food with a nightly musical performance, where you can sample folk with your fish or classical over your clams.

Unlike many Thai resorts, here you will also find more elegant dining, including Thai and Vietnamese food with a more upmarket touch for a real treat. Monsoon is the most romantic and expensive, but it’s worth it for the wine list and the elegant atmosphere. If your budget doesn’t run to dinner, you can enjoy afternoon tea on its teak-decked terrace.

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Central Thailand

Ko Chang Covid-19 Safe Travel Trat Thailand

Wolfgang Holzem

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Ko Chang (เกาะช้าง) is an island in Trat Province, Eastern Thailand.

Understand

Ko Chang is Thailand’s second largest island, and the biggest in eastern Thailand. With about 5,000 permanent residents the island is not heavily populated, but tourism (and development) has increased dramatically over the past few years.

Ko Chang is one of Thailand’s most beautiful islands with long white sandy beaches, most half-deserted. The island is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including a good selection of birds, snakes, deer, and a number of elephants. The island and its vicinity are great places for snorkelling, diving, and jungle hiking. The “discovery” of the island as a tourism destination since 2000 has brought on a large amount of rapid development, and while still far quieter than places like Phuket or Ko Samui, it’s probably better to go now than later. Regarding services and activities specifically aimed at tourists prices have reached such a level that the islanders are pricing themselves out of the market when compared to the other islands.

Stay with our Hotel Partners on Ko Chang

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

History of Ko Chang

Prior to World War II, Ko Chang was little known by anyone. During this period, the few families there made a living growing coconuts and fruit on the mainland. In January 1941, during the Japanese occupation, the Thai Navy fought the French in a battle in the waters to the southeast of Ko Chang.

Nothing else happened to Ko Chang until the first backpacker foreigners started arriving on the back of local fishing boats in the mid-1970s. In 1982, Ko Chang along with surrounding area became part of the protected Mu Ko Chang National Marine Park. Only very recently, in less than ten years, Ko Chang has turned itself into a major tourism destination, both for foreigners and local Thais.

This sudden tourism boom however, has been fraught with controversy concerning land encroachment. The government is trying to “develop” it from a backpackers’ paradise to a top-level destination, and construction work is going on throughout the island, with basic huts torn down to make way for fancy resorts.

Geography

Ko Chang is the largest island in the Ko Chang Archipelago. The name means Elephant Island, named for the elephant shape of its headland, although elephants are not indigenous to the island.

Ko Chang has an area of approximately 429 square kilometres. The topography contains high mountains and complex stone cliffs. The highest peak is Khao Salak Phet which is 744 m high, rich in fertile evergreen forest which is the main water source. There are many waterfalls, beaches and splendid reefs in the west of the island.

Most accommodation is on the west side of the island, where the sandy beaches are. On the east side there are no sandy beaches and it is far less touristy. There are some nice waterfalls though.

70% of the island is rain forest, steep hills, cliffs, waterfalls, and wildlife, fine beaches, coral reefs and an abundance of marine life. The island also has tall mountains and rock cliffs.

Climate & Weather

Ko Chang has the same seasons as Bangkok. The best season to go is the (comparatively) cool season between Nov-Feb. Mar-May are roasting hot and between Jun-Oct it rains, and a lot at that: 4,000 mm in an average year. Many guesthouses close during this season, so accommodation is limited. If you don’t mind the rain, traveling during the rainy season can be enjoyable nevertheless, and prices for accommodation are low.

Get in

Fly to Ko Chang

Bangkok Airways flies three times a day from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (BKK) to Trat. The flights depart at 08:30, 12:40 and 16:50, and takes 1 hour. Fares are between 1,800-3,300 Thai Baht.

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Direct door-to-door minibus transfers from Trat airport to Ko Chang resorts cost 500 Thai Baht/person one way and 900 Thai Baht/person return including the ferry crossing.

From Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, take the free express shuttle bus from outside the arrivals concourse to the airport’s own bus terminal, and from there the next available bus to either Trat or Chanthaburi, then proceed as described below.

By bus

From Bangkok the most economical way to get to Laem Ngop (where the Ko Chang ferry piers are) is to take a 1st class Bus 999 from the Eastern (Ekamai) Bus Terminal direct to the Laem Ngop piers. The fare is 268 Thai Baht and takes just over 5 hr. Departures from Ekamai are at 07:45 & 09:45, and return at 14:00 and 16:00. Subject to seat availability, this bus can also be boarded at Chanthaburi and at Suvarnabhumi Airport Airport.

There is a more comfortable way to travel from Bangkok Airport to Ko Chang: Bus 392 starts from the airport at 07:30 and returns from Ko Chang at 12:30. Tickets can be bought on-line at the Suvarnabhumi Burapha Bus Company. There are also express shared minibuses running from Suvarnabhumi Airport airport non-stop to Lonely Beach on Ko Chang via the Lonely Beach Express. Tickets are 308 Thai Baht for the big bus and 600 Thai Baht (800 Thai Baht round trip) for the minibus which includes a ticket for the ferry.

Bookable from most travel agents near Khao San. Travelmart operates a large, nice air-con VIP Bus from Khao San area to Centrepoint ferry terminal 4-5 hours. 300 Thai Baht which includes the ferry crossing is among the cheapest and most convenient way to Koh Chang. Leaves at Khao San at 08:00, but times can vary. Return service is also available.

Alternatively, there are 1st class (approximately 5 hr, around 250 Thai Baht) and 2nd class services from both the Eastern Bus Terminal (Ekamai) and Northern Bus Terminal (Mo Chit) direct to Trat, and frequent songthaew services from Trat to Laem Ngop (approximately 30 minutes, 50 Thai Baht/person). Departures from Ekamai are more frequent than from Mo Chit. If coming by bus from the south, the 511 air-con bus can be used to connect directly between Bangkok’s Southern (Sai Tai Mai) and Eastern (Ekamai) bus terminals.

Connections in Trat can also be used if coming from Pattaya (2nd class bus, 4 hr, around 200 Thai Baht).

There are direct minibus services to Laem Ngop from Pattaya, Ban Phe (gateway to Ko Samet), and Bangkok’s Khao San Road and Victory Monument (in front of Payathai Hospital). They, however, are less comfortable and spacious than public buses, and you may be charged significantly more by travel agencies selling tickets to these, as often with any tourist-oriented transportation in Thailand.

It may also be possible to proceed directly to Laem Ngop by minibus or songthaew from the Hat Lek/Ko Kong border crossing with southern Cambodia, depending on the time of year, time of day. Inquire locally. Price around 120 Thai Baht (one way) from the border to Trat bus station.

By boat

Most ferries operate from Laem Ngop, which has three piers: the Laem Ngop (Tha Khrom Luang or Tha Laern Ngop) pier is approximately 700 m west of Laem Ngop; the Centrepoint (Tha Centre Point) pier is about 3.5 km northwest of Laem Ngop. These piers serve both vehicle and passenger ferries; the Ko Chang vehicle ferry pier is in Thammachat Bay (Ao Thammachat), around 15 km west of Laem Ngop.

All piers on Ko Chang are on the east side of the island. The major piers are the two Dan Kao piers, Tha Dan Kao and Tha Ferry Dan Kao, which handle most of the traffic.

To take a boat from Laem Ngop to the Dan Kao piers takes around 45 minutes. The car ferry from Laem Ngop takes around 1 hour and arrives at the Tha Ferry Dan Kao pier, 400 m southeast of the Tha Dan Kao pier. The car ferry from Thammachat Bay stops at the Ko Chang Ferry Pier (Tha Ferry Ko Chang) in Sapparot Bay (Ao Sapparot), 3 km northwest of the Dan Kao piers.

Light meals, fruit, fruits and beverages are available at all the piers and on the car ferries.

There are two operators who provide daily bus services from Ko Kut to Ko Chang. One is based in Ban Bao, the other on Kai Bae Beach. Rates are the same but departures times can vary, so make sure to book ahead.

  • Ferry timetables – Up to date ferry timetables for boat services between the mainland and Koh Chang.

By taxi or limousine

From Bangkok or Suvarnabhumi Airport international airport takes a total of about 5 – 5½ hours by taxi. Most taxis will decline the trip as the risk of empty return is too high for them. Most (airport) limousines and taxis can deliver you to the island, especially if they can make it back to the mainland before the last ferry sails.

  • Koh Chang Minibus ,   .

Get around

In the daytime, you can catch a songthaew on its route around the main road for 50-100 Thai Baht/person, depending how far you go. The rates are generally much higher than in other places, but the vehicles are almost new and in excellent condition. Starting from 17:00, many of them start to ask “taxi” price, telling you that they operate as a public transport only until that time, and may quote prices as high as say 500 Thai Baht from Lonely Beach to the Dan Kao pier. However, if you have some time and patience, you still can try and have a “shared” ride with some drivers, maybe for a higher rate if they expect little or no other passengers.

These taxis are also waiting at the Dan Kao Pier (50 Thai Baht/person to White Sand Beach, 100 Thai Baht to Lonely Beach). At the Dan Kao Ferry-Pier there may be no taxis available. If you arrive without a vehicle you may have to walk the 400 m to Dan Kao Pier.

Cars are also available for rent, most hotels can help with it. 4 x 4 recommended, since some roads might be in bad condition, especially near Lonely Beach.

If there are 2 or more people going with you, hiring a songthaew may cost the same price, or even be cheaper than paying per each person in a “shared” songthaew (there is no difference, an empty songthaew can easily be hired). Just do not forget to bargain if their price sounds quite silly when compared, say, to Bangkok taxi-meter (on Ko Chang it can be difficult if not impossible to get the same price, but at least it should not cost double or even more). Most folk however, just stay put on the beach of their choice and walk to wherever they want to go.

Hitching on Ko Chang is also an alternative if you choose not to pay the often exorbitant fees of the songthaew. Many islanders are more than willing to pick up a hitchhiker who happens to be going the same way they are. A Coke or cold bottle of green tea for the driver are always appreciated at the end of your journey.

Motorbike rental

Motorbikes are a fantastic way to explore the island. Small motorcycles can be hired for 150-250 Thai Baht per day. The main road is sealed and almost circles the island and there are plans to complete the circuit in the near future. The road leading to the War Memorial at the south end is worth a trip.

Riding a motorbike is not for the inexperienced or faint of heart. Most visitors manage on level roads, during the daytime and during good weather conditions. Darkness and rain, together with poor skills, steep hills and questionable maintenance can be fatal. Think twice if you have to travel at night, and when it rains during the night, avoid the steep hills in the north and the southwest.

When renting a bike, check tires, brakes and light. Reputable shops will fix them while you wait, don’t compromise on safety. Bring your own helmet if you have one.

What to see and do

  • Mu Ko Chang National ParkNational Marine Park including parts of Ko Chang and 46 other islands.
  • War Memorial Monument (In the very South of the island). A renovation is underway at the Memorial site, with a huge building being constructed (Jan 2018).

Beaches

  • Kai Bae Beach.
  • Khlong Prao Beach (enter the Public Beach Access opposite Mother Earth Garden or next to Nong Bua Seafood, Chaichet).
  • Lonely Beach (Hat Tha Nam, Ao Bai Lan).
  • White Sand Beach.

Waterfalls

  • Khiri Petch (About 3 km from Salak Petch village). Medium sized waterfall.
  • Klong NonsiWaterfall on the east side of the island. Reachable by foot from the Klong Plu waterfall, 6 km.
  • Klong NuengSaid to be the most breathtaking waterfall.
  • Klong PluThe most popular waterfall, and the only one on the west side of the island.
  • Kongoi (Near Bang Bao). 5 waterfalls.
  • Thanmayom (Near Thanmayom Pier).

What to do

  • Dive AdventureFive star PADI IDC diving school offers scuba diving, PADI courses and snorkelling trips into Ko Chang National Marine Park.
  • Diving School Ko Chang (Bang Bao). Go diving or learn to dive in the beautiful waters of Ko Chang.
  • Eco-Divers Koh Chang (bookings at White Sand Beach (near Kacha Hotel), Kaibae (just in front Kaibae Resort, on the main street; main office is in front of the 7-Eleven at the entrance to Klong Prao).  09:00-20:00Snorkelling trips.
  • Tree Top Adventure Park.  Daily 09:00-17:00Rope and harness tree climbing. Fun activities and amazing views from the top of the trees. Half-day program, 950 Thai Baht.
  • Hike with a park ranger from the Than Mayom Waterfall to the Klong Plu Waterfall. The cross island trek takes 8–10 hours and costs 500 Thai Baht per person.
  • Trek in the jungle with Tan, +66 89 6452019, +66 89 8322531, who has been taking guided treks for over 10 years and speaks very good English.
  • Learn Thai cooking in one of the three Thai cooking schools located around Klong Prao: Kati Culinary, Ko Chang Thai Cooking, Blue Lagoon.
  • Guided sea kayaking trips. KayakChang.com is run by a qualified British guide. They use imported sea kayaks and equipment. They offer single day expeditions off the west coast and multi-day expeditions in the southern islands.
  • Meet retired Ko Chang elephants at the north end of White Sand Beach.

Buy

  • Books Thailand (Pearl Beach, next to the main post office).  Has a good selection of second-hand books in many languages.
  • Madoosika (Bang Bao Plaza). Latest fashions. Chic, BOHO, gypsy, hippie, maxi dress, party and sun dresses.
  • Scuba Zone (Scuba Koh Chang), 21/23 Moo 4 White Sand.  Extensive range of snorkelling and diving equipment focusing more on quality than price, but still cheaper than Western prices.

Eat

Menus are similar to the rest of Thailand, but the high island prices are due not so much to higher transportation costs, but because of high demand. There are many restaurants on any given beach open both daytime and evening with a strong concentration of tourist venues on White Sand Beach.

The beaches of Ko Chang are all dotted with restaurants dishing up some delicious seafood as well as offering romantic evening views. Try Ko Chang’s own wine which comes in a variety of fruity flavours including mangosteen and pineapple.

Sunsets can be watched in style from the terrace at the Top Resort on south White Sand Beach from the vantage of a cliff top. Bring an appetite and your camera, no reservations needed.

White sand beach

  • Apple (แอปเปิ้ล บังกะโล), 7/4 Moo 4.  Su-F 08:00-24:00; Sa 08:00-01:00Probably the cheapest restaurant/bar along White Sand Beach. It has a good location in the middle of the beach. Don’t expect anything special, just the usual Thai and Italian dishes common at tourist spots. Upstairs there is a small hut where you can chill out with a beer on pillows. Closing times are early, but if you order before closing time you can keep sitting there as long as you want. They also have 21 small wooden bungalows available for 800-4,000 Thai Baht/night.
  • Nong Bua Seafood (White Sand Beach, opposite Ban Pu Resort).  07:00-22:00If you pass by, you might wonder why this place is busy every night. A family-owned restaurant open for more than 30 years. Thai, Chinese, Western food, and especially fresh seafood.
  • Rock Sand Restaurant (N White Sand Beach. Turn right on the beach by the 7-Eleven). 07:00-22:00Thai and Western food. Speciality: Taste of Thailand and finger licking good.

Bang Bao

  • Ido Ido Restaurant and chill out bar ; Past bang bao on the way to klong koi beach home made Thai food – western food – breakfast

Drink

The drink you have to try is Chang beer, even if its only for the name. If you have a busy schedule ahead of you, better stick to Tiger beer as it doesn’t give as much of a headache (yet it is slightly more expensive). Each village offers something different, but taken as a whole, Ko Chang’s nightlife is fairly mellow compared to other islands. There are some quiet beach bars dotted around White Sand Beach with amazing sunset views.

  • Jungle Queen Live Music Bar (Next to Alina Grande). The house band plays from around 20:00-24:00, and plays music from Rihanna to AC/DC. People come from all over the island for the live music hour, so be sure to stop by when they are on. They also have free pool, and the place doesn’t close until 05:00, so it’s a good place to take the party after the nightclub and the other bars start closing. Service is good, and the staff are friendly and efficient.

Lonely Beach’s nightlife and bar scene is gaining a reputation among the backpacker community. It is the place to be for “full moon” imitations, bucket parties, and dance till you pass out disco bars. The rubbish left over from the parties are barely cleaned up, so the next day you can see exactly where the party took place from the main road. The party location generally rotates among several different bars depending on the day of the week, and is usually heavily advertised which bar is “the spot” for each night.

  • Cafe del Sunshine (Lonely Beach. Walk towards sunset, on your left).  07:00-24:00Thai food and a great selection of Western brunch and lunch dishes. Set in a nicely designed and relaxing building. 50-100 Thai Baht.
  • Rock Sand Resort (White Sand Beach). Right by the sea with a terrace over the sea to sit and watch the Ko Chang sunsets. Special: Taste of Thailand. Just above and behind the restaurant Rock Sand has rooms for backpackers and flashpackers.
  • Siam HutHosts a large dance party every Friday night in their large outdoor deck on the beach. Happy hour specials on Friday until 23:00

Where to stay in Ko Chang

Hotels Chang Island: Popularity

Hotel Stars Discount Price per night, from Choose dates

The Emerald Cove Koh Chang Hotel

★★★★★

-36%

11172

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Awa Resort Koh Chang

★★★★

-11%

10090

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Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort

★★★★

-31%

5840

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Klong Prao Resort

★★★★

-36%

5434

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The Dewa Koh Chang

★★★★

-37%

7648

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Garden Resort

★★★

-35%

6442

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Ramayana Koh Chang Resort & Spa

★★★

-8%

4440

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Bhu Tarn Koh Chang Resort & Spa

★★★★

-11%

5246

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Amber Sands Beach Resort

★★★

-33%

8658

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Koh Chang Kai Bae Beach Resort

★★★

-59%

12049

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Hat Sai Khao (White Sand Beach)

Most hotels are on the west side of the island, with many resorts and guest houses all along the road that leads down the coast. Generally speaking, prices drop off the further away from the port you get. Supply far out-strips demand, so finding a place to stay should never be hard, though the best or cheapest places may fill up at weekends.

  • Alina Grande Hotel & Resort (At the S end of White Sand Beach) ,   Check-in: 12:00, check-out: 12:00In the heart of White Sand Beach, it is the perfect place to stay for families with children. 800-2,200 Thai Baht.
  • Chang Cliff Resort16/14 Moo 41,600-9,000 Thai Baht.
  • KC Grande ResortBungalow village with restaurant. Five night stay minimum. 13,750-25,550 Thai Baht.
  • Koh Chang Kacha Resort & Spa (In the centre of the beach). Fantastic beach side swimming pool, beach-front bungalow-villas, pool-side deluxe villas, deluxe hotel rooms, and many rows of bungalow in tropical-style garden. The best place for families. Good value for money, friendly staff, delicious food. 4,000-5,600 Thai Baht.
  • Pattamas (At the S end of White Sand Beach).  Roomy upstairs apartment with balcony, large bedroom, lounge and bathroom. The rooms are a great value. Three cheaper rooms available at 400-800 Thai Baht. Pattamas Restaurant serves authentic Thai dishes, coffee, teas, beers and spirits. Staff are friendly and happy. 800-2,000 Thai Baht.
  • S.P. Place (On the N side of the beach, across from 15 Palms). Check-out: 12:00It appears to be family-owned, but the family isn’t very friendly although the cleaning staff are. Wi-Fi is not free. Rooms are clean, TV/balcony/air-con/private bath. 550 Thai Baht, though possible to negotiate down to 500 Thai Baht for an air-con room. There’s also a 500 Thai Baht key deposit.
  • Top Resort (At the S end of White Sand Beach). Guests can head to their own beach if they get the expensive 4,000 Thai Baht rooms and villas. Flagship are the sea view villas. Friendly staff, German and Thai food (and beer). Reasonable for families and single travellers. 790-4,990 Thai Baht.
  • White Sand Beach Resort1,330-4,500 Thai Baht.

Klong Son Bay

  • Siam Royal View (Chang Noi Beach). Villas & beach bungalows.

Klong Prao Beach

  • Aana Resort and Spa (Near Klong Prao Beach).  Upscale retreat. Some rooms have outdoor plunge pools and amazing views. Two gorgeous swimming pools, restaurant, two bars and a lovely (yet pricey) spa. The resort is 100 m up the river that spills out into the bay and Klong Prao Beach. Free kayaks are available for use. Excellent service. 5,000-13,000 Thai Baht.
  • Amari Emerald Cove Koh Chang ,  fax+66 39 552001Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00A tropical getaway offering a dive centre, a 50 m lap pool and 5 restaurants. 3,000-5,000 Thai Baht.
  • Barali Beach Resort77 Moo 4 Nice little resort on the beach. 3,000-8,000 Thai Baht.
  • Big Elk Steak House38/5 Moo.4 Amphoe Koh Chang (300 m from Klong Prao Beach) ,   Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 11:00Bungalows and holiday houses in a nice garden with a clean swimming pool in the middle. Not getting too much noise from the road, but the nearby rooftop club can be heard quite often in the nights. The owner, Bank, is very nice and helpful, and takes good care of the place, everything is clean and neat. Wifi reaches probably all bungalows. Their steakhouse is closed as Bank is repairing the whole place. Cheapest huts for 300 Thai Baht (mattress only, shared bathroom), a bit nicer ones for 400 Thai Baht, aircon for 400-500 Thai Baht, bigger family ones (for four people) 1400 Thai Baht. Five to ten minutes walk to the beach through the Blue Lagun. 350-1,500 Thai Baht.
  • Centara Koh Chang Tropicana Resort26/3 Moo 4.  Large resort with 157 rooms in small cottages. Near the beach. Several pools, restaurants and bars. Free Wi-Fi in public areas. Kids Club, babysitting. Most rooms can accommodate 3-4 people. 5,000-10,000 Thai Baht.
  • Mother Earth Garden, kitchen and homestay19/1 Moo 4, Baan Klong Prao, Amphoe ,   Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00Founded 1990 by the travelers and nature lovers Nujaree and Manni Frohloff. They intend it for nature lovers, writers, musicians, artist, peace lovers, gardeners as space for healing, yoga, detoxing, workshops, etc. It’s placed uphill with marvelous sea view, between jungle and sea. The entrance is just opposite the public beach access. Reservations by email, or Skype mann.frohloff. The rooms for rent are the Upper Room in the Base House, Children House, Nujaree’s Tower, Treehouse and Kent’s House. 45 Thai Baht entry for geo catching, 660 Thai Baht room/ night, 10000 Thai Baht room/month, for volunteers special discount.

Kai Bae Beach

  • The Chill Resort and Spa19/21 Moo 4 ,  fax+66 39 552599 Beautiful, modern luxury resort with 38 rooms, including deluxe rooms, deluxe pool access rooms, Jacuzzi suites and pool villas. Breakfast served any time of the day. Free Wi-Fi and Internet stations. 6,250-15,000 Thai Baht.
  • Gajapuri Resort and SpaBungalows on the beach. 4,000-13,000 Thai Baht.
  • Garden ResortQuiet and charming resort with luxury bungalows, swimming pool, high speed Internet and just 150 m from the beach. 1,200-2,700 Thai Baht.
  • Koh Chang Cliff Beach Resort2,000 Thai Baht.
  • Sea View Resort & SpaOver 100 rooms. 1,600-10,000 Thai Baht.
  • Siam Bay Resort Koh Chang100 Moo 4.  60 luxury bungalows on the beach, large family bungalows on the hillside and new sea view and pool villas. 300-4,000 Thai Baht.
  • The Stage19/19/1 Moo 4 ,   New set of bungalows not far from the beach. Pool. 900-1,600 Thai Baht.

Hat Tha Nam (Lonely Beach)

Following a great deal of development, the name “Lonely Beach” has become something of a misnomer. Lonely Beach is the party capital of the island and each guesthouse on Lonely Beach takes it in turns to hold “party night,” during which the partying and attendant thumping music goes on until about 05:00 and all the revellers on the island come to your guesthouse. If you do not want to be kept awake then Lonely Beach is definitely not the place for you. Most guesthouses giving “Lonely Beach” as an address are not located along the actual beach, but about 500 m down the road. From the village access to the sea is not possible as the coast is rocky.

  • Bhumiyama Beach Resort (ภูมิยามะ บีช รีสอร์ท), 99/1 Moo 1 (Next to Nature Resort).  Offers beautiful sea view bungalows and hotel rooms. 3,000 Thai Baht.
  • Ice Beach (Follow signs to Sun Flower, then Sea Flower). Wooden bungalows, cheapest on Lonely Beach at 200 Thai Baht for a shared bathroom & fan room, 5-10 min walk to Lonely Beach. From 200 Thai Baht.
  • Joy Cottage (On the main road by the bridge).  Great backpacker place. Listen to live music, enjoy great food and chill out. Nice little huts, that come with mosquito net, attached shower and toilet and free Wi-Fi, though signal is very weak in huts but works well in restaurant. 400 Thai Baht.
  • Kachapura.  Well-appointed concrete bungalows spread around a serene tropical garden layout in Hat Tha Nam’s “town” strip. It’s a trek through the garden to get to the beach, which is anyway rather rocky, so better to walk 5-10 min down the road to the beach and bar at Siam Huts. Some noise from nearby bars at night in the bungalows near the road. 500-700 Thai Baht.
  • Koh Chang Pool Villas100/1 Moo 4.  Check-in: 13:00, check-out: 12:00Pool villas on the white sand of Lonely Beach. Part of the Siam Beach Resort, but in a class of its own. Most popular with romantic couples and young families, because these villa have only a single large bed/living room. 3,900-7,600 Thai Baht.
  • Little Eden4/47 Moo 1.  Small bungalow resort, up the hill away from the bustling village. Comfortable bungalows individually placed, 12 with fans 2 with air-con, 1 twin double room, hot showers, mosquito net, toiletries and free Wi-Fi. Restaurant has Thai and international (slow) food. Every bungalow has a hammock and a gallery in the bath.
  • Lonely Beach ResortNew concrete bungalows with fan, TV and Wi-Fi. Restaurant serves Thai and Western food. A 5-10 min walk to the sandy beach. From 500 Thai Baht.
  • Oasis Koh Chang (Koh Chang Bungalows), Ko Chang (Lonely Beach Soi 3, opposite the pharmacy) ,   On a hillside with sunset views from the restaurant deck, where you can enjoy home-style Thai dishes, sandwiches or Western favourites. The wooden huts come with fan and mosquito net, attached open-air bath with shower. Free Wi-Fi. 350 Thai Baht.
  • Paradise Cottages (At the end of Lonely Beach). Check-out: 12:00Very nice, large and clean waterfront concrete cottages. There is a rocky waterfront, an amazing bar, and lounging areas with very friendly staff and outstanding food. Free Wi-Fi. 700 Thai Baht, 1,000 Thai Baht for waterfront. Off-season prices (as of 2014-06-23): 350 (wooden, smells stuffy, fan only, cold shower), 500 (fan only, warm shower) and 700 (waterfront, air conditioning).
  • Seaflower (Follow signs to Sun Flower). Great price range (between 500 Thai Baht for 1-2 person bungalow with fan and private bathroom, and 1,000 Thai Baht for sea front bungalow with air-con, cable TV, private bath. All bungalows are clean, new, and the grounds are very well taken care of on a daily basis by maintenance staff. Nice lounging area on a patch of lawn right next to the water, and only a 5-10 minute walk along the water’s edge to Lonely Beach. Very quiet at night considering how incredibly close to all the action. Free Wi-Fi. 500 to 1,000 Thai Baht in high season.
  • Siam Beach Resort Koh Chang (On the beach).  Formerly a backpacker place, converted into a resort with large swimming pool. Sea view and deluxe pool view hotel rooms, all with a sea view, cable TV, refrigerator, hot water, comfortable beds and breakfast for two. 1,500 Thai Baht.
  • Siam HutOn the beach, offering a quiet atmosphere (unless they are hosting a beach party, in which case don’t expect to sleep before 02:00), friendly staff and delicious food. Options are cheaper spartan waterfront bungalows or slightly more expensive air conditioned bungalows. 400-680 Thai Baht.
  • Sun Flower (Follow the signs). Nice bungalows with well-priced Western and Thai restaurant with nightly movie screenings, free Wi-Fi and reclining cushions. 300-500 Thai Baht.

Bailan Beach

Most of this beach is rocky, only the southern end—which is dominated by the resort, not really welcoming non-residents—is sandy.

  • Ao Bai Lan Beach Resort (อ่าวใบลาน บีช รีสอร์ท) (Laem Bai Lan).  150-200 Thai Baht.
  • Bai Lan Hut ,   Each of the 22 bungalows has a computer, free Wi-Fi, hot shower, fan. Air-conditioned rooms available. The bungalows are right by the sea with sunset views. 500-1,500 Thai Baht.
  • Bai Lan Resort (ใบลาน รีสอร์ท), 6/1 Ko Chang TaiHave six bungalows, pitching a private tent is 50 Thai Baht per person per night. 100 Thai Baht.
  • Elephant Bay Resort (formerly: Gu Bay).  Bungalows and swimming pool with view to the sea, just 5 m from the water. low season: 450-1000 Thai Baht, high season 650-1150 Thai Baht.
  • Koh Chang Bailan Bay Resort (first resort S of Lonely Beach, about halfway up a steep rise in the road).  Spacious, en suite bath, well-designed bungalows built into the hillside, going all the way down to the beach. Fan and air-conditioned rooms available. Friendly staff. Reception and restaurant are open from 08:00-22:00. 350-1,000 Thai Baht.
  • Whitehouse Bailan Resort (ไวท์เฮ้าส์ ใบลาน รีสอร์ท).  Cosy white cottages, swimming pool, air-con, hot showers, free Wi-Fi. They have 15 standard rooms and 18 cottages. 800-1,500 Thai Baht.

Bang Bao Bay

Bang Bao is on the south side of the island. It’s little more than a long stretch of wooden deck that takes probably 5 minutes to walk from end to end, with dive shops, seafood restaurants, local houses and a few places that provide accommodation for visitors.

  • Alysia Spring Resort Bang Bao27 rooms with air conditioning, hot water, fridge, cable TV, safe and balcony. Internet. 1 km to beach, free shuttle service. English and German-speaking staff. 800 Thai Baht.
  • Asia Backpackers (from ferry, follow signs to Mercure Hideaway, 2 km past Mercure) ,   Ko Chang’s largest backpacking resort on Ko Chang. Has private bungalows and female/mixed dorms, providing quality accommodation at a great price, Also on site is a bar/restaurant/communal area showing all sports and pool table, dart board. From 250 Thai Baht per night per person.
  • B. Phoem Phun Thap (บ. เพิ่มพูลทรัพย์), 24/1 Moo 1.  2,000 Thai Baht.
  • L’appartementBang Bao Village – TBR residence (200 m after Bang Bao Temple),  Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:002-bedroom self catering sea view apartment, 120 sq m, 180° sea view, 30m swimming pool, kids’ pool, 300m private pier.

Go next

  • Ko Kut Thailand’s 4th largest island
  • Ko Mak island

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Central Thailand

Nonthaburi : Travel Guide, with Info on Nightlife, What to See & Covid-19 Report

Nonthaburi (นนทบุรี) is Thailand’s second largest city, being a part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region. Understand Due to its close proximity to Bangkok the city is a suburb of the national capital, and is generally considered a part of Greater Bangkok – had it not been for the signposts you’d hardly notice where one ends […]

Wolfgang Holzem

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Nonthaburi (นนทบุรี) is Thailand’s second largest city, being a part of the Bangkok Metropolitan Region.

Understand

Due to its close proximity to Bangkok the city is a suburb of the national capital, and is generally considered a part of Greater Bangkok – had it not been for the signposts you’d hardly notice where one ends and the other begins. Officially, however, Nonthaburi is one of the five neighbouring provinces of Bangkok. Covering an area of 622 square kilometres and separated into 2 parts by the Chao Phraya River, Nonthaburi is administratively divided into six districts: Mueang Nonthaburi, Pak Kret, Bang Kruai, Bang Yai, Bang Bua Thong and Sai Noi.

History of Nonthaburi

The history of Nonthaburi dates back 400 years to the era of Ayutthaya Kingdom. Firstly known as Tambon Ban Talad Khwan, and noted for its fertile soil and plentiful water where a lot of orchards nest alongside the Chao Phraya River, this tambon was promoted to Nonthaburi City in 1549 under the reign of King Mahajakrapat.

In 1665, King Narai the Great had noticed that the river has changed its own route and it might consequently have a negative effect to the city’s security. Hence, the fortifications have been established at the delta of Om River where the city pillar has been built as the symbol of the new foundation of Nonthaburi.

At the time of Rattanakosin Kingdom, King Mongkut has had Nonthaburi moved to the entrance of Bang Sue Canal in Tambon Ban Talad Khwan where later in the reign of King Chulalongkorn, the city hall has been founded and lasted till 1928. In the same year, King Pokklao has initiated the idea of building a new city hall at Rajawitthayalai Ban Bang Khwan, Tambon Bang Tanowsri on Pracharaj I road alongside the Chao Phraya River which nowadays belongs to the Ministry of Interior Affairs. The building, constructed in a European style, has become a relict of Thailand while the current city hall is situated on Rattanathibet Road.

Stay with our Hotel Partners in Nonthaburi

The following hotels and resorts have special safety measures in place due to the global Coronavirus Pandemic.

Get in

By car

  1. Phibun Songkhram Road, between the foot of Rama VI Bridge and Sri Phon Sawan Theatre intersection
  2. Pracharat I Road, between the city hall and Sri Phon Sawan Theatre intersection
  3. Tiwanon Road, between Wat Lanna Bun triangle and Patumthani Pier
  4. Ngamwongwan Road, between Khae Lai intersection and Kasetsart University intersection
  5. Nonthaburi I Road, between the city hall and Tiwanon Road
  6. Bang Kruai-Sai Noi Road, between Rama VI Bridge and Amphoe Sai Noi
  7. Krungthep-Nonthaburi Road, between Tao Pun triangle and Wat Lanna Bun triangle
  8. Rattanathibet Road, between Khae Lai intersection and Bang Bua Thong-Taling Chan Road

By bus

Several public buses operated by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority (BMTA) connect Bangkok with Nonthaburi.

  1. Number 69 (Victory Monument – Sanambin Nam)
  2. Number 104 (Victory Monument – Pak Kret)
  3. Number 166 (Victory Monument – Pak Kret)
  4. Number 63 (Victory Monument-Nonthaburi)
  5. Number 30 (Southern Bus Terminal -Nonthaburi)
  6. Number 203 (Sanam Luang – Nonthaburi)
  7. Number 33 (Sanam Luang – Pathum Thani)
  8. Number 64 (Sanam Luang – Pra Athit – Samsen – Nonthaburi Road)
  9. Number 114 (Lam Luk Ka intersection – Nonthaburi)
  10. Number 117 (Huai Khwang-Wat Khema)
  11. Number 128 (Krungthon Bridge – Bang Yai)
  12. Number 32 (Wat Pho – Pak Kret)
  13. Number 51 (Wat Pho – Pak Kret)
  14. Number 65 (Tha Tian – Wat Pak Nam)
  15. Number 97 (Monks’ Hospital – Nonthaburi)
  16. Number 522 (Rangsit – Victory Monument)

By MRT

The Purple Line of the Bangkok xMRT (รถไฟฟ้ามหานคร). connects Bangkok to Nonthaburi since 2016. The line starts at Tao Poon station connects to the MRT Blue Line. Going west the first station in Nonthaburi is Yeak Tiwanon. Soon the line starts following Rattanathibet Road across the Chao Phraya River until it turns north to follow Hwy 9 before terminating at Khlong Bang Phai north of Kasemrad Hospital Rattanathibet.

Fares range from 16 to 42 Thai Baht and are based on number of stations. The ticket vending machines accept coins and banknotes. Pre-paid cards of up to 1,000 Thai Baht are also available. For single ride fares, a round plastic token is used. It is electronic: simply wave it by the scanner to enter; deposit it in a slot by the exit gate leave. Children and elderly are issued tickets at half price but you must go to the ticketing counter.

The stations have escalators going all the way up and down in addition to lifts so the metro is easier than the Skytrain for people with reduced mobility or heavy baggage. Note that bag-checks take place at the entrance of each station (usually nothing more than a quick peek inside). The stations have public toilets and some staff can provide assistance in English.

By boat

The xChao Phraya Express Boat. is a water bus service that can take you from Bangkok to Nonthaburi. All the boats going upriver except the blue flag Tourist Boat stop at least at Nonthaburi pier near the Nonthaburi Market, but all piers north of Rama 7 Bridge are in Nonthaburi. Enter the express boat at a pier and pay the conductor for the trip. She will approach you bearing a long metal ticket dispenser. At some bigger piers you can buy the ticket before boarding. When the metal cylinder lady approaches you, just show her the ticket you bought on the pier.

The different boat lines are indicated by the colours of the flags at the top of the boat. These flags can be confusing; don’t think the yellow king’s flag corresponds to the yellow line flag! The orange flag line (14 Thai Baht, every day 06:00-19:00) is your best bet, as it is fairly quick with the ride from Sathorn pier to Nonthaburi pier which takes around 1 hour. The yellow flag line (19 or 29 Thai Baht, Monday to Friday 06:15-08:10 and Monday to Friday 15:30-18:05) is faster with fewer stops before Nonthaburi. The green flag line (10, 12, 19 or 31 Thai Baht, Monday to Friday 06:10-08:10 and Monday to Friday 16:05-18:05) terminates at Pakkred which is the closest pier to Ko Kret.

The signposting of the piers is quite clear, with numbered piers and English route maps. Sathorn (Taksin) pier has been dubbed “Central” station, as it offers an quick interchange to Saphan Taksin BTS Station. The orange flag boats run every 5–20 minutes from sunrise to sunset (roughly from 06:00-19:00), so ignore any river taxi touts who try to convince you otherwise.

Get around

By foot

If you’re planning to cover large distances on foot – don’t. As is the rule in Bangkok, the multilane roads are made for drivers rather than pedestrians.

See

The island of Ko Kret (Koh Kred), floating in the Chao Phraya river, is easily accessed from Bangkok.

  • IMPACT Exhibition Centre (ศูนย์นิทรรศการอิมแพ็ค). Mueang Thong Thani, 99 Popular Road, Pak Kret, Nonthaburi. or

Wat Khemaphirataram Rajaworawiharn

Situated on the east bank of the Chao Phraya River, in Tambon Suan Yai, Wat Khema was built in the early Ayutthaya period. The monastery underwent restoration during the reigns of Rama II and Mongkut and for a while enjoyed royal patronage. Its large pagoda houses the Buddha’s relics as well as a centuries-old icon of the Buddha which dates to the period of the Wat Khema’s founding. Other attractions within the monastic compound include the Tamnak Daeng Building and Phra Thinang Monthian Hall.

How to get there: The monastery can be easily reached by bus. Taking the minibus Rewadi-Wat Pak Nam is also a good option. For those travelling by Chao Phraya express boat get off at Tha Nam Non Pier and from there hop on bus number 203.

Do

  • Bang Kwang Central Prison (เรือนจํากลางบางขวาง) (Main entrance 0.4 km (0.25 mi) east of Nonthaburi pier of Orange flag Chao Phraya Express Boat). A large prison that houses prisoners including death row inmates. The scene of some autobiographical books like The Damage Done by Warren Fellows. Visiting a specific inmate is possible with some advance preparation using charity websites. Most foreign prisoners are happy to get a break from the daily monotony and a chance to hear news from their own country in their own language even from a stranger. (updated Mar 2017)
  • Royal Irrigation Department Golf Course (สนามกอล์ฟชลประทาน), Tivanon Road, Pak Kred, Nonthaburi. 9 holes (updated Mar 2017)

Buy

  • CentralPlaza Westgate (300 m south from MRT Talad Bang Yai exit 4). 10:00-22:00. A huge modern shopping mall nesting at the junction of Kanchanapichek Road (Hwy 9) and Rattanathibet Road near a MRT Purple Line station. (updated Feb 2017)
  • Wat Takhian Market (วัดตะเคียน), Bang Khu Wiang, Bang Kruai District, Nonthaburi. daily. A local floating market with somewhat bizarre decorations ranging from giant tiger heads to mecha statues. (updated Mar 2017)

Eat

  • Hong Seng (Rimnam) (Pak Kret Pier). Open till 14:00 on Tu-Th, 18:00 on F-Su. This restaurant serves some of the best freshwater cooked Thai food. It’s been given a 5-star rating on the taste of the food, 4-stars on service, and 3-stars on pricing. When getting there, try ordering koong pla (shrimp in sour and spicy sauce), Kung To Kratiem Prik Thai (shrimp fried in garlic and pepper), Tom Yum Pla Kang (Kang fish in hot and spicy soup). A reservation is required as the restaurant gets filled up quickly, especially during weekends.

Sleep

There are few accommodation options in Nonthaburi. This is largely due to the lack of foreign tourists, as well as its proximity to Bangkok.

Mid-range

  • Nonthaburi Palace, 3/19 Moo 1 Nonthaburi 1 Road, Muang Nonthaburi, fax: +66 2 9690150. An obscure establishment more familiar to locals as a venue to host wedding banquets. Rooms from 1,200 Thai Baht with breakfast. 1,200-4,000 Thai Baht.

Splurge

  • Riverine Place Riverside Service Apartments, 9/280 Moo 7 Phibulsongkhram Road, fax: +66 2 6606313, ✉ enquiry@visitamanta.com. As its name suggests, this 27-story luxury service apartment is located on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River and has a wide range of facilities. 2,800-5,200 Thai Baht.

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